This isn’t really a how-to guide, because in order to make any pennies with your blog, you have to start one, and in the beginning, nobody is reading it except for maybe your mom and your brother who thinks you are funny. I’ve been blogging for a million years, and finally decided to see if I could monetize the traffic I already had. If you’re interested in building up your blog readership to the point where ads make sense, my only advice is this: Write frequently about things you care about.
October’s partial report:
October’s report isn’t complete. I put up the first ads on the 10th and tweaked some junk on the 21st. I’m definitely still experimenting. I’m also on the waiting list for BlogHerAds. Oh to have the clout I had in 2004. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far.
I should have taken a traffic screenshot on October 31st, but oh well. Here is the report for the last 30 days as of this morning:
You can click that image to embiggen. I use Cloudflare for reporting and to help lock down my site against hackers and threats. I like them a lot. I just have the free plan; I’m not sure if you can get more in depth (choose your date ranges, for example) if you pay for the Pro program.
Right, so as soon as I announce that I’m getting like 130K pageviews, my traffic plummets to the 110K range. Oh well, it is what it is. I like how it separates out the stupid bots and crap so you can see the actual human pageviews was around 90K for October, with 22K uniques.
Blog Revenue for October:
- Google Adsense: $13.97 (Since the 10th)
- Federated Media / Lijit: $4.48 (Since the 10th, tweaking on the 21st)
- CPM Only: $0.09 (Woo! Didn’t start this one until Oct. 21)
- Amazon Affiliates: $23.49 (Entire month of October)
- Vigilink: $1.06 (Started on the 15th)
- Homeschool Notebooking Packets: $95.00 (Entire month of October)
- Midphase Affiliate: $100.00 (Sadly not regular!)
Total for October: $238.09
- Hosting costs: $8.95
- Affiliate payouts (for my own affiliate program): No affiliate sales in October, $0.00
- E-Junkie (my notebooking packet downloads are hosted here): $18.00
Total blog costs for October: $26.95
Total profit after costs: $211.14 Not too shabby for a first stab.
Now, here’s a rundown on what I experimented with last month:
Most are familiar with Google Ads, and sadly many have had bad experiences with it. I’ve read horror stories where they freeze your earnings and you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to free it up. I’ve used Adsense for many years without any hiccups (knock on wood), but I’m not one of those people building a frillion websites plastered in ads either. I’ve definitely always been a casual user.
The good: The code is easy to generate, you can customize it to show text ads, media ads, or both. And you can do a little customizing to make the link colors match your site. The reporting is pretty clear, and they can pay you via a direct bank wire transfer. You can also block certain URLs. I haven’t seen anything offensive prop up here (please let me know if you do) but you can block ads if you see something you don’t want to be advertising.
The bad: Well, it’s google. They’re big and huge and therefore customer service is next to nil. If you have a problem, it’s kind of good luck figuring it out on the forums, you know?
The creepy: Right now my Google Ads are targeted, meaning they Big Brother your IP and deliver ads you think you might be interested in. It does it to me, too, so I’m seeing ads for places I recently checked out, like Createspace. I’ve no idea what you’re seeing! This kind of bugs me, and I think there’s a way to turn it off so it just crawls your site and delivers ads based on the content.
Lijit / FM:
This is where Federated Media sends you if you aren’t in the in crowd anymore. I’m only half kidding. They have a bigger, better paying (I hear) ad network, but I think you can only get in if you know someone these days, though in their defense, I’m sure they are hit up with a ton of inquires, many of whom have much larger audiences than I do.
The smaller Lijit branch is somewhat similar to Google Ads, though I was getting a ton of ‘blanks’ and filler ads that I don’t get paid for, so I checked out CPM Only below.
It’s a little confusing, but after you sign up, they replace your Lijit code so that while the Lijit code still displays, they fill in the empty spots with more ads at a slightly higher rate so you can increase your earnings. The reporting page is clunky, so I’m having a hard time figuring out what, if much more than nine pennies, I earned in October. The jury is still out on this one.
I’m a long time member, and I like it quite a bit. I’m sure the system gets abused, but I’ve always liked how I could link to stuff I was going to link to anyway and get a bit of money if anyone clicked through and purchased anything. I’ve always been careful to disclose whether or not an item I’m linking to can be found more cheaply elsewhere, or whether or not I thought the reviews were worth looking into, etc.
Again, I think people out there can maximize their earning efforts in ways I just don’t have the time or energy to do, but as a casual user, I’ve always been happy with this program. I’ve opted to have my earnings delivered via gift cards so I can save them up for birthdays and Christmas.
This is an experiment, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Viglink automatically links you up to available affiliate programs you might not know of. Say I write about a Widget I bought from Company ABC. Viglink looks to see if Company ABC has an affiliate program, and if they do, they link up automatically to it. If someone clicks through and makes a purchase, we share the affiliate revenue.
It’s next to impossible to disclose other than a broad “Hey, Viglinks may be herein!” because the links are added after your post is published. They even get added to the comments. (Augg, case in point – they made “Amazon” up there a link, and linked their own “Viglink” as well. Hmmm.)
My Notebook Packets:
I decided to include these since I guess they are blog generated revenue. I do have an account with Teachers Pay Teachers but very few sales come in there, and I don’t really market the packets anywhere else.
This month I had a payout from the company I use to host my website, Midphase. I have affiliate accounts with a handful of other companies I honestly use and can wholeheartedly recommend, and will report those earnings when they come in.
That’s it! Any questions?
So, what do you think? Do you like the rundowns of the different things I’m trying or should I just stick to numbers and profit/loss? Do you have any questions for me?
Though I have no plans (anti-plans, really) to turn this website into anything resembling a ‘career in blogging,’ I’ll keep these reports filed under the currently pretty empty ‘work’ category for now.