January 08, 2007

Can blogging be profitable?

You probably won’t have noticed, but there’s no longer any adverts on my blog. Quite simply, they weren’t making a dime.

Which leads me to wonder if it’s possible to make money out of blogging if you’re an amateur? There’s been some recent attempts to do just that, such as MessageSpace which puts ads on big political blogs.

Their website says they were massively over-subscribed during the Party Conference season, although personal experience of the sites that use MessageSpace would suggest to me that they’re often advertising themselves (for free) rather than bringing in much cash from advertisers.

Whether you make any money seems to depend on how specific your blog is to one subject. Mine clearly isn’t very specific about anything. Some claim to have made around £500 a month from Google AdSense, the scheme I’ve been on. It’s not exactly enough to allow you to quit your job.

This blog post is very interesting. It shows people with far more ‘hits’ than me earning peanuts too.

I think the question is: who would want to advertise on a blog? It’s a fairly passive medium, and most readers are fairly savvy about the layout of Google Ads and can ignore them easily.

Probably the most successful person in this field is Matt Drudge of Drudge Report who doesn’t even style his site as a ‘blog’. It’s very Web 1.0. But apparently he makes millions per year.

Blogging’s a bit too new to say “you can’t make money from blogging”, but unless advertisers’ opinions change quite quickly, anyone hoping to give up their job and move to the Cayman Islands is going to be facing a long wait.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. You can make money from blogging, but you have to offer original content that people are genuinely interested in reading. You also have to spend a considerable amount of time tweaking your revenue streams.

    08 Jan 2007, 23:21

  2. Jag Singh

    Feedburner stats change on a daily basis – it’s how many people read the site’s feed on the previous day. Advertisers don’t simply line up to pay money to have their message stamped all over someone’s blog about what they had for breakfast that morning.

    Also, that datamining.typepad “experiment” can hardly be called one in the first place: there simply are too many variables that need to be accounted for. It also depends on the ad-revenue model you subscribe to (cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, and cost-per-action)

    I made about $1300-1600 a month on average when I was blogging during the 2004 US Presidential Election, and I only had about 120k hits a month (that’s another bone of contention – what’s a hit? why only count hits when you could count individual users? and what about unique users?). In early 2005, just before I moved to London, I changed my blog (just jag!) by quite a bit (job rules meant I couldn’t really blog a whole lot), and I was down to about 30k visits a month, and yet I was able to monetise the blog to approx. $600 a month. It sure as hell wouldn’t even come close to a day-job, but it did mean that I could go out for a two more fancy dinners every month. I relaunched my blog in November 2006, and during the summer I made about $100-200 a month with about 12-15k average hits a month. What i’m saying is this: the amount of money you make from online advertising depends on 1) who reads your blog, 2) what topic you write about, 3) how easy it is to get to your content, 4) how valuable is your content to the reader, 5) how high your search engine rank/placement is, 6) how often you blog, and 7) numerous other factors.
    Yes, it’s like a doctoral dissertation.

    At the end of the day, the opportunities are there. AdSense in fact actually takes about 70% of the advertiser’s payment, and that leaves the publisher with 30%. Yuck! From what I hear, MSN and Yahoo will be a lot more generous with publishers. And then there’s the PayPerPost side of the industry as well.

    PS: A plug for MessageSpace – we really did oversell during the conference season. You also can’t blame us for house-ads going up over the untested Dec-Jan period – most advertisers thought that no one of any interest (to them) wais going to be reading any blogs, and we’re only now getting the data that shows there actually were some very influential visitors to our network’s sites. Patience, young grasshopper.

    09 Jan 2007, 06:38

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