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Should I Blog for Money?


I speak with bloggers every day who have heard the stories of blogs that make big dollars and who want to try to make an income from blogging also. One of the pieces of advice that I attempt to convey (and I’m afraid it doesn’t always get through) is that it’s worth pausing, before running out to slap ads on your blog, to ask yourself whether making money from your blog is right for you.

While this might seem to be a silly question to some (what’s wrong with earning money?) I think it’s worth at least asking the question.

Not every blog is suited to blogging for money.

Does it Fit with Your Blog’s Goals and Objectives – For me a lot of the advice that I’ve given in this series of blogging for beginners comes down to working out some goals, strategy and vision for your blog (I’ve written extensively on strategic blogging here so won’t unpack this now). There are many reasons why people blog and the motivation of money is just one of them. Here’s some of the responses I had when I asked why people blog:

  • ‘I blog for recreational purposes – to help me relax’
  • ‘I blog as part of my plan for world domination’
  • ‘I blog to help me promote my book/business’
  • ‘I blog to keep a record of the life and times of me’
  • ‘I blog because I want to help others’
  • ‘I blog to because I’m lonely and want to connect with others’
  • ‘I blog to pick up cute girls/guys’
  • ‘I blog because it’s fun’
  • ‘I blog because I want to build profile – I want to be known’
  • ‘I blog to make a living’

Now there is nothing wrong with blogging for more than one reason – but bloggers considering adding income streams to their blogs need to consider the possibility that there are implications of going in that direction that MIGHT impact their other goals.

Let me share some scenarios of real cases that I’ve come across (no names given) where putting ads on a blog wasn’t a good idea. If I were a betting man I’d say that they represent the story of many bloggers and that others could add more scenarios:

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Introduction to Making Money from Blogs


Blogging has undergone something of a revolution in the last 2 years on many fronts. The number of people blogging has exploded, the number of tools and services available for bloggers has risen (and their quality has been raised incredibly) and the profile of blogging in wider culture has increased also (I find I only have to explain what a blog is to 50% of people these days).

Along with these developments has been an increase in focus upon making money from blogging. This is a trend that is happening across all levels of blogging, from very prominent blogs (I found that 100% of the top 30 blogs had some sort of income stream from their blogging) right through to many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of smaller blogs.

I’m now going to turn the attention of this series onto making an income from blogging. The following posts will begin to introduce bloggers to making money from blogging and will examine the following questions:

  • Should I Blog for Money?
  • What Income Streams are available to be used by Bloggers?
  • How Much Can I Make?
  • How can I maximize the success of these income streams?

I’ll tackle each of these questions in turn over the coming days. In continuing the ‘beginner’ focus of the series these posts will be very introductory. For more extended learning on making money from blogs I’d recommend digging into this blog’s archives and/or checking out a Six Figure Blogging, a six session course on the topic.

It should be stressed at the beginning of this mini-series of posts that bloggers need to enter into an examination of this topic with realistic expectations. While millions of bloggers are experimenting with advertising and affiliate programs on their blogs, the vast majority of them are only supplementing their income by doing so. While some bloggers make a full time living from blogging – most are not and are at a level of paying for a daily (or a weekly for some) coffee or are using the income as a way to offset some of their Internet access costs. For more on getting a balanced view of blogging for money head over to my Public Service Announcement post which attempts to give some perspective.

PR Blogger Builds Profile and Lands Job

Popular PR Blogger, Steve Rubel, has just announced that he’s moving from CooperKatz to new employer at Edelman. While I’m sure there’s more to it than just his blog (a lot more), it’s been fascinating to see how Steve has used Micro Persuasion over the last 20 months since it’s beginnings to raise the profile not only of his company but also himself. In doing so he’s marketed himself as an expert in his field brilliantly and it’s no wonder that he’s in demand. Yet another way of making a living from blogging (more indirectly than running ads – but still well worth exploring). Congratulations Steve.

What’s a Blog Post Worth?

Wired News has a mini interview with Harold Davis from Googleplex (which doesn’t seem to have any content on it today for some reason) which has some good basic information on making a living from blogging.

Interestingly he puts a dollar value on a per page basis(over a year) to blogging:

‘As for money, people who are really in the business of making a living off content pages say they average about $10 a page per year. That would be a pretty good average. Usually, it’s not enough to make a living on, but it’s a good supplement.’

I’d actually not considered measuring income in terms of a per page basis. I’m not sure it’s a terribly good measure because it would vary so much depending upon the level of traffic that you get to your page per year and the topic of the page (and the resulting click value in AdSense) but it’s an interesting one to calculate.

Here at ProBlogger I’d say that my figures are well and truly under the $10 per year per post figure (they are probably a third of it) but on some of my other blogs they are much higher. In fact overall my blogs I’d say it’d be a conservative estimate.

Buyings and Selling Blogs

There is a couple of worthwhile podcasts over at SavvysoloCast which are a conversation between Yaro Starak and Michael Pollock talking through the topic of Buying and Selling Blogs. The conversation is based upon the sale of Small Business Branding (bought by Yaro from Michael) where both guys talk through some of the considerations they made on their side of the transaction (including the price paid – towards the end of Part 2). Listen to the conversation in two parts – Part 1 and Part 2.

2006 Trend Predictions in Social Commerce

Interesting post over at Micro Persuasion on the topic of 2006 Trends to Watch Part II: Social Commerce where he makes the following prediction:

‘Watch for sites like Amazon, Froogle and Yahoo to develop turnkey stores that can be integrated into blogs. This will take affiliate programs to the next level. It’s also possible that some electronic commerce sites will partner with the major blogging platforms to make co-branded social commerce even easier.’

Wise insights there from Steve. I think many commercial blogs have vast untapped earning potential without avenues to sell products in partnerships with online retailers. I know this is one of the things I’ll be investigating further in 2006. In fact I’ve already had one online retailer make contact to talk potential collaboration.

As Steve says this will take affiliate earnings to a whole new level.

TypePad Pro Turning In To ‘Real Pros’

It just came to my attention that bloggers with TypePad Pro accounts can now earn money from their blogs via an integrated service from Kanoodle, a contextual advertising company. They have one tiny catch, though: Earnings for the first 90 days can only go towards future TypePad subscription payments. It’s only after 90 days that bloggers can obtain or spend their money via PayPal.

Anyway, apparently, this is just the beginning. Six Apart is planning to integrate other ways to help TypePad bloggers to turn pro, including adding Tip Jars.

I blogged about this at Weblogs.About.com, but I thought I’d share it here as well seeing as this is all about pro-blogging.

Now, I’m just wondering if anyone here has a TypePad Pro account who can talk more about this? Yes, even though I have a batallion of blog accounts, I’m not subscribed to TypePad.

I wonder how many other blog services will follow this practice?

Marketers are turning to blogs for online ad spending

Research out of Forrester is showing a growing interest to place advertisements on blogs and/or in RSS feeds. This should be no surprise, given the mainstream business coverage of blogs that has issued recently.

Of those surveyed by Forrester, 64% would be interested in advertising on blogs, while 57% would be interested in advertising through RSS. Both these figures represent more interest than advertising on mobile devices – this just shows which way the industry is set to grow.

Forrester estimates that total online advertising and marketing dollars will reach $14.7 billion for the 2005 year – that’s 23% more than in 2004. Banners/sponsorships will grow 11% per year to $8 billion by 2010. We’ll also see a large increase in spending for search engine marketing over the next few years, up to $11.6 billion by 2010. Online marketing spending is the only area of growth in advertising spending as a whole – so interest is definitely present.
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Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast: No. 1 On becoming a professional blogger

podcastWelcome to the first Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast with me, Tris Hussey, and Arieanna Foley. This is the recording I mentioned on Friday. The delay was worth the wait because we got permission to use some music from The Kitchen for the intro and outro music for the podcast. We’re using “Flow” which is available for download on the website.
 
Canadapodcasts.ca
The topic for our discussion is how Arieanna and I became professional bloggers and a little about professional blogging itself. Imagine us sitting across a kitchen table sipping coffee or bourbon (Arieanna) or Scotch (me) chatting. In reality we’re over 50 miles apart, separated by the Straight of Georgia. Look for more of these really soon. Arieanna’s been bitten by the podcasting bug now too.
 
The Show: Podcast linkcpbp_no1_going_pro.mp3 –3.73 megs 16 mins, 18 seconds
 
Show notes:
Intro and outro music – Josh Hundert and The Kitchen
 
The show was recorded via Skype and HotRecorder with post-production with Audacity and Winamp .
 
 
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