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Making Money From A Blog – December Recap

written by John Chow on January 1, 2007

Secure Affiliate Marketing

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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