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August 21, 2019

How Much Blog Traffic Do You Need To Replace a Six-Figure Income?

I used to think of blogging as a passion project. Something you’d do for fun that you could make a few dollars from Google Adsense with. And it can be that. But the idea that you can’t run a very profitable business with somewhat low levels of traffic is wrong. Stupid wrong.

How Much Traffic Do You Need To Quit Your Job?

How much traffic you need to replace your job is mostly dependent on how good you are at converting your traffic into cash. Obviously, the more money you make per visitor, the less traffic you need to replace your job.

$10 per 1,000 visitors (a $10 RPM) requires substantially more traffic than $1,000 per thousand visitors (a $1,000 RPM).

Blog Traffic needed for a full time income visual representation.  Ads vs products.

To help, here’s a table of the RPM you’d need to make six figures at various monthly traffic levels.

Monthly Pageviews Revenue per Thousand Impressions Needed for Six Figures
10,000 $833
20,000 $416
30,000 $277
40,000 $208
50,000 $166
60,000 $138
70,000 $119
80,000 $104
90,000 $92
100,000 $83
150,000 $55
200,000 $41
250,000 $33
300,000 $27
350,000 $23
400,000 $20

Once you get north of 250,000 pageviews a month, your traffic is almost assuredly earning you six-figures per year. A $35 RPM should be achievable even if you’re exclusively monetizing with ads and affiliate deals.

How Much Traffic Do You Need to Quit Your Job Using Ads?

A $30 RPM is around the highest I’ve heard of better ad networks like Adthrive or Mediavine paying bloggers. I’ve only seen a handful out outliers claim to be making more than that with ads (although there are edge cases).

comparison of various ad networks.   Adthrive vs mediavine vs google adsense.

Even if you were crushing ads and had a $30 RPM, you’d still need 280,000 visitors per month to make $100k/yr. While that’s achievable, 250k pageviews can be a challenging amount of traffic to obtain (it took me 3 years).

In my opinion a better strategy than relying on ads and trying to get as much traffic as humanly possible would be to focus your energy on monetization strategies that pay better.

How Much Traffic Do You Need to Quit Your Job with Affiliate Marketing?

Each affiliate program will have its own unique payout structure and conversion rates. Read my post about affiliate marketing where I go in-depth on this.

The Amazon Associates program is the most popular affiliate program in the blogging community. Amazon sells practically everything, so it’s an excellent fit for most blogs regardless of niche.

The problem with the Amazon Affiliate program is that it does not pay well. You’ll only receive 3% on purchases within 24 hours of somebody clicking your link. When you do the math on that, you’re unlikely to make more than you were with ads through this program.

Blog Traffic needed for a full time income visual representation.  Ads vs amazon affiliate.

However, the nice thing about this affiliate program and others like it is that it fits into your content as is. You can do this in addition to ads, your own product sales, or other affiliate programs. Meaning if you’re crushing ads with a $30 RPM you can hopefully get it up to a $40 RPM when you add in Amazon Affiliates.

Now you will only need 208,000 visitors per month to quit your six-figure job. That’s still a lot of traffic, but it’s becoming more obtainable.

High Paying Affiliate Programs Can Change The Game

Some affiliate programs pay so well that they alone can place you into a new income bracket. (Assuming you have a lot of targeted traffic that matches the product you’re selling.)

For instance, I’m subscribed to Vidello’s affiliate program which gives me a recurring 33% cut of all sales I bring to their platform. It brought in $250 this month from a page that only gets 1,000 visitors a month. That’s a $250 RPM!!

Obviously I don’t have enough posts to replicate that across my entire website. But, if that were somehow possible, I’d only need about 30,000 visitors a month to replace my six-figure job. If I could think up 29 other posts that performed/paid that well, I could retire.

Pro Tip: There are a surprising number of high paying affiliate programs out there. Search through an affiliate network like Share-a-Sale for the highest paying offers. Or Google highest paying affiliate offers to search for products that match your niche.

How Much Traffic Does it Take to Replace Your Job Selling Your Own Products?

Selling your own product is the holy grail. Particularly digital products that scale because they have no production or distribution costs.

Selling your own product is safer than Affiliate Marketing and ads. You’re not at risk of your own product shutting down or cutting rates. You also get to keep 100% of the profits instead of the minuscule 3% that Amazon gives you.

Pretend you had even a 1% conversion rate on a $50 digital product. We’re talking about a $500 RPM!!! At that rate, you’d only need about 17,000 visitors per month to be making a full-time income from blogging!

Blog Traffic needed for a full time income visual representation.  Ads vs your own product

And those numbers aren’t particularly unrealistic. You may struggle to convert 1% of your informational blog posts into sales of a specific product. But you can likely make up for that by raising the price, selling multiple items simultaneously, and tripwire offers.

I know that creating your own product might seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. You can dropship items or sell print-on-demand products quite easily. Or, any of the following would work as well.

Needing Less Than 20,000 Monthly Visitors For a Full-Time Income is Exciting!

It took me two years of blogging to reach 20,000 monthly pageviews. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely do-able if you write consistently.

Creating a product with a 1% conversion rate that sells for $50 will be just as big of a challenge. That said, the idea that you can replace a six-figure salary just with these two things is beyond exciting for multiple reasons.

1) This Traffic Number is Not All or Nothing.

If you needed 20,000 visitors/m to make six-figures and quit your job. Even if you only got half of that number, you’re still making $50k/yr.

For many people, $50k/yr would be enough income to go full-time. I chose to use $100k as my benchmark because I wanted the amount to apply to nearly everyone.

2) This Traffic Number Scales Up

If you achieve this income rate, when your traffic goes from 20,000 pageviews a month to 200,000 pageviews a month you’re now making a MILLION dollars a year. Seven figures.

200,000 pageviews in a month is a lot, but it’s far from unachievable. In fact, many bloggers find that getting from 0 to 20,000 is significantly harder than going from 20,000 to 200,000. This is because Google places you into the sandbox until it trusts your site. Get a little momentum and suddenly it starts ranking all of your articles at once.

Example of explosive growth when your content begins to rank in google.  chart.

3) You Can Acquire This Amount of Traffic From Other Sources

On this blog, I tend to focus on Google as it’s the largest source of potential blog traffic. But, I’ve read reports of many who claim they’re able to get 20,000 visitors per month from sites like Pinterest alone.

Traffic sources other than google.  Medium, guest posts, facebook, pinterest, YouTube, Email Lists, Repeat Traffic, Twitter, Instagram, Referral Links, Reddit, Quora, etc.

What this means is if you can develop your own product, you can likely reach six-figures even if we took search engines completely out of the equation. That’s what makes this so exciting.

Shaun Poore worked as a professional software developer for 15 years before transitioning into content creation and digital product businesses. Shaun's currently focused on providing as many people as possible with actionable advice and tools they can use to succeed online, without the fluff or BS that too often plagues this industry.