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How Much Money Do Bloggers Earn Blogging?

Earlier in the month I asked readers to share their blog earnings for the month of October. As usual this poll was a popular one with 3054 responses. I’ve run this survey previously so will compare the results between this and last time I ran it below.

Of this number 857 said that they did not earn any money blogging (28%). This is either because they don’t try to – or they try but fail (next time I’ll ask for clarification around this).

Of those that do earn some money blogging the breakdown of earnings into different earning ranges was as follows:

Blog-Earnings-2

For those of you interested in the percentages – here’s a pie chart.

Blog-Earnings

Keep in mind that these figures are just for those who earn something from blogging (and don’t include the 28% who don’t).

49% earned under $100
23% earned over $1000
16% earned over $2500
9% earned over $15000

Comparison to last time

So how do these recent results compare with previous times that we’ve carried out this same survey of readers?

In mid 2006 I asked exactly the same question with the same earning ranges and I think you’ll see below that the percentages are remarkably similar:

200605291457

One last note. When I’ve asked readers to respond to how much they earn from different ad networks (AdSense and Chitika) the shape of the graphs has always been the same. While the percentages vary slightly the results are always quite similar.

So – what can we conclude?

For me the most striking ‘lesson’ from these surveys is that while there is significant hype around the idea of bloggers making money – that the vast majority earn very little (or nothing). A quarter of those who earn something make less than 0.33 cents per day. If that’s not a reality check then I don’t know what is.

On the flip side – a smaller group of bloggers are making good to great amounts of money. While I’m sure there are some votes that are put in the highest category falsely – I do believe that there are an increasing number of bloggers who making significant part time income through to full time income from their blogs. That top category is significant and seem to be growing.

How I Make Money Blogging

How I Make Money BloggingBelow you’ll find my latest update on how I make money blogging (this is something I post about every few months – although it’s been a over six months since I last did it ).

Also note – I go into a lot of detail on how I make money blogging in ProBlogger the Book.

How Much Money Do I Make from Blogging?

I get asked how much money my blogging makes me on a regular basis. These days I don’t go into specifics about it – all I will say is that it continues to be well over six figures per year (but less than seven figures). What you’ll find below are my top income streams – ranked from highest earnings to lowest.

Keep in mind that this is a summary of all of my blogs (not just ProBlogger). It does not include any income that I earn from b5media where I’m paid a salary as VP Training.

I hope you find it useful to see the mix and variety of ways that I earn a living from blogging.

1. AdSense

AdsenseDespite not using it here at ProBlogger any more I continue to use AdSense with real effect on my other blogs. While I do use AdSense Referrals and their search feature it is their normal ads that work best for me. I have them all set to show image and text based ads and find that 250×300 pixel ads work best (usually with a blended design).

2. Chitika

ChitikaLast time I did this sort of summary Chitika ranked #1. This time around it has been overtaken by AdSense – not because Chitika slipped in how much it earned but because AdSense went up and because I also replaced a few Chitika ad units with WidgetBucks ones. Chitika offers a range of ad units that I experiment with. I find their eMiniMalls work best and that Related Product Units are also good. Their Shoplincs product isn’t performing as well as it once did for me – mainly because I’ve been promoting it less and have driven less traffic to it. Over the time I’ve been using Chitika they’ve now earned me over a quarter of a million dollars!

3. Amazon Associates

Amazon-Logo-1
This has been one of my big movers in the last 12 months. I used to make a few odd dollars from it – however in recent times it has become a significant earner for me (as I’ve shared previously). This quarter it overtook TLA as my third biggest earner – largely on the back of me directing traffic to Amazon from my product related sites – mainly digital cameras. While the commission on cameras is only 4% this adds up when those that you refer buy higher ticket items.

4. Private Ad Sales/Sponsorships

private-ad-salesThis includes ad sales of the 125 x 125 ads here at ProBlogger as well as a couple of private ad deals that I did with sponsors on my camera blog (including sponsorships with Canon, Kodak and Adobe). This area has jumped up since last time also as a result of the new design here at ProBlogger and our expanded sales team at b5 who now sell ProBlogger’s ads for me.

5. Text Link Ads

TlaThe income from TLA has dipped slightly over the last few months simply because I took the decision to stop selling them here at ProBlogger and most of my other blogs. This was because I wanted to focus more upon selling the 125 pixel ads instead and felt that the ads I was attracting were not as relevant to this site as they could have been. As it turns out this might have been a good move because it seems Google has been penalizing blogs that run them lately.

6. ProBlogger Job Boards

Jobboardheader The job boards here at ProBlogger continue to grow each month in the number of advertisements that are being bought. This enabled me to invest most of the money that they’d earned a while back into getting a new back end for the boards and to redesign them. It hit me today that the boards are now bringing in around $1000 a month in revenue which is pretty nice considering that they are now so low maintenance to run! I’ve just given a development team a new brief to expand the job boards in the coming month so stay tuned for some new features coming soon which could see this revenue increase and more importantly for it to become an even more useful resource to readers.

7. Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs

miscellaneous affiliate programsI run a variety of affiliate programs on my blogs – most of which bring in smaller amounts of money that don’t really justify a category of their own. These include – - Digital Photography Secrets (a camera technique series), Pro Photo Secrets (a great photoshop product) , Yaro’s Blog Mastermind Mentoring Program, SEO Book (Aaron’s legendary resource). This area is set to continue to grow in the current quarter with me having had reasonable conversions from the promotion of the excellent Teaching Sells course.

8. Miscellaneous Advertising Programs

miscellaneous ad networksI also play with a number of other ad networks. Some I run as tests to see if I should review them here – and some are just advertising that run in the background on some of my smaller blogs. These include AuctionAds, Feedburner RSS ads, Vizu (a poll advertising system), Kontera and Bidvertiser. Together these don’t add up to major earnings for me – not because they are not good, but because I don’t use them heavily (a blog can only run so many ads on it).

I think that that covers most of it. Since last quarter I’ve also been experimenting with WidgetBucks as well as one other ad system that is still in a closed beta test. I’m certain that WidgetBucks will feature in next quarter’s list because I am getting good returns on that so far. In fact at it’s current earnings it’ll debut at at least number 4 on the list and perhaps even at number 3.

How Much do I Spend?

As mentioned last time – I don’t spend a lot of money in order to bring in my income. I do have some basic blogging costs (hosting etc) and play around with a limited amount of advertising (AdWords and StumbleUpon) but rely more heavily upon word of mouth and organic ways of drawing income into my blogs. I also have some costs in paying writers on a couple of blogs – but these don’t make up a massive part of the overall earnings each quarter.

Want to Learn More about How to Make Money Blogging?

Check out these resources that have been written specifically for bloggers wanting to make money blogging.

How to Make Money Blogging – What We Wish We Knew

This post on how to make money blogging is part of the ‘What I wish I knew when I first started Blogging’ Series. In this post I’ll share readers comments on the topic of making money from blogs as well as some of my own experiences and advice.

When I asked readers for their regrets when it comes to making money there was a variety of responses – from bloggers wishing that they’d started experimenting with ads and affiliate programs earlier to others wishing that they’d never started monetizing blogs at all because it was a distraction from what they actually liked doing – writing about their topic of interest.

My Own Experience with Making Money from Blogging

I sometimes look back on my blogging with a twinge of regret that I didn’t get into blogging earlier and establish myself in my niches before ‘competitors’ did. I dabbled in making websites about 10 years ago (5 years before I started my first blog) and blogged for a full year on a personal blog before even considering that I could make money from blogging or starting blogs on any focused topic.

If only someone had told me what I now know – getting a foot in the door in my niches back then could have had some amazing payoffs.

Having said that – part of me is very glad that I didn’t ‘Go Pro’ or start commercializing my blogging too early. That first 12-18 months of blogging on a personal blog was very formative. I learned so much about communicating online, building community, writing and the way that blogs operate – to the point that when I began to blog on a commercial level I had a lot of skills that helped me grow those new blogs faster.

The other great thing about that first year or so was that it gave me a love for blogging. I blogged because I enjoyed it and not with dollars in my eyes. As a result I wrote about things that interested me and not what would make money.

In a sense, that first blogging experience was an apprenticeship or training ground for what came later.

I see a lot of bloggers rushing into commercial type blogs that I think could learn a thing or two from starting a personal blog for a few months (or longer). These blogs quite often are on topics that they think will make money (rather than things they know about and love), they quite often have ads slapped all over them (instead of presenting their content as the prime thing on the blog) and they quite often have content that is regurgitated from elsewhere, uninspiring and uninteresting.

These blogs rarely survive longer than a few months because the blogger gets frustrated by the lack of initial earnings (remember it takes a year or so for a blog to ‘hit its straps’) and has no real interest in the topic to keep them blogging.

Should a blog Be Monetized from Day 1?

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Brainstorming an Out-of-the-Box Approach to Blog Monetization

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Last March I attended Elite Retreat – a rather exclusive conference with a small number of participants and 7 big name presenters who taught us much of what they know (including Darren himself!). One of the biggest eye openers I had at the conference was that I had been a bit too hyper-focused on sticky blog content creation. I know – it sounds counter-intuitive! But when you create really good content, your blog readers don’t want to click ads. They stick around to read your stuff and then usually leave the site via a link to other great content.

So it was one of those “DUH” moments when I realized that I had better re-think my monetization strategy on my non-product blog.

A New Advertising Strategy

For blogs that are focused on creating compelling content, AdSense and other CPC (Cost Per Click) ads aren’t the way to go. My blog was building my brand, so it made sense that I shift to an advertising strategy that would build the brands of advertisers as well. This meant a shift into selling advertising directly and charging on a CPM (Cost Per Impression) basis. That way the site would make money based on page views rather than clicks.

Since I started selling advertising on my site (with Darren’s and Yaro’s help), revenue has increased substantially and next month I expect to make over $1000 just from CPM based ads. Because of this I have been able to spend more time writing and driving traffic instead of optimizing ad placements.
[Read more...]

How to Make Money

“How do I make money your way Darren?”

This was a question I was asked today by a seminar that I was attending recently so I thought I’d put together a little list of links that might be useful in answering the ‘how to make money from blogging’ question that I get asked more and more.

By no means is this all that I’ve written about the topic of making money – but I thought it might be useful for this particular person.

Gawker Introduces Job Boards

Another blog to go the job board route is the Gawker blog Lifehacker who today announced theirs. It runs in conjunction with Gizmodo’s (also announced this week).

Quite a few bloggers have gone this route and looking at the number of jobs being advertised on them it seems that they’ve had some success (see TechCrunch, GigaOm’s, ReadWriteWeb’s etc).

Job boards on blogs won’t work for everyone but they can be both a good income earner and something that adds value in it’s own right to a blog.

They seem to work best on sites with a technology edge at present but I could see other sites with jobs that relate to their topic being possibilities also.

Traffic is a key however both in attracting advertisers as well as attracting readers to apply for jobs.

My own experience with ProBlogger’s job boards has been worthwhile. It continues to tick over with new jobs for bloggers. We don’t do quite the quantities of jobs that other boards are doing but focus in on a narrower niche and have still managed 9 new jobs across a number of topics in the last week.

Blogging for Money By Self Publishing a Book

Thumbnail-CoverMarti Lawrence from Enter the Laughter has emailed me to tell me of a new money making venture he’s been experimenting with – self publishing a book.

The book – Queen Klutz – is a collection of humorous and inspirational stories which fits pretty well with Marti’s blog.

She’s chosen to publish it through Lulu where it’s available either for download or print.

I’ll be interested to follow how sales go as its a good example of someone attempting to find indirect ways of making money from blogging.

I think the key for success with the blog/book approach is to build a readership on your blog first and then to do some clever cross promotion. I’ve seen a few people attempt to launch books and blogs at the same time and I’m not sure that it’s worked too well.

Scoopt Words – Interview with Graham Holliday

Scoopt Words Logo-1
A few weeks ago I started getting emails from readers telling me about a new way of making money from blogs that they’d come across by the name of Scoopt Words.

I’ll be honest and say that the emails came at a busy time for me and I didn’t give it enough attention and follow up what it was all about but the emails have persisted (to a point where I get one a day now) and I thought I should take a little more of a look at it.

Scoopt Words is a service that takes a middle man approach between bloggers and editors of publications and which will negotiate the sale of your blogging content for you. The concept is pretty simple really and on many levels makes a lot of sense to me – so I decided to approach them for an interview which they were kind enough to grant me.

What follows is an interview with the head of Scoopt Words, Graham Holliday. Graham has been gracious enough to not only answer my questions but is willing to take some of yours also over the next day or two. If you have any – simply ask them in the comments section below and he’ll stop by and answer as many as he can.

Thanks for your time Graham – Can you tell us a little about Scoopt and what you’ve been doing since you started?
Scoopt launched in July 2005 and was the first citizen journalism photo agency. It has since sold photos to newspapers and magazines all over the world. ScooptWords is in beta, as they say, and launched around 2 weeks ago.

What is Scoopt Words and why did you start it?
At the moment, ScooptWords is simply a payment mechanism for bloggers who want to sell content and editors who want to buy it. We will soon aggregate the best blogs and blog content available under our commercial license. We will then push this content, and the bloggers, to editors who are interested in buying.

We started ScooptWords for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s a lot of good blog content out there and some of it could walk into magazines, trade publications and newspapers. Secondly, there’s no obvious route to market for the blogger beyond an approach from an editor. Thirdly, your average blogger may not always understand copyright, contracts and what words are worth in cash in different publications.

From my own experience of blogging at www.noodlepie.com I have seen my work stolen, copied and plagiarised on a number of occasions for no payment. I know I’m not alone. However, I have also been commissioned by several editors to write pieces specifically because of my blog, further strengthening our belief that there is a market for quality, commercially licensed blog content.

Lastly, we also believe that all journalists will become bloggers before too long and some bloggers will become journalists. Some will also need a route to market and a trustworthy payment mechanism. We hope they’ll chose ScooptWords.

Why should a blogger let Scoopt sell their content?
Because we’re completely transparent and because, with Scoopt and now ScooptWords, we’re working hard to revolutionise and democratise the media. And because we’re a proper media organisation run by journalists and editors, not just a dotcom dabbling with user-generated content.

What type of publications have been buying this content?

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Making Money Blogging Without an Ad in Sight

Money-Blogging-3One of the distinctions that I’ve made previously about blogging for money is that there are Direct Methods and Indirect Methods for doing so. Direct methods are where blogger makes money FROM their blog and Indirect methods are where a blogger makes money BECAUSE of their blog.

ProBlogger.net tends to focus more upon direct methods but I’m increasingly finding examples of bloggers who are using indirect methods.

Probably one of the most prominent examples of a blogger making money because of his blog (among other things) is Seth Godin.

The most recent indirect money maker for Seth is a couple of seminars that he’s running in June. The first seminar is a 12 seat seminar (very exclusive) which costs $3995 (USD) per person. The second seminar is a 60 seat seminar at $950 per person (discounts for multiple attendees from the one company).

Now Seth’s ability to hold seminars that attract people willing to pay that much for his time doesn’t only come from writing his blog (he’s written numerous books – many of which he gives away free online – and regularly speaks at conferences etc) but his blog is part of his approach to raising his own profile which results in many income earning possibilities.

The only ‘ads’ on Seth’s blog are for himself and the products that he sells. No AdSense, no affiliate programs, no banner ads – just Seth.

Seth embodies the ‘give it away‘ strategy that many bloggers making money indirectly from blogs use. In giving useful, unique and free content to his readers in his books, e-books and blog and by encouraging his readers to pass it on he continues to expose his ideas and personality to more and more people. Along the way the income generating opportunities arise and he’s able to sustain himself for the next round.