When It Comes to Blog Monetization, Keep Things in Perspective

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Photo courtesy of iChaz

For the first ten posts of the Be a Blogger series I mostly ignored the topic of monetization.  This was by design. While I understand there are benefits of monetizing your blog early on in the process, I didn’t want to focus on the money-making aspects of blogging until the fundamentals were nailed down.

People begin blogging for a variety of reasons–some for money, some for love, and some for the love of money.  I started my blog for three reasons:

  • As a creative outlet.  My full time job does not require much creativity in terms of writing, so I thought blogging would appeal to the entrepreneurial writer bottled up inside me for over 30 years.
  • To be a source of inspiration for others.  Sometimes I think I irritate more people than I inspire, but because the ones who are irritated are the loudest, I hope it is only a skewed perception.  Here lately the number of supportive comments and emails I receive are proof that I’m on the right track.  A few weeks ago I received an email from a young college student who opened her first emergency fund inspired by one of my posts.  Knowing that you have a real impact on people’s lives through writing is very motivating.
  • It beats mowing lawns.  To help the debt snowball along I mowed lawns on the weekends last summer, something I had also done during one summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college.  I quickly discovered two things:  ten years is plenty of time to get grossly out of shape and to become spoiled by air conditioning.  Since I was doing this on top of my full time job I stayed pretty worn out.  It was time to find an easier side hustle (physically).

That’s Great, but What About the  Money?

Let’s face it–if you want to make money blogging you have to treat it as a business.  Or at least, you have to think like a business person.  Blogging has opened my eyes to the world of online marketing in ways I never knew existed prior to last December, and I thought I was pretty business savvy.  Many advertisers are finding out that the internet has more potential for reaching eyeballs than traditional advertising, and blogs are a fresh way to deliver their message.  Obviously, you have to balance monetization with having a user-friendly presentation, and it is something most bloggers struggle with.

“But I’m Only Making $5 a Day!”–Is This Worth It?

I remember after only a couple months of blogging I became glued to my blog stats and advertising accounts like a nervous senior waiting outside his professor’s office for grades to be posted.  I was addicted to the numbers, but disappointed by them constantly.  In March I figured out that from all my efforts I was making $5.00 a day–not even enough for a value meal at McDonalds.  However, after applying some quick math I realized I wasn’t doing so bad after all.

At 3% interest, my $3,000 emergency fund was spinning off about $0.25 a day at ING Direct (what’s a post about monetization without an affiliate link?).  I wondered how much money I’d have to have in there to generate $5.00 a day in interest.  $60,000!  That’s right; it would take $60,000 at 3% interest to generate $5.00 a day.  I felt much better about my online earnings from that point forward.  The income from blogging is not totally passive, because I do still work a number of hours each day writing, editing, commenting, emailing, etc, but I still get a kick out of going to sleep at night and waking up to find you’ve earned money.

Time To Quit the Day Job?

Not quite, but it is certainly feasible.  Many well-known bloggers are now probloggers and make writing their full time gig.  Of course many of them have safety nets in place (a large emergency fund, a working spouse, etc.), so it isn’t for everyone, and requires some thorough planning.  I doubt I will ever earn enough to completely replace my full time income, but once my debts are paid off and I have a one-year emergency fund in place, I wouldn’t need that much income to live comfortably.  Yes my friends, the wheels are turning.

Ready to start your own blog?  I host my blogs with HostGator–a great host with awesome support!

Comments

  1. I would love to be making $5 a day! lol. When I started my blog I had no idea you could make money. When I found out such a thing was possible my goal was to make more than $10 a month. :) I have met that goal, which is really neat.

  2. I’m preparing to start a blog about the craft of writing and my journey back into writing fiction. I stopped writing fiction 4 1/2 years ago and now have rejoined a writing organization that I used to belong to. I intend to follow some of the advice found here, copyblogger and problogger, for making money and having great content. I don’t have extremely high financial goals for it, but if it helps pay for the site, I’m good with that. I recently set up a Santa Letters site (click my name if interested to see it). I’m working on setting up a comments page only using wordpress for parents to share their kids’ experience of receiving the letters. I don’t plan to have any ads or affiliate links there.

  3. I started my blog on a whim! I’ve always been frugal by nature and I started a blog to keep me on a track as a new stay-at-home mom and to keep my brain from turning to “mommy mush” after being around the kiddos 24/7.

    So it took me by surprise when people actually started reading and commenting and subscribing to my blog!

    I didn’t monetize my blog for a few months, and like you, my eyes have been opened to how online marketing and advertising work in the blogosphere. I’m now seeing a trickle of regular income, which brings me some satisfaction. It’s still a hobby at this point, but we’ll see where it goes… I never thought my blog would be as big as it is and it’s still growing.

    Great post! I really enjoyed your analysis of what it would take to earn $5 a month if you invested your money. Puts things in perspective!

  4. Great post! It really puts things into perspective. I have been lucky enough to have other companies pay me for blogging, so I don’t worry too much about how much money my personal blog makes.

  5. I started blogging last year purely for fun and as a creative outlet. I was sure I would run out of ideas in the first 6 weeks. I do a DIY type of home decorating without spending the big bucks kind of blog.

    It’s been such an adventure and I still cannot believe that people actually read what I write and barely have time to proofread! I started running ads and now make enough to take a huge chunk out of our grocery budget.

    Would I keep writing without the ads? 100%! But it sure is nice to make a little $$ since I’m spending time writing and doing. It’s been like therapy for me!

    Love your blog! Thanks for the great content!

  6. I started blogging so I could get the all the stuff out of my head and see if I was truly making any sense or progress on my frugal journey. I also wanted someplace to gather my daily experiences for posterity. My kids are in college and tethered to the Internet so I wanted someplace my kids could check into online from time to time in case they needed to see what mom’s been up to, or maybe even get a bit of advice :-) But I blog now as a purely selfish endeavor because I enjoy it and it makes me happy!

  7. I’ve had a personal blog and other blogs for many years, but nothing that I ever put much effort into.

    One year ago I started financeandfat.com to help me change my life with money and fitness and to hopefully help other people who are trying to do the same. Really I just want to have a repository of useful information and a way to see what I’ve done to get from where I was then and where I want to be in the future.

    I think a little about making money on the site, but I don’t put much effort into that. Of course a few dollars have rolled in so far, but not enough to cover my expenses and time.

    I feel like I’m still crafting the site into what I really want it to be and I’ll worry a little more about making some money when that is done.

  8. Not quite on the subject of blogging, but more on the perspective of the $5 per day.
    My wife had made http://www.operationlettertosanta.com some years ago and always dreamed of making ad money from the site. It’s taken a while to get to a decent amount but now it is up to about $3-$5 per day on average. At first she was disappointed in that but after explaining to her that more often than not it totals over $100 per month she was much happier about that. Who wouldn’t want an extra hundred bucks without having to really really work for it. And it comes in whether you are at the computer or not. It also really helps with the ol’ debt snowball and savings account.

    FrugalDad, $5 per day is about $150 per month! And I’d guess it’s more worth it than mowing lawns in 90 degree weather.

  9. I started blogging as an outlet for my frustrations with managing my money, and as a way to basically journal my thoughts and ideas so that I could refer back to them.
    It’s consequently turned into a forum for communication with my family, as sometimes I am better at communicating in writing than I am in speech. My writing gives my family a little insight into the mud those spinning tires are splattering around in my head.

  10. My PF blog is one week old! So I’m really new and close to the decision making process. I tend to avoid uncomfortable topics and my finances…are really ugly and discomforting – so having a public venue to air that out and shine light on the situation was appealing. Plus the thought that others might find community with me in my struggles to pay off debt and get on track. There are a lot of pretty successful PF bloggers – they’ve all but finished their journey to secure finances. I felt the need to share a not-successful perspective and learn as I go. And lastly, that visibility and community will support me being accountable & honest regarding my progress/lack thereof as I go.

    I haven’t yet started to care whether others read my blog yet, but I’m sure at some point I will!

  11. I started blogging for money. It certainly wasn’t to make money, rather provide an extra bit of incentive to get out of debt.

    So far, so good. I’m certainly not rolling in the dough, but I’m learning valuable tools, both financial and technical, that I never could have learned without the daily rigor and discipline of blogging.

    So that, for me, is worth far more than the $5. But I won’t turn my nose up at the $5 either!

  12. I hope other people will have an interest in the topics about which I choose to write but, even if they don’t, I find blogging to be a good creative outlet. I have really enjoyed this series. Good job!

  13. I started my blog about a month after I started reading some other blogs regularly. I found some blogs on how to save money, links to internet printable coupons and deals at CVS. I had never tried shopping at CVS, but as I did I felt like I was doing a good job. Everyone used Mr. Linky so you could post the deals that you found I wanted to participate. By luck one night, I stumbled onto Blogger and discovered how incredibly simple it was to set up a blog. I initially used it for sharing my successes in deal finding, but have also started to share recipes and strategies that work for me, as well as express my opinions and concerns around some subjects.

    My day job doesn’t require much in terms of creativity, so the blog is a perfect opportunity for me to take a stab at using my creative side.

    Recently, I added some Google ads, but haven’t expanded beyond that. I am more excited by the stats on the number of page impressions than the money. Last weekend, I actually hit 1,000. It used to be that 100 was a big day for me. Knowing that people are checking out my blog and hopefully reading it, is a great feeling. I would love to know, like you that I have made a difference in someone’s life. Even if it is just a new favorite recipe or allowing them to see a different perspective. The few cents a day will take me a couple of years to turn into $100 to cash out, but it’s really more about having a place to express myself and share with others.

  14. It’s been great reading your comments on why you began your blog, and your own plans for monetization. Please keep them coming! I’ll try to make the “Be a Blogger” series post a more regular feature here at Frugal Dad.

    Even if you aren’t a blogger, the reader comments on these types of posts are usually full of tips on passive income, entrepreneurship, marketing, writing, organization, etc.

  15. I would be thrilled with $5 a day. I must be doing something wrong. I started my blog for motivation and maybe money if I was lucky. I can’t stop now because if I don’t post my mother thinks I am injured or dead and she’ll call me late at night :)

  16. Hi. I just found your blog from SimpleMom. I started my blog as a babybook for my triplets, but it has become so much more… still a great way to document the lives of my four silly gals, a way to keep my deployed husband “in the loop” with what’s going on at home, a nice creative outlet for a SAHM, and lastly I discovered monetization. How nice to make a little money writing about the things that I want to remember for our family anyway! Thanks for the post. I’ll be following along with you on bloglines.

  17. I started blogging because I like writing and there were a lot of thoughts running around in my head about my work (my blog is about my job) that I wanted to just put out there. It started as very much a personal experience. Community has made it infinitely richer but I don’t have any wish to monetise. I keep waiting for the lull or lack of inspiration and it hasn’t happened yet!

  18. Monetizing is something I’m slow to adopt… I’m just now considering signing up for Pay Per Post and seeing how that goes over. I want to preserve the personal feel I’ve developed in my blog, I think that’s what interests people the most. (I know I enjoy the personal more since I’ve got the basics down myself. It’s interesting to see how the theories play out in practice in various people’s situations.)

    Of course, I did just recently complete my first paid site review. $20 for maybe half an hour of work, now that’s addicting money… (I’d like to contribute a lot of that to my blog’s age, as it’s taken a bit to get noticed and gain page rank/popularity, that part of blogging I still don’t understand well. :/)

    As for starting, it was an outlet so I didn’t drive my husband crazy with all my financial babble. :) The support I’ve gotten, plus all the ideas I’ve come across, have really been wonderful.

  19. I started blogging

    1) To genuinely Bridge the Gap between the educational disparities between financial professionals and non-professional: the knowledge financial pros have (which they have learned and been taught) is necessary to EVERYONE. I guess in a way I’m trying to make everyone a financial pro, at least for the everyday stuff.
    2) For some slight passive income
    3) To prove to naysayers that I am, indeed, dedicated to finance
    4) To let employers/potential future clients know exactly what they are getting when they employ me.

    I’m writing a post about it for my friends who have found my Bridging TheGaap profile on Facebook, and who don’t quite understand why I decided to do what I’m doing. Up within 48 hrs.

    Also: I completely agree with your interest example. I was dismayed because I was literally making pennies a month, but even that, I realized, was better than the interest I was receiving from my savings.

    Great post!

  20. I started blogging for the writing/community aspect of it, but after quickly realizing that there was money to be made from this incredible investment of time, I hopped to it. I’m not making anywhere near $5/day, but if I ever get to that level, it would be a fantastic source of alternative income. If you start making that kind of money, however, don’t you feel like you HAVE to post, instead of WANTING to post? Kind of like work, right?

  21. I have been reading many blogs for the last year or so now and have been amazed at what I’ve learned and how much what I’m going through, others are too!! We homeschool our 2 children and with the youngest graduating next year, I wanted to start looking into the “what do I do now?”. My husband has a good income, but I wanted to supplement that so that we could pay off debt and do somethings empty nesters do. I love to write and my husband encouraged me to do something in that field. I just can’t seem to get people on my site and that gets pretty frustrating. I understand that my site is very new (less than a month old) but looking at those 0′s everyday is pretty discouraging. How do you make an income of any sort when folks aren’t even looking at your blog?? I won’t give up though. I know it can be done and with time and learning, I’ll figure it out!

    • @Deb: Earning money with blogging is all about traffic. You’ve got to get some eyeballs looking at your URL to generate some traffic. Are you commenting frequently on blogs in or around your niche? Are you a member of any related forums, and if so have you created a signature line with a link to your blog? These are a couple quick ways to generate some attention.

      To get other blogger’s attention, write a roundup post every week or so and include a few of your favorite articles from their site. Don’t necessarily go for the largest site in your niche, rather ones slightly more established than you are. Over time you will grab their attention and then they may begin to return the favor with a link to your site.

      Good luck with your blog-please keep us posted on your progress.

  22. @Deb

    Yahoo Answers: sign up and create a profile. I have mine for my website BTGNow.net. Commenting on blogs is a great way to drive traffic, but in the beginning I really got a good boost from answering 10- 20 questions at a time on Y!A.

    It’s very targeted marketing, but it may help you define yourself and get noticed a bit. Comment on other blogs and start posting at carnivals (blogcarnival . com is has a huge database of carnivals).

    Good luck!

  23. This series has been fascinating; I’m excited to hear that you’ll be continuing it!

    My blog grew out of the need to have a hobby. It’s grown into a bit more than that, but that’s still part of the purpose: to fill my extra time with something satisfying and useful. We’ll see how the monetization goes when I do the redesign and actually give ads a try. I’m highly curious at this point!

  24. Once again…I do so love to read your blog.

    I actually started a website for moms (www.extraordinarymommy.com) before I started the blog. I wanted to create a place that would remind moms that the job they do every day is extraordinary….whether you work, stay home, or work at home, whether you have 1 child, 5 or are trying to get pregnant. I also wanted to create a place that would eventually ‘give back’ to children who struggle on any level.

    The blog turned out to be a wonderful way for me to personalize the site and give people a little view of me as a mom, wife and friend.

    I certainly would be thrilled with $5 a day…someday :) I, too, am obsessed with stats and have had to take a step back…focusing on the site, blog and content more than on who is reading for now.

    Thank you for reminding me that I really do enjoy what I do.

  25. wow! im way behind my feeds!! :)
    I had a blog (still have it) just for fun. but then, I saw your blog and the simple dollar and I wanted to do the same. I love finances although Im not a professional, and I would love to earn some money in the future. First: im having a good time and Im writing every day, then I will earn some money (i hope)

  26. I (just) started my blog since I have a goal and I knew that creating a blog would keep me heading towards that goal. It’s a great way of keeping on track, posting tips, progress and other updates along the way.

    Thanks for the tips from the “Be a Blooger” series.

  27. I just finished writing a more detailed article about why I began blogging, if anyone is interested, with, of course, a link back to the post that inspired it all! Click my name to read the article.

  28. Great post FD. I started blogging to help promote my new series of booklets about the music business. So many musicians have powerful talent but not the least idea of how to manage that talent. I post tips, ideas, strategies and inspiration daily at my site. I am hoping for more feedback but trying to not get caught up in numbers.
    Frugal Dad- you rock!

  29. You posted this while I was gone on vacation, so I just found it now. It’s a lot of fun to read about why other people are blogging, how they’re doing and what they get out of it.

    I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now and monetized the site using Adsense ads from the beginning. While my main motivation in blogging was just to write about my own journey in my faith and in personal finance – I also wanted to be making enough money to pay for hosting fees, domain name, etc.

    When I first started I wasn’t making more than a few cents per day, but that quickly went up as my traffic increased. I’m now at a point where I’ve passed that mystical $5 a day, and am closer to somewhere between $7-10 a day! I never would’ve guessed I could make that much (from adsense alone) on a personal blog!

    For me I’ve found the recipe to success has been:
    1. Network with other bloggers in your niche
    2. Use social media to interact with people and bring them to your site (like twitter, Stumbleupon)
    3. Post a lot, and make it interesting.

    Thanks for the post Frugal Dad – and for being one of my blogging mentors! :)

  30. Could someone tell me how many visitors I need to make anything from adsense? I don’t seem to be making anything right now. I must not be doing it right.

  31. Daizy, it took a while to get going with adsense, and it didn’t really take off for me until I reached several hundred users per day. Once i got to around 500 users is when it started to take off. Then again, it also depends on the topics you’re blogging about. Some topics bring higher clicks – and will make you more money. Its just a matter of testing things out and seeing what works for you!

  32. Thanks Pete. I only have 100 visitors a day. I used to get a few pennies a month but lately I haven’t earned anything. It makes me want to take them off if I’m not going to get any benefit.(they are a bit annoying)

  33. Oo oo…I moved some of my ads around and today I earned .36! That is huge for me! We’ll see if it lasts. Someone probably clicked by mistake. But if I got .36 a day, that would be almost $11 a month! I would be thrilled.

  34. hey man i love your site.. your friend michael told me you were looking for a new way to earn some extra income online.

    i own an awesome website where you can make money online..most our users are making like 20-50 bucks a day.. with minimal work.. its pretty simple to do.. its actually so easy to do you won’t believe ill actually pay you to do it.. and its 100% free to sign up and try.

    another positive about my site unlike all the other sites.. i will pay you out daily.. so you earn 5 bucks in the first 5 minutes you work on my site.. request a payout and i will pay you out right then.. i guarantee no other sites like mine will pay out daily multiple times..

    i’d be glad to help you.. if you sign up..
    http://tinyurl.com/5lsjhh

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