Nice post by Tristan over at TNL.net titled Money in the archives which talks about one of the lovely things about Pro blogging – ie its ability to continue to generate income off posts that are quite old (the archives). This is what many refer to as the principle of the Long Tail. The article compares blogging in this regard to offline media where a writer is paid a one off fee (say $1 per word) for their article. In comparison a blog post lives on and has the potential to continue to generate income:
‘Once the entry has advertising on it, any revenue generated from that advertising goes to the blog writer. Initially, it’s not comparable to the thousand dollars the writer got from a mainstream publication but, if the entry has legs (ie, it keeps serving an audience), it continues to generate money, pretty much until one of a few possible things happen:
* The writer decides to remove ads from his/her site
* The writer decides to remove the entry from the site
* The story has run its course and is no longer useful or superceded by a better one
If one writes with such a long run view, a story can generate several times what the initial payback was from a publication.’
I’ve found this principle to be true myself. I now have 11,000+ posts working for me in my archives.
However it’s also worth making a few other points:
- this principle relies pretty heavily on your ability for your posts to rank well in search engines. The problem for most bloggers is that even though they might brilliant articles that they will have difficulty in finding readers for those articles because their blogs struggle to have enough ranking in Google and Yahoo.
- most posts income ability to generate income will diminish over time. This will be due not only to the fact that many are time specific and will date but also because the way search engines rank posts these days is to give priority to fresh content. Over time other competing pages on your competitors (and even your own) post will often rise up and take over your position in SE’s.
I’m not wanting to discredit the TNL article – but it’s worth stating that while the theory is good – that its not always that easy. In my experience – theories of the Longtail work really well for some bloggers who have either profile or SE ranking – such strategies tend to diminish in effectiveness for less highly ranked blogs.
One last tip – you can increase the effectiveness of your archives to make money by being a little smart about highlighting your most effective older posts. I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days quite a bit.
I don’t have time to unpack it right now – but have a read of this post at Webmaster World on Filtering your Traffic for Fun and Profit and you’ll see a little of what I’ve been pondering. It’s about creating (and/or identifying) pages with a higher earning capacity and then funneling your readers in that direction.