Going full-time

John Hawkins of Right Wing News, one of the best blogs out there, is going full-time.
So, that means that I've been officially laid off and I am -- at least for the moment -- a professional blogger. Sure, I don't have as much money saved up as I'd like, RWN is smaller than I'd like, and my expenses are way too high per month, but...wait, a second, I'm going to DIE! J/K =D

Actually, I am having to cut back on my living expenses quite a bit, but believe it or not, I think I'll AT LEAST be breaking even given the revenue stream I have coming in and with what I'll have my costs down to by April 1. Although I would feel a lot more comfortable with a few thousand dollars more in the bank, after crunching the numbers, I think full-time blogging is going to work. And of course, if it doesn't, well, I can always get another day job.

Over the next few months, I should be able to spend more time on RWN, get to work on the book I've been planning, have time to start writing regular columns again, and work on a little project that I hope to unveil in the next few weeks. I'd also like to get some paid writing gigs (email me if you'd like me to do something for your magazine or paper).
This raises the question - what costs would be involved, and exactly how would a blogger go about making enough money to go full-time?

Well, first we'll take a look at costs. You'll (ideally) need to pay for:

- Blogging software: US$70 (AU$90), one-off cost.
- A URL for your website: Next to nothing, plus it's a one-off cost.
- Webspace/Bandwidth: Approximately US$500 (AU$635) a year.
- Keeping your computer up-to-date: AU$400 (US$315) should do it fine.

Add in costs for subscriptions to important publications, and we'll round it up to around AU$2,000 (US$1,575) a year. Now if blogging is a full-time job, you'll (obviously) need to cover all your expenses out of that, but there are plenty of ways to make revenue, starting with BlogAds.

Obviously there aren't many (if any) blogs as big as Daily Kos. But their ad spaces cost big money:

- Premium: US$12,000 a month.
- Second Slot: US$3,000 a month.
- Standard: US$1,800 a month.

Even if the Premium and Second Slot ad positions aren't taken, and there's 5 standard ad positions taken, that's still US$108,000 (AU$137,300) a year in income. Add in the top two slots, and you're talking about US$288,000 (AU$366,120) a year, which pushes blog owner Markos Moulitsas well and truly into the upper class.

Your next form of income as a professional blogger would be tip jars/Paypal/pledge drives. Michelle Malkin noted that Andrew Sullivan raked in US$200,000 in two pledge drives (they were 12 months apart, I believe), and that doesn't include the normal amount he'd get from donations. Sullivan gets a monthly hit count that is not much more than triple what Daily Kos average each day.

So hypothetically, a blogger with 5,000 committed readers willing to donate 10 bucks a year, plus 5 BlogAds charging 800 a month would make a blogger around 100,000 dollars. It's feasible - if you've got the readership and the commitment. Let's hope for John's sake that Right Wing News can continue to grow and support him.

(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)

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