Blogging may not be the most cutting-edge digital medium these days – but even in this age of influencers and online video, the best blogs are still earning impressive revenues.
This article ranks the top 10 highest earning bloggers in 2021. We’ll take you through how much each blogger earns, before analysing some of the strategic factors which have helped each of these blogs to succeed.
Who are the highest earning bloggers? (And how much do they earn?)
At the turn of the year 2021, these ten names ranked among the highest-earning bloggers in the world:
- Tim Sykes, timothysykes.com: $1 million per month
- Chiara Ferragni, The Blonde Salad: $250,000 per month
- Melyssa Griffin, melyssagriffin.com: $238,000 per month
- Sarah Titus, sarahtitus.com: $200,000 per month
- Pat Flynn, The Smart Passive Income Blog: $200,000 per month
- John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneurs on Fire: $195,000 per month
- Heather Delaney Reese, It’s a Lovely Life!: $175,000 per month
- Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents: $135,000 per month
- Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, A Beautiful Mess: $125,000 per month
- Alborz Fallah, CarAdvice: $125,000 per month
Figures based on reporting from FounderJar.
#1: Timothy Sykes ($1 million per month)
Timothy Sykes is a penny stock trader and trading teacher, famed for making millions of dollars off an initial five-figure investment.
Sykes’ eponymous blog is the biggest money-spinner in our list, raking in approximately $1 million per month.
The blog features a mix of penny stock news, evergreen stock trading guides, and calls-to-action urging visitors to sign up as a student of Sykes’ stock trading courses. The CTAs are particularly crucial to the blog’s monetisation.
Key insight: make the most of publicity opportunities
Sykes has taken all sorts of opportunities to promote his personal brand, including coverage from CNN, Forbes and Fox Business.
Perhaps most notably, the stock trader has made multiple appearances as a charter yacht client on the Bravo reality TV show Below Deck. In one episode of the show, Sykes brings a group of students aboard the ship and sets up a stock trading office at sea. Whereas most of the charter guests who appear on Below Deck only make brief mentions of their professional lives, Sykes makes his work a dominant theme of the episode. He even gets his guests to wear branded t-shirts during the trip.
Not every blogger gets the opportunity to appear on a popular reality TV show, but there’s a lesson for anyone looking to promote their blog in Sykes’ approach: make the most of publicity opportunities by emphasising your core messaging.
#2: Chiara Ferragni ($250,000 per month)
Chiara Ferragni is the founder of The Blonde Salad, a glitzy blog covering fashion, beauty, lifestyle and celebrities.
Ferragni launched The Blonde Salad as her personal fashion blog in 2009. Over the course of 12 years, she has grown the blog into a bilingual, international sensation, with multi-million-dollar annual turnover and over 17 million followers.
An interesting – and commercially important – feature of The Blonde Salad is a prominently integrated ‘Talent Agency’ page, which advertises Ferragni’s stable of influencers, T.B.S. Crew.
Key insight: perseverance pays off
Forgive us for using a cliche, but the best day to start your blog is yesterday. The Blonde Salad’s story just goes to show how a seemingly ordinary blog can rise to become one of the world’s most successful, through consistent hard work and effective strategy.
Monetising a blog takes time: as much as 6 months to a year, according to the most optimistic estimates. If you’re hoping for anything approaching the immense success of The Blonde Salad, you’ll need to be comfortable with the idea of chipping away at the blog for a number of years without seeing much revenue.
#3: Melyssa Griffin ($238,000 per month)
Melyssa Griffin’s blog is all about how to make money as a blogger. Judging by the fact Griffin ranks as the third-highest-earning blogger on our list, it’s probably fair to say she knows a thing or two about the subject.
The blog features a wide array of specialist content, including blog articles, podcast episodes and testimonials. Much like our own website, targetinternet.com, Griffin’s content attracts visitors with the aim of converting some leads into e-learning customers.
Key learning: use blog content to establish your subject knowledge
One of the most important sources of revenue for the Melyssa Griffin blog is its e-learning courses, which can be accessed on the site via secure members’ login.
Griffin’s blog content doesn’t necessarily promote these online courses: but what it does do, without fail, is demonstrate a level of subject knowledge that builds trust in Griffin’s expertise. With topics ranging from business tips to personal and psychological advice, the blog gives readers a grounding in the basics of how to succeed as a blogger. The success of this public content in earning sign-ups to Griffin’s online courses is key to the blog’s high revenue.
#4: Sarah Titus ($200,000 per month)
Sarahtitus.com is a family-focused lifestyle blog, founded by single mum Sarah Titus as a vehicle for sharing her tips on how to raise a family on a limited budget.
The blog features content including resources for arts and crafts, articles about faith and household management, and recipes for easy meals.
Key learning: giving away quality content can drive revenue from other sources
Whereas the average lifestyle blog focuses on traditional blog articles, sarahtitus.com gives greater prominence to downloadable templates for arts, crafts and household organisation instead. These resources are offered either as free downloads or as subscriber benefits, providing incentives for users to visit and engage with the blog.
Giving away high-quality content for free doesn’t always feel comfortable. After all, as a blogger, you’ve worked hard on creating and publishing that content. However, the marketing benefits of offering content for free may outweigh the more immediate financial gain of paywalling your content.
#5: Pat Flynn ($200,000 per month)
Amid the financial crash of 2008, architect Pat Flynn found himself out of work. He decided to try his hand at selling online content to support his family, starting with simple study resources. Today, he owns one of the world’s leading elearning blogs.
The Smart Passive Income Blog – or ‘SPI’ for short – is a professional development blog, offering guidance on how to earn money through ostensibly passive approaches such as affiliate marketing, self-publishing and podcasting.
Along with its free content, SPI hosts e-learning courses on relevant topics, including a $199 business development course, and a $999 podcasting course. Visitors to the site can also apply to become part of a private community of entrepreneurs, called ‘SPI Pro’.
Key learning: when exclusivity is the selling point, subtlety is key
One of the most interesting aspects of SPI is the members-only ‘SPI Pro’ section of the blog. The feature is promoted quite subtly, with a small login button in the navigation leading to a login area, and a banner which appears as the visitor scrolls the homepage, with a CTA to apply to join SPI Pro.
It’s a soft-sell approach, and we think that’s smart, since the objective is to draw the audience’s attention to an exclusive feature. If SPI Pro was promoted too forcefully, that would contradict the intended message of exclusivity.
#6: John Lee Dumas ($195,000 per month)
Entrepreneurs On Fire is a business blog and podcast, run by founder John Lee Dumas. The site features a mix of business resources, interviews with notable entrepreneurs, and online courses covering topics such as strategy formulation and sales.
Key learning: play to your audience
Perhaps the most crucial success factor in blogging is giving the audience what they want.
Not only does tailoring a blog’s content make it more useful to the reader; it can also help deliver marketing objectives in lots of different ways. For example, if blog content is highly relevant to the audience, the blog is likely to have a low bounce rate. This means only a low percentage of visitors immediately decide the content is not what they’re looking for and navigate away from the page straightaway. Having a low bounce rate is important from an SEO perspective, because search engines use bounce rate as a factor in how they calculate search results.
Entrepreneurs On Fire does a great job of clearly signalling to its audience that the blog is relevant to their interests. Ultimately, this is a website for people who are interested in becoming wealthy. It plays to that crowd by placing money front-and-centre, with regular reports on the blog’s revenue, and a monthly income ticker on the site navigation. These things tell the audience that the blog is all about making money, and that the blog owner knows how to do exactly that.
#7: Heather Delaney Reese ($175,000 per month)
It’s A Lovely Life is a family lifestyle blog, founded by writer Heather Delaney Reese. The blog covers lifestyle topics including travel and shopping, plus educational content on blogging.
Key learning: blogging can be a way of life
For Heather Delaney Reese, it seems that blogging is a way of life. It’s A Lovely Life follows the blogger’s family closely, from their holidays to their home life. The family is photographed frequently and made the subject of the blog’s content.
This level of personal exposure doesn’t suit every blog, but for It’s A Lovely Life, the strategy has proven highly successful.
#8: Jeff Rose ($135,000 per month)
Covering topics ranging from investment and taxes to insurance and pensions, Good Financial Cents is an impressively comprehensive personal finance blog. The site was founded in 2008 by author and ex-soldier, Jeff Rose.
Key learning: roundups and reviews provide opportunities for affiliate marketing
Many of the articles featured on Good Financial Cents are roundups of financial service providers, such as a guide to the “Best Car Insurance Companies”. These articles feature outbound links to the third parties featured, and the links often include a referral code. So, when a visitor clicks through to the third party and makes a purchase, Good Financial Cents could be earning a commission.
Affiliate marketing is a classic monetisation tactic for blogs, and it’s certainly one we’d recommend to anyone aiming to make a blog profitable.
#9: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman ($125,000 per month)
Sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman jointly rank as #9 on our list of the highest-paid bloggers. The pair’s blog, A Beautiful Mess, brings together content on crafts, decor, food, style and personal development.
Key learning: social media integration is powerful
Pretty much every blog should have social media buttons linking out to its social media channels.
As a lifestyle blog with a strong social media following, A Beautiful Mess has paid close attention to this requirement. The blog’s social buttons have been built very prominently into its website design, with coloured buttons in both the main navigation and in the footer.
The better the linkage between a blog and its social channels, the more effectively each can channel visitors to the other.
#10: Alborz Fallah ($125,000 per month)
CarAdvice is a blog which has proved so successful that it now operates like a traditional media company, with over 40 staff working from offices in Sydney and Melbourne. Founded in 2006 by Alborz Fallah, the blog covers a wide range of automotive topics, including new car releases, car reviews and information on motor shows.
Key learning: follow your passion
If you’ve read all the way through this article, you may have noticed that a lot of the highest-earning blogs cover similar topics: especially entrepreneurship, family and personal finance.
However, the success of CarAdvice goes to show that there’s opportunity for blogs covering special-interest topics to succeed. The blog’s founder, Alborz Fallah, has channelled his passion for cars to create one of the highest-earning blogs on the planet. Perhaps you too could take your own passion and turn it into a world-beating blog.