Monetization Snapshot – The Simple Dollar

I loved this post over at The Simple Dollar entitled “How The Simple Dollar Works.”

Why did I love it, you ask?

Because it laid out some of the ways that The Simple Dollar monetizes. Since I love Trent and The Simple Dollar, and I love learning about blog monetization practices that others employ, this was a great post for me to read;)

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Here is the overview of Trent’s income sources:

Trent says: “My income comes from several sources: ads run on The Simple Dollar, links to the books I review on Amazon, sales of my own books and ebooks, and freelance writing opportunities I’ve picked up along the way.”

Through analyzing the entire post, I found these particular points of interest particularly valuable. Although I don’t agree with all these statements for my own experiences with blogging, it’s interesting to see what he is experiencing:

  • Ad-blocking software prevents ad revenue: Trent says, “I usually get about 1.4 million page views a month, but many of those page views are from people running ad blocking software, so I can’t count them at all towards the revenue I earn.” This surprised me, and I wonder if this is specific to the partner personal finance niche Trent has?
  • Email newsletters don’t make revenue: “Generally, I don’t make money from the emails at all. The emails basically just contain the content of The Simple Dollar, packaged up and emailed out to about 35,000 daily readers.” Again, this surprises me. Trent really has no ads or affiliate links in his email newsletters?
  • Freelancing income counts as income: He counts freelancing as part of his blog income. I recently saw that Erin at 5dollardinners does as well. This is not something I do — do you?
  • The Simple Dollar uses very few ads: Trent says: “I try very hard not to load the site up with ads – I have only one above the fold, though I could easily sell three or four of them and make a mint (or at least a lot more than I do).”
  • He worked part-time for a long time on his blog before it became a full-time income.
  • His blog has not brought him riches: Trent has made comments before about believing he could make more than he does when he went full-time, and this post reiterates that message. Interesting to note, given his very healthy traffic numbers.

Read the full article, and take a look at some of the fascinating comments people left.

Monetization Tips from Savvy Blogging: Part 2 (Income Breakdown of a Six Figure Blogger)

In the first part of this series, I was sharing some information about JD Roth’s keynote and monetization session at the wonderful Savvy Blogging conference in Colorado. {Note: If you’re interested in buying a transcript and recording of this monetization sessions, and others, you can do so here.}

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Let’s dive back into more lessons and thoughts from JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly. As I shared last time, I think we can safely say that JD Roth is a six-figure blogger.

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So how do I think his income breaks down, based on both the information he gave us, and what we can learn from evaluating his website? There are some important clues we can learn from looking at Get Rich Slowly that tell us about JD’s monetization practices:

  • JD appears to post less than twice a day on average. On average, we can say that he posts somewhere between 9-13 posts a week.
  • Not all of these posts are done by JD. Some are written by staff members, or done by contributing writers to Get Rich Slowly.
  • The bulk of the posts are information-rich, but affiliate-poor. JD does not use affiliates widely, and many (if not the majority) of his posts seem entirely free of any type of revenue share on his end.
  • Those affiliates he does use he does so sparsely.

If we add to these points his estimated traffic (he mentioned around 20,000 visitors a day while he was speaking at the Savvy Blogging conference) and other information we have available (like what different kinds of ads we see on his site),  we can put together a potential picture of JD’s monetization strategy.

I think we can say that the bulk of his income comes from the following three revenue sources:

  • Adsense
  • Private Sales
  • Occasional affiliate products (bank offers would be a good guess)

So what is the breakdown of these revenue sources?

Here’s my best guess:

  • Adsense – 55%
  • Private Sales – 20%
  • Occasional affiliate products (bank offers would be a good guess) – 25%

Does it seem high to say he makes more than half his income from one source? It may be a bold guess, but I think it just might be true;)

Why?

What we see in JD’s model is that he probably makes the bulk of his money simply from the fact that he has lots of daily readers. As opposed to many “deals bloggers” who post many times a day and have more opportunities to include small-revenue generating affiliate income in a larger number of posts, JD probably gets his volume simply because of his high traffic numbers.

When you have high traffic, and you are passionate about keeping your content free of affiliate mentions, this can be a great tactic.

Since I’ve just finished saying he doesn’t use affiliates widely, does it seem high to say he still might make 25% of his income from affiliates?

I don’t think so. If you are a blogger and you use affiliates only sparingly, you know that your readers are much more likely to listen to you when you do suggest something. For JD, using affiliates sparingly probably helps rocket the conversion rates on the affiliates he does use.

So what do you think? Does this seem like a correct diagnosis of the revenue breakdown on Get Rich Slowly?

Monetization Tips from Savvy Blogging – Part 1 (Lessons from a Maybe-Six Figure Blogger)

After a whirlwind weekend in Colorado at Savvy Blogging, it’s hard to really sit down and thoroughly digest exactly everything I learned at Savvy Blogging about monetization, but there are a few gems to start with.

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Not surprisingly, the monetization session held by JD Roth’s Get Rich Slowly was one of the most packed sessions there – and the last session as well! Not only do many bloggers like me love JD, but everyone was dying to learn more about monetization and to get good info from a blogger who has turned his blog into a full time living. In my ongoing quest for information about what is possible in the blogging world, I was eager for some real numbers!

As Carrie from Springs Bargains joked with me after his keynote, “Are you going to ask him what he makes?!??” Not exactly, Carrie, but I will be trying to figure it out on my own;)

So, first things first, what do we know about the person teaching us about monetization? Is JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly a – gasp – Six-Figure Blogger?

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What do we know about Get Rich Slowly as a monetized blog?

  • JD made about $1 his first day on adsense many years ago.
  • JD now has staff writers to help him out with his blog (It wasn’t clear to me if these individuals were paid or not).
  • JD mentioned traffic in the range of 20,000 hits per day.
  • JD has about 80,000 RSS subscribers.
  • In JD’s keynote, he mentioned it took about 2 years to be able to quit his other full time job (at the family business) and start blogging full time.
  • JD now blogs mostly from his nearby office – which he pays $325 to rent and says is well worth the rent given the fact that he can better separate his work and his personal life. [Note this point for any of you bloggers struggling with work and home balances;)]
  • JD was once offered $20,000 to do a series of credit card posts he was not happy about. Rightfully, he turned down this offer. Money isn’t worth your integrity!
  • In the monetization session, when JD mentioned that he believed Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Confirmity made an income off his site, The Happy Housewife raised her hand to ask what he meant — “A full time, middle-class income?” I remembered a post I had read on Chris Guillebeau’s blog a while back about his stats, and I answered that he made around $30,000 – $40,000 a year (it turns out Chris said he made $48,000 here). JD thought that was small potatoes, saying: “I bet it’s more than that!”

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  • JD has paid off his debts with his blog, and now lives – as he put it – a very comfortable life.

So what do all these tidbits add up to?

All this leads me to believe that JD probably makes around six figures – say, $100,000 – with his blog.

Although I don’t get the sense he is nearing Pro-Blogger’s seven figure a year claims, I do believe JD is probably doing quite well with his quality, regular, content. He is clearly a successful blogger who has paved the way for other personal finance bloggers in the niche.

What do you think? Do you think JD is a Six Figure Blogger?

Next up in the series: In the next part of this series, I’ll do a breakdown of where I believe his income comes from and what his income model looks like;)

IMPORTANT: Remember, trying to ascertain the incomes of a blogger like JD isn’t about comparison as much as it is about learning. By evaluating what he can do, you can perhaps set your goals more powerfully, and more realistically, to achieve your own success in blogging.

How a Relatively Low-Trafficked Organic Health Blog Brings in $4,000 – $12,000 a Month: The Fran Kerr Story

The theme of this blog aims to be sharing monetization stories and tips for bloggers.

Thankfully, this is a topic I naturally gravitate towards – and I regularly find interesting posts, podcasts, and articles in the blogosphere that offer insights into the exact numbers and exact methods of bloggers attempting to do this “blogging thing” as a full time job.

This week, I listened to an interesting interview with Fran Kerr, writer of High on Health. You can read the post about her on Entrepreneur’s Journey here, or go here to listen to the hour long interview. It’s an interesting insight into the journey one Australian blogger took to professional blogging.

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There are a couple key things that Fran’s story can teach us about the monetization process in blogging, and I want to point a few of these out in a series of posts. Today, I’m going to focus on the topic of Fran’s traffic in relation to her income numbers. Obviously there are many reasons and explanations for what may seem an “irregularity” in the income to traffic ratio, but in this post I’m just going to focus on the numbers themselves.

Fran says that she gets about 3,000 unique visitors a day. With this traffic, she claims she makes between $4,000 – $12,000 a month blogging. Although a newbie blogger might think that 3,000 hits a day seems like a lot, in reality this is probably low-end type traffic for such an income.

Even if Fran only were to make $4,000 each month for the entire year – the low-end of the income estimate she made – this would give her a $48,000 a year income off of only 3,000 visitors a day! Again, although 3,000 may seem like a lot – it is very possible to get to this level of traffic on a quality blog.

Does this mean that ever blog with 3,000 hits a day could make this kind of income? Absolutely not. In the next post on this topic, I’ll share some of the key reasons her blog is able to draw in such high income numbers on such relatively low traffic.