How Much Blog Traffic is Needed Before You Monetize?

Make Money Online, Online Business, Start Your Blog

I read an interesting question on LinkedIn this morning:

“How much traffic do you need before you should monetize a blog?”

In the thread, the majority of bloggers felt that a large audience is needed first.

I don't agree.

When you start an income blog you want it to generate income. So,“Why wait?” Why spend time generating traffic for a site that you aren't monetizing?

blog traffic monetize

How Are You Planning on Monetizing?

There are a number of ways to monetize a blog. Here are the most popular:

  1. List Building: Building your email list (with a tool like Aweber) is an excellent way to monetize your site. Even without ads, a site that focuses on building an email list can be very profitable. A newsletter list can be emailed relevant affiliate offers and site updates, generating significant revenue.
  2. Google AdSense: If you are going to generate healthy revenue with Google AdSense, you will need solid traffic. But it doesn't cost anything to add the code. And when you get a burst of traffic, you will have the tools in place to monetize it. Even with moderate traffic, it is possible to generate revenue. If nothing else, it will help cover start-up expenses in the beginning.
  3. Display Advertising Sales: If you want to sell ad space, you'll also need an audience. But when the time comes to sell ads it will be hard to do if you don't have any on your site yet. Using ads from appropriate affiliate programs can help fill in those spaces, get readers used to seeing ads and help potential advertisers see how your site looks with ads. They won't feel like they are your first advertisers – even if they are. And in the meantime you can generate some affiliate revenue even with low traffic.
  4. Affiliate Marketing: If you are going to use affiliate marketing, even a small audience can be profitable. Because you'll be writing about and promoting relevant products, they will be of interest to your audience – no matter how small it is. Remember that trust – not high traffic – it is the key component in successful affiliate marketing.
  5. Sell Your Own Products or Services: While we have yet to create and sell our own product, I've heard the argument for waiting to launch a new product until you have a solid audience. There is definitely a certain gratification to a 4-5 digit product launch. But I don't know if this would actually outsell the gradual sales of an early launch. I think having a great educational product for sale would give strong credibility to a new blog.


What I've Learned About Blog Monetization

When we launched our first blog, we waited until we had an audience.

For 18 months, we blogged. And made no money.

It ended up feeling like charity of sorts. When we finally monetized our travel blog, we did well.

After all this, it made us wonder why we waited

When we launched this site we had affiliate ads /  links in place. We don't ever plan on selling links or display ads. We will only use affiliate ads and links to relevant products and services. In our first full month, we generated $143 in affiliate revenue. Nothing to get too excited about, but not shameful either. This with just 2,132 unique visitors and 6,151 pageviews. Obviously this is going to improve, but we're very happy with our first month results.

Read how eight online business owners make money with their blogs: How to Monetize a Blog

Readers Expect (Need) To See Ads

Readers are intelligent. They understand that professional blogs take a lot of time to run.

We noticed two things about blog monetization on GringosAbroad:

  1. When we didn't have ads, readers asked (on a regular basis): “What are you really selling?” or commented, “I don't know how you make money, but we are loving the site”.
  2. When we added monetization, some readers said “We liked it better before”. They complained that we were trying to sell to them all the time. And although this wasn't true, this was their perception – because they weren't used to seeing ads.

What We've Learned About Monetization

If you plan on making money with your site, you should be upfront about it and include ads from day one. You'll avoid the confusion and make more money.

Readers will want to compensate you for great information. If you don't sell anything, they will try to find other ways to return the favor. We've had readers insist on sending us money via PayPal, and invite us out to coffee and dinner just to thank us. We even had a reader mail us a $10 bill.

What do you think? How much traffic is really needed before you monetize?


Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is co-founder of Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Bryan also runs two authority blogs with his wife, Dena: ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorials) and GringosAbroad (Ecuador travel).

80 comments… add one
  • Brandon Bowser Jan 24, 2018, 8:54 pm

    Is word press a good domain in your opinion? They have a monetizing option. But I’m just unsure how many views I should wait to get before monetizing…

  • Principal Egg Oct 27, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Hey Bryan

    Great post as always! I think this is the THIRD time I’ve read it! (How do you do that?) I’ve been ‘berating’ my dead puppy of a website for over a year and if I get half a dozen visitors a week I’m doing cartwheels in the playground! I was going to suggest to your readers building up a following on twitter to help them increase visitors to their sites, but it has been about as useful a tactic as my jokes get retweets! Any ideas on building up traffic for the newbie, Bryan? Thanks again for your great post and keep up your great work!

  • Michelle small Jun 6, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Thank you for providing much insight on monetization and blogging. I’ve started a blog a few months ago and I’ve been reading and researching constantly. I have google adsense but I’m not sure if I should be looking at selling ad space since I’m still so new. Can you take a look at my site at

    I have my own domain however, I’m still with Blogger. I’m still trying to determine the best route to grown and solidify my blog…any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Stephen Aandelen Mar 31, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Dear Bryan,

    Great post. I really like your way of writing.
    In my opinion I would start monetization ASAP because I think it is very important if you want to make money with blogging. Just my thought about it.


  • John Mar 13, 2015, 7:02 am

    I’ve been searching around to know what is considered as moderate pageviews and high pageviews just to compare what am currently receiving on my tech news blog until i saw your among search results. Thanks for the post, very helpful.

  • Saara Feb 25, 2015, 4:39 am

    O My God! You have cleared my doubt about monetization of a new blog. I have started my fashion beauty blog a month before and trying to generate leads, visitors but dint think of monetization! I know i have only few sessions only 20 or 30 as I have not worked much on site but it will increase surely. So Bryan Would you suggest me to go for some affiliate mkt or anything you suggest mor making money as i have negligible audience right now.
    A very big thanks to you.

    • Bryan Haines Feb 25, 2015, 11:42 am

      It depends on your plans for the blog, but I think that affiliate programs with related products and services would be a great way to begin monetizing your site.

      • Saara Feb 25, 2015, 11:43 pm

        Thanks a lot again Bryan. I will surely do this and let you know about this!

  • Sahil Chakravarty Feb 17, 2015, 12:56 pm

    Hey !
    I have a blog on technology and entertainment. I basically focus on internet and blogging. I had started my blog 3 to 4 months ago. But till date i have made only $5.57 through adsense. If you could please devote 5 minutes of your time and please tell me where the problem is it would help a lot ! Thank you . Blog:

    • Bryan Haines Feb 22, 2015, 7:06 am

      I checked your site but didn’t see any ads. Have you removed them?

      For help with AdSense, you should check out: How to double your AdSense earnings in 5 minutes/day. This is a good starting point.

    • rob Mar 16, 2015, 9:09 pm

      Technology blogs are an issue for ad’s as many, many people in this field have installed AdBlock or adblocker plus, ghostify and others. In our blog we discovered over 17% of the traffic had blocking installed. Additionally technology people are not really looking to buy either.

  • Navneet Dec 11, 2014, 8:10 am

    thanks for the information 🙂

  • John Floster Nov 19, 2014, 6:13 am

    Can you give me some tips to boost traffic so that I could run ads on my blog?

    • Bryan Haines Nov 20, 2014, 5:45 pm

      I think you should get started right away. What’s holding you back from monetizing the site?

  • Pedja124 Oct 25, 2014, 2:12 pm

    I need help I want to monetize but when I want to click but it is not working?Is that because I am from Serbia?Please answer 🙂

  • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Dear Bryan:
    I was aproved by Amazon since day one (maybe you read my previous comment about Adsense)
    The problem with most of the Affiliate Maketing sites is that they require your blog to be in English and they don´t allow to place ads from other AM.
    I live in Spain, my main blog is in Spanish and I am missoriented as Adan on Mother´s Day.
    And by the way…42% of my visitors are from USA!

  • suresh atta Oct 16, 2014, 9:10 am

    Wonderful. Looking to start my adsense account and this article made me clear in several aspects. Thanks.

  • ujjwal kumar sen Sep 30, 2014, 7:01 am

    Hello, I am confused about applying for Google adsense for my gate tips and tricks. ., would you please help me.

  • ChasinJason13 Sep 26, 2014, 3:03 pm

    Hey man, great stuff. This is the first article of yours I’ve read and it was quite helpful, I’m sure I’ll be looking for advice soon. Preemptively, thanks for the help.

  • Mathias John Sep 5, 2014, 5:04 am

    I think i agree with you. At the moment I am averaging at least 100 visitors per day and i am getting clicks. my bounce rate is about 50% which quit okay for me for a new site though i intend to work on that too. I also don’t use one form of monetization so that if a visitor is not clicking on an ad they are clicking on another. By the end of the day you leave my site make me money.

  • Mousumi Saha Aug 26, 2014, 10:21 am

    Hi Bryan,
    I just stumbled upon your blog this morning and read dozens of your posts 🙂
    I have a blog on entrepreneurship and self-improvement. It used to get over 50,000 unique visitors per month for over 18 months period. I started monetizing it through Adsense and till date I could not figure out if there was any other way to monetize it. I often receive requests from PR agencies who want to promote a CEO or an artist, ready to pay me in the range of $150-$300. I could not feature any of them thinking their profile would not not impress my readers.
    To cut the long story short, I lost interest in regular writing as AdsSnse never paid me more than $3-$5 per day 🙁
    Currently the blog readership has gone down to about 20,000 readers per month and I can’t think of writing for it full time. Do you have any suggestion for me?
    I will appreciate your time!
    Thanks once again.

    • Bryan Haines Aug 30, 2014, 11:04 am

      AdSense is okay for covering expenses, but to really make money you need to look at other methods. We wrote about how we make money with our travel blog. This is probably a good place to start. I would look at affiliate marketing – many bloggers (with good traffic) do well with Amazon Affiliates.

      Or you could create a product to sell on your site.

  • Kai Jun 19, 2014, 11:38 pm

    Hey, just wanted to say this is a great post! I’ve recently started a new blog, after launching a successful one (in terms of content and user following) two years ago. This one is more tailored towards a specific music genre, but feel free to check it out:

    I never really tapped into monetization, but this has definitely given me more insight. Thanks again!

  • keerthi Jun 18, 2014, 4:12 am

    i have a site “” i tried adsense..but my request was declined !!
    usually how much of text is required to monetize our blogger account…i have 20 thousand plus visitors yet my request was disapproved ?? can yu look into my site for a second nd tell me where i am going wrong ??

  • satyam sharma May 24, 2014, 10:32 am

    hey sir this is my blog:=
    i just started 2 days ago and i have 600+ views on my blog.Do you think i am doing okay for adsense?
    p.s. i am from india.

  • Jikku Thankachan Mar 26, 2014, 3:18 am

    Hi Bryan Haines

    Thank you for sharing your vision on Blog Monetization. It is really a good article. I hope I got some good knowledge from here. Thanks again

  • Joan Sabula Mar 25, 2014, 11:06 am

    Thank you so much for your information Bryan. My husband has affiliate programs on is website and has actually seen some income (albeit very small) from about 1000 unique visitors a month. He has a great website and just started blogging so I expect it to grow. Do you have an idea of how much traffic a blog adds to a website? TIA


    • Bryan Haines Mar 25, 2014, 11:27 am

      Glad to hear of his success. It is impossible to guess traffic from a blog – it could be anywhere from zero to all of it. It really depends on how good the content is and how well it is promoted.

  • Mark Jan 24, 2014, 12:46 am

    Hi Bryan,

    Nice post! My site gets around 10,000 unique visitors per month and approx 25,000 page views. However it makes very little money. I am currently experimenting with adsense and I make around $1 a day at most. I have 3 ads on almost every page of recommended size.

    I have used a few affiliate links, not aggressively but just to sites I’d link to anyway and again I have had very little success.

    Any advice??!

    Also, with affiliate links, is there a danger that it will have a negative impact on google pr? i.e. if there are too many on any one page?

    • david Jul 28, 2014, 2:43 am

      that’s a big chunk of traffic you are getting and it should not be difficult to monetize it.
      check out your back link profile just in case some bad links are spiking your traffic and you could also check quality of your content if its lackin in some areas. with 10k visitors a month there is no way you could be making less then $100-500. consider building up an email list

  • Freelancer Jan 13, 2014, 9:33 am

    Hi Bryan,

    I have been looking for ways to make money from a blog for ages. There are tons of articles and blog posts scattered on the Internet providing information on how to make money from a blog. However, you have provided some upfront information on the topic. Your website is also very nicely layout with a clean theme. Thanks for the great article Will check back your site from time to time to learn more things about freelancing, blogging and more.

    • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 11:23 am

      Subscribe to Brian´s blog because he publishes frecuently.
      His tips are very useful and he helped me a lot.

  • David Dec 31, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I used Adsense in the past because of three issues. First, the same exact ad would appear on the same page of my site directly underneath the first one. Second, the top banner was not mobile friendly. It would load with about 10 ad banners before my content could be viewed. Third, I had an ad size that was one other than the recommended sizes. As a result it was typically not an image ad. I personally believe the text ad to be of lower quality diminishing the content. Do you have solutions to any or all of these concerns?

    • Bryan Haines Jan 21, 2014, 8:49 am

      It isn’t recommended to use identical ad sizes on the same page. It will most frequently post the same ad multiple times. There is a limit of three Google ads per page. More than that are against their terms of service – and will give poor results. If the ads aren’t working with mobile, you can try their Beta mobile option. Most mobile friend WordPress themes will automatically handle the ads, but there are always exceptions.

      Your last concern is easily fixed. Google publishes their most successful ad sizes (336×280 Large Rectangle, the 300×250 Medium Rectangle, the 728×90 Leaderboard, and the 160×600 Wide Skyscraper). Because they are the most successful they also have the most advertiser content – including images and video.

    • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 11:36 am

      You may try the Google publisher plugin.
      Is still in Beta and automatically stops you if you try to place more than tree ads.
      Some times is frustrating because it places ads on areas that are not convinient to the layout of your site. anyway, you can remove that ad and place an ad in other area (they suggest you some places)
      As I said, is in Beta and I strongly believe that they are working hard so affix the glitches.
      Even they let you place your ads pasting the code manually but for me is a pain in the neck.
      One of the biggest problems is that the plugin may mess some themes.

  • Kofi Asante Nov 13, 2013, 6:35 pm

    Hi Bryan, thanks for sharing this great piece…exactly what I need to read at this point. I’ve been debating with myself about how to monitize my website, and i faced the same dilemma of whether to place ad banners, from the get-go, or not.

  • David Seal Nov 12, 2013, 8:16 am

    Hi Bryan,

    Great information, thanks for sharing. I have just started a blog called to work along with my other yachts for sale social media initiatives. I am pleased with the results and will be looking to monetize the blog as soon as I am happy with the layout. My question is; Can I prevent certain companies from advertising on my blog if I use Adsense?

    I would be happy for yacht manufacturers (for example) to place ads, but it would be crazy to have competing Yacht Brokerages. How can I prevent that?

    • Bryan Haines Nov 14, 2013, 11:39 am

      There is an option inside of AdSense called “Allow & block ads”. You have the option to block specific url’s, general categories, sensitive categories, ad networks, ad serving and even specific ads.

      It is easy to avoid certain ads.

  • Raza Rizvi Oct 28, 2013, 5:57 am

    Hey Bryan, I created a website 3 months ago and I am averaging 50-90 visits per day. Am I doing okay ? Secondly , adsense is rejecting my application 🙁 What should I do , how do I earn from my website.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 28, 2013, 1:03 pm

      I think you should focus on building more traffic. Why not put some affiliate ads on your site while your traffic builds? Once your site is more established you should be able to be approved easily. Remember that click ads are just one way of many to make money with your site. Here is a post to help you get started with affiliate marketing.

      • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 11:46 am

        Dear Bryan:
        I was aproved by Adsense as soon as I applied and having an average of 3 unique visitors per day. Is true that I had already 100 posts because the blog was migrated from and old blog but 3 visitors are 3 visitors anyway.Fortunately the audience is growing at a rate of 50% more visitors per month and now I am getting an average of 40. If it continues growing at that rate in 12 month I will get some decent traffic.
        Always great to read your posts.
        Best regards to you, your wife and daughter (She has a blog too!)

        • Bryan Haines Oct 16, 2014, 6:41 pm

          Glad to hear of your fast approval. I didn’t know what type of minimum traffic they required – this is helpful.


  • donald Oct 8, 2013, 2:46 pm

    Hello brian.Thanks for your post.I am a new blogger ,writing mainly on piano lession.I have got less than 300page views ,can I monetise with Adscense now or how long do I need to wait to start monetising.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 14, 2013, 3:57 pm

      I’m not sure of the current requirements with AdSense but I think you should apply now. I think it is easier to get approved with a Google-owned blogspot blog.

  • sanuk Sep 11, 2013, 4:49 am

    Could you plesae see my blog and suggest some changes

    • Bryan Haines Sep 30, 2013, 3:31 pm

      I recommend you get a self-hosted WordPress install. It is hard to get a great design on a free blog. Keep your site updated – nothing looses steam like a blog gone cold.

  • Michael Sep 5, 2013, 3:29 am

    Hi bryan is it a ok if I promote other sites on my blogg I just want to have a idea of how to do it coz I have decided to do affiliate marketing and some idea my site is just 2 months old it just a new born baby so how can I make thise baby to young strong human.

    • Bryan Haines Sep 10, 2013, 1:41 pm

      Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your site. But if your site is new, I recommend putting more energy into building your base of content first. Without traffic you won’t make any money – even with the best ads.

  • Michael Sep 3, 2013, 3:47 pm

    Hi Bryan I have started my site and it is just 2 months old and I am writing blogs on health as well as tips on beauty and I am putting ads of mobile and latest fashion am I on right track and I am looking for mentor or some one to guide please send me a reply.

  • Dejan Sep 2, 2013, 6:25 am

    Hey Bryan, thanks for your post you helped me a lot. I have a website for 7 days and 400 people came to my blog, is that good for a beginner? I thought about making google adsense account soon, do you think that’s smart? The blog is about tennis :

    • Bryan Haines Sep 2, 2013, 10:24 am

      You should add monetization from the beginning. Every site starts somewhere and it’s important for your regular readers to be used to seeing ads. You should consider switching to WordPress from Blogger – it is much more powerful and easier to monetize.

      • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 11:53 am

        True to the bones!
        I wasted 3 years blogging with that do not allow ads. My audience was pretty good and eventually I migrated (well…my blog migrated, not me)to a paid server.
        Even paying for a re-direct service I lost al the guys and had to start from scratch.
        From the beggining is better to spend (of better said INVEST)in a paid host and start placing ads from day one.

  • Jerry Petermann Jun 10, 2013, 6:52 pm

    We are Texans who wish to know a live person with whom we can communicate in Cuenca. We want to move there soon and need to learn the ins and outs of the process. Your system to earn a living is ideally suited to our talents but we really would like to communicate with an expat about the rest. How can we obtain someone’s e-mail who would be willing to chat? Or, would you be willing to?

    • Bryan Haines Jun 13, 2013, 11:57 am

      Hi Jerry – we recently published a set of 14 expats in Ecuador. Most of them have blogs and are responding to comments on their posts. You can also read/comment in the comment section on GringosAbroad – our story about life abroad (in Ecuador).

  • Joanne Munro May 26, 2013, 11:30 am

    Hi Bryan,

    Thank you for writing such an interesting and useful article. Through offering lots of free advice my website has just hit the 5000 unique visitors a month mark and I’m thinking about monetising it. The site was actually set up as a business website, so local people find me by searching for a local CV writer but, because of a well-performing YouTube video and a couple of very high-ranking blog posts, people from all over the World come to look at the site now.

    So although my enquiries have gone through the roof, I still have to actually go and write their CV for them so a passive income from some affiliates of adverts would be brilliant – I’m just not sure who yet. Any ideas…?

    Joannne Munro

    • Bryan Haines May 30, 2013, 11:17 am

      Congratulations on your growing traffic. To get started, I would recommend checking Shareasale and Commission Junction. For specific educational products, it’s hard to find a better resource than ClickBank. Also, we have done well with Google Adsense.

      More suggestions about blog monetization.

      I would love to hear how things work out for you!

    • david Jul 28, 2014, 2:38 am

      I think you should set up a newsletter and build a list. if your audience is asking you questions then the most obvious way is to provide them with a new channel to communicate with you and then go ahead and make money from your list

  • Brilliant Guide May 7, 2013, 8:03 am

    This post again gives me some courage to make a site of my travel business! Hopefully,I will get successful!

  • Doug Apr 10, 2013, 12:39 pm

    Hello Bryan,
    This is a great post, thanks so much. I fully agree with monetizing from the start, blogging needs to pay the bills.
    Kind regards,

    • Bryan Haines Apr 16, 2013, 7:15 pm

      Thanks Doug, it is such an important point. To your success!


  • Nathan Segal Apr 1, 2013, 2:56 pm

    I would start the monetization immediately, but that’s just my opinion. However, I wouldn’t start with just Adsense or other ads. My number one focus would be on list building. That’s where the money is and where I’m placing much of my effort. According to some marketers, like Maria Veloso and blogger John Chow, you can make up to 90% or more of your income from people on your list. For me, that’s the way to go.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 1, 2013, 8:34 pm

      I agree Nathan. On site monetization is good for one-time-visitors. Building a list needs to be a priority of every blogger.

      • Ricardo Oct 16, 2014, 12:14 pm

        Dear Bryan:
        It´s me again!
        I don´t know how to build a list. Nop, Zero!
        Where you get the email adresses from? I have just a few subscribers
        And: the people receiving the newsletter, if instead of that newsletter they receive a new post ( my goal is to post twice a week) is not the same?

        • Bryan Haines Oct 29, 2014, 8:59 am

          Hey Ricardo – that’s a good question.

          There are lots of good reasons to start an email list. There is some debate about when to begin a list but I feel strongly that every blogger should begin list building from day one.

          We use Aweber to manage all our lists. Here are the reasons.

          You can build your list by adding opt-in boxes in your sidebar and throughout your blog. You can also add an incentive (giveaway) to readers who subscribe. While you will likely be sending notifications of new posts, you have the control to customize the message. You can also use the autoresponder feature to automatically serve relevant offers and content to your new subscribers.

  • Felicia Mar 29, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Thanks for answering my question on Linkedin with this great blog post! I have started monetizing my blog, will see how it goes. I think other factors like how appealing the design of the blog is and how useful and relevant your content is are can play a big part too.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 1, 2013, 8:37 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. We wish that we had started a long time ago…

      Design and content are very important. I think that good design is dwarfed by good content. People will tolerate bad design to get good content, but not vice versa.

  • Robert Mar 18, 2013, 7:54 pm

    I had a coffee blog for many years and used a strategy new bloggers might like. I ran a banner ad for a well-respected (among coffee snobs like me and my readers) website at no charge, at the top of the column. This site had great service on brewing machines and his advice and credentials were solid gold throughout coffeedom. The owner was a friend but I gave him the free space because of power of his coattails.

  • Joanna Mar 18, 2013, 6:37 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    Excellent post! As always, I enjoy reading your thoughts and experiences. And I could not agree more! My husband and I are just in the beginning stages of our blogs and we too grappled with this question. We ultimately decided that we need to monetize right away for exactly the same reasons as you did. I think the idea of having our readers used to seeing ads on the blog was ultimately what swayed us. We really didn’t want to establish followers, only to have them leave us later because they are upset that we are now “selling”.

    We’ve not added Google Adsense yet because we read that they can be picky about approving new bloggers but we did monetize with other programs. Would you say that Google and Amazon are tough to get an ad account with? Just curious.


    • Bryan Haines Mar 21, 2013, 8:41 am

      They are a little hard at first. But once you are in, you can use them on all of your sites – even brand new ones. Actually, I think you’ll have an easier time with Amazon Affiliates. Once you get started and have a few months of solid posting and traffic behind you – you’ll be able to get approved for almost any affiliate program.

      Thanks Joanna!

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