All About Blogging: Blog Monetizing, What Works Best?

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Rich Man, Poor Man, Ottawa, August 2011

In 2007, when I moved to WordPress, I started researching ways to monetize my blog. I had to pay for the domain and cover my hosting fees—and Correr Es Mi Destino was growing.

In 2008, I wrote a first article titled Making Money with Your Blog, in which I detailed the progress of monetizing my blog. Since then, a lot changed. For the better, mostly.

I get way more traffic than I did in 2008: today, I have about 50,000 visits a month. I completely gave up on some monetizing methods but I also found some new ones. And the hosting fees are paid off.

But first, what didn’t work?

Well, Project Wonderful wasn’t a great way to make money. Not enough people to bid on ads, the amount of money I was getting for the hassle was ridiculously low. Bye Bye Project not-so-Wonderful!

I haven’t been very proactive in looking for deals with advertisers directly. I was lucky because they found me rather than the other way around. I’m not blogging for money so I guess I’m not a marketing expert yet. I doubt I will ever be actually. Yet I had some small successes.

How do I monetize this blog these days?

Google Adsense — I’m still using Google Adsense and while I try to make the ads as unobtrusive as I can, I display them in the sidebar, below the posts titles and close to the comment section. I find most ads are very relevant to the theme of the blog (i.e. immigration, travel), Adsense definitely improved that. My click-through rate went up as well and I certainly appreciate reaching the payout threshold more than once a year. All in all, Adsense isn’t a bad way to monetize a blog. It doesn’t take much effort and ads blend in well.

Text Link Ads — Text Link Ads became my main source of blog revenue and has proven to be very efficient. It took some time though. At first, only a few links sold, bringing monthly revenue under $10. Little by little, more advertisers bought links and I make over $100 a month now. This is a passive income since I don’t have to do anything, thanks to the TLA plugin. Links ads are non-intrusive and I have about 20 links sold for over 700 posts, hardly a concern for SEO.

Sponsored Posts — Advertisers occasionally contact me directly to offer me paid guest post, typically including one link to the service or business they provide. Either the advertiser writes the post, either we find a suitable place in a published post for the link. Sponsored posts are usually a good deal for both parts because when advertisers contact you directly, there is no middleman and no commission added. You can easily be paid through Paypal. For advertisers to reach you, make sure to have a dedicated Contact page.

The Shop — This is a personal project I’m developing. I must admit it hasn’t paid off so far but art is always hard to sell—nothing new here. I decided to sell prints of my most popular pictures about a year ago. First, I used a middleman website but the commission was too high. So I built a dedicated page and buyers can contact me directly through the website. It’s a rewarding way to showcase my photography and I really enjoy when buyers from all around the world are interested in a print.

Are you making money with your blog? What works best for you? What didn’t work at all? Don’t be shy, and share your tips!

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

15 Comments

  1. Interesting. I’d always wondering about adsense. There seems to be some negative attitude towards them from other bloggers.

    I’ve had local companies contact me about ads but the offers are ridiculously low. Like $5 for a link, that is supposed to be displayed forever. And a few online booksellers especially Christian booksellers but I’m afraid they may not appreciate some of my content.

    • I wouldn’t sell links for $5, that’s really low. Try with Text Link Ads if you can get a better deal. I sell my links for twenty times that price! As for the Christian book offer… don’t worry too much about them being offended by some articles 😉

  2. Hi Zhu!

    Yes, I do monetize my blogs as you may be aware of.

    What worked the best? Direct deals with advertisers.

    What did not wkr so well? Selling my own products worked but no at good as I expected.

    What will never workÉ AdSense. Unless you have 10000 visitors a day.

    Have a good weekend

    • Like we talked about before, sellijng ebooks is a tough business, and the product itself require a lot of work. Yet it was worth trying!

      I’m looking more into direct deals as well these days. We don’t need a middleman!

  3. I don’t monetize my blog, as you know, but I was catching up on your posts from this week (had a very busy week) and loved all the pictures of upstate New York. Makes me want to visit there myself. Maybe I’ll buy some of your photos instead?

    • You definitely should visit, it’s a lovely region. People are great too. Frankly, it’s the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in a long time!

      As for buying pictures, you are always welcome to do so 🙂 Not all of them are on The Shop but you can browse my Flickr account and see what you like!

  4. For more than 10 years I’ve felt very ambivalent about advertising on my websites. The major reason why I moved away from Blogger to register my own domain is to get away from the advertising. Like anything “free”, it’s not really, because they make money from you.

    A perfect example of this is Facebook and YouTube (I prefer Vimeo). They are free services, but the product is you and your uploads. They make money off your information, and advertising.

    My friends in Philly told me about Text-Link-Ads a few years ago and, while I’ve been making a pretty decent passive income from it, if it disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t care. I also made money from selling individual posts and links. I set my own prices.

    I have a tiny Adsense strip on the bottom of my blog. I was going to get rid of it a long time ago, but out of sheer amusement I’ve kept it in to see if it would register any revenue whatsoever. Strangely, it has. The biggest surprise will be if there’s a payout in 2011.

    In my view, there is so much advertising everywhere, I want to have a space where people can escape from it and just read and look at pictures. My design preferences run to minimalism — I like lots and lots of white space — and my current template is more cluttered than I like, but I can live with it for now.

    I’d rather make money in other ways than with the blog. (I feel the same way about stock photography, though I may change my mind on that in future.)

    • I felt the same for a long time. I dislike advertising and the way it intrudes on everything. I stopped reading newspapers and blogs because there was just too much advertising.

      That said, blogging takes me time and I have to pay hosting and domain fees. That’s how it started for me. I make sure the ads don’t intrude too much and I think it’s okay so far. I’m not trying to get rich with that blog but it’s nice to have a bit of money at the end of the month.

      Ideally, I would make a living traveling, writing and taking pictures 🙂 Still looking for that job…!

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  6. Hi, Zhu. I am going to include this interesting article in my Money Soldiers blog carnival which I am going to publish on November 20, 2012 Philippine time. Please let your readers know about it and I would be most grateful if you can reward me with a DoFollow link pointing to the blog carnival article on Money Soldiers. Thanks. I hope we can be blogging friends.

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