Comparing Adsense Earnings to Private Networks or Affiliates

Are you remembering to compare your Adsense earnings to private networks, private ads and affiliates to ensure that you’re getting the best rate for a given ad spot?

Remember the rule of thumb:

On Adsense, you want to look at the RPM. Then, compare that to the CPM of what you’re getting through a private network or affiliate.

Do a one week test using the different types of ads and see which is higher. Then, think about the other factors:

  • Are you spending time managing a private ad?
  • Has Adsense content or private network content (over which you don’t typically have much control) ever been a problem for your readers?
  • Do you prefer the look or style of one ad over another?

How to Monetize a Travel Blog

I’ve told the story before, and I’m sure I’ll tell it again.

I started in the blogging world in 2006 with a then-popular travel blog. Since then, travel blogs have always caught my eye. And soon I’ll be launching a new member of the Saving Money Media family: Saving on Travels.

That said, I’ve been even more interested in travel blogs of late.

Today I stumbled across a few great articles about how to earn a living in the travel blogging space. I was interested by both the candor of their information and the wealth of it — both on blogs I had never heard of.

Just goes to show you how many fantastic resources there are out there on the interwebs that you just might not have found yet.

Here are some key articles:

  • How Travel Bloggers Make Money from Their Blogs: A dense, meaty article with lots of information on both the whys of starting a blog but — more importantly — the income earning ideas you’ll need for turning it into a day job.
  • Travel Blog Income Numbers: Interestingly, this article is titled (and was linked to) for it’s results on an advertising survey (asking travel bloggers how much they charge for advertising), but I found it most interesting for the income numbers it gave about travel bloggers. The vast majority of those taking the survey said they made somewhere between $1,000 – $2,000 dollars a month.
  • A “Now” Full-Time Travel Blogger Weighs In: I’ve long liked The Points Guy, and this year he has taken his blog full time (and, he launched another). It’s a good journey to follow him on.


Six Figure Blogging Secrets From Three Who Know

There’s a great article today over at RetailMeNot that Cassie pointed out to me that looks at three successful bloggers and how they made (and are making) their money.

Check it out here.

Happy to see the lovely Erin Chase of 5 Dollar Dinners featured.

For other “how much do bloggers really make?” questions, here are two great posts:

Why Bloggers are Poor

Last night I found this great oldie-but-goodie video from mom blogger Jessica Gottlieb explaining why bloggers are poor.

The reason?

It all comes down to what bloggers are willing to charge for their services. When you give away your writing for free (or for a box of gluten-free Chex — the most recent worst pitch I’ve received), you’re adding to the problem. For some insight on what bloggers should be charging, see what some of your fellow readers had to say here about pricing. [Read more...]

How to Form as an LLC

Why Bloggers Should Incorporate as a Business

Some of the most asked questions at blogger conferences relate to the logistics of really being a business. Although there are many different aspects of being a business that relate to bloggers, one critical one is actually legally incorporating as one!

Many bloggers spend years blogging without doing so, and experience no problems whatsoever — I never did. However, as your income grows you cant help but worry if you should be better protecting yourself and your business. Although I’m not a lawyer, I can definitely say from the number of conferences I’ve attended that there are clear benefits to becoming a business.

[Read more...]

Sway Group Connects Bloggers and Brands

There’s a new kid on the block, and she’s here to make mommy money.

Sway Group, LLC is a new agency started by Danielle Wiley that, among other things, will likely prove once and for all that bloggers don’t need to wait to meet their first agent until they have a book proposal in hand. Sway Group aims to represent bloggers as blogger agents in all manner of daily transactions — helping bloggers broker better daily deals with brands.

Sounds smart, and sounds crazy that no one has thought of this before.

Sway group came out of the gates with guns blazing this week, and Mama Pundit reports that the following awesome mom bloggers are reportedly already signed on for what Sway Group anticipates will be their first year (and their first million in revenue).

Get to know some of the Sway Group clients:

Amy Storch of AMALAH
Jyl Johnson Pattee of MOMITFORWARD
Liz Gumbinner of  MOM 101
Gabrielle Blair of DESIGN MOM
Isabel Kallman of  ALPHA MOM
Alice Bradley of FINSLIPPY
Eden Marriott Kennedy of FUSSY
Rebecca Woolf of GIRLS GONE CHILD
Roxanna Sarmiento of EVERYDAY TREATS
Sarah James of WHOORL
Tracey Gaughran-Perez of  SWEETNEY
Katie Allison Granju of  MAMAPUNDIT
Karen Walrond of CHOOKOOLOONKS
Lindsay Ferrier of  SUBURBAN TURMOIL
Catherine Connors of HER BAD MOTHER
Linda Sharps of ALL & SUNDRY
Laura Mayes of THE QUESO
Ellen Seidman of LOVE THAT MAX
Monica Bielanko of THE GIRL WHO
Meagan Francis of THE HAPPIEST MOM
Jessica Ashley of SASSAFRASS

If you’re smart like Anna at ABDPBT, you can’t help but notice that a few of the big mom bloggers out there (Dooce, Jessica Gottlieb, The Bloggess) are noticeably missing from the pack. I can’t help but wonder whether some of the large mom bloggers who are with Federated Media have some sort of clause preventing them from going with a blogger agent.

Update: My silly self forgot that the awesome Catherine Connors at Her Bad Mother is indeed a part of Federated Media. So throw that half-baked idea goes out the window;)

Even if having a blogger agent is the farthest thing from your mind as you remember to get up your daily post, it still is a positive step to see happening in the blogosphere. It’ll be fascinating to see how Sway Group plays out, and to watch the happenings of some of their bloggers over the next year to see how their blogs grow and transform with the support of a commission-based cheerleader in the corner.

How Much Would You Pay to Outsource Your Manual Facebook Updates?

In 2010, I still didn’t have a Facebook page for my blog. In 2011, I am convinced I would be completely lost without one.

There is no question that bloggers vary in the importance they assign to their Facebook page. Some say they get up to 80% of traffic from Facebook, while others acknowledge a healthy (but admittedly lower) boost. Overwhelmingly, though, one thing is clear: Facebook is no longer an add-on to your blog, but an integral blogging strategy. It’s time to use it, and to use it well. And one way to do so is to make sure you’re doing manual updates of your blog content to your Facebook page.

Why You Should Post Manually on Facebook

It’s become no secret that manually updating your blog’s Facebook page is best for your readers, your brand, and your wallet. For a brush up on why, read Crystal Collin’s great piece, Why Using a Feed Importer to Facebook Could be Killing Your Traffic. Sure, there are still those who use feed services to automatically publish, but this days even those who do so acknowledge that they “wish” they had the time to do manual updates.

As we’ve all figured out: if you’re not manually updating to Facebook you are losing major traffic and engagement. While, it may save you time to use an automatic feed update, it’s also leaving big blog income on the table.

But finding time to manually update your Facebook page, especially if you run a blog that sends out multiple posts per day, can be more than a small challenge. Deal blogs in particular, which can easily send a dozen posts or more per day, know what I’m talking about. When you’re focused on posting as many great deals as possible for your readers, it’s hard to remember to keep updating your Facebook page throughout the day (even with a timer set to do so, as many of us have resorted to).

Furthermore, although posting on Facebook is important, it’s hardly a core skill. As you build your blog, you start to realize that certain tasks are simply better to hire out, and manually posting on Facebook might just be one of those tasks. All this means that hiring out might be the best way to go when you need manual updates done, but you don’t have the time or bandwidth to do so. If that’s the answer, how can you best do so?

How to Hire Out for Manual Facebook Posting (The Two Most Common Ways)

There are two most common ways to hire out for this increasingly important task.

  1. Hire a general assistant to do your manual Facebook updates or give your current assistant this new task. This is overwhelmingly the most common route to go.
  2. Hire a service to do it.

The Problem With the Current Solutions

Sadly, though, neither current solution comes without its considerable hurdles. Let’s take a further look at what those are:

  • Hiring an Assistant: The problem with hiring an assistant, of course, is that many bloggers don’t have assistants or can’t afford assistants. Especially smaller bloggers, who are slowly working on their income goals so they can better afford to outsource some of their non core abilities. In reality, manually posting on Facebook is one of the first tasks that any blogger on the journey to transform a part-time income into a full-time income will need to hire out for. Most other tasks — graphic design, accounting, are project based. But manual Facebook posting is not. And is it really worth it to go to the trouble of finding an assistant just for this one task?
  • Hiring a Service: I must say that although I’ve heard of such services, I’ve yet to find a good, recommended one through my Google searches. The fact that this is still a nascent field within the blogging world also means that word of mouth referrals are not as robust as they will be one day.

How Much Should You Pay?

If there is one big sticky question, it is this.

How much is it worth it to you as a blogger for someone to do these manual updates for you? Do you think of this value in terms of value per post — say $2 per post? Or in terms of a daily, weekly, or monthly rate? It’s hard to assign a number, but that’s exactly what I’m begging you to (help me) do. I can’t be the only one wondering, right?

So, how much would you pay for someone for to manually update your blog’s Facebook page?

Why Your Email Pitch Sucks (and how to fix it…)

I wrote this post recently over on another site and wanted to point to it here, because I think it’s incredibly relevant for bloggers everywhere. Knowing how to pitch well is one of the most crucial skills bloggers can learn, and one of the most falling-down-on-the-job skills I see bloggers grapple with everywhere.

If you learn how to pitch well, you’ll make huge strides in your efforts to blog well.

Here’s the first part of the article copied below, and click on the full link below to read the entire thing:

Whether you are the one pitching, or Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about pitches.

The pitches I get, the pitches I send, and the sad world that is people-wanting-things-from-people-and-not-knowing-how-to-ask.

To start, let me say that no discussion of pitch failures would be complete without a shout-out to this amazing video the Mashable folks posted. Entitled, “Hardly Working: Start Up Guys“, I both died laughing and died realizing how many times my real life has imitated (this) art…

Read the full post here

Monetizing Mommy: Everything You Need to Know About Monetizing Mom Blogs In Three (short!) Acts

If you know my interest in blog monetization, you’ll understand why I’ve been glued to my feedreader since Katie Granju raised the topic of mommy (bloggers) making money this weekend in response to this article by Ann Douglas.

There are some great spin-off posts on popular mommy blogs that have erupted. Try this one from my fave fellow panelist (twice over!) Her Bad Mother, aka Catherine Connors. Or this thought-provoking one by Scary Mommy, a mommy I’d sure like to meet.

Want a summary of the latest chatter and the age-old discussion?

Let me present…

Everything You Need to Know About Monetizing Mom Blogs In Three (short!) Acts:

Act 1.

The Safe Summary:


Basic Question: Does Mommy Make Money Blogging?

Answer: Maybe.


Deep-Dive Question: How Much Does Mommy Make Blogging?

Answer: It All Depends.


Too safe? Here’s a more opinionated summary.

Act 2.

The Less-Safe Summary:


Basic Question: Does Mommy Make Money Blogging?

Answer: She should. (If she wants to.)


Deep-Dive Question: How Much Does Mommy Make Blogging?

Answer: If she has some traffic, gives it some time, and works hard, she could expect to make a full-time salary blogging.


Want to get down and dirty with numbers? Try this one.

Act 3.

The Down & Dirty Summary:


Basic Question: Does Mommy Make Money Blogging?

Answer: Some Mommies make major bucks. Some make good change. Some earn a good part-time living. Some don’t monetize and should. Some just do it for fun (and rightly so — if that’s their choice).


Deep-Dive Question: How Much Does Mommy Make Blogging?

Answer: If Mommy has a well-monetized blog with a few thousand visitors a day, she could reasonably make a $2,000-$3,000 a month. (Or, much, much more.) See some more hard numbers about what bloggers think it means to make a full-time income blogging here.


Overwhelming, the truth is this: There is no one way to monetize a blog (mom blogs included), and not everyone wants to do so. However, if you do want to monetize, there are many options, and with some traffic and dedicated readers, you absolutely can make blogging your full-time career.


(photo credit)


A Full Time Blogging Income — When Can You Quit Your Day Job?

Every blogger has a price point.

No, not a point at which they’d sell (although they might have that also!) but a blogging income price point. The point at which their blog is officially a full-time job. This is the point at which they can quit their full-time job or make another drastic professional change (like having their working spouse now stay at home and help with the blog business).

One of my favorite bloggers, Amy, has stated that her 2011 goal is to bump up her blogging income from a part-time one to a full-time one. But what is full-time in her mind may be different in your mind — or mine, as I asked her below on her Facebook wall:

Screen shot 2011-03-25 at 7.16.54 PM

Just like you’ll never meet your goals if you don’t set them first, you’ll never become a full-time blogger if you don’t have a price point in mind.

Do you have a blogging income price point?

In trying to find out what others thought, I circled the web. Here’s what some think:

  • John Chow – who likely now makes over seven figures a year – has a post back from 2006 where he says that $1,800 a month is “a pretty good part-time income”.
  • Darren Rowse of ProBlogger – who now does make more than seven figures (as he showed in one of his presentations at BlogWorld this year) once wrote a post saying that for some people $30,000 a year is a full-time income.
  • When Blogging with Amy asked some other bloggers what they made each year here, at least one who claims to be full time reported between $2,000-$3,000 in monthly earnings.

Depending on if you agree or not with some of the conclusions from others, you likely have a number in mind. Perhaps it’s the amount you or your spouse makes currently working outside the home. This number is not your income price point. Thus, you don’t have to wait until you get there to quit your full-time job. In fact – if you do this you might be waiting forever because you’d never have the time to take your blog to the next level!

I’ve heard Dave Ramsey talk before about the idea that when you are trying to make your side-business your full-time job, there is a point at which you have to actually quit the full-time job so you can make the side-business flourish to its full-time potential. (If you’re a stay-at-home mom trying to make a full-time work from home job, think of a similar sacrifice — say, cutting back on your husband’s hours to help you facilitate your business.)

I’ve heard Dave say before that reaching a certain percentage of your full-time income with your side business is the way to determine when you can leave that day job. So, let’s say I make $70,000 a year in my day job. I decide that I won’t quit my day job until I make 70% of that in my side income. Thus, I would need to make $49,000 before taxes on my blog before I quit my day job. This makes perfect sense.

However, I think there is another way to find the number that will get you out of a day job you don’t like much sooner.

I recommend you quit your day job when your side income reaches a certain percentage of your blogger income price point (the point at which you’ll quit your day job).

Let’s break it down:

Do you really need the $70,000 a year your outside job pays you, or could you make it on less? It’s time to pull out that calculator and start looking at all the costs that families often consider when they wonder if they can really afford to keep one parent at home. What are all the costs involved in your commute, your office clothes, your office lunches? Do some paring down and you might easily find that your blogger price point is $50,000, not $70,000. If I need to make 70% of that ($35,000 before taxes) I’ll be quitting my day job a heck of a lot sooner.

I’d say that if you’re at close to 70% — and are optimistic — you are ready to go.

So, what is your price-point?