Last week Wednesday I started an experiment. Could my blog make me money?
I never initially intended to monetize my site, as I see it more as an outlet for my ideas, insights and ramblings. However, I keep reading about people making a living off their blogs and stories of others making a fortune. I’d always thought that real money from a site meant something more than a one man show, so the articles I was reading intrigued me.
Was there some truth to them or was it all marketing?
So, after 4 months of writing articles and building this site, I thought I’d see if I could make myself enough to buy a cup of coffee a week. My goal is to keep this up for the month of September and then conclude as to the pros and cons and decide whether I want to continue down this path or stop.
Did I make enough for a coffee?
Step 1: Setting up the advertising revenue stream
I tried Propeller Ads to start with, rather than Google AdSense and I was quickly disappointed. The ads that popped onto the website where as far from anything related to my site as they could be. Would someone reading this be interested in a working visa for Canada? Probably not. However, I left it to start with and quickly received a comment complaining about it.
So, I stripped out Propeller Ads and inserted Google AdSense. This was not before I was able to make $0.01 from Propeller Ads. Not enough for my weekly coffee, but a start.
I like their reporting interface and it was relatively easy to load it up, even though I had to read the instructions on how to integrate with my site twice.
After dropping Propeller ads, I quickly signed up for Google AdSense and added a block on the home page and 2 ad locations in each post. Is this overkill? I don’t like it that much, but as this is an experiment and I want that one cup of coffee a week, I thought I would try this approach for Week 1 at least.
After setting it up, I went and had a look at the Revenue per Page view and Revenue Per impression. They work in 1.000s, so what I was looking at was the revenue I would earn for 1.000 page views or 1.000 impressions. I was taken a bit aback as the RPM was $0.07, which meant I would generate 7 cents per 1.000 views. That’s not enough for my coffee!
I was doing something wrong to have such low RPM rates and I quickly realized that I needed to focus in the advertising on my niche. Having an open gate to all advertisers meant I was diluting my potential revenue as ads for clothes are probably much cheaper than for financial products, given the volume differentials.
I went into the settings and blocked ads from any industry that was not closely linked to my domain theme.
When I checked again, I saw that my RPM had gone up to $5, which was more reasonable, and which may help get me that cup of coffee.
Interestingly enough after logging out and then back in again, the RPM had come down. It seems to fluctuate each day and I’m seen RPM as high as $17. After a week of watching, I clearly still haven’t figured this part out.
I also signed up for an Amazon account and included some references to books I’m reading and further reading when I write an article that affords itself to follow up.
Step 2: Boosting traffic and marketing
The first 4 days of this month saw my traffic increase above that of my first month. After 12 days, traffic is at an all time high and I am already on my best month ever.
How did I do that?
Simply, I put time aside every day to focus on marketing. That mean, basically, the following:
– three to four tweets, two to three times a day.
– posting to my Facebook page twice a day
– commenting once a day on a new blog post that I’ve read
– Pinning three pictures to Pinterest every day
I even tried my hand at Medium, a publishing app for quality articles, but nothing came of that and I had 1 view of one of the two articles I put on it. I’m sure I need to create a network on the app by following people, but I haven’t yet put time into figuring it out. That’ll be on my list for the next week.
Step 3: Go buy a Coffee?
Propeller Ads gave me $0.01 as I mentioned above. I’ll never have access to that 1 cent and doubt they would transfer me the money, but for the purposes of this study, I’ll use it in my total.
Google AdSense total for the week was $1.50, so with Propeller Ads, I’m probably on a small cup of coffee.
Amazon Affiliates total for the month was $0. I had a few clicks on my links, but nobody bought anything.
Conclusion for the week
So, I earned a cheap cup of coffee this week!
However, advertising on the site seems a poor way to make my coffee money every week. At this rate, I’ll definitely be pulling all the advertising off the site in 3 weeks’ time. In addition, it is really ugly, and I don’t like the visual side of it and what it is doing to the site.
I haven’t got any further on getting paying content onto the site. The lead I had last week hasn’t yet come through. I intend to chase another two leads this week ahead, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m happy with the extra traffic my “marketing” activities are helping to generate. I’ve seen more visits than I’ve ever had and loads more comments as well, which is honestly the best part.
I’m looking forward to seeing how high I can drive traffic this month and all the extra things I’ll learn along the way.
Stay tuned for more updates and check out my twitter feed for intra-week updates too.