I see these three related questions a lot:
- “Will I start earning right away on my new website?”
- “When can I expect to start earning from my website?”
- “How much can I expect my website to earn?”
I’ll aim to answer all three here.
1. No, it’s not realistic to expect any new website to start earning right away
I know this is hard to hear, but your new website will probably earn exactly $0.00 in the first few months. This is true regardless of what type of site it is, or what monetization model you’re using.
There are exceptions to this rule, and I’d love for this to be the case for you. However, if you earn something – anything – during the first few months you’re already ahead of the curve. Anyone who tells you that you’ll be earning thousands, or even hundreds, in the first few months is not being realistic at all, and it would certainly cast doubts in my mind about their integrity. Even if a seasoned developer tells me they have been earning hundreds during the first few months of a new site, I’d be skeptical. Even if they were being 100% truthful, please be aware that these types of results would be the exception and not the rule. Remember also that unlike a good domain name, traffic data can be faked.
The good news is that you have some control over the earnings of your website by directing the way it develops and by finding ways of driving engaged traffic to your site. At Purely Space we have free tips and info about how to do this with the most bang for your time and effort, so browse the site after reading this article.
I find it best to think of a new site as a freshly planted seed.
It’ll take a certain amount of care and nourishment on your part for the site to gradually grow and flourish into something that will yield fruit.
The ongoing earning potential can actually be high for a site which fills a real need, is presented well, has good SEO, engaged traffic and has an appropriate monetization model. This leads us next into the answer to question 2: “When will my site start earning?”
2. Earnings grow over time, and different sites will start earning at different points in time
The sooner you succeed at
- driving engaged traffic to your site
- running an appropriate monetization model for that site,
the sooner your site will start growing and earning. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of WHEN a site will start earning. It’ll just be a tiny trickle at first.
Even when your site does start earning, it may not be at all consistent. One of my best-performing sites makes quite a lot of its income during two or three months of the year, while maintaining a fairly steady but not-so-impressive income the rest of the time. What I’m saying is, each site is individual and unique: again, like a plant you’d be growing. You might develop three different sites at around the same time and find two really flourish and one never seems to gain traction no matter what you do. Site development is not a predictable Newtonian mechanics type of a situation.
I realize you want some sort of “ball-park” answer to this question, despite me having explained why the ball-park is really large. Here is the best way I can give you a more specific answer:
If you are able to drive a good amount of engaged traffic to your site and have a good monetization model – which BTW is harder than it would seem – I would expect you should start earning a non-zero amount after about 3 months after your site launches, and certainly you should earn something better a year after it launches. Remember: the site is a tiny seedling growing over time, and your earnings will reflect that.
This leads us next onto the answer to question 3. “How much can I expect my website to earn?”
3. It is a realistic goal for each site to at least make back your hosting and registration costs plus some profit
You may wonder why I’m not telling you that you’ll eventually earn thousands a month per site. Some site owners earn full-time incomes from their sites – in the high 5 figures per year and even in the 6 figure range. Blogger Ruth Soukup covers this very well in one of her recent books (reference 1). However, in all of the case studies she presents there, she’s up-front about the fact they’re all people who a) have actively developed their sites for at least a year and b) it’s their main or only site.
In other words, if you have a bunch of sites you’re developing, you should not be expecting to be earning thousands from any one site or blog per month: you simply won’t have the time to dedicate to just one site. (FYI – even if you did have infinite time and just one site, the vast majority of site owners don’t wind up making a full-time income.)
A much more realistic goal for each domain is to at least make back your registration hosting costs plus small profit, a year after the site was first launched. Ideally of course your site would continue to grow after that and earn more over time.
How much profit you make, and whether you can even achieve that goal for any one particular site all depends on how well you are able to drive engaged traffic to the site, and how good your monetization model is.
A barely developed site may struggle to even make back the hosting and registration costs; a well developed and popular site could wind up making a very decent profit. Some of your sites may offset each other in this way.
1. Soukup, Ruth. How to Blog for Profit – without selling your soul. Life Well Lived Publications, 2014, Chapter 6: “Show me the money”.
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