Yesterday Amy Derby gave us a peek into how she earns $1,000 a month on a blog receiving very little traffic. I sometimes earn that much on a blog receiving fairly decent traffic, but I don’t earn that much every month and I’m sure I can earn more. Still, for a writing blog it’s pretty good. You see, writing blogs are difficult to monetize.
Here’s how I do it:
Adsense – Adsense is still my biggest money maker. Though I’m still playing around with other forms of income, I have success with this and I’m not parting with it any time soon. For the end of October and beginning of November, my Adsense revenue is way down however, so I need to keep finding methods to monetize my biggest money-making blog.
Amazon – I have some luck selling books using Amazon but the bulk of my earnings with this affiliate is through the search box during the holidays. While I do earn a little using this throughout the year, during the holidays I can count on it for a few hundred bucks from people looking to do holiday shopping from home.
Kontera – I was hesitant to use Kontera at first, I’m not a big fan of context links ads but this was recommended and I’m so far pleased with the results. It’s good for a couple of hundred dollars each month.
Buy me a cup of coffee – This is something else I struggled with. A couple of years ago members of my community asked where they could make donations. I tried one of Paypal’s “donate” buttons and received a couple of dollars here and there. When I made the switch to WordPress I installed a “Buy Me a Cup of Coffee” plugin and couldn’t believe the amount of people who wanted to purchase my next White Chocolate Mocha. Actually most of my earnings for Freelance Writing Jobs is used pay the two people who help out – Jodee, who researches job leads for me and Ajay, who handles the techie stuff.
What didn’t work for me
I tried affiliate programs such as Commission Junction and so far no combination of affiliate ads or buttons have worked. I also had Auction Ads up for the better part of the year and while the beginning of the year wasn’t bad, the last few months have been a complete zero. I took auction ads out yesterday. I’m not saying these programs won’t work well for others, however.
I’m still experimenting with other affiliate programs for writers. I followed Amy’s advice and installed an Indeed ad box. I feel this program will be beneficial to my regulars. I’m also looking into affiliates for writing magazines and stores.
I think the lesson here is that you can’t just throw a few ads on your blog and forget about it. You’re constantly playing with new formulas and sources of revenue. I know a couple of people who have hinted that now that I have some help maintaining FWJ I can sort of sit back and collect profits. That’s far from the truth. Finding a way to keep the profits rolling in takes time and patience. I doubt I’ll ever get to the point where I’ll stop experimenting.
What formulas work for you?
you need to depend LESS on adsense.
http://www.zligg.com – are you zligging yet?
Deb, great points about experimenting. Testing and experimenting is the key to monetization, IMHO. Different blogs (especially in different niches) require different monetization strategies.
Vaibhav, sorry…it should work well now.
Those were a huge help (although a little overwhelming). Too bad the thread with the adsense critiques is closed. That would have been fun to participate in.
Thank you for the help!
I am sorry for the off-topic comment. But, I am trying to contact the administrators, however, the “Contact Us” page gives me an access denied.
Any help will be appreciated.
A lot of resource that you have added to this.I have tried out all most yeah a few did work for me like amazon.Still i havent produced those killer results from adsense.
Are there any restrictions to use their code? e.g. minimum pageviews, or you can’t use adsense or certain other programs?
I recently have installed the code for the similar Amazon type of product, but it seems more intrusive than productive
Thanks for the tip about Kontera. I’m signed up with them but haven’t actually implemented the code on any of my blogs. I’ve been hesitant to do it on my writing blog. I might try it on another blog first.
Also, I love your “buy me a coffee” thing, now that I know what it is. 🙂 Keep in mind, some of us who want to donate are stupid. I looked around for a while. I’d have caught on quicker if there had been a link within the job leads post that said something like, “Get a gig? Thank me by buying me a coffee.” Hopefully not everyone is as tech-challenged as I am though.
I might also have to put my Amazon search box back up for the holidays. Good idea!!!
One thing that’s recently worked well for me with Amazon is I did a post called Top 10 Books for Freelance Writers Beginning Their Careers (some linked through Amazon and some not), and that post made me some sales. Since they’re books I often recommend to people anyway (for no profit), I figured why not make a post about it.
I saw you put up an Indeed job box. You might want to use the advanced method so it brings up “freelance writer” or “freelance writers” instead of freelance writer or freelance writing (with no quotes). I get better conversions that way, because it tends to eliminate a lot of the iFreelance ads (their ads use “freelance writing” but without quotes). You might also want to put it up higher (above the google ads). And let people know that it’s more than just an ad box, that they can use it to search for real jobs. About half of my earnings each month are from people who search through my indeed box rather than going to indeed.com and doing it themselves. I find a good chunk of work searching through indeed, so it’s not like I feel like I’m recommending something that will be a waste of time. Some people try it then find it’s not for them, but others have thanked me for it.
Kathleen – the tips in the comments of this article will help.
Also see this section on blog monetization.
For me, it’s been AdSense + YardBarker (sports CPM ad network) + affiliate product sales + Vibrant Media + Adconion.
I strongly recommend using a CPM ad network if you get the chance. In some niches it can do much better than AdSense, although of course you need the PVs for it.
If I didn’t have the PVs I have, I’d work on direct product sales and affiliate sales more.
I really need to do some reading on how to use Adsense more effectively. Being a fairly new blogger, I am sure that will affect my success, but I am sure there is a great deal to learn on how to help it along. Any recommended reading?