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 🙂