My aim isn’t to make a living off my blog. I already have a job I love (it’s like getting paid for a hobby). But I’ll admit I’ve fantasized about making a side income from my blogs. And c’mon, what blogger hasn’t?
So far, there are
three five main sources of income for blogs. All are essentially advertising vehicles for businesses, but with some differences.
UPDATED 12/16/2007: The lists below have been revised as I’ve gotten new info from advertisering providers.
- Affiliate programs
- Job boards
- Paid reviews
There’s a wide variety of ad types from which to choose. First, there’s the UI of the ad: text, image, video, or RSS. Then there’s the payment method: CPC (cost per click), CPA (cost per action), or CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). Finally, there’s the ad selection: automatically matching your content, explicitly setting the criteria (category, location, keywords, etc), or a hybrid of both. Each will vary in revenue potential, depending on your blog’s content, audience, and popularity.
- Google AdSense – by far the most popular ad provider
- Text Link Ads
- Chitika – has new kinds of ad UIs
- Pheedo – offers both text & RSS ads
- OrangeFeed – only offers RSS ads
- Blogads – must be invited to join their service
- Yahoo! Content Match – not launched yet
Affiliate programs basically offer what look like ads for your blog, except they focus on the product or service sold by the parent business. Most offer CPA programs where bloggers get paid for qualified leads. A qualified lead is when a click from the blog leads to a sale. Bloggers get a share of this revenue.
Shopping comparison engines are an exception. They offer CPC affiliate programs because they earn their revenue not from sales, but from clicks from their site to their merchants. Bloggers get a share of this click revenue.
There are too many affiliate programs to list. They can range from direct providers (e.g. retail stores, mortgage providers, insurance companies, etc) to affiliate networks (third-party companies that have set up affiliate programs for others). What I have here are some of the more popular ones, including several affiliate program directories.
- Apple iTunes
- Barnes & Noble
- Fogdog Sports
- Commission Junction – one of the larger affiliate providers
- LinkShare – one of the larger affiliate providers
- Performics – one of the larger affiliate providers
- ClickBank – one of the larger affiliate providers
- AzoogleAds – one of the larger affiliate providers
- OfferForge – parent company of BlogKits.com
- Affiliate Fuel
Shopping Comparison Engines
Lists of Affiliate Programs
- Associate Programs.com
- Affiliate Programs
- Affiliate First
Job boards are the newest offering on the block. They basically offer businesses a way to advertise their job listings on blogs – and bloggers get to set the price for hosting these job listings. Prices can range from $10 – $500, though bloggers aren’t paid until the job is “closed,” meaning the business hired someone that came through that blog. Essentially, this is a CPA model. One job board, HiddenNetwork, offers a CPM model instead.
This trend seems to be just the tip of something larger: CPA classified listings of any kind of product or service. Anyone, from large businesses to your neighbor down the street, could be creating these listings and advertising them on blogs soon.
- HiddenNetwork – offers CPM job listings
- edgeio Marketplaces – will soon offer job & general classified listings
Paid reviews are a new and somewhat controversial form of word-of-mouth marketing using blogs. Business pay anywhere from $5 – $500 for each blog post written to review their product or service. A recent FTC ruling has made it necessary for bloggers to disclose that they’re getting paid for the posts too.
As embeded videos become more widespread on blogs, some companies are finding ways to monetize them through CPC video ads. Placed at the end of the videos, bloggers get a share of the revenue earned each time a video ad is clicked. The creator of the videos also get a share.
Good luck getting rich! And don’t forget the little people who helped you along the way!