I acknowledge that my list of highest-paid bloggers is slightly wonky because there are loads of blogs that make more money than the folks below.
But the people I list as my personal heroes in the blogosphere are here for a reason.
(Note: did you know the Huffington Post makes $40,000,000+ monthly?) Stay tuned, next month I’m anticipating earning roughly $50 million… kidding.
And let me make a distinction… because “paid” seems like the wrong word.
How Much Do the Highest EARNING Bloggers Make?
High earning bloggers… that’s more like it. Because bloggers have no boss.
Earning vs. Paying – There’s no one “paying” these folks a salary, guaranteeing the longevity of their paychecks.
Some of the blogging heroes I share below earn more than $100,000 monthly, but not all of them do.
Each of these bloggers is holding considerable risk, and that’s something that both inspires me and sobers me about all forms of entrepreneurship, self-employment, and especially blogging.
So, How Did I Choose These Bloggers?
To make the list that I’ve created, to become a hero of mine, the main qualification is that people overcome obstacles.
Legends are not born from ease, comfort, and safety. Heroes must be tested– by dragons and dangers.
Like Jeff Proctor and Ben Huber.
Breaking the One Percent (& DollarSprout)
$100,000+ monthly earnings.
When I first stumbled upon Jeff and Ben, my honest reaction was, “Woah, these guys are wayyyy more successful than I’d expect them to be”.
My first impression, based on the videos I watched, and the things I read, was a damn-near shock.
They just didn’t come across to me as out-of-this-world brilliant dudes.
Competent, yes, hard-working, no doubt… but they didn’t strike me as geniuses up in ivory towers.
Now, modesty and humility go a long way, and I would say that was a big part of why I wasn’t floored at first glance. And since those first days that I discovered these guys, I would say they’ve impressed me more and more with their depth of research and overall intelligence.
But they are on my list partially because of the above. They made it here because of the adversity they’ve faced AND the fact that they still aren’t excessively intimidating, beyond reach sort of people.
An ordinary person can still imagine themselves following in their footsteps.
I’ve joined their Facebook Group, and religiously read most of what they write.
The two revenue charts below demonstrate the journey these two have been on since February of 2015.
When you look at the graph above, you can see the struggle and the breakthrough.
But then, in their typical transparent (and encouraging) style, these guys pull back the curtain and show you a more comprehensive behind-the-scenes look.
Jeff got a (shitty) job at a psych ward for under $12 an hour to survive the low blog earnings.
Talk about an underdog story, right?
Thanks, Ben and Jeff, for continuing to share your story, and all the lessons that have come along the way, with an honesty that makes you accessible to beginners.
The Flooring Girl (Debbie Gartner)
$20,000+ monthly earnings.
There are a few things that put Debbie on this list.
- She’s unconventional
- Exceptional (and growing) earnings
- The debt she’s overcoming
- Debbie’s (132 page) book * (Easy On-Page SEO)
*This post contains affiliate links, click here to learn more.
Note: If you’re reading this and you are ready to get serious about on-page SEO… Check out Debbie’s book. Her book covers everything you need to know to write great long-form articles that rank and gives lots of practical, easy to understand examples. (Buy the book)
I’m a member of several blogging communities that Debbie is also a member of, and she’s a voice I pay attention to.
Of course, I learn from her knowledge (Debbie often hops into conversations with beginner bloggers to help with beginner’s questions).
But what caught my attention and earned her a spot on this list was two things:
- She gets straight to the point (helps my trust)
- She’s mentioned her challenges (debt)
Debbie has referenced a large sum of debt she’s working to pay off a few times.
Something about that stood out to me– the struggle of her life made her more human to me… and easier to relate to.
Debt isn’t fun. But it can be a serious motivator. I respect people who amass large debts and then pay them off.
Debbie, I hope you crush that debt soon and enjoy the beach (or… the marble floors of some European architectural beauty).
What’s Unconventional (About Debbie)?
That’s kind of unusual these days. And that felt (and feels) strangely empowering to me.
Also… her blog isn’t sexy.
Debbie focuses on what she needs to and she practices what she preaches.
Why do I like that so much?
I can be a perfectionist with how things look… Debbie’s blog is inspiring to me because it’s like a big “F-You” to the standard, perfectly polished look we see on so many of the internet’s successful brands these days.
Those beautiful blogs add fuel to the fire of my self-criticism.
On one hand, I can count the number of “out of fashion” looking blogs that I know are successful, and Debbie’s is one of those.
I hope she never updates her theme to some beautified version of what it is now!
(Just kidding, Debbie, you can do whatever the hell you want).
Tracie isn’t a fan of sharing income reports, but she makes 5-figures a month…and that’s all she says about that)
I’m a member of Tracie’s Facebook Group (Blogger Education Network) and have a few things to say about Tracie that made her stand out.
- She’s a real person
- Tracie is the most eager-to-help blogging teacher I’ve found
What do I mean by “she’s a real person”?
Similar to the heroes listed above, something I like about Tracie is that she’s normal. One day, I messaged her a question on Facebook, and not-with-standing-the above fact (that she’s eager to help), Tracie told me she was going for a walk and she’d be back to answer my question the next day.
I go on 3-4 walks a day.
It’s not healthy to sit staring at a computer screen all day– I don’t care if you’re a digital nomad traveling full time or if you work from a home office. You can still spend 24/7 working from Santorini, squinting your eyes to look at the screen, and so on and so forth.
We need to get on our feet and get our eyes on nature. Frequently.
And that’s hard to do if you don’t respect your body’s needs. I love that Tracie told me she was going for a walk. She told me she does it every day to take a break.
Are you seeing the common theme in my list of heroes?
They are all human. Tracie is that.
And I will say, out of my list of heroes, they are all very helpful people that want to share their lessons with others.
But Tracie gets the Gold-Star for being the most helpful human. She’s so fast! She gets back to her students at super-human speeds. (Unless she’s on a walk, of course).
I have a growing number of friends that I’m beginning to help step into the great adventure of blogging, and Tracie is my first reference point for them.
Join her Facebook Group, and follow her. She’ll deliver on her promises.
If you’re looking to get started blogging, Tracie has an educational course called “LearnGrowEarn” that helps beginners roadmap their entire journey.
I recommend it to any new blogger. But even bloggers that have been trying to grow for some time can benefit from the course, especially if they haven’t found the success they are looking for.
How Do These Bloggers Make Money?
There are three primary monetization methods.
- Affiliate Partnerships
- Selling products/services
The blogging heroes above employ all three of these methods.
Still, most of them emphasize one method.
Ben and Jeff mostly stick to Affiliate Partnerships, Tracie focuses on digital products and services, while Debbie strongly believes in the diversification of income streams: she makes money with affiliate marketing, digital products + ads.
I’ve enjoyed learning from all of the bloggers mentioned in this article, and just want to say explicitly to each of them:
Thanks for being authentic, real humans, even as you’ve found the measure of success that you have.
And here’s to your futures, which I hope stay humble, but get bigger, and bigger, and bigger…
Who Are Your Blogging Heroes, Reader?
What about you? Do you follow any particular bloggers? Tell me about them in the comments.
And remember… Heroes become who they are because of a journey.
Are you ready to begin YOUR journey, and write your own story? You could become a legend too, you know.
Get Started –> Begin Blogging Now
Check out some of these blog posts I’ve written to begin your own adventure.