Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Wanna Blog for Money… Kind of


I want to start a business blogging.  I don’t want to write the blog.  I just want to piggy back off my buddy who was receiving over 1,000 daily visitors to his L.A. Lakers blog he wrote for fun.  He wasn’t trying to drive traffic to his blog and he sure hadn’t tried to monetize it.  My buddy stopped writing the blog shortly after starting it, but I know that he has the ability to create some powerful content and I thought, hey, why not try to make some money doing that?   So, I started poking around for information about monetizing a blog and found a few key insights worth noting.

 Results of a survey of 1500 bloggers who subscribe to Darren Rowse's problogger

Lots of traffic does not equal money

You must have readership in order to make money blogging and increasing that readership should result in larger revenues– no argument there.  However, “more traffic” is not  a sufficient answer to how you can make money on your blog.  Sonia Simone provides an anecdote of when “Fake Steve Jobs” made little more than one hundred dollars on a day in which his traffic spiked to more than half a million visitors.  Contrast that with Anthony Feint who says he gets a “handy payment” on about 200 visitors a day.  Now, how much a “handy payment” equals is obviously unclear, but even if it were as little as ten bucks a day (and I’m sure it’s a whole lot more), you can see how favorably $10 for 200 visitors would compare to $100 for 500,000 visitors.  This leads to my next point. 

Banner advertising is NOT number one

One reason why Fake Steve Jobs could get half a million visits and potentially make less than Feint’s 200 visitor site is due to click through rate on banner advertisements.  Banner advertising begins to become lucrative as your click through rate increases.  What this means is that you don’t get paid a substantial amount of money until people begin clicking on the advertisements on your blog.  So even if lots of people are visiting your site, unless they are clicking on the advertisements you won’t be seeing much money. Feint wrote an article on how he increased his revenues ten-fold by simplifying his design to have fewer and more targeted advertisements.  Feint also utilizes affiliate programs who pay him for his recommendations.  Additional models include ideas from offering access to premium content for a paid subscription to landing paid speaking gigs as a result of your expertise established by your blog following.  It’s worth keeping in mind that you only see about half the revenue generated from ads when you utilize a provider like Adsense who keeps the other half paid by the client.  Check out David Risley’s Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies, Ranked in Order for some other great ideas for how to monetize your blog (Risley puts Banner Ads at number 8).  

No one-size-fits-all

What works for one guy’s tech review blog might not work as well for another guy’s pet rescue blog.   Your choice of revenue stream should be dependent on the nature of your blog.  Donations may be a great revenue stream to consider for a blog regarding breast cancer awareness in which you clearly state a portion of the donations funds blog operations, whereas an affiliate revenue stream is worth considering if you review books.  Don’t be so much concerned with what the other guy is doing, but what business model makes sense for the content you are providing and the audience you are addressing.

My buddy doesn’t need me

I won’t be going into the blogging business any time soon. I'm not interested in providing content and if my friend wants to make money blogging he doesn't need me to do it.  If you are already blogging there are plenty of options to begin playing around with to monetize your site.  While Adsense may not be the most effective way to make money blogging it is probably the simplest.  You may not be able to quit your day job, but maybe you’ll be able to generate a nice supplemental income.  Just don’t let the quest to monetize your blog cause you to lose sight of why you started blogging in the first place.  

References:
2. Sonia Simone, "Why You Can't Make Money Blogging", viewed 1/26/2013.
3. Anthony Feint, "How I Increased Blog Revenue 10 Fold", viewed 1/26/2013.
4. David Risley, "Top 10 Blog Monetization Strategies, Ranked in Order", viewed 1/26/2013.