I get asked how much money my blogging makes me on a regular basis. These days I don’t go into specifics about it - all I will say is that it continues to be well over six figures per year (but less than seven figures). What you’ll find below are my top income streams - ranked from highest earnings to lowest.
I hope you find it useful to see the mix and variety of ways that I earn a living from blogging.
Despite not using it here at ProBlogger any more I continue to use AdSense with real effect on my other blogs. While I do use AdSense Referrals and their search feature it is their normal ads that work best for me. I have them all set to show image and text based ads and find that 250×300 pixel ads work best (usually with a blended design).
Last time I did this sort of summary Chitika ranked #1. This time around it has been overtaken by AdSense - not because Chitika slipped in how much it earned but because AdSense went up and because I also replaced a few Chitika ad units with WidgetBucks ones. Chitika offers a range of ad units that I experiment with. I find their eMiniMalls work best and that Related Product Units are also good. Their Shoplincs product isn’t performing as well as it once did for me - mainly because I’ve been promoting it less and have driven less traffic to it. Over the time I’ve been using Chitika they’ve now earned me over a quarter of a million dollars!
This has been one of my big movers in the last 12 months. I used to make a few odd dollars from it - however in recent times it has become a significant earner for me (as I’ve shared previously). This quarter it overtook TLA as my third biggest earner - largely on the back of me directing traffic to Amazon from my product related sites - mainly digital cameras. While the commission on cameras is only 4% this adds up when those that you refer buy higher ticket items.
4. Private Ad Sales/Sponsorships
This includes ad sales of the 125 x 125 ads here at ProBlogger as well as a couple of private ad deals that I did with sponsors on my camera blog (including sponsorships with Canon, Kodak and Adobe). This area has jumped up since last time also as a result of the new design here at ProBlogger and our expanded sales team at b5 who now sell ProBlogger’s ads for me.
The income from TLA has dipped slightly over the last few months simply because I took the decision to stop selling them here at ProBlogger and most of my other blogs. This was because I wanted to focus more upon selling the 125 pixel ads instead and felt that the ads I was attracting were not as relevant to this site as they could have been. As it turns out this might have been a good move because it seems Google has been penalizing blogs that run them lately.
The job boards here at ProBlogger continue to grow each month in the number of advertisements that are being bought. This enabled me to invest most of the money that they’d earned a while back into getting a new back end for the boards and to redesign them. It hit me today that the boards are now bringing in around $1000 a month in revenue which is pretty nice considering that they are now so low maintenance to run! I’ve just given a development team a new brief to expand the job boards in the coming month so stay tuned for some new features coming soon which could see this revenue increase and more importantly for it to become an even more useful resource to readers.
I also play with a number of other ad networks. Some I run as tests to see if I should review them here - and some are just advertising that run in the background on some of my smaller blogs. These include AuctionAds, Feedburner RSS ads, Vizu (a poll advertising system), Kontera and Bidvertiser. Together these don’t add up to major earnings for me - not because they are not good, but because I don’t use them heavily (a blog can only run so many ads on it).
I think that that covers most of it. Since last quarter I’ve also been experimenting withWidgetBucks as well as one other ad system that is still in a closed beta test. I’m certain that WidgetBucks will feature in next quarter’s list because I am getting good returns on that so far. In fact at it’s current earnings it’ll debut at at least number 4 on the list and perhaps even at number 3.
How Much do I Spend?
As mentioned last time - I don’t spend a lot of money in order to bring in my income. I do have some basic blogging costs (hosting etc) and play around with a limited amount of advertising (AdWords and StumbleUpon) but rely more heavily upon word of mouth and organic ways of drawing income into my blogs. I also have some costs in paying writers on a couple of blogs - but these don’t make up a massive part of the overall earnings each quarter.