My blogging income is about as consistent as Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety. Yesterday was awesome. I negotiated two deals, which netted me $1,000. Unfortunately, not every day is like yesterday. In fact, most days I don’t earn money blogging. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
I don’t remember what I made my first year blogging, but I believe it was around $2,000. Last year I took in about $4,500. And this year I anticipate bringing home $6,000-ish. Not bad when you consider my annual blogging expenses hover around $300.
Here are the primary ways us bloggers earn money blogging…
By far the most popular way to earn money blogging is Google Adsense. I ran Adsense ads for two years, but recently removed them (did you notice?). I was only earning about $50/month from the ads and to me the ugliness of the ads, coupled with the less then stellar return they provided, wasn’t worth it. The only people that should use Adsense (in my opinion) are people that can earn hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month from them. For us smaller bloggers, we’d be FAAAAR better off selling private advertisements in the areas our Adsense ads reside. Don’t sell yourself short and give your ad space away.
Private ad sales
Each week I receive two or three requests from people wanting to advertise on my blog. About 80% of these requests are ignored because the compensation offered is too low (something like $10/month for some spammy looking link). But every once in a while a legitimate advertiser reaches out and we strike a deal. My rates often fluctuate, but I sell simple text links for around $50/month and banner/widget space for around $125/month (prices are obviously dependent on a wide variety of factors like size, location, # of links, etc). I have no idea if I’m overcharging or undercharging these advertisers since so few bloggers actually discuss their rates publicly. Yeah, I’m calling you other bloggers out.
The idea is simple. An advertiser will pay you $100 (or more) to post some super lame article they’ve written about credit card debt, solar panels, or some other thing you care nothing about. I’ve never accepted one of these offers. To me, a hundred dollars is not worth boring the crap out of my readers. You guys come here to read MY articles, not posts someone else wrote and paid me to publish.
This is my favorite way to earn money blogging. The content of the article itself is not at all influenced by the advertiser. Instead, I simply put a little comment at the end of one of my articles that says something like “Today’s post was sponsored by XYZ company.” I can earn anywhere from $50-$200 for allowing a sponsored post.
I don’t do this, so I can’t really talk much about it. Basically you sign up with an affiliate network, they put ads on your site. If someone clicks on an ad and buys (or signs up for) whatever the advertiser is selling then I get a commission. I have no idea how profitable affiliate networking is for a blog my size. I’m flirting with the idea of testing one out. I’ll keep you posted.
If I had to grade my blog monetization efforts, I’d give myself an “F”. I’ve never actively sought out advertisement deals. Every dollar I’ve made is because someone (or some company) approached me first. While it’s cool that I can make nearly $6,000 a year without any marketing efforts, it does make me wonder how much money I’m passing up by not being more aggressive. Could I be making $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000 per year?
It’s definitely possible, but at this point I don’t have the desire to find out. I’m pretty sure that makes me a horrible business man, but oh well, Ninja’s aren’t obligated to follow typical business guidelines. As proven by this random dog/baby picture I’m going to include for no other reason besides the fact that I can…
If you blog, how invested are you in the monetization aspect of it? What means do you take to make new deals? Am I the only one that thinks Adsense is kind of a rip off (meaning low returns for the size and location of the ads)?
If you don’t blog, was this article completely boring to you? I’ve wanted to write about blog income stuff a handful of times, but didn’t want to alienate my non-blogging buddies.
p.s. If you’d like to buy my blog I’ll gladly sell it to you for $50,000… or a 24 pack of Dr. Pepper