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Making Money From A Blog – December Recap

written by John Chow on January 1, 2007

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

Bad Holiday Traffic, Happy Holiday Income

December isn’t the best time for the year when it comes to Internet traffic. People are thinking about gifts and spending time with family than surfing the Internet. As a result of the holidays, the blog received just 94,697 visitors and 184,640 page views. This is well off the 217,876 unique visitors and 329,853 page views posted in November.

With traffic down by over 145,000 page views, you think income would be down by a proportionate amount. However, I’m happy to report that despite the huge drop in traffic, the blog still beat the record $2,123.93 November income. Here is the December earnings breakdown.

  • Google AdSense: $693.36
  • Vibrant IntelliTXT: $420.73
  • TTZ Media: $152.91
  • Text Link Ads: $508.50
  • FeedBurner Ads: $345.60
  • ReviewMe: $200
  • Direct Ad Sales: $105.00
  • Affiliate Sales: $195.00
  • Free Stuff: $168.95
  • Grand Total: $2,790.05

Traffic went down by 44% but income went up by 30%. If you look at the eCPM stats, the number looks even more impressive. Back in October, blog eCPM was just $3.77. That improved to $6.49 for November. The December eCPM hit a record $15.11, for 400% increase over October! How did I pull this off?

More Revenue Sources

As you can see from the above list, the blog derives its revenue from quite a few sources. When this blog was first monetized, its sole source of income was Google AdSense. Since then I have been adding other ad networks and affiliate programs into the mix. Ad networks that I joined in November started kicking in December. FeedBurner went from $57.14 to $345.60, Text Link Ads (aff) went from $30.00 to $508.50, ReviewMe went from $50.00 to $200.00, and direct ad sales went from zero to $105.00.

I also sold five SEO Book (aff) and signed up two Text Link Ads (aff) advertisers to make $195.00 in affiliate sales. I’m actually quite surprise at how well affiliate marketing works on this blog. In addition, I received $168.95 of free stuff. These are non-cash items, but I wouldn’t have received them if I didn’t run the blog, so I added them to the revenue total. The free stuff I received was a copy of the $79.00 SEO Book and an $89.95 kissing comforter.

If I had stuck with only Google AdSense, the blog would have made just $693.36 instead of $2,790.05. It is a mistake to put all your eggs in Google’s basket. You should always be on the lookout for other ways to monetize your site. However, it’s also important not to go overboard with the advertising. You need to find that balance which will give you maximum return and still give a good user experience.

Some so call gurus will tell you that adding more advertising won’t increase income – that it will only spread out the same income over more sources. This is not true! It has never been true. If you’re running one AdSense unit on your blogs, then try increasing it to three. I guaranteed you’ll make more money. If you’re already at the maximum number of AdSense units, then look at other complimentary advertisings and affiliate programs to add to it. The new ads will not take income away from the old ads.

Digg out, Google In

dec07.jpg

In October, Google accounted for just 4.8% of blog traffic. That improved to 8.48% in November and 26.16% in December. During this same period, Digg traffic went from 50% down to 2.81%. This is both good and bad. It’s bad in a sense that I lose a very big traffic source – it was Digg that put this blog on the map. It’s good because a Google user is worth a lot more than a Digg user. Traffic from Google is much easier to monetize because Google users click lots of ads, where as Digg users tries to block the ads.

You can see this by looking at the Google AdSense stats. In October, Digg accounted for 50% of traffic and the blog made $740.01 from AdSense with 360,967 page views. In December, Google accounted for a 26% of traffic and the blog made $693.36 from Google with just 184,640 page views. Even though traffic was down by over 145,000 page views, the blog made almost the same amount from Google AdSense because Digg users don’t click on Google ads – most of them won’t even see the ads.

While it’s nice to see Google’s share of traffic increasing, I always get nervous when it gets too high because when you live by the Google, you can die by the Google. Right now, I have nothing to be worry about because while the percentage of Google traffic has gone up, so has the percentage of the direct traffic (from 15.56% in November to 25.59%). That means many people coming from Google are book marking the blog. It also means the reader base is growing.

The problem with Digg is it can mess up growth measurements. You may not be able to repeat the Digg, so the growth is temporary. A better way to measure growth is by home page entries because those are coming from the reader base. In October, the blog received 37,135 visits to the home page. This improved to 46,492 visits in November and 48,824 in December. So, while total traffic maybe down, the blog did experienced real growth.

Lessons Learned

The blog is now making what most people would consider full time income. At $2,800 a month, most bloggers would be able to quit their job and concentrate on their blog full time. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t be able to do this if you just run Google AdSense. The most important lesson to keep in mind when it comes to monetizing a blog is the revenue mix. Find ad sources that will compliment each other and they’ll add to your overall income. Do not put all you advertising eggs in one basket.

Thanks to constant tweaking of the revenue mix, this blog makes $15.11 for every 1,000 page views. How much does your blog make from 1,000 page views? If you’re running just Google Adsense, chances are it’s no where near $15.11.

I wonder if I can break $3,000 in blog revenue for January? You’ll find out next month.

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{ 92 comments }

Alex Becker January 1, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Happy to see you making some good money of the blog and I’m sure you will beat $3000

Tony January 1, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Well there’s a lot involved. Feedburner ad network, and ReviewMe have high entry requirements. Actually it’s been mentioned before that Google’s AdSense is pretty much the only option for small blogs (though I’d personally suggest to work on your content and exposure, rather than getting $10/month, possibly because you spam your friends with links).

Feedburner is exceptionally awesome, because you get ads out to RSS only subscribers, who would not even see AdSense.

Once accepted into ReviewMe, it’s easy to make a noticable contribution reguardless of any traffic drops, and could actually serve as a nice buffer during slower months like December.

With traffic bouncing back up in January, I’m sure that John will be able to break $3000. Good luck!

Kenric January 2, 2007 at 12:00 am

Thanks for posting this John. I’m starting to post mine for every month now. I’m not looking to make a ton of money, it’s more for the challenge.

Posting my revenue will keep me honest so I can’t hide a bad month.

Although I’m nowhere near your $$, it’s always interesting to review and analyze numbers and see where you can improve. I’m going to look for other revenue streams this month.

Raghu January 2, 2007 at 1:13 am

John,

Firstly congratulations on beating the November $$ figure with a much lesser traffic. Hopefully with the traffic coming back in Jan the only way your $$ number can go is probably upwards.

Still the biggest problem for me is that my traffic is really too small to try many of the options you mention and Google Adsense is pretty much the only option.

I had requested earlier too will request again….

Although your site is a high traffic one, most of the readers of your blog are probably not close to your traffic numbers. Start a series where you can provide your thoughts on how people can get a stable readership and then start thinking about revenue and revenue mix etc !

John Chow January 2, 2007 at 1:16 am

Raghu – That is an excellent idea for a blog series! Thank you. I will work on that.

StrangeProgress January 2, 2007 at 1:43 am

Awesome John – its these type of real world overview posts that I like best about your blogging. Individually, the pieces of information are generally already known to me, but it helps to see the bigger picture like this (especially as it progresses month by month).

I’d welcome further traffic building ideas as well.

I’m sure you’ll pass the $3000 mark in Jan also.

Matt

Leftblank January 2, 2007 at 2:12 am

Impressive John, very, very impressive! Your growth (and income) is something the majority of us can only dream about. Full time blogging… the ultimate challenge ;)

I’m also pretty interested in what Raghu suggested; having an amount of articles on how to create a reader base would be interesting – having great ads without having visitors just doesn’t cut it ;)

Tony January 2, 2007 at 2:26 am

I would also welcome a series towards smaller blogs. Personally I’m more interested in improving my writing, and building up a solid blog, which should be the basics to focus on before monetizing anyways.

feverinlove January 2, 2007 at 2:34 am

I make about 400$ a month from 5 of my different sites. But I cant find any good CPA offer networks to signup for. Could you make a post about it?

HMTKSteve January 2, 2007 at 3:01 am

Great job with the income.

It looks like the Digg banning may have lowered your overall number of visitors but those folks block ads anyways!

Gdog January 2, 2007 at 3:25 am

Nice work…inspiring to the rest of us.

anon January 2, 2007 at 3:29 am

i think you forget john that most people who have adsense cannot add intellitxt like you.

Andy January 2, 2007 at 3:38 am

Great Job John\
Congrats on the Traffic/Revenue

feverinlove January 2, 2007 at 3:41 am

and by the way, John is going to make hell lot more when AGLOCO viewbar comes out. I have only 13 direct referrals :p

Simon Collins January 2, 2007 at 3:46 am

John, thanks again for sharing your figures and I hope the steady growth continues. One thing I’m curious about is roughly how much time each month you spend working on this blog to generate that sort of income. Knowing the hours to income ratio would make it easier for me to compare it to working full time for a salary.

Thomas Walker January 2, 2007 at 4:10 am

Well done John, I can only see income rising again in January. Raghu made a great proposition, I’m sure that would help a lot of people.

Michael January 2, 2007 at 4:11 am

All I can say is WOW!

Last month my BLOGs made $18.

Keep up the good work and Happy New Year.

Michael

MillionDollarJourney.com January 2, 2007 at 4:20 am

Hey John!

Congrats on reaching all time highs in your personal blog income. It really helps us keep perspective on how much we can potentially make on our blogs.

FT
http://www.milliondollarjourney.com

HMTKSteve January 2, 2007 at 4:56 am

I know what you mean by living/dieing by Google traffic.

Right now, if you search Google for “Star Wars Rose Bowl” One of the entries on my site is about number 3 on the search results. This entry was written by a friend of mine who is the webmaster for the 501st (a Star Wars regiment of real people.)

If you search for “Pokemon Ranger Manaphy Egg” I am the top result.

I know nothing about SEO and Google says my page rank is zero (some sites say -1) so I’m guessing there is some other reason I’m getting top billing in search?

Nomar January 2, 2007 at 5:04 am

Amazing earnings John, really inspiring, damn thats alot

Seopher January 2, 2007 at 5:21 am

John,

astonishing figures there my friend, $15 for every 1,000 visitors? I’m not getting anywhere near that much – managing only $7 from 5,500 visitors (roughly).

I think you’ve prompted me to try shifting things around!

Happy new year, this year, I want to do a John Chow

Carl January 2, 2007 at 5:35 am

I think I know what John is going to say about building traffic:

CONTENT IS KING.

Nothing else matters.

BTW I think we know who ‘anon’ is now ;)

Leftblank January 2, 2007 at 5:35 am

HMTKSteve, having a high pagerank doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be ranked at the top, it’s only a factor of x percent, the actual match with the keywords might be just as important, or even more for that matter.

Nomar January 2, 2007 at 5:59 am

Content is Silver, Links are KING

Jeremy Steele January 2, 2007 at 5:59 am

You deserve every penny of your earnings.

Nomar January 2, 2007 at 6:07 am

by the way, in january you will definatly beat the 3,000 mark

Dave Jackson January 2, 2007 at 6:10 am

John – the remark about adding more Google ad blocks is simply not true. Experience will show that over time, fewer ad blocks out perform the maximum given that the initial ad block is properly placed.

Dave Jackson
monetizethis.blogspot.com

Stew January 2, 2007 at 6:35 am

Just curious with one stat: whats with IntelliTXT? How many people are actually interested in the ads they provide? Most of them are just “Search Ask.com for Blah”. I’m running them on one of my blogs as well and was surprised to see that people actually click them.

Secondly, congratulations on the revenue PR. I’m going to give some new revenue sources a whirl.

Stew January 2, 2007 at 6:37 am

Sorry to repost, just had a second question. Can you release your stats for IntelliTXT? I’m using Kontera , not IntelliTXT and would like to compare numbers to see which is more profitable.

Please consolidate my post if necessary. Thanks John.

HMTKSteve January 2, 2007 at 6:40 am

John,

Could you do a new post on each of your revenue streams and what they require of the web site to become a member?

Tyler January 2, 2007 at 6:42 am

Hey John great recap for decemeber.

I would be just as happy if I could earn a 10th of what you did.

I know my blog is relatively new and it’s information is sporatic. I am definately not a great writer either, but I guess I need to figure out a niche I can use on my blog eh?

Now one thing I’ve noticed is alot of the traffic on my site has been from links I have in signature forms. I have a php created image that I use in my signature to display the top 3 most recent posts. I also noticed most of my traffic comes from the various blog contents I’ve signed up for.

What do people suggest to increase traffic? I understand content is king, and I need more content. Writing skills would be something to enhance as well. My PR among Google will increase when I get a better flow of traffice correct? It’s stuck at 1, which I assume means I am still in their imaginary SandBox.

As for Stew’s comment about IntelliTXT, I acidently click on them. They pop up and freak me out so my instinct is to click on them ;) Actually when I am skimming over an article and they use IntelliTXT in it, I tend to accidently click on words occationally .

Gdog January 2, 2007 at 8:02 am

Carl: Who is ‘anon’??

ketyung January 2, 2007 at 8:40 am

It’s really great that your blog has brought you so much on ads income. I wish my new blog I could make as what you can one day :)

Carl January 2, 2007 at 8:55 am

I don’t have the link anymore, but someone blogged about john running google and intellitxt.. apparently they tried to report him for it, and they told him to F off ;)

BTW this isn’t the only site that Google allows this.

HMTKSteve January 2, 2007 at 9:34 am

I often have the same problem with the intellitxt ads.

They just pop-up and it takes some doing to make them go away!

Thomas Walker January 2, 2007 at 9:38 am

You’ve done a good job of diversifying blog income anyway. And traffic I guess. That’s the key to monetization, right? Diversifying your income?

Tony January 2, 2007 at 10:22 am

@HMTKSteve Re: Google PR

Google’s public PR is update once in a while.. I hear 3 months? Apparently John’s is… 2? That’s got to be way out of date.

Allen.H January 2, 2007 at 11:35 am

Man, if i had $10 CPM i would have made $7000! nice work John!

Anyway, isn’t using IntelliTXT and Adsense on the same page is forbidden according to the latter’s TOS?

Allen.H

Tony January 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm

@Allen – yes, but John is a special case where advertisers are looking for him, instead of it being the other way around. Thus Google would allow some exceptions in order to remain on John’s page.

Remember, $700 John makes from AdSense is $175~$700 (20~50%?) profit for Google.

There was a post/comment about this somewhere.

Alex Becker January 2, 2007 at 1:07 pm

yea once you have a certain pagerank advertisers start looking for you

Indian Recipes January 2, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Excellent Recap John !!

Edgar January 2, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Any tips how you get so much traffic

Kenric January 2, 2007 at 1:59 pm

John,

On your numbers do you subtract the amount you spent on advertising expenses like Adwords?

Allen.H January 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm

@Tony: Well, i’m making X3 of John’s Adsense earnings per month, but still there’s not much “consideration” made by Google.

Allen.H

Leftblank January 2, 2007 at 3:12 pm

@Tony I do know that AdSense is allowed to be combined with non-content specific ads on the same page, I’m not sure what IntelliTXT serves exactly, but the other ads (text-link-adS) are allowed by Google’s policy.

And like Allen.H says, Google doesn’t change their policy much, not even for bigger players I’m afraid.

Allen.H January 2, 2007 at 3:16 pm

The do however, change it for brand names, known names in the industry, people with authority, hence allowing John to combine them both.

Allen.H

Anon4 January 2, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Right now I’m making ~$200/month on about $3/cpm with google adsense. This post convinces me that diversification is best. Thanks

John Chow January 2, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Dave Jackson – Then stick with one ad block. My experience shows differently? I’ve only been at this since AdSense started.

Stew – My deal with IntelliTXT is on a flat CPM. This deal is only available to large publishers.

Allen.H – Using IntelliTXT and AdSense on the same page is forbidden by the Google TOS, but I’m special and Google really likes me. :)

Kenric – The income is before advertising. I didn’t spend much. I think $100, but I do plan to expand advertsing this month.

StrangeProgress January 2, 2007 at 6:10 pm

Just thought I’d mention that today I saw a Google Video ad embedded in this post for the first time. I don’t recall seeing them on your blog prior to today.

It definitely got my attention!

Matt

Ismu Surizan January 2, 2007 at 6:45 pm

[Thanks to constant tweaking of the revenue mix, this blog makes $15.11 for every 1,000 page views. How much does your blog make from 1,000 page views? If you’re running just Google Adsense, chances are it’s no where near $15.11.]

Last month I could get around $12.55 for every 1,000 pageviews from Adsense ONLY as I do not have any other source of income. TLA and others rejected my blogs :(

my problem is, I can only get around 500 – 600 page views per DAY from 4 blogs … hiks … :(

I just need more traffic …
I have done everything I know about SEO but still traffic so low … :(

dale January 2, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Nice but it only works if you have the traffic,its no secret you need the traffic simple as that..

Michael Kwan January 2, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Great work John. It’s amazing that you can make a full-time income from “just” a blog. It’d be different if John Chow dot com was a “news blog” like Engadget, Joystiq, etc.

soj January 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm

john, what can you suggest doing in regards to blogging, i dont seem to blog enough, mainly because i dont know what to blog about. do you just have this natural talent to know what to write about, or do you get your content from peoples questions and emails?

Alex Becker January 2, 2007 at 9:28 pm

I look about the internet for my content

Thilak January 2, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Low Traffic, more earnings ?

You must have done some optimisation to your ads. BTW, does adsense allow intellitxt to be placed along with adsense ads ?

John Chow January 2, 2007 at 9:49 pm

It never fails. Every time I post an earnings recap, people ask about IntelliTXT and AdSense.

The answer for the 14th times is NO, you can not have IntelliTXT with AdSense. How can I do it? Because I’m John Chow!

If you need a more detail explanation, read this: http://moneyties.blogspot.com/2006/12/adsense-bifurcated-system.html

Ian Feavearyear January 26, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Of course, since the Program Policy changes, you know can use IntelliTxt or Kontera alongside AdSense!

Ian

Andrew January 2, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Very informative and helpful, thank you for the posting! Your articles are great for bringing referrals from all of us loyal readers.. Keep up the great work!

dacholo January 2, 2007 at 11:46 pm

thanks for your info and analysis as always. already shaping up to a great 2007! :)

alzack January 2, 2007 at 11:50 pm

You made me want to follow your foot steps….Really admire your art of work…

Tyler January 3, 2007 at 6:52 am

I love this:

“..How can I do it? Because I’m John Chow!…”

Hey John, how does JohnChow.com’s ad revenue match up against TTZ’s ad revenue?

Nomar January 3, 2007 at 7:02 am

hehe, I think TTZ ad revenue is HUGE

Dominique January 27, 2007 at 12:19 am

John chow, keep the good work up. I know your make the 3k soon. Good luck!
http://dkrockworld.blogspot.com

Stacy January 3, 2007 at 7:48 am

Love this blog. I just stumbled upon it because I am monitoring the word CHOW through Google for my “real” employment. I have always wondered how the advertising works and you provide easy to understand explanations.

I’m thinking of starting a non-profit org and one of my goals would be to eventually support its web site through advertising.

Thanks.

Tony January 3, 2007 at 10:31 am

well how about comparing eCPM of JohnChow vs TTZ ?

John Chow January 3, 2007 at 11:11 am

The eCPM at TTZ is higher than JohnChow.com. I have stated this in a blog post before; The revenue TTZ generates makes the income from JohnChow.com look like tip money. This is one of the reasons I give it away.

Leftblank January 3, 2007 at 11:58 am

Well John, you are one smart, and lucky, guy to have jumped in – with the right handling – at the right moment. Like I’ve said before, I can only wish I could consider these amounts ‘pocket money’, and with me a lot of people, I’m afraid ;)

Hannes January 3, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Good post John. I’m definitely going to try adding more revenue sources to my websites.

But it looks like Vibrant IntelliTXT only accept websites that get 500,000 page views per month. Can you recommend any other similar services for people that haven’t quite reached that level yet?

Also, do you know if the 500,000 page views have to come from a single domain or if it can be the total of all the websites that you own?

Andy January 3, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Johnc what are the best performing adds on TTZ

Tony January 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm

I’m kind of interested in how IntelliTXT would measure those 500,000 page views without installing their own counter for a test-run period?

John Chow January 3, 2007 at 8:24 pm

IntelliTXT’s 500K page view requirement is based on one domain. You can not combined a bunch of sites to get the 500K. However, once you have one site in, it’s possible to add another site that is below 500K.

The best performing ads on TTZ are the TTZ Media ads.

StrangeProgress January 3, 2007 at 10:20 pm

I’ve just blogged about an interesting new ad delivery system which Adbrite is now Beta testing.

Ads embedded in your videos, which can then be shared around and embedded anywhere – which still return revenue to the original video creator.

Matt

Tony @ ProductCritic January 3, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Fantastic post. Besides allowing intellitxt ads to coincide with adsense (because you’re John Chow), my understanding was that you were not allowed to discuss adsense revenue. Is this also a “because I’m John Chow” thing?

Since starting a blog (ProductCriticBlog) last month (not as a revenue source but as a follow-up to my product review site), what I’ve been amazed by is organic growth of a site as long as you concentrate on the content and making it useful for people. Forget about monetization is you don’t have the content and the proper intent down pat.

Given that I just started last month, I won’t be in a position to use your advice for awhile but great information for the rest of us.

Tony @ ProductCritic.com

soeren onez January 4, 2007 at 4:30 am

I can not believe, you can live from your blog. I am a small german blogger, earning about 50 Dollar a month. I should write in english, maybe inside there would be a chance. Your page is really a positive shock for all bloggers i think. Greetings

Raghu January 4, 2007 at 9:34 am

As John says we cannot use the intelliTXT thing – are there any options and given that I am not generating any great revenue would appreciate if anything is free. I installed some similar thing from Kontera but that does not seem to work at all

Raghu

TJP January 7, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Nice recap, John.

Your comprehensive report is proof that multiple income sources are the way to go. I’ve only been blogging for 3 months, and am finally receiving to text links ads and the FAN network.

Your blog is one of the main reasons why I’m beginning to “Get” this whole monetization deal.

Keep up the good work, and go easy on the slots in Vegas!

tony January 7, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Hmm.. One who is using adsense only can increase their revenue fourfold right away! COOL

adrian January 8, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Your blog has inspired me to try and do the same. Here is my site:

http://moneymakingquest.blogspot.com

Leo Paiva January 13, 2007 at 10:41 pm

John,

I hope you beat 10.000 bucks :)

You have a great blog!

Leo

katar January 14, 2007 at 5:48 am

it’s goog i want to try.

Jane January 14, 2007 at 7:10 pm

It’s great to see that you don’t realy on just one avenue for income. You have a diverse system to bring in income and should be mirrored in others’ blogs. I know I intend to once the content is there.

Internet Cash January 21, 2007 at 7:21 am

I have just started and have been focusing mostly on AdSense for revenue, your post opened my eyes to other possibilities.

To be sure I will be combing over your site for ideas and inspiration.

Thanks.

Christeen tomal January 21, 2007 at 10:12 pm

how can i make it as a begginer?

Rahmi January 22, 2007 at 12:43 pm

this very very god

fatjon January 23, 2007 at 12:23 am

o pis pse spom fol ne msn ajt ajt ej a po e bojna hanerin e historis te shtuneeun a????

mari January 23, 2007 at 12:38 am

this is such a good business opportunity! :)

rennaissance January 26, 2007 at 9:13 am

marvellous

7jeff13 January 27, 2007 at 9:34 am

Wow, I have had ideas but I never pursue because I dont have a clear cut plan how to execute? Mr. Chow how do I get started (inexpensively) Right now I’m low on cash but big on ideas, mostly informational stuff from my experiences hence the blog angle. Thank You.

Sandy Rusadi January 28, 2007 at 2:55 am

hmm how do i start to make money?

scott January 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

what do you think of stormpay? where you don’t need to use credit cards?

marko.misura January 31, 2007 at 10:55 pm

you are the best

kristine February 2, 2007 at 4:31 am

wow!. i want to earn also using my website. pls help me.