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How Much Is a Blog Post Worth? A Formula?

Interesting post over at Steve Pavlina’s which takes up the question that I wrote about last week – How Much Is a Blog Post Worth?

In the post Steve decides that posts on his blog are worth $2400 calculated over a 10 year life span.

He calculates this by taking the total earnings of his site and dividing it by the post numbers and then multiplying it by the lifespan of the post.

It’s actually an interesting formula and one that I used on my own blogs for the first year or so.

The only problem is that after 18-24 months of my own blogging the increase in my own earnings began to slow each month and the post numbers continued to rise at a similar rate.

I’m about to run out the door for the morning but I’ll make a few further brief comments on it (note – Steve and I agree on these things and he says them in his post – but I’ve come across people who take this type of formula to heart for every blog and then a year later ask why it doesn’t work):

  • Not all posts have the same earning potential – as I look at the posts on my sites that get the most visits and the ones that have the most clicks on ads from them I see that there are some posts in my archives that do considerably better than others.
  • Some blogs are more time specific than others - this formula will work better for Steve than others because his topic is more timeless than others. Writing on personal development is a topic that won’t date as fast as writing on a topic like mp3 players (where models become obsolete in 6 months). I find that on many of my more time specific blogs that the traffic drops to very little (if anything) on older posts within 12 months and not 10 years.
  • Remember Non Post Pages – one of the reasons I dropped this type of valuation of posts was because I had the realization that on some of my blogs the most valuable pages were the front page and category pages.
  • Traffic changes everything – I can just see some people reading Steves post and saying that every blog post is worth $2400 (in fact I’ve seen one blogger write this already). The fact is that on Steve’s blog it might be but it won’t be the case on every blog. There are many factors as to why this is (see below) but one of them is traffic. Steve’s blog is very well trafficked and he’s therefore able to earn quite a bit per post. Other sites will be able to earn even more per post (due in part to higher traffic) but the majority bloggers don’t have his type of stats and will struggle to make $10 per post over their lifetime simply because they can’t attract readers.
  • Other Factors to Consider – other reasons why different blogs will earn different amounts will include the topic (some topics are more commercially viable than others), the advertising types used (some blogs convert well with affiliate programs, others with CPC, others with CPM), the type of readers (loyal readers who come back daily tend to be harder to convert in some forms of advertising (CPC especially) than search engine referrals etc.

I think Steve’s formula is one useful way to help determine how much you should pay (or charge for) blog posts but I’d also advise a little caution on applying it quickly across all blogs.

What I do like about Steve’s valuation is that it highlights the long term earning potential of a blog post. What you write today has the potential to bring revenue for the rest of it’s online life. It may diminish to some extent over time but it’s one of the things I am most excited about when it comes to making money via 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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Comments

  1. Tony says:

    Hi Darren,

    I agree — the most useful thing about the evaluation is really to twig everyone that their posts have real worth.

    The dollar value is an average to be sure — but just like the old saw about copywriting (that every single letter, every single word makes money, albeit on average a small amount), when we find value (even if its incremental) in what we do, we’re spurred on to do even more of that thing.

    Which, after all, is nothing but a good thing, particularly if you’ve started wondering if what you’re doing is worth anything.

    Cheers
    t @ dji

  2. Interesting concept..Perhaps thos math majors can fine tune this a little and come up with a neat little formula

  3. Michael says:

    Darren,

    I think that all posts have value, regardless of wether we are writing for the ultimate goal of making money or not. If we provide information that is of value to our readers, then it is worth something to them.

    I do have a question that sort of fits in with this post (I couldn’t find a “contact” info on the site here). If we’re talking about the value of a post, then what is a post worth on a “product only” blog with 3-5 posts specifically designed to promote a product and do nothing else?

    What I’m talking about here is a concept like ‘blogging to the bank’ by Rob Benwell. I don’t know if you have ever reviewed anything like that, but I question the long-term viability of his strategy. It appears that this may be working for him in the short-term, but what will the long-term result be? Help me out with this and give me some of your thoughts Darren (or anyone else for that matter).

    Thanks.

  4. Andy Beard says:

    Some additional points

    1. many blogs are very “seasonal”
    2. if you write about something ahead of the curve, historical posts could potentially gain in earnings at a later date.
    3. Inversely if you are writing about a subject that has already peaked, you are not going to get any linkbaiting effect.

    Thus if you have a high traffic authority blog, and are good at link baiting, every post you make can easily become an authority page on the subject you are referring to, vastly increasing its longevity.

  5. I think it’s a good formula. Especially the life-span of the post. I really think a lot of people don’t understand that this information will be ‘floating’ around the internet for years…

    - Bryan
    http://www.BryanCFleming.com

  6. Tim says:

    interesting formula. won’t the value of blog posts will probably increase in the future?

  7. Psycho Dude says:

    It’s an interesting formula, but the question is whether you can truly use it like that to calculate ahead. What the user wants to read online is just as seasonal as most of the blogs. This could result in entries of interest suddenly fading away completely as well, never reaching the 10 years of popularity.

    Asides from that fact remains fact, most people have not near to enough visitors to even get close to making a suitable amount of money from their blog, so how nice the formula would be; it wouldn’t offer them any good news.

  8. Darren says:

    You should be careful in making these kinds of calculations. You tend to get what you measure.

    If you decide that, for your particular blog, each post is worth $100, you’ll start to look at things in terms of the number of blog posts they cost. “Hmm, nice car – and cheap at just 200 posts!”

    You’ll be subconsciously encouraging yourself to write more posts. That might not sound like a bad thing, but you’re now starting to put value on quantity only, with little regard for quality. You’ll measure your progress and success by how many blog posts you can crank out in a week. Rather than writing a single great post, you’ll write 10 pretty rough ones and feel like you’ve achieved so much more. That’s a sure way to lose readers.

    Remember all those ‘long tail’ articles you’ve read over the past year – most of your traffic and income is probably coming from just a handful of posts, with the vast majority of posts generating little or nothing. Averaging earnings across this kind of distribution is misleading.

    I think you’re better off looking at your top 10 posts, say, and working out what they’re worth.

    If your average post is ‘worth’ $100, your highest-earning posts might be worth more like $1000 or even $2000 or more. Analyse what these posts are about, how well they’re written, and why they attract so much traffic and generate so much income. They’re likely to be offering interesting, unique and useful information about a popular topic, giving people good reason to link to and visit them. Try to repeat what you’ve learned, and maybe even outdo them. At the very least write follow-up articles to expand the topic and refresh the interest.

    Also look at your bottom 10 posts in terms of earnings. These ones are likely to be merely links to other sites, with little originality or usefulness. Try to do less of those ones.

    Hope this helps.

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