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A Message of Hope for Depressed ProBloggers

Judging by my inbox this mornig it seems that my post examining whether contextual advertising is viable on a blog both inspired and depressed a few bloggers that had been thinking about running Adsense and Overture on their blogs.

In short what I was trying to show in the post was that making money from a blog through contextual advertising wasn’t quite as easy as some might think – but that under the right circumstances you could make quite a lot of money using it.

In doing so I posted some tables that outlined a variety of scenarios and how much bloggers could earn.

For example:

- a site with 2,000 daily impressions and a click through rate (CTR) of 1% and 5 cent ads would earn $1 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 2% CTR with 10 cent ads earns $20 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 5% CTR with 50 cent ads earns $250 per day

The variety of combinations are limitless – check out the tables in this post for more on this.

Ok – so it seems that some who emailed me were a little depressed by these figures. At the lower end of the spectrum, say $5 – $20 per day isn’t much is it!? True – its not. But let me share a messages from my experience that might give a little hope.

1. Blogging is a 7 days per week venture – Most traditional jobs are 5 days a week. When I first started blogging for dollars it took a while to get in the habit of not multiplying my daily earnings by 5. $20 per day is $140 per week or $600 in a 30 day month – or $7300 in a year….

2. Time for money – I have one blog that averages $10 per day in income (from a variety of sources) – its not my biggest blog and its not my smallest. A few months ago I was getting a little depressed about the performance of this site. $10 a day isn’t spectacular money at all and I was considering closing it. Even my 7 days a week point above didn’t lift my spirits that much. But then I asked myself – ‘how much time do I spend on this site per week?’ The answer I came to was that all it really took me to keep that little blog running was about 5 minutes per day. I post on average between 5 – 10 post each week on this site, mainly just links to other sites with a few comments and a short quote. $70 per week for 35 minutes work is actually pretty good income in my books – I wasn’t so depressed about my little blog any more.

3. Why stop at just one? – your blog might be only earning $10 – $20 a week (if that) – its not much – but what would happen if you had two blogs earning that much? Most of us would know enough about at least two subjects to keep a second blog running. In fact most people would know enough about three or four subjects.

Another lesson I learned early in my blogging enterprise was that one blog would probably never make me a fortune and that if I wanted to be a full time blogger that I’d probably need to diversify and run a number of them. This began my journey of starting my own little network of blogs and joining with others to work in a collective. At last count I had 14 blogs. Of course some are more successful than others – some might only earn a few dollars per day but the chances are at least one or two of them will be very successful whilst the majority will fall somewhere in between. When added all together however they make a nice little earner.

4. Exponential Growth and Long term strategy – I think too many bloggers wanting to find an income stream for their blogs give up way to early. If you’re not in it for the long haul you’re better to give up now. What I’ve learned is that if you keep blogging on your chosen topic your earnings should (if not WILL) grow. There are a number of reasons for this:

- as you add new posts your blog will grow in size. If you currently have 100 pages to your blog and you add two new posts every day – your blog will be 830 pages in 1 years time.

- as you blog your site should slowly increase its page rank. Search Engines like comprehensive sites, they also like sites that have lots of inward bound links to them. As you blog and interact with other bloggers you’ll find that if you’re providing worthwhile content that others will link up to you. This and your increasing number of pages should increase your page rank and the number of readers coming to your page from Search Engines.

- as you blog you will increase your loyal readers. A certain percentage of those finding you from Search Engines will keep coming back to your site if they find worthwhile content and if you’re smart about getting them involved in what you do. Increase this group of people and you’ll increase overall traffic.

- longevity and credibility increase click value? – This is just an untested theory – but anecdotal evidence suggests to me that as your blog becomes a more credible source of information, programs like Google Adsense may actually increase the value of your ads. As I say this is not officially in any of their explanations of the program, but in talking to other publishers it is something that many of us have noticed.

Ok – so as a result of all of the above reasons – lets hypothetically say that you increase your earnings from contextual advertising by 20% every month (this will vary from blog to blog – I know of bloggers whose monthly income increases by 100%+ each month).

If your blog is currently earning $5 a day and it increases by 20% each month, in a year’s time you’ll be earning $44.58 per day. Add another 12 months and it will exponentially increase and you’ll be on $397.48 per day! You do the calculations for another year at that growth and you’ll see a figure that makes all the hard work worth its while.

Of course its hard work – and 20% growth per month probably isn’t sustainable for 3 years unless you are a workaholic or have a lot of luck – but it is achievable for quite a while. The question is are you willing to take a long term view of your blogging and are you willing to work hard at adding content and promoting your blogs?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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