Anyone who’s been blogging at least a few months knows that in most cases, contextual ad revenue from networks such as Google AdSense comes in trickles. A better option, provided you have a Google PR (PageRank) of at least 4 and a blog in an appropriate niche, is link ads such as Text Link Ads or Text Link Brokers. (Know of another one? Drop a comment.) You also need backlinks (outside links to your blog), some feed subscriptions, and at least a steady bit of traffic – though not necessary a lot.
It’s not passive revenue. At least not at first while you’re building PR and backlinks, etc. But it can tend towards that. A word of caution: not all blogs are suitable. Of the eight blogs I have registered at Text Link Ads, only four have sponsors. Some have never had link sponsors since they were registered maybe eight months ago. One sold out its inventory in less than 2 months. Another sold out today, and another was just accepted but already has four sponsors. I have another 7 that need a bit of TLC before they’re ready, but when they are, they should do okay.
I can’t live off the TLA alone, but it is steady income. And once the newer sites are registered and sell out their inventory, the total TLA earnings will be enough for rent in Toronto, where I’m moving later this year. In other words, it’s comforting, generally steady income with very little fluctuation. And I haven’t even utilized TLA’s Feedvertiser yet (mostly because I’m too busy to upgrade my WordPress installations to 2.0+).
Let’s look at an example of how you might benefit from link sponsors. This is based on my own experience, so your mileage may vary:
- Assume: ten weblogs of PR4 – 5 and different niches but related topics. Say sub-niches. Or maybe you have two distinct groups of sub-niches. It doesn’t matter, but blogs in one group link to each other in both navigation and content.
- Reasonably steady traffic of at least 40 pageviews per day or more per site.
- Offer ten sponsor slots at at least $10 per slot per month per site. (The selling price would be $20 per, since TLA takes 50% commission. I’m not sure about TextLinkBrokers.)
- That’s 10 sites x 10 spots/ site x $10/ slot/ month = $1,000/ month. That’s your take.
Pretty simple, right? And that’s a very conservative figure. If the conditions are right, you could be making that much per site, or $10,000/m. (I have no proof that anyone is doing this; just speculating.)
Sure, the numbers are simple, but here are a few things to consider before you go sign up:
- You need to build up your Google PageRank (PR) to at least 4. If you are patient and think you’ll go to PR5 fairly quickly, register your sites at PR5 not PR4. You’ll very likely earn more.
- You need to increase your feed subscriptions. Though, TLA for example only counts Bloglines. Not all subscriptions are necessarily equal.
- You need to increase the backlinks to each of your blogs, from relevant sites. Not just PR6+, but also PR3-5. That comes either by buying or by building valuable content that other sites link to.
- You need to increase your daily traffic to where it’s steady, even if just from SEs (search engines). This is part and parcel of posting “valuable” content.
- You need to maintain all this after you start getting sponsors. They want the traffic, too.
- There’s no guarantee you’ll sell out your inventory, even at $12. Some blog niches lend themselves better to text link ads than.
It’s all speculation, but as weblogs become even hotter property, the opportunities for monetizing them will continue to grow. Link sponsors is one way that has been working for me.
Sure, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility that they are quality. And there are human checks in place anyway, as well as an inventory limit on each site. Sponsors won’t approve the link (as I understand it) if they’re uncomfortable with the site.
I’m simply suggesting an alternative to CPC revenue, but all normal rules about “quality” and consistency apply
BTW, there are two tools at TLA that are great to check out:
link calculator: tells you what your site’s links might be sold at to sponsors
blog juice: tells you how your site ranks in each of their categories.
they can both be accessed at http://www.text-link-ads.com/free_tools.php
Remember that the technology niche is hard to crack. My own tech site took many months to sell a single sponsor, but once it did, i started making sure that at least one writer was maintaining it, plus a few of my own articles per month.
So if you have a site and are wondering why it isn’t getting sponsors, ask yourself whether you’re maintaining or whether you are too microniche. I’m a generalist at heart, which a lot of SEOs might say is bad for blogging. But that’s what I like and I’d rather do what I like than blog something for the hell of it. So my sites might have a primary focus, but I’ll add a few related lower-focus satellite topics. (I only have proof that it works on one site, by the way.)
a transition from MFA sites to MFPR sites