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I couldn’t end this series without talking about making money with blogs.

Most bloggers start a blog with money as part of the equation. I did.

However, the truth about making money with a blog is often misleading.

Search online and you’ll find many sites, e-books, or “subscribe to this” that claim you can make big money, FAST, with a blog. It will only cost you $X.XX. Sign up, share your credit card number, and you can make thousands in a short time. It must be true. After all, they show a copy of a check(s), made out to themselves, for an astronomical amount of money.

Pictures don’t lie. Or do they?

When I started blogging, I plastered ads on my two blogs. I signed up for Google AdSense, LinkShare.com, Commission Junction and Amazon.

I then proceeded to spend countless hours adding ads, moving ads, changing ads, resizing ads, and then constantly checking the statistics to see how many hundreds I was making. HA! That was a joke. I wasn’t making anything. Months passed, some of the ads remained, but my pocketbook wasn’t any thicker.

I didn’t spend any money by joining these “companies”, but I did lose tons of time.

To recap where I am 13 months later, from Commission Junction I received a $17 check. Linkshare shows I have a $14.75 balance, but they don’t payout until you have accumulated $25.00. I haven’t seen any checks from Amazon either, although they say I’ve earned $12.39.

Google AdSense was a slow starter, but the pennies finally added up and I got my first check from them. (They payout at $100.00+). I should see my second check next month.

I was also blessed with a donation from Mark, at Creative Journey Cafe.

All in all, what I’ve “earned” (not received) has covered my overhead for my BlueHost account, domain names + renewals. By doing the math, I’m a little ahead of the “game” as long as I don’t put a value on the time I spend blogging. ((((laughs)))))

Interestingly, the money I have made was the result of my second blog. It’s a blog that receives nearly all of it’s traffic from search engines (organic traffic), and does not have a “community” of commenters. This tells me, if you can get your blog to receive organic traffic (by using SEO and keyword phrases, etc…), your chances of making money will increase.

The one problem with using keyword phrases (keywords), it forces you to change your writing style. In some ways, it can hinder your creativity.

So what have I learned?

I’ve learned, I don’t know how to make money blogging. LOL

Lesson Twelve: Money can be made with blogs. I believe search engine traffic is the key, and you need lots of it (thousands of visitors a day). Your subject matter must appeal either to the masses or to a specific niche of people (not bloggers).

At this point, the money I make is irrelevant, however, don’t tell my husband that. He believes this “hobby” of mine will pay for itself, and maybe than some. Let’s keep this just between us. :)

As for those pictures of the big checks, could they have been a Photoshop project? You decide.

Today’s Assignment:

Are you blogging for dollars? If so, is it working?

Have you discovered a great way to make money with a blog?

Or are you like me, and the money part of blogging has lost it appeal?


Photo Credit: d70focus’ photostream

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  1. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    I like this post, Barbara. But when it comes to being ahead of the game, I think you’re missing something in your mathematical equation.

    Did you factor in time spent on moving ads, creating ads, etc.? In all, how much time did you spend on these things? Assuming you earned $200, for example, and spent 60 hours researching, moving, switching out, and everything, that equals $3.33 per hour.

    But, I suppose it’s a learning curve and you have to start somewhere.

    As for my blog, checking my Google Analytics I see that I’m getting a decent amount of organic search engine traffic, considering my blog is still relatively new.

    Has it gain me any customers yet? Nope. Still trying to figure that one out.

    And I think you hit on something when you said your subject matter should speak to customers, not just bloggers.

    John Hoffs last blog post..How To Buy A House Like A Real Estate Investor: Part 3 – More On Dealing With Down Payments

  2. Barbara,

    Thank you for another thought provoking post. I learnt how difficult it is the hard way on Xomba – there’s a lot of people making big promises on there, but I wonder how many of them really are making big money. I’ve yet to make $20 from my Xomba articles.

    I’ve also learnt that people promising that you will make money are always trying to sell you something. They tend to want you to buy what they have to offer, not to make any real money. If you start making money, then you’ll be competition for them.

    The best thing about blogging so far is the people I’m meeting – so many wonderful people with such diverse interests and ideas.

    David | beplayfuls last blog post..Best of April (with link love)

  3. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I never had any ideas of grandeur of making money from ads. I’ve put Google AdSense on recently and plan on adding Linkshare. I will not pay anyone to make big money. It’s all a pyramid scheme like the stuffing envelope gigs. It still holds: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If I make a few pennies from ads, great but I’m not going to put a lot of time and effort into it. I prefer to place ads for people I know and support them.

    AdSense has put some good ads on my blog so far, but I’ve also had some for Peanuts! You warned me about that one. I just laugh. Oh well, I’ve seen some for Down syndrome so that makes it worth it.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Easier Said Than Done

  4. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Ive been there done that with the ads..didn’t earn too much, wasted more time. Now I just set up a virtual mall, no content and I leave it there. I don’t change too many links and it has made me some money, but not enough for me to quit my day job.

    Are you blogging for dollars? If so, is it working? No. No.

    Have you discovered a great way to make money with a blog? No

    Or are you like me, and the money part of blogging has lost it appeal?
    Yeah…when you chase money, you never catch it..do work you love and the money will come to you.

  5. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John,

    If I factor in the time I spent working with ads + the time I spend writing, editing, maintaining my blogs, + researching + social networking+ answering emails + visiting other blogs + commenting on other blogs+ checking stats +thinking about what I’m going to write about, +++, I figure I made about $0.12 per hour. (Or less) Hahahaha

    You’re right, we do have to start somewhere.

    With your blog/business, you’re the new kid on the block. I don’t know what the time line is to start seeing success with an online business, but I’m guessing as with blogging, that doesn’t happen overnight either.

    In the meantime, you are providing your blog readers with value packed posts, so your name is getting out there.

    Hi David,

    I haven’t heard about Xomba.

    Yes, often you do see someone saying “I made big bucks”, “just sign up under me, and you can too, blah, blah, blah…”

    Like you, the people I’ve met has made blogging priceless.

    Hi Debbie,

    You’re right. A lot of the programs are the old “pyramid” schemes. They won’t say they are, but if you look at how they work, they are.

    AdSense isn’t bad, It just kinda sits there and doesn’t become too distractive. They are pretty good about inserting appropriate ads and the pennies do add up.

    Hi Natural,

    Your idea about having a virtual mall is a good idea. It’s something I’ve thought about, but now just have to find the time to set one up. Linkshare and Commission Junction so have some good clients, so it would be easy to promote the big name “stores” that I know are good.

    As always, you aced another assignment. :)

  6. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I do make some fairly decent cash on my websites, but not on my blog. I don’t really advertise that much on it yet, as I’m trying to build a brand. And I did try Google Adsense on it initially but I just didn’t get the clicks I got on my sites.

    Whether on a blog or a website, it’s worth bearing in mind that you should try to stick to only one or two affiliate companies initially. As you’ve said – it’s quite difficult to reach the minimum amount of commission paid out initially and if you spread yourself too thinly, it can be almost impossible.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..The Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Life

  7. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    As someone who is fairly new to blogging, I certainly haven’t made a fortune :), but I believe it is possible to make a lot of money at it. Obviously, Darren at Problogger has done it. I would think the best way to do it is to learn from him and impliment the things he teaches, all the while of course, being TOTALLY true to your unique self and voice.

    Blogging about products or services you are passionate about I think is a big key. Obviously being pushy or blogging about something for the purpose of making money will likely get you nowhere, but for me, I am very passionate about certain types of books that have changed my life, so I blog about them. Leaving a link to Amaazon for that book allows others to purchase that book if they choose.

    I can definately see how search engine traffic would be a key thing here as it brings in traffice from people who are actually searching for what you have to offer.

    I have an idea of how to make money blogging, but I don’t know that I am ready to throw it out there yet. Probably the best way to find out would be to follow my blog.

    Jennifers last blog post..Welcome! Come on in and Relax…

  8. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I’ve noticed you don’t advertise much on your blog, but that’s great that your websites are bringing in some money.

    What I find with blogging and trying to make money. just to blog (and all that comes the that) is very time consuming. Then when you try to add the “make money” concept into the mix, you run out of time (or at least I do).

    Hi Jennifer,

    Yes, there are bloggers out there who have done extremely well, and Darren is one of them. I’ve read he has multiple sites and I do believe that’s part of it too. I don’t remember is he ever disclosed how much money Problogger brings in (on its own).

    I do like how Amazon works, although I don’t “push” a lot of books (although they also have tons of other products, too). They have made a great name for themselves, so being affiliated with them could be very beneficial.

    You know I follow your blog, so I’ll patiently wait for your idea. :)

  9. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not sure if he has disclosed an amount from Problogger or not, but these are interesting posts related to our discussion if anyone is interested. Can’t say I have thouroughly devoured them, but lots of good info there if anyone is interested:
    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/12/06/how-bloggers-make-money-from-blogs/
    http://www.problogger.net/make-money-blogging/
    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/21/should-i-blog-for-money/
    There’s also plenty more on his site.

    Jennifers last blog post..Welcome! Come on in and Relax…

  10. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for sharing your finds.

  11. HarmonyNo Gravatar says:

    Having been a marketing and business consultant for many years, I am all too aware of the challenges of making a go of any business.
    Barbara, I think you have stated what the majority of bloggers, and website owners would say, and the big money is the exception. (Or in this case, ANY MONEY. :-) But it’s the same in business anywhere.

    Jennifer mentioned ProBlogger and I agree, he and some others have had significant success. But, have you seen how many times A DAY they post? How many joint ventures they do with others? How they stay on top of the latest and greatest…meaning hours of searching on the net a day?

    The ads will never pull huge dollars, or Google for that matter, unless the traffic is maximized, and in the blogger world, that means posting.
    It is also the reason for all the news blasts lately on blogger burn out and stress, with increased illness seen in professional bloggers.

    Just some thoughts. Great article. THANK YOU for being a tireless blogger. :-)

    Harmonys last blog post..Are You BIG Enough To Take Up Space?

  12. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Harmony,

    Well said. And yes, the big name bloggers are posting more times a day than I can imagine doing.

    Blogger burnout and stress? Definitely a side effect of blogging that often goes unmentioned.

    Thank you for sharing and for the kind words.

  13. Yes blogging for money is tough but it can be done. I am lucky to be in a “niche” field where the things I write about are also highly search engine friendly.

    I am having a hard time writing for the search engines though. Call me stubborn.

    Dr. Nicole Sundenes last blog post..What is in Your Wellbeing Toolbox?

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    Yes, you would have a terrific niche.

    As much as we are not suppose to “write for search engines”, in order to get found, it almost becomes essential to so do it to some degree.

    BTW: I like your new avatar.

  15. @Barbara -

    As Leo @ Zenhabits says – We shall not write with making money as a motive. In reality, it is hard for someone not to ignore the monetizing factor of blogging. I do agree with Leo that, in order to be successful, writing content from heart and keeping your readers’ interest in mind is the key to success. Money shall follow the trail eventually.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.coms last blog post..3 Simple Steps to Kindle Your Inner Fire

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Shilpan,

    Yes, it is true, when we do that which we love (whether blogging or anything else), the money will follow.

    Writing with money as a motive can stifle our creativity and can show through in our posts, as well.

  17. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I think you hit the nail on the head there – the time that blogging takes can be a huge barrier to making money. But you can stick a website on the Internet and make a few hundred dollars a month without ever updating it again, even with very little traffic (mind you, this depends on the site).

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..The Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Life

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Time needed to blog can detract us from other money making endeavors, even from full time jobs. It appears balance is the key.

    And you’re right, some websites do “just sit there” and make money for it’s owner – niche and traffic counts are probably key.

  19. Barbara…
    Thanks for taking the time to document one year blogging and the frustrations you’re having. I get bogged down trying to figure out the magic formula for making a living at this. I am new to Associated Content, but with tweaking and learning about SEO, my earnings continue to improve. Have you tried this yet? If not, let me know and I can send you a private e-mail to walk you through what I’ve learned so far.

    Adrienne Jenkinss last blog post..Free Retail Rewards Scam Legitimate or Too Good to Be True

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Adrienne,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    The “magic formula?” Is there really one? I do know SEO is important, so maybe you can share some light on that for me. I’ll email you.