Maybe quite a lot, and mostly not a lot.
“Huh?”, you say?
If you look at this “top bloggers” list, you may end up buying into the fantasy that blogging will make you big bucks.
Not every blog will make that kind of money. Actually, it would even be fair say, that less than a fraction (less than 1%) of all blogs will make big money. Maybe a little more than a fraction will make decent money. But 95% of all blogs will not make any money. Why? I think there are quite a few reasons.
In my new book “No Business Like E-Business” that is being released shortly, I quote figures from Guy Kawasaki, about his self-disclosed ad revenues on his extremely popular blog. Here is a snippet from the book:
Excerpt from “No Business Like E-Business”
Imagine blogging for a whole year, ending up with a very popular blog that has 23,457 subscribers, ranked #45 out of all blogs in the world, and earning (brace yourself) a whopping $3,350 for the entire year!
Now stop imagining – this stuff is real.
I’m talking about Guy Kawasaki’s blog (blog.guykawasaki.com). These statistics only prove my theory further, that:
- It is very hard to get tech-savvy folks to click on ads the way the average surfers (moms-and-pops) do.
- It is not easy making a living just by blogging.
I myself own a site targeted at moms-and-pops, and I made many, many times more than what Guy’s #45-ranked blog earned. And mine is a very small niche, and a lot, lot, lot less less popular than Guy’s blog.
Here are some key stats from his blog:
• 2,436,117 page views (about 6,200/day)
• 23,457 RSS feed subscribers
• Total advertising revenue: $3,350 for 1 entire year (= $1.39 cpm)
You’ve got to take these stats with a pinch of salt, because these stats could be skewed due to a number of things – especially due to improper optimization for Adsense (or ads in general). Like mentioned earlier, Adsense optimization requires a lot of continued experimentation and tracking – in other words, a lot of focused effort – in order to make it work, which I’m guessing Guy probably didn’t due for various reasons.
But then there’s the other school of thought that overrides common sense. If you read the actual article, you will see that most of them did not start the blog with the sole intention of making money.
The main take-away here is that blogging may not make you directly cash-rich, but there are a lot of indirect, intangible benefits of blogging that simply cannot be overlooked:
- Build your brand: Develop a group of regular readers who are more likely to buy stuff that you actually sell down the line. Brand yourself as an expert in your niche. You will sell more books, get more paid consulting gigs, and all of that will eventually snowball into…. selling more books and getting more paid consulting gigs.
- Looks great on your resume: Unless you are putting up personal pictures or talking about stuff that you did when you were drunk, it adds a lot of value to your profile, because not everyone is capable of writing, and even among those few, not everyone is capable of writing about a focused subject in a professional way
- Ad-revenue: When you eventually start getting a lot of traffic, there will be plenty of ad-revenue opportunities (mostly CPM types); don’t count on PPC revenue, because tech-savvy folks just don’t click on ads.
- Develop original content: If you sat down to write a book, you may get overwhelmed by the amount of writing that needs to be done, and the sheer amount of effort that needs to put in. Instead, just start blogging chapter by chapter, and you could eventually compile those into a book (or other product).
- Blog posts can be transformed into articles: Writing an article for the sake of writing one can be extremely boring and painful. Instead, write short and crisp posts, and over time, you can pick each one up, expand it a little, and convert it into articles that can get you some incoming links.
- More traffic: Writing great posts that are instantly digestible and usable, and submitting to sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can not only get you tons of traffic, but also potential new subscribers and maybe even sell more of whatever it is that you are selling.
– Ravi Jayagopal
Author, “No Business Like E-Business“
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