Have you ever thought about starting a blog, but quickly dismissed the idea because you figured the market was already saturated? I understand why you would think that. After all, think about how many personal finance blogs there are out there! Anyone that has paid off some debts automatically think they’re an expert and has their own blog. Search for “personal finance blogs” on Google and you’ll get 696,000,000 results! So what are the odds that someone is going to stumble upon your blog if you start one? Is it still worth trying to make money with a blog today?
The Market When I First Started
This blog was born in August of 2010, and at that time there were already some very prominent blogs out there that had been alive and running for 10+ years. In fact, some of them had already grown their subscribers to over 100,000 subscribers! There were thousands of personal finance blogs that existed when I first came onto the scene, but many of them have fizzled, while mine is still thriving. How did this happen? Three reasons:
- I had a passion for finance and was going to write about it even if no one knew my site existed
- I enjoy writing and feel like my posts are simple enough that anyone can enjoy it
- I didn’t do it for the money
There are so many people out there that think they’re going to make thousands of dollars in the first few months of starting their blog. This just doesn’t happen, so naturally these people get discouraged and move onto something else that might earn them some quick cash. Their sites die from inactivity.
There are still others that love to put their thoughts onto their blog, but they do not have a skill for writing. Their sentences are choppy and are difficult to read, so first time visitors rarely make their way back to the site.
One of the biggest reasons blogs don’t make it is because the owners don’t truly have a passion for what they’re writing about. The only reason they selected their topic is because they thought it would be a good money maker. The average blog doesn’t make money for the first 6 months – it’s very challenging to write about something that you don’t have any interest in for that long.
Where the Money Used to Come From
Just over a year ago, my blog was absolutely booming. I had quite a few new visitors and advertisers were contacting me left and right. My income soared to over $3,000/month, but there was just one problem, most of this income was from direct ads. Companies would want to get their link on my site, so they would pay me for either a sidebar link, a banner, or a sponsored post. These direct ads only took about 10 minutes to put up, and I typically earned about $400 per ad – it was great!
So what was the problem? First of all, there was nothing regenerative about this income. Sure I might have a good month where 10 advertisers contact me and buy a space on my site, but the next month I might not hear from anyone, which means no money. Secondly, Google absolutely hates it when companies pay for links on other sites since it makes the company look better than they actually are (with all the links that are pointing to their sites). So, the big G decided to penalize many of these companies and sites that actively deal with direct advertising. Needless to say, many bloggers (including myself), no longer accept direct ads because they’re afraid of a Google Rank smack down.
So Do Bloggers Even Make Money Anymore?
There are some bloggers that are finding it difficult to earn a living with their blogs these days since they were highly dependent on direct advertising. Fortunately for me, I have other sources of revenue so it didn’t have any dramatic change on my life, but there are still ways to earn an excellent income with a blog. Mainly, your largest income will come from affiliate ads.
Affiliate ads are advertisements that don’t pay out unless someone actually places an order. iPage (the ad seen on the left) pays affiliate money to bloggers that can sell their product (which in their case is webhosting). If someone wanted to start a site of their own, they could click on the banner and start their blog in a matter of minutes. Once they do so, I would receive a payment from iPage (at no extra cost to the buyer). This is how affiliate marketing works. So in order to do well with these ads, you’ll have to find some promotions that fit the niche of your site.
The other method on income that works well for some bloggers is Google AdSense. I use their ad services quite a bit because they deal with quite a few large companies that my readers recognize and relate with. The ads are often very relevant and are wholesome for any viewer that might be perusing my website. For me, these ads have recently earned me $100+, and I only expect this number to grow in the future.
Passion and Payout
If you plan on starting a blog, it’s very important to write about something that you’re passionate about. If you choose a topic because of the potential payout, you simply won’t last. I’ve seen it time and time again. But, you also need to make sure your passion will be profitable. For instance, there are topics that are completely normal and might attract a lot of readers, but if your topic isn’t of interest to advertisers, then the payout might be minimal. I’ve recently seen this with leadership. There are quite a few people in this world that aspire to be great leaders and might read your articles, but there aren’t a lot of leadership companies out there that are looking to find a site to host their ads. It could happen, but it’s a much more difficult find than if you had a finance related site. Here are the top paying topics according to Tech Crunch:
If you are passionate about one of these topics, I would say definitely go for it. The earnings could be huge!
Yes, It Can Be Done
While many think that the market for blogging is saturated, I still believe that there is a lot of money that can be made. All you have to do is write quality content, let others know that your site exists, and then just make sure that your site is good enough that people will want to keep coming back for more!
Are you currently making money with a site? Are you considering starting one?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.