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Monday, February 23, 2009

Make Money from Blogs

How I Make Money from Blogs



It’s been a fair while since I talked specifically about my blogging earnings. I decided a year or so ago that I wasn’t going to put specific dollar figures to my income any more in public - however as I get a lot of questions from readers asking for updates I thought I’d share where my blogging income has been coming from lately. All I will say in terms of dollar figures is that I am still well and truly earning over six figures per year from the following income streams. The following is a ranking of my top 9 income streams for the fourth Quarter of 2006.

It is a summary of the income from my own personal blogs - ie income from b5media (where I am an employee as well as a shareholder) is not included - either is income from Six Figure Blogging (which continues to sell at a reasonable rate) or any speaking or consulting work that I do (very little these days anyway). I’ve also included a little information on how I use each of these income streams and which products that they offer work best for me which I hope is helpful for others looking to monetize their blogs or websites. Note - Some of the following links are affiliate links.

1.Chitika

While they don’t work on every blog (for example I don’t use them here at ProBlogger) and there is a traffic minimum to be accepted by them Chitika continue to be my highest earner. They offer a variety of ad units and income streams - the top three for me are eMiniMalls, Related Product Units and Shoplincs. They continue to work best on product related sites. Place RPU units at the end of posts (they give a good option for people to click on when they finish reading and experiment with linking directly to products in your shoplinc from product reviews (of the same products) on your blogs. I’ve written plenty of Chitika Optimization tips.

2. AdSense

When I survey bloggers about the methods that they use to make money from their blogs Google’s AdSense is always the number one response. It is a quick and easy way for bloggers of all sizes to display ads that are relevant to their content. AdSense is a ‘contextual’ advertising program where publishers simply add a piece of code to their blogs that helps Google analyze what your page is about so they can serve ads on that topic. This increases the chances of your readers clicking the ad which increases the chances that you’ll earn something from them. AdSense also provide a variety of other income streams to bloggers including a site search tool (you make money by people searching your site) and referral tools (where you can make money by recommending Google products). AdSense is how I earn around 35% of my income as a full time blogger and I would thoroughly recommend it as a way of monetizing a blog - especially for those just starting out. The most popular form of advertising on blogs is AdSense (according to a few studies that I’ve seen) and for me it’s a reliable earner that brings in a significant level of income (just under what Chitika pulls in each month). While I use referrals and their search product on some of my sites I find that normal ad units are producing the best income for me - particularly rectangle (250 x 300 pixels) ones placed close to content with a blended design. For tips on optimizing AdSense on your blog.

3. Text Link Ads

Perhaps the biggest mover for me over the last 12 months in terms of my earnings has come from TLA. While they have a ceiling in what they earn per site they are another good solid earner for me - particularly now that they’ve added feedvertising (RSS ads) which out performs any other type of RSS ad that I’ve tried. I’m hearing from many bloggers that TLA is their biggest earner now. It works best on sites that have been around for a while - you don’t need big traffic to be accepted - but having a page rank and some search engine presence helps.

4. Amazon Associates

The forth Quarter of each year tends to be a good one for me when it comes to commissions from Amazon. The last quarter is a time that people are in a buying mood in the lead up to Christmas - smart placement (deep linking inside posts) can bring great conversions. The key is picking relevant products to promote. Read more tips on affiliate programs for blogs for a few other tips on optimizing Amazon.

5. Private Ad Deals

I don’t do a lot of private ad deals (it’s something I should focus upon more but there are only so many hours in the day) but when they come in they can be significant (if you have decent traffic). I’ve just signed two deals on my digital photography blog with Apple and Adobe for the next couple of months so I suspect this one will leap up next quarter.

6. Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs

My blogs have a variety of smaller affiliate programs running from them. I try to find quality products that relate to my topics that I can genuinely recommend - often via reviews. Some of the better converting products that I’ve recommended this last quarter included - Digital Photography Secrets (a camera technique series), Pro Photo Secrets (a photoshop product) and SEO Book (Aaron’s legendary resource).

7. ProBlogger Job Boards

Not spectacular earnings but growing. I see this more as a service to readers than an income stream at this point - however it does pay for itself and bring in a few hundred dollars each month.

8.Performancing’s Partners Network

The now defunct ad network did bring in a few hundred dollars last quarter. I was sad to see this close as it offered an interesting alternative.

9. BlogAds

I don’t use them much these days but they do bring in a little each month. I noticed BlogAds decrease in performance for me around the time they went to the new version. I’m not sure if it’s my problem or theirs but apart from one blog I rarely see any sales these days. How Much Do I Spend?

A question that I’m regularly asked when I do such posts is ‘how much do you spend’ to earn what you earn? The answer is ‘very little’.

I do experiment occasionally with using AdWords to promote my blogs - but don’t have the time or patience to get into it heavily (the biggest month I’ve had with AdWords ever is $100 - just over $3 a day). Other than that I don’t do any paid promotional activities and my costs are really just hosting related and the normal ISP and office costs.

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