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Blogging for dollars?

Each of us blogs for a reason: you might write to document your life, you might write to satiate your inner muse — constantly clamouring for your attention just at the side of your consciousness — you might post photos to help you learn more about that awesome digital camera you just got, you might make stop-motion claymation movies because you just couldn’t get enough of Wallace and Gromit, you might write because you just can’t stop, or, you might be working on building traffic to your site so that eventually, you might be able to earn some money from all that creativity flowing through your veins. Each of our reasons for blogging is as individual as we are and that’s one of the wonderful things about the internet and the blogosphere.

So let’s say you’re blogging your heart out and all the time, attention, thought, and effort you’ve put in to your writing and photography has earned you a loyal following. You’re active in the community, and the conversation going in in your comments section is so interesting, thoughtful, and stimulating, you call it a salon. This labor of love — your blog — has some legs. It’s getting significant traffic. Did you know that you may be able to earn a bit of income from your site? Enter WordAds.

The WordAds program is an advertising program for sites on WordPress.com. As a blog owner, you can apply to have your blog considered for the program which allows you to run ads on your blog and earn revenue from those ads. Got your interest piqued? There are some questions you may want to consider before applying to the WordAds program to place ads on your site:

  • What effect might ads have on your readers’ thoughts about your site?
  • What effect would ads have on your approach to your blog?
  • Would your site still be your labor of love if it becomes a vehicle for income?

For those of you who may already have WordAds on your site, what factors did you think about when you considered ads?

In general, do you view monetized blogs any differently than blogs that don’t have ads? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Tomorrow on Daily Post, we’re featuring Ten Questions with Jon Burke, the man behind the WordAds program. If you’d like to learn more in the meantime, check out WordAds.

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  1. Great post, Krista!
    I submitted my blog – Everything Wrong with Today’s Youth – for approval into the WordAds program around March-April of last year. I feel my feedback could actually be somewhat helpful to those working on WordAds because I know ewwty must have been among the first blogs accepted into the program given I applied within days of the application process being opened.
    I had never really considered the prospect of monetizing my blog until WordAds was announced, and didn’t think I was capable as a writer of attracting a monetizable level of traffic. I really only applied because my blog met all the basic requirements, but I didn’t think it was generating nearly enough traffic at the time to be accepted. To give my fellow Daily Post readers an idea of what level of traffic is considered sufficient for acceptance into WordAds, here are ewwty’s stats for the months leading up to its acceptance (these are, of course, from before WordPress.com tracked unique viewers as well):

    January 2012 – 3,296 views
    February – 5,438 views
    March – 4,526 views
    April – 4,016 views
    May – 5,038 views

    I’d be interested to know if anyone out there was accepted with less monthly traffic. I certainly didn’t think an average of less than 5,000 would suffice. But it did.
    The first month of displaying WordAds on ewwty.com, which was May 2012, garnered a grand total of $3.09. The fact that my blog generated even three dollars astounded me. It also had the residual effect of motivating me to produce higher quality content and to take blogging more seriously. It motivated me to learn a lot of useful stuff that every blogger should know; for instance, in the months that followed, I taught myself everything there is to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which in and of itself is a valuable skill to have in the world of online publishing.
    I did not consider the effect WordAds might have on my motivation as a blogger. Nevertheless, here is the effect that increase in motivation had on ewwty.com. The following is the monthly page view data from the first full month of displaying WordAds on:

    June 2012 – 6,937 views
    July – 10,919 views
    August – 11,172 views
    September – 13,780 views
    October – 23,580 views
    November – 30,948 views
    December – 34,418 views
    January 2013 – 52,387 views

    Mind you, this is obviously not a direct result of participating in WordAds, but rather the effect WordAds had on me as a blogger, and on the quality of my blogging efforts.
    I put some thought into how WordAds might affect the way viewers perceive my blog before applying, and came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t change anything. Not when the ads are so unobtrusive. If WordAds involved sleazy methods of online advertising such as pop-ups/unders or pages that force you to watch ten seconds of an ad before continuing to the next page, I would not have even considered participating. The way I see it – and I think this is how most consumers of online content see it as well – as long as the advertisements are presented such that they don’t get in the way of the viewer’s ability to access and navigate the website as they normally would, it’s unlikely your blog will be judged negatively for having them.
    I would definitely encourage every WordPress.com blogger out there to apply to WordAds, regardless of your level of traffic. You never know what you’ll wind up accomplishing as a blogger.

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  2. Great information….my blog right now is totally random…just like I am and i enjoy being a yapper on the interwebs….but i’ll be starting a new one that will have a specific focus…so ads might be worth looking into…

    Happy Bloggin’ Everyone!!!

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  3. I’m not sure I’m comfortable have a reflections site with advertisements sprinkled around. It kind of takes the seriousness out from the blog. I Don’t have much of a following, but the people I do follow are very precious to me and the one thing I strictly avoid following is a person whose blog is overflowing with advertisements or paid links. Till now that has been my way of differentiating the genuine bloggers from the others.

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  4. Consider this:

    Do the companies who have ads on the blogs get much more value than the blogger? If the blogger is only making a few bucks a month, but the ads generate hundreds of views, then who’s getting the better deal?

    Let’s say that the bloggers that want to monetize their blogs are hoping that they’ll generate enough interest/money that they can make a living off of it, so they’ll include ads hoping for that outcome. But are they being exploited with the hopes that they’ll look more legit, make good money, draw more viewers? Placing an ad on television is far more expensive than using the internet, and blogs specifically.

    Who’s benefiting more? The ones with the ads, or the bloggers? Or is it equal?

    Any thoughts?

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    1. Getting paid is nice. I would just keep doing what I do and let the advertisers do what they do. The wind will blow whether you have the sails on your boat unfurled or not. Each artists is the Captain of his destiny!

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    2. I love to think around corners. So let me start…

      I would say the winner here is wordpress.com due to the fact that now a lot of people think about renting a domain name because they dream of making a living from ads.. But at the end people will now pay for a domain unless they dont have already one, because you need this domain to apply to the ads program, but those will notice very earlie that you cant generate that much money with it to make a “living” of it.

      So the winner is clearly wordpress.com but also the companys who run the ad campaigns as you mentioned. It is simply cheaper for them than tv ads.

      But there comes another problem. Most of the experienced internet users today block ads with addons for firefox. So, the only thing happens hear is that wordpress.com sells domain names and that the ad companys get a “chance” to display their stuff. I think this is nice marketing for wordpress to sell domains and not much more.

      If you truly want to make money with a blog, then I bet it would be better to pay a host and setup your own wordpress so that you can do with it what ever you want to do. This will give you the chance to earn money not only with ads but also on other ways. And then it is your decision and your rules. It will also cost but the thing is you can then write your own rules and create your own campaing and strategy how you want to generate money.

      Dont see this as negative critism. It´s nice that wordpress.com gives the chance to make dollars with the blog, but I believe the winner is not the average blogger or user who joins in that program.

      When I see here that someone makes just 3 dollars with an average trafic of 7k… then I think there are way better ways to generate money from the traffic. But this would mean selfhosting to have no houserules.

      Greetings.

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  5. Great post! But I’ve always wondered why .wordpress.com bloggers can’t sign up to WordAds? Is it unfair for us to do so? Just wondering (my blog’s thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com by the way)…

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  6. That’s a valid insight! Very provocative – In all honesty, I do not see any difference between monetized blogging and blogging without ads. Nevertheless, I think that it’s a bonus to blog for dollars! Cheers

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  7. I am slowly building my “fan” base, but in the meantime, would love it if I could see a small amount of revenue to help offset the costs of my domain name, video software, etc… Maybe a small token each month I’m over 2,000 views?

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  8. I feel really uneasy about ‘selling’ my life via my blog, I have done nothing interesting, I have done nothing brave, I just write, if people like then they can come and read it for free. I also don’t wish people coming to view my normal life and be distracted by advertisements. Now here is the crucial question How much does advertiser A. pay WordPress to put adverts on your blog and how much does WordPress pay you for people clicking on it?

    I know on my photography site the company who host my domain pay me £12.50 for ever person who take hosting with them. Its not advertising its a link and the word ‘Need Hosting’ that is it.

    So to make £100 from WordPress by people clicking on adverts would take a long time and really is it worth it?

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  9. It is a good idea if you can choose which vendors you use and offer for sale items which would collate with your blog – i.e., I do education so I would want to offer books and other items that relate to education, history, founding fathers.

    Ads of other bloggers do not bother me unless I get to a page and the ads take on a vulgar or liberal/progressive tone.

    Maybe I will check it out and no it would not affect how and what I blog – I dislike Obummer, Jeb Bush and political parties in general so any ads I see do not necessarily affect me – it is like a radio or tv – you don’t like what you see or hear – don’t go back!

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