Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Readers' Panel: How to Make Money Blogging

How to Make Money BloggingDear Michelle:

How do you know if you have enough readers to make ads worth it? . . . If you are blogging for extra income how do you make money through ads? . . . I have BlogHer ads on my blog, but I don't make any money off of it . . . Any advice on setting up your own ads? I'm rather disillusioned with BlogHer ads at the moment.


(I'm paraphrasing questions from Family Musings, The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, The Crazy People Next Door and Musings of a Housewife)

So many questions, so little time but the general gist of things seems to be: For the love of all that is broadband how do I make money blogging??

If you're asking these kinds of questions then you've made it through the "Why am I blogging in the first place?" stage and are on to "I'd like to see a bit of reward for all my labor thank you very much" phase.

Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: if you're in the blogging business for the money then you're bound for disappointment. And poverty. Very few--and I mean very few--bloggers make an income large enough to support themselves or a household. Though I guess it's not unusual that out of 70 or 80 million blogs out there only the top 100 or 200 or are profitable if you think of it in terms of professional writers. How many aspiring writers are there out there and how many make a solid living out of it? Or in terms of professional sports--how many baseball players actually make it to the pros and find their way to big bucks? As with many jobs in the field of entertainment and recreation, only the top spots usually generate the cash. You need talent, a business plan, visibility and lots of luck.

Having slapped you around to the reality of things let me also state that you can make money blogging though your income-to-time-spent ratio, as with any small business, will most likely be very skewed at the start. Creating a successful blog, one that can generate income (if that's how you measure success), takes so many hours that if you're in it for the money you're better off getting a job at the office with regular pay for regular hours.

To give you an idea of what I mean, I started Scribbit back in June of 2005. I blogged for a year as if I was strolling along a country road, distracted by all the pretty scenery and not really caring about anything until a year later when I finally got down to business and started blogging seriously. It's been two more years since then and I've posted at least every day and spent an average of five or six hours a day writing and building my blog.

If you multiply five hours times 365 days times 2 years you come up with . . . well a lot of hours. If I'd worked at McDonald's for $6 an hour I'd have about $22,000 gross to show for it. Instead, I've only just turned pro this past January, I've made slightly less than $3000 and every penny has gone back into Scribbit as investment. (Though these numbers don't include gifts and products people have sent me which would probably add at least another $1000 to the total).

So don't think blogging is the way to riches and fame--unless you happen to be the luckiest dog in the universe and get your sad Pokemon ebay story to launch your blog into 30,000 unique visitors a day, a book deal and your own sitcom. About the same odds as being attacked and eaten by a troupe of rabid monkeys at the mall.

But do not despair because most bloggers I know aren't in it for the money, they're in it for the personal satisfaction that creativity brings and earning change to pay for soccer lessons or a weekend getaway is just gravy. So the question remains: How do I get me some of that gravy?

I've waited to tackle this because I'm new to marketing and advertising and I'm certainly no genius at it. In fact, for those of you who constantly say, "You do it all so perfectly! How do you do it?" let me assure you that here is one particular area where I've flopped miserably. I've relied on others' expertise, gone through a lot of trial and error and have worked my buns off to make up for my lack of skills and it's finally starting to pay off.

How soon should I start putting ads on my blog?

Be very careful about taking this step. Why? Because ads clutter things up, hampering your blog's readability. Sure you'll see sites that have decent ads but the majority have a tendency to throw up ads like they're throwing spaghetti noodles on a wall--leaving them where they stick until all you have is a jumbled mess of noodly madness.

Decide for yourself where the point is when you'll venture into advertising--when you have 200 visitors a day? 500? 1000? You decide but set it as a goal, it'll help keep you going. How much traffic do you have to have to make decent money? Honestly, quite a bit. I get a few visitors around here every now and then and let's just say my husband isn't quitting his day job anytime soon.

If your blog is small and tender you're not likely to make a dime from ads anyway and you run the risk of creating a design mess if you don't know what you're doing--not that you can't correct the problem later on--but it will make more work for you in the long run if your ads are done poorly. My advice? Wait a bit, set some goals, learn all you can about blogging and marketing, build yourself up, concentrate on quality content--then tackle the paycheck.

What are my options for making money on my blog?

You have several options.

1. Charge for posts you write. This can be through individual advertisers paying you to write a review of their products (usually I've been offered $100 per post to give you an idea of what a post here is supposedly worth) or through a site such as PayperPost.com where you sign up and the site itself pays you directly.

Personally? I don't like this option and won't do it, though please take no offense if you love it. To me it makes it hard to keep that line between reviewing for information and reviewing for profit. If someone's been paid to write a review (and in the interest of disclosure you should mention that you've been paid) then I'm a tiny bit skeptical of the viewpoint. It's not as if I think writing paid reviews is dishonest, it's not, it just that it casts a certain amount of uncertainty about your objectivity which puts distance between you and your readers and if they don't connect with what you're writing and don't believe your reviews your blog suffers.

2. Sign up for affiliate programs. Many places such as Amazon.com offer affiliate programs where you can sign up and every time someone clicks through to Amazon.com from your site then buys something you get a cut. Simple, easy, clear.

I haven't seen this to be a huge moneymaker--though if your experience says differently please let me know, I'd love to hear from someone who has had this work for them. Tell us your secrets!

I have recently signed up for the affiliate program at TasteBook.com, which you see on my sidebar, where if you buy one of the Scribbit cookbooks that I've put together through TasteBook.com then I get 15% of the money. It's similar to Cafe Press where you can make up merchandise with an image of your choosing, set up a store, determine the markup on your items and make a profit. I've set up a Cafe Press store where people can buy hats, t-shirts, bags and mugs with my Scribbit logo on it (the link is there on my sidebar) though I sell them at cost rather than with a markup.

4. Accept paid ad spots. This is probably the most common and most effective but also the trickiest because once again, there are even more options.

How do I set up paid ads on my blog?

I'm only going to touch on a couple of the ways you can do ads but however you do it the process is similar.

1. Google Adsense. This is perhaps the easiest and most widely used. I've read recently that Google Adsense is partnering with Feedburner to make it possible to put ads in your feeds. You sign up for the Adsense program, insert the HTML text for the ads into your blog, sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

Trouble is, it doesn't typically roll in. It does if you're Dooce or Problogger or someone with more unique visitors per month than I've got over the lifetime of my blog but I'm guessing if you're reading Scribbit right now that you're not quite to that seven-digit point yet.

Google Adsense pays per click which means that you don't get paid unless someone clicks on one of the ads on your site. To give you an idea of how scarce than can be, I signed up for Google Adsense when I created my Custom Search Engine for Momblogs a year ago so that ads would show up on the query results page and out of a year's worth of queries I've only made $30.23. And unless all you good people run over to my sidebar, querying and clicking madly, I don't expect those numbers to increase much (and asking people to click on your ads, by the way, goes against their ad policies and will get you in trouble). Adsense won't even pay you anything until the pot reaches $100, so I guess that $30.23 is for me what you'd call an "unrealized gain."

2. Sign up for other ad services. There are plenty of other ad organizations that sell ad spots and will set them up on your blog the way Adsense does--Text Link Ads is one. They'll each offer different deals on how you get paid, some will pay you for impressions, or times the ad was viewed, some will pay you per click, some will split profits when goods sell. I've heard you can make decent money with these sites though I do get nervous about these services because rumor has it that Google will dock your pageranking if you go with one of their competitors' ad programs. Rotten, slimy, underhanded--yes, it's all that but hey, this is capitalism and the free market economy and that's one of the side-effects. Google can set the rules however they'd like and I deal with it.

I have no idea whether the rumor is true or not but to be honest? I'm too scared to find out. I get 500 views a day from Google searches and to risk my pageranking would be a very bad thing. Yes, I'm a coward but I don't know that the potential profits warrant the risk . . . for me at least.

3. Go with tried-and-true BlogHer ads. This is extremely popular and has some strong benefits to consider. BlogHer ads pays you per impression rather than per click. This means that you get paid based on how much traffic you have rather than how many clicks your ads get. Of course, you have to go by BlogHer's stat counters which--I promise you--will show less traffic than even your most conservative stat counters so you can figure on less money than you might be dreaming of when you see their rates (and they're not bad, I'll give them that).

I considered going with BlogHer because it was easy to install, because I like BlogHer in general and because it paid well. I figured I could probably make $500/month going this route, though maybe less depending on how different their stats are from my own calculations--you never know, though I was measuring conservatively. If you haven't had any money coming from your BlogHer ads you may not have enough traffic to make it go--yet. Give it time, concentrate on building your readership and see if that makes a difference.

The biggest reason I scrapped the idea of going with BlogHer ads was their restrictions on my content. They stipulated that I could not do reviews of products valued at more than $40. HA! Why did I go into blogging in the first place? To escape editorial repression (among other things) so the idea of being restricted this way was extremely unpleasant. As in no go.

So I decided to go it alone . . .

How do I set up my own ads?

I decided, despite my utter lack of expertise in this arena, to manage and sell my own ads. This means I maintain control over my own content, maintain control over the ads themselves rather than advertise for a company I don't like (such as occasionally happens with Google Adsense--if you submit a query to my Custom Search Engine for "spanking" Adsense throws up advertisements that will curl your toes) and I keep ALL THE PROFITS.

I'll tell you that it's been rough going this route, and it's not for the faint of heart, but I've been glad that I've stuck with it and I see a lot of potential for even more revenue (that's the polite word for MONEY). In managing my own ads I've met lots of people in the business community that have been good contacts (and really nice people to know). I've been able to "network" more effectively when I'm out there drumming up business rather than letting another site do all the work for me and even when people don't purchase an ad here at Scribbit getting out there and pounding the pavement has given me greater visibility.

But it's very hard. I've offered free spots to friends, I've made deals and discounts, I've made my rates very low (and they're still pretty low given my traffic) and I've had my share of rejection but it's slowly starting to pay off. After six months of this I've got about all the ads I think my sidebar can handle and I'm trying now to fine tune the system to make the ads as profitable as I can for my advertisers (go buy something from them! Tell them Scribbit sent you!) The hardest part is figuring out what is effective and what isn't, how much traffic one technique generates and how much my ads profit my sponsors.

I could write a whole post on managing your own ads and I probably will in a few months but for now that's all the information you need to get you into the decision making process. And if you someday become rich and famous, think about coming back and taking out an ad with me--I give you good deal.

***

Thanks so much to Erica of Littlemummy.com for all of her tutelage in this area--she gave me more information than anyone else and was vastly helpful. If you haven't already, please check out her series of posts on making money from blogging. If you have more questions you'd like me to tackle please leave me a comment, I'll be speaking about blogging basics at BlogHer next month and I've started keeping a record of all your questions for the conference and for future posts--I'll get around to them all eventually I promise.

And Summer of Summer's Nook had the stars looking out for her this weekend as she's won this weekend's giveaway and now owns two Shabby Apple dresses of her own.

Sponsored by: Soapier.com--helping people stay clean!

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66 comments:

Melanie said...

Thank you for this, it was very informative. I've been wondering where the money comes from but didn't feel I "know" anyone well enough to ask.

You've given me lots to think about. I'm not sure where I want to go with my site but this helps!

Lori said...

Did you use your own recipes for your cookbook?? I started one but I only have 18 recipes for it. I'm still adding some. I think that Tastebook is pretty neat:)

I'm thinking about doing the Blogher ads next time they open up. I was approved for the RGM ads when they open theirs up again...not sure which one to go with??

Great post!

MRMacrum said...

Ditto what melanie said. Your breakdown was very clear and to the point. It reinforces my decision to not try and turn my blog into a money making machine. I have a business already. It keeps my pants full. Blogging is for decompression from the stress of running a brick and mortar retail operation. All I want from my blogging experience is to become as good a writer as I can. Simple as that.

Of course that is this week. Next week, who knows?

Hairx said...

I agree with them.

Chris said...

That was great. Thanks! I've thought of advertisements on my blog but some of them look so horrid and annoying that I tossed out the idea. I love how you do it and have thought that if I make a bit of money from my Etsy shop, I'd buy a spot. I just like how it looks on your blog.

Lots to think about!

Root & Sprout said...

What a lot of great info, Michelle!

Like you, I decided to sell ad space on Root & Sprout because I needed some way to bring in a little revenue that I could invest directly back into the site. As of now, I reserve a percentage of the money for taxes and then put the rest towards prizes, maintenance, and legal fees (those trademarks are pricey!). I would love to get to the point where Root & Sprout is my main source of income and I can have a staff of a few paid writers, but I know that won't happen for awhile. Needless to say, I'll be actively searching other freelance jobs once we return from vacation (and I've already applied to About.com).

I agree with you in that selling ad space is difficult. I spend A LOT of online time with the people who advertise on Root & Sprout creating for them exactly what they want and need. It becomes a personal relationship and, honestly, I've developed a few friendships out of it. (always a nice perk)

Perhaps I should write my own post instead of hijacking your comment space. (sorry)

Well-written post!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I think BlogHer's visitor count would be lower than yours because they only count unique visitors per day, rather than repeat. Unless you've already accounted for that...

Thanks for all the info!

Cuddle Cottage said...

Very informative post, thanks!
Congrats to Summer!

Lala said...

Thanks for sharing and exploring about this. I'm new and trying to learn on this area.

Your posting give me a broad view about various paths to go.

Thanks

Janet said...

This is very interesting and helpful. I briefly entertained the idea of ads a few months ago, but realized pretty quickly I wouldn't make enough money to be worth it, since I only average about 30 readers. As I told someone else, I'd rather put things like "impeach Bush" bumper stickers on my sidebar. :)

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

You are as always very informative, and a very easy read(that's a good thing you know)

angie said...

I love your readers panels.....so informative, and I agree with you wholeheartedly on the ad thing!

MommyK said...

This is a great post, thanks for all the information. Thanks also fgor your quick response to my email yesterday!

I thought about it and decided that the income versus work ration just isn't worth turning my blog into a business venture. I started for my family and I'd like to keep it that way.

That said, my boss is paying me to start a blog for the animal hospital I work for, and getting local businesses to advertise on our site is the eventual plan. This post is very helpful.

I think it's worth it to point out that Dooce has been around for a long time, and she likely didn't make any money at first either. And even though she lives off the proceeds from her ads, she has also said that sometimes she hates it and wishes she could quit. And she gets horrendously nasty emails. For me, it's not worth it.

Scribbit said...

Lori--yes, most of them are recipes that I found other places but tweaked here adn there. A couple are completely original and a few are straight from other sources which I mention.

Melissa--you've been very smart about how you've attacked your blogs and I imagine Root and Sprout will be hugely successful. People should learn from that and if they want to make money from blogging treat it like the business it is.

Suburban Correspondent--yes I took that into consideration, on their sign up page it explains how they take their stats and they do go by unique visitors but it goes farther than that I've heard (can't remember all the details) but they even caution on their site that their unique count will most likely be lower than your own.

Erica Douglas said...

Hey, Thanks for the heads up. Glad to hear that you're finally getting some 'revenue' from your blog, which you work so hard on :)

On the other point about when to start expecting revenue - I don't mind admitting that I only receive around 150-200 visitors a day (I've let myself go recently!) yet I find it easy to earn $200 a month, which isn't much but provides a little pocket money. I guess I'm trying to say that almost anyone could be making a little dosh if that's what they want - although I agree that you shouldn't do it solely for the money.

Mama Cher, Ok, fine, it's Sharon said...

Wow! So informative! Thanks for all your time and effort, it's appreciated even more knowing that you aren't only "in it for the money." And it's true, you do it so perfectly! :)

H.E.Eigler said...

This was a great post and confirmed my suspicions that most options aren't really worth it. I've decided to offer my own ads as well which are so cheap now it's almost not worth my time to manage them (I only get about 100 views/day). I think I will consider removing my google ads for the sake of prettiness and concentrate on writing good content :)

Heather of Maternal Spark

chelle said...

That was probably the best article I have read on ads on blogs. I personally do not place ads on my blog. I do try to support the bloggers that approach me, or businesses that approach me (for a limited time, for instance six months for a review, an honest review). I do write reviews, but I also try to limit it. I am more of the strolling and looking around blogger. Maybe once the kids are older I will get more into the whole game, then again maybe not :) Still awesome article!

Gee said...

Wow. As a blogger (www.alaskatravelgram.com), I found your post comprehensive and informative. As an advertiser on your site (www.toursaver.com), I'm a little embarrassed that you've spent so much time dwelling on the subject. If you and your fellow Mommy-bloggers would ask a few people to help support your endeavor, I think that you will be surprised to find there are many folks who are interested and engaged--and want to be a part of your project.
Oh, I don't have ads on my blog. Too much clutter. But mine is a different formula--more to support my other projects (like the Great Alaskan TourSaver book and weekly newsletter, etc.).
Keep up the great work, Michelle.
Oh. One last thing: it might be a good idea to chat with sales professionals in "old" or "new" media regarding how to price your ads. It's not all about "eyeballs". It's more about an engaged audience--as you've discussed previously.

April ~ Living the Sweet Life said...

Hi Michelle- I am so glad you posted this.. I have been sitting with blogher paper work trying to decide if I want to send it in.. I do my own ads at the moment and I think I will stick with this route for now. Great info!
April

David and Kathy said...

Good article. My approach has been not to make money with my blog but to make money blogging. I know that seems to contradict itself. I have started helping small businesses who don't know blogging, build their brand by blogging. I let them pay me based on the value they get from my help. The only down side is that there seems to be a million "social networking consultants" so I must build my niche.

An Ordinary Mom said...

You always have a wealth of knowledge about everything!

One of the things I greatly appreciate about you and your blog is you are always willing to share what you have learned to make it easier on others so they don't have to reinvent the wheel. And not only that, but you do it in an I'm-your-equal kind of a way, not a condescending way.

Keep up the fabulous work!

Jennifer said...

That was very fascinating "read". I love information and I have now had oh so many questions answered and sadly a lot more to ask. So I will put my nose to the grindstone and start researching. Thankyou so much for the reality check :) and the marvelous info.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This is really helpful information that I know many bloggers are just longing to know!

Steph

Annie said...

Wow Michelle, Thank you for this. I have always wondered about some of this. I can tell you spend a LOT of time on your posts. I for one am very thankful that you are part of the blogosphere. Reading your blogs brightens my day. I wish you well and continued success!

Cagey said...

Ah, Michelle - another great post. And timely! I have just been going through this "Should Or I Shouldn't I?" debate with myself. I still have not convinced myself it would be worth it to put ads up and this informative post helped cement that decision. Thank you.

P.S. Is something going on with your feeds? I used Bloglines and have not seen a feed from you for quite awhile, about a week now!

Nicolas Atkinson said...

Wow, great advise. I've just started blogging to tell people about some ways to make some money with incentive sites(you know to help out with these gas prices) and just anything that comes to mind. You can check it out at,
nicnac123.blogspot.com
please check it out

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Dang you, Scribbit! I want to hate you and then you are so helpful and nice. ARRRRGGGGH.

Amy said...

This was such a great post. I am very impressed that you are doing your own advertisements because I did this for awhile and it was so much work. I loved having more control over the advertisements, but it was so hard to keep up with maintaining accounts, invoicing, renewing accounts, drumming up new business- it was just difficult. I would be interested to see how you manage the paperwork end of things because that is really why I gave up on it.

There are other great ad networks out there (BlogHer is definitely popular). We were with WomensForum.com and now are with Real Girls Media and both have been very good to us. WomensForum did require a minimum amount of page impressions though so you would need to establish a good reader base before exploring some of these bigger networks, but it has helped us pay our bills. They did not have requirements about product reviews (in either network) which is one of the reasons why I chose to go this route.

Excellent advice, my friend!

Meredith said...

Love this post!

I truly appreciate your transparency in an issue that's so often cloaked in secrecy.

Damselfly said...

I'm sure lots of folks will find this very helpful. My blog is mainly for personal fun and I'm not sure if I would enjoy it if it turned into a job. It is tempting sometimes though.

Damselfly said...

I'm sure lots of folks will find this very helpful. My blog is mainly for personal fun and I'm not sure if I would enjoy it if it turned into a job. It is tempting sometimes though.

The Little Window Shoppe said...

My husband and I read through this post and loved every word. We agree - especially in that blogging is just one of those things that you have to love first and foremost. Very helpful ideas too. Thank you! :)

Summer said...

This is a very interesting and informative post Michelle. It gives me a little to think about.

I've pretty much been against having ads that I have no control over(like adsense and Blogher) on my blog from the beginning but I am warming to the idea of putting up buttons for people who paid me too. Especially for mom owned businesses. I'm thinking that would be something I'd like to promote.

Magpie said...

Fascinating. Thank you.

I'm too lazy to deal with ads.

beth - total mom haircut said...

Michelle, thank you for writing such a helpful and informative post on this topic. While making money is not something I am really interested in, this stuff is good to know. You laid it out and it's not something that many people talk about - like everyone is in competition or something, so I appreciate your willingness to help others.

Karen Clark said...

Another way to make money with blogs is if you have some other business or product that you sell - your blog if it is targeted to the same audience or discusses a related topic, will lead people to your business site! I have decided not to do any ads on my blogs because if I want people going off exploring I want it to be to my business site or other blogs, or to other sites I recommend. So I don't make any money directly but people who find my blog by searching for some of my topics, have found me and bought product on my biz site! Just another idea!

Jenna Consolo said...

Whoa. That was information overload. I'd never even considered any of this, though I've seen the BlogHer ads on other blogs and wondered what in the world it was. Blogs are a whole new educational experience, aren't they!

jubilee said...

I admit that I flirted with the idea of making a little pocket change with ads. Then I decided to just keep it a fun, personal blog and clutter it up with other things!
Your post has confirmed that it's just not for me. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Sheri said...

Great post, very informative as usual. I'm sure we all appreciate how helpful you are, and that you're so willing to share your knowledge with us new bloggers. Thanks!

chickadee said...

this is great information and i appreciate bloggers like you who are willing to share what they know and have learned about making money blogging. it's so hard to figure it all out on your own. i've admired your little ads on the side too. they always look so nice.

Scribbit said...

To respond to a few more of the thoughts and ideas here:

First of all, thanks for your nice comments and support, I really appreciate that.

Second, a few have given some more great tips for where to go for ads and that's wonderful--thanks for the information.

Third, I can really relate to those who think the whole issue of advertising is a headache--to me it can be because it's not something I'm good at and it takes time away from things I'd much rather be doing--like writing--but for me starting to make money off of my blog was very important. Not so much because of the money (though no denying that's nice) but mostly because I thought it would give me validation for my writing. I worried that my writing wasn't ever good enough and that I was kidding myself that I could ever do something like this but somehow to be a professional blogger and writer made a big difference on how I felt about my writing. A stamp of acceptance or something. Some would say that's silly (and maybe it is) but that's how I've felt.

home furnishing ideas said...

You are a genius! Where do you get all this info from? I would like to add you as a friend. I hope you don't mind

Marketing Mama said...

Very informative and helpful post, Michelle. Thank you for taking the time to outline all of that information. It's the most comprehensive and well thought-out post I've seen on the subject! :)

Windyridge said...

I use Adsense, and only recently really discovered how to use it. It only works for targeted search engine traffic. Then it really works well. Too general a site doesn't cut it with Adsense. It took me about a year to figure that out! So I only use it on one of my three blogs (todaysgizmos.com). Amazon does well for me at Christmas. The rest of the time....eh, not so much. Blogher Ads sounded great until the restriction. Wow. I can't do that.

Sue said...

I have Blogher ads on my site. It's true that they pay per impression, but the real money only comes from clicks. The pay per impression is extremely EXTREMELY slight.

Great post.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I actually started blogging with the dream of making money, but then I found that I'm just too lazy. =)

Thanks for the wonderful information, though. Who knows, maybe someday I will feel up to the challenge.

BlapherMJ said...

Thank you for the great info! Blogging (or blaphing as we call it) is very rewarding in itself... Of course making money is always nice too...:-)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Very informative and realistic.

Sigh...not going to put my kids through college this way, huh?

;)

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

This is really great information, thank you for the comprehensive summary!!

I've been blogging for about two years and have been asked by a lot of people why I don't advertise. It's always seemed to me that people who advertise are serious about blogging, and I'm just in it for fun. Even though I blog every day and have a few thousand page views a day ... I never really considered the potential of it as a money maker. Maybe I should!!

Beck said...

I make a little, wee bit of money blogging - but it's a nice bonus for something that I just see as a hobby.

Lightening said...

Thanks for sharing this. I haven't seen much written by personal or mommy blogger type bloggers about blog monetization. It was very interesting to read.

I have no intention of turning my blog into a "money making machine" in terms of a full-time income but do like the idea of some part time income coming in because I'm so passionate about it (blogging I mean). I don't need it to pay for my time but will take some pocket money as a bonus - for sure. :)

Julie N. said...

What a great break down! I just start blogging the end of May and couldn't agree more with the hours invested. I started my blog in conjunction with my website and feel it provides more connectivity with my visitors.

I've used affiliate ads and looked into ad networks, but I'm focusing on Adsense and selling my own ad space. We'll see how this all pans out. :)

Thanks for all the great info!

Melissa said...

Great post!
I think a lot of bloggers make less than they imply. They must think that people will take them more seriously if they claim to make more money.

I just started my blog last month. Blogs get more exposure and more free advertising so it was originally just another entrance to my main site. Now it has become a way to get more personal with my readers.

I get about 200 views a day and average $1 a week from Adsense. It is a big joke in our house. I have a TON of advertisers on my main site from Commission Junction and LinkShare. I have an Amazon store and a card store. Still not making enough money to buy a bigger house. I am probably my biggest money maker because I buy things online from my affiliates instead of going shopping. LOL

No one clicks on ads any more. When I visit a site I like I click on a Google ad as a kind of thank you to the site owner. I wish more people did this. LOL

all over the map said...

It's funny because I have been meaning to email you and had a few questions (curiosities) about this subject and then voila! here it is - a post.
I can't say thanks enough for always sharing the knowledge you have gained whilst moving through your own experiences with blogging.
One of the things I have found so helpful about blogging is that there are a lot of bloggers who offer up really helpful advice, tips and knowledge. Hooray for you for being one of these kind souls.

Andrea said...

Excellent Post! I wish I could get on BlogHer soon but I'm waiting!!

I also want to add the other affiliate sites that aren't commented on - CPA Storm & Logicalmedia. I have talked about both of them at my place, and the benefits. They seem to be pretty profitable for me, but I also talk about a lot of the stuf they are pushing so I'm keeping my integrity in my posts and making money! Best of both worlds! Best of luck as you continue forward :-)

Stephanie said...

This is a fantastic topic and one that is on a lot of bloggers' minds. Thank you for sharing your experience and your perspective. I especially enjoyed your thoughts about BlogHer ads and the policy that they have regarding product reviews...

Jennifer said...

Michelle,
Thank you so much for tackling this question open and honestly. I have been so busy lately I am barely keeping my blog active but life should settle down soon so I can take your advice to heart and brain and crank up this blog of mine!
Jennifer S
Family Musings

Amanda said...

I just found this post, but I still had to comment. Great information, btw!

I did start with advertisements on my site when I began it, because I wanted my readers to know what to expect and not leave when I added them later. I think my first design only had 4 125x125 spots and I asked my friends with businesses to give me a 125 from them. Then as my site grew I started charging for them and I took the free ones off. My only problem now is that I have NO IDEA what to charge for them and how to get most value for the sponsor.

I did add BlogHer. I LOVE that they don't have horrible and weird advertisements. I heard that Google Ads only lets you block 200 ads from your site, and that isn't enough to keep up with all the horrible ads. My interpretation of the $40 rule for BlogHer was that you could not be GIVEN a product worth over that much for review. And if you did, you give it away on your blog. But I still could review anything over $40, as long as it came from me to start with. So I don't find the $40-rule a problem.

AMR said...

Just a really informative post. Your tip to focus on content is now my focus. Whatever will be will be in terms of $$$. Thank you -- so much to think about.

Kacie said...

For my niche (personal finance/frugal living), I've found that affiliate links have been more profitable than ads so far.

Sites such as Ebates, Cashcrate, Revolution Money Exchange, and referral links for ING Direct accounts have been making more money than my ads.

I think its great if bloggers can do both ads and affiliate links to earn money.

Chic Gal said...

Excellent post and very informative. You did a nice job of covering all the bases and explaining is truthfully.

Michelle said...

So, I was walking along in the mall yesterday, and lo and behold a troupe of rabid monkeys jumped out. They didn't actually attack me, but one did get in a good bite.

Do you think this means I am in?

Brandon Cameron said...

well i do payper post style but i also do ads posting on my blogs. you know that they like putting thier ads to you if you have lots of traffics

dedi said...

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Make-money-beginner said...

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