Monetizing Blogs Harder Than Expected

There's a general belief that niche bloggers can tap in to the long-tail and convert visitors in to money using advertising networks such as AdSense. The theory is a good one and if you look hard enough you'll find that some bloggers are indeed making significant amounts of money. The unfortunate news is that these big earners are few and far between.

At the beginning of 2007, Guy Kawasaki reported that despite nearly 2.5 million page views in 2006 and close to 7,000 comments, he earned only $3,350 in ad revenue. John Chow reports that in November, had he just been using Google AdSense to monetize his blog, he would've earned just under $700 from 184,000 page views. That number is better than Guy's, but still not an impressive number given the amount of work that John puts in to his blog.

And now even the professionals that run blogs as their primary source of income are realizing that what sounds good on paper, doesn't necessarily work in practice. That's right, AOL, the Time Warner internet unit, has told editors of smaller and unprofitable sites that they will be shuttered at the end of the month. These are the same niche bloggers that are supposed to have an easy time of monetizing their blogs.

Finally, a survey done by WNBC (now NBC NY) as part of their NYC Blogger Summit revealed that just 17% of the most popular bloggers in NYC earn more than $1000 a month. That leaves a whopping 83% earning less than the rent of a small apartment.

So if you're a blogger, keep your expectations realistic. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to enjoy what you do and treat any residual income as a bonus. The good news for those that stick to it is that as more and more people move on to other things, there may be more room for the rest of us to take more of the market. A pipe dream? Perhaps. So it's a good thing I enjoy blogging :-)

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7 Comments

  1. I perfectly agree. In my case the main target was the PR using news and then monetize it and reviews,,in total just around $200 a month but not more. Doing that in spare time is ok but not making a job out of this

  2. I couldn't agree more. AdSense was a bust...comission junction has not payed off...sponsored reviews is puny...payperpost is not panning out.

  3. I love writing my thoughts and blogging is a nice way to do that...For making money, there are real jobs in the world. So, anyone intrested in money should focus on getting a degree/a professional training and apply to the jobs accordingly, instead of wasting too much time on internet. And money from blogging ???? atleast I don't think so.

  4. There are better ways to monetise a blog than adsense. Examples = write a book for your established audience, promote products (on topic and with the disclaimers), raise your consulting profile, get into public speaking, etc Or just use it as a reflection tool to get better at your job.

    • Marios Alexandrou

      Craig, I think it depends on what your definition of "better" is. AdSense may not be the avenue that generates the most money, but it's arguably one of the easiest.

  5. As bloggers gain momentum and the rest of marketing sees the influence, they will continue to gain credibily and the need to pay bloggers for their time will be realized. There are some up and coming ventures, such as Blogg.io, that recognize the importance of free speaking and writing bloggers and are willing to do just that.

  6. I really agree with this. People shouldn't get into blogging for the money because they will be really disappointed anyway. When blogging became mainstream, we got the benefit of lots to read from many people around the world. But the downside was so many people blogging only for a dollar. I am waiting for the trend to blow over. Those bandwagon jumpers will have to pile on another wagon soon.

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