Will Blog for Cash

What are all the ways to make money off your blog? When Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net recently published his top income streams, it got me thinking.

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.

  1. Ads
  2. Affiliate programs
  3. Job boards
  4. Paid reviews
  5. Video


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.

Affiliate Programs

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.

Direct Providers

Affiliate Networks

Shopping Comparison Engines

Lists of Affiliate Programs

Job Boards

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.

Paid reviews

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!

A New Kind of Social Network?

MyBlogLog Is MyBlogLog a new kind of social network? Sure it is. Let’s analyze.

A social network, in the sociological sense, is a social structure of individuals connected through various levels of familiarity. MyBlogLog certainly is that. But how does it compare to a typical online social network, such as Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook?

A typical online social network has several definable qualities. These qualities can be duplicated in the blogosphere with some effort; online social networks just make it very, very easy. (And easy + desirable usually = quick adoption.)

  • A representation of one’s identity – A profile page, including:
    • Personal info
    • Interests
    • Photos
    • A blog
    • 1st degree connections
    • Contact tools
  • A means to manage your connections – Adding, deleting, & grouping connections
  • A means to interact with varying degrees of connections – Via contact tools
  • Reciprocal connections – A connection between two individuals is visible on each other’s profile page

MyBlogLog basically is traffic & visitor tracking software that includes a widget to display some of those visitors on your site. (Visitors need to have an account with MyBlogLog to be visible; and why wouldn’t you want one? It’s so cool!) It is commonly used on blogs; without a blog, MyBlogLog alone isn’t a social network. A typical user of a MyBlogLog widget has:

  • A representation of one’s identity – A personal site, usually a blog, including:
    • Personal info
    • Interests
    • Photos
    • A blog
    • 1st degree connections – in the form of a blogroll
    • Contact tools
  • A means to manage your connections – As simple as managing one’s blogroll
  • A means to interact with varying degrees of connections – Via email, blog comments, IM, etc.
  • Reciprocal connections – Oops! Blogs don’t always have this.

Does this mean MyBlogLog isn’t a typical online social network? Yes. Blogs + MyBlogLog doesn’t give you reciprocal connections. Just because you add me to your blogroll doesn’t mean I’m going to add you (though if you ask nicely…).

However, MyBlogLog does give you something extra:

  • Visitor visibility – The ability to see who’s visited a site

Before this, blog comments were the primary means to truly know who’s visited your blog. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of a blog’s readers will write a comment. Now you, and your other visitors, can see your audience. Typical online social networks don’t offer this.

These visitors still aren’t reciprocal connections though (and just because they’ve been to your site once doesn’t mean they’re going to return). But over time, you’ll see repeat visitors. Online social networks gave you the ability to know your audience – if a new visitor wanted to interact with you, he/she typically would add you as a connection.

Now MyBlogLog is providing a new level of visitor visibility. (I see you!)

Hello world!

Ever notice how, when you start a new blog, you see a “Hello World!” entry sitting there? Like a loyal dog waiting for you when you get home from work?

Ever wonder why it’s “Hello World!”, and not “Hi Ma!” or “Look, my very first entry!” or “Achtung, new blog!”?

“Hello World!” is a popular programming phrase. Whenever someone learns a new computer programming language, it is common to write one’s first program to simply display the words “Hello World!” on the screen.

As Wikipedia puts it:

A “hello world” program is a software program that prints out “Hello world!” on a display device. It is used in many introductory tutorials for teaching a programming language. Such a program is typically one of the simplest programs possible in a computer language.

So I think it’s appropriate, given that this is the introductory post of this new blog, that I start off with a “Hello World!” program of my own, in the very first programming language I ever learned: BASIC!

10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 PRINT "Welcome to BizThoughts by Mike Lee!"
30 PRINT "----------------------------------------"
40 REM Programming in BASIC is fun!
50 GOTO 40
60 PRINT "I hope you enjoy this new..."
70 PRINT "Hey, wait, how come this text isn't printing?"