Two weeks ago, Wednesday, I started an experiment. Could my blog make me money?
As a reminder for those of you not following the experiment, I never intended to make money off my site. However, after continuing to read about people quitting their day jobs to focus entirely on the blog while travelling the world on jets, I thought I’d take a crack at seeing if a blog can generate money.
My goal for this experiment is to work hard in driving traffic to the blog and trying to find other ways to monetize it, with the lofty financial objective of trying to buy a cup of coffee each week.
During my first week I made a whopping $1.50, which can get me a cup of coffee. The first week was about setting up Adsense and creating a marketing strategy, with some initial tests to see what aspects where better than others in driving traffic.
So, for week 2, did I make enough for a coffee?
To answer that question, let’s start by looking at the various things I did over the past week and their results.
1. Marketing and traffic control
During my first week, I decided to put aside some time everyday to develop and test an approach to marketing my site. I didn’t create a detailed marketing strategy book, the likes of which I review every quarter at work, mine was much simpler. Basically, I was doing 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 blogpost that I’ve read
– Pinning three pictures to Pinterest every day
At the end of Week 1, I realized that each of these different approaches comes with different results.
Twitter is a good way of short burst marketing, but the tweets quickly disappear in amongst the myriad of shouting people on the platform, each one clambering to be heard. Nevertheless, I’ve found that Twitter can drive some decent traffic.
Facebook is all about having “friends” and Chief Money Man doesn’t have a lot of Facebook friends, despite it’s author having a decent global friend base. As I run this blog without advertising who I am – to distant it from my company and not to have people follow because of my career highlights- it hampers my ability to make friend’s on Facebook. I looked into Facebook Groups, but again, you can’t be “selling” a service like a blog, so my ability to use them is diminished and so Facebook hasn’t been good to me.
Commenting on other blogs is an approach other blogger’s have suggested and so I tried my hand at it to mixed results. A few sites managed to send traffic my way, but it wasn’t anywhere enough to fund my coffee.
On Pinterest I have shy of 6.000 unique visits a month to my profile, and 1.000 followers, but if I’m lucky about 0.01% of those visits find there way to my blog, so I continue to search for the silver Pinterest bullet.
The above have taken time and the results have been deceiving. However, I stumbled across one social media platform that resulted in a huge spike in traffic and significantly contributed to what is currently the best month ever!
What was it??
LinkedIn of all sources.
To be honest I cheated a bit on LinkedIn. I have 1000+ contacts on LinkedIn, which means my indirect network is massive. I shared four articles from my blog over the last week on LinkedIn and one of them generated over 2.000 views on LinkedIn and a lot of that traffic came over to my site.
While this has been satisfying for my traffic numbers, the readers from LinkedIn tend to stay on just the one article I share and not explore others. I haven’t seen any pick up on subscribers either.
I have also had a few contacts ask me if I am the Chief Money Man, which has been awkward, so I’ll use LinkedIn cautiously from now on.
However, it did teach me a good lesson: market to your target market! So obviously but so true. LinkedIn is a professional network of people looking to grow their businesses or progress their careers so sites about making money and career advancement tend to do well with that target market.
With my traffic for the month spiraling at x3 my usual average, let’s look at what made me money.
2. Making money for the week
I had a few clicks on the book links I shared but nobody bought anything, just like last week so amazon made me $0.00.
Adsense reports wildly erratic RPMs and RPCs and frankly I’ve given up trying to figure it out for lack of time. AdSense was my money spinner for the week, but sadly I didn’t have many clicks so the revenue for the week is largely viewing revenue which is shockingly low.
I made only $0.50 on AdSense for the week. That’s not enough for my weekly cup of coffee unfortunately.
So, no cup of coffee this week!
As I said last week, advertising on the site seems a poor way to make my coffee money. However, I’m sticking to this for another two weeks and keep making small tweaks to my approach. Stay tuned for more updates and check out my twitter feed for intra-week updates too.