Well, yes, you can… there are lots of bloggers who do just that, and some who have even been able to quit their day jobs to focus on blogging full time (or part time!). But there are many more bloggers who make very little or no money from blogging. Some prefer it that way, and have no desire to turn their blogs into money-makers. I’m sure there are many more who want to make money, write some posts, put some AdSense code on their sidebar, and then make 3 cents a month.
I am definitely not an authority on making money from a blog. I have pretty much focused only on content for my blog, and haven’t done much with marketing or anything else to drive traffic to my site. I’m on Twitter, but that’s about all I’ve done in terms of social networking for my blog. I do make some money from advertising and affiliate links, but I’ve been blogging for nearly four years, and I usually make between $200 and $300 a month from my blog. It’s not a lot of money, but I also don’t devote nearly as much time or effort to my blog as the people who turn theirs into a primary income source. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is one such blogger, and has a massive readership and several successful e-books. He also has a great print book, The Power Of Less, that is even carried by our tiny small-town library.
Leo and fellow blogger Mary Jaksch are offering Instant Blog Magic for free until the end of the month (EDIT: the program is actually only being offered for free until midnight on Thursday, June 24th. Sorry for any confusion, I think I misread the initial offer). They’re giving free blog set-up and $20 off the first year’s hosting fee, along with several other goodies. If you’ve been wanting to set up a blog and don’t know where to begin, you might want to check out their program.
For those who are curious about the specifics of my own blog income, here’s a rough breakdown of where it comes from:
- BlogHer Ads… usually between $25 and $50/month. BlogHer Ad revenue is based on the amount of traffic to your site rather than on how many people click on the ads.
- Linkworth… usually about $75/month. Linkworth ads are paid on a set fee-per-link basis, and the amount of traffic or number of clicks doesn’t impact how much you earn (although the more traffic you get, the more likely advertisers are to request a link on your site)
- Private ads… I currently make $100/month from text link ads that were set up via direct contact from the advertiser. I get to keep 100% of the revenue (unlike BlogHer and Linkworth, where they take half the revenue in trade for sending the business my way). I charge $30/month for ads, but advertisers get a discount for buying multiple months up front.
- Affiliate sales of e-books. I just started learning about this recently, and have only begun to test it out. I had some good success last week with Everett Bogue’s Minimalist Business, but as with any sort of blog revenue, being an affiliate will only make money if you have a relatively large readership. Of all the ways to generate revenue on a blog, this is one of my favorites, although I’m still pretty new at it. It’s nice to be able to promote e-books that have been written by other bloggers I really admire.
I have also tried AdSense and Chitika, but made very little money from them and eventually took them down. We’ve had quite a bit of success with AdSense on our work website, but most of the visitors who come to that site do so with the intention of researching and shopping, whereas most of my readers here at Frugal Babe are looking for ideas, entertainment, and (hopefully!) a little inspiration. Programs like AdSense and Chitika generate revenue for a blogger when readers click on the ads, as opposed to the types of programs I mentioned above that pay based on the amount of traffic to the blog or on a flat fee per month. My personal preference is for the ones I mentioned above, but this varies quite a bit from one blogger to another.
I have had plenty of questions over the years from readers interested in how blogging can make money. As I said, I’m definitely not an expert at that, and I don’t make a whole lot of money from it (my blog still falls pretty squarely in the “just for fun” category). But I thought maybe sharing my own experiences would be useful to some of you, and perhaps you can also benefit from Leo and Mary’s Instant Blog Magic program. Even though my blog only makes a couple hundred dollars a month, that’s enough to fund our son’s 529 plan ($100/month) and our car replacement fund ($100/month) and pay taxes on the earnings. It might not be a lot of money, but something is better than nothing, and diversified income is a good thing, even if it’s just a trickle.