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Blog Traffic, Ads & Profits : Geeks2020

Blog Traffic, Ads & Profits

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Huge sums of money are earned each year by blog operators — a statement which is both true and not what it seems.

Yes, huge sums of money are earned by blog operators — as a group. But the bulk of all ad revenues are captured by a small number of sites while many blogs take in little more than pizza money, if that.

Daniel Lyons reports in Newsweek that during a one-month period, “in which my site was visited by 1.5 million people, I earned a whopping total of $1,039.81.”

In its 2008 State of the Blogosphere, Technorati says “the majority of bloggers we surveyed currently have advertising on their blogs. Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it’s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month.”

Traffic Versus Profits

A lot of traffic, however, does not assure profits. In April 2008 Yahoo! announced that it would close Geocities.com — a site with 12 million monthly visitors. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Geocities site was purchased in 1999 for $3 billion.

The point is that if you’re reading this to get rich quick with blogs, we suggest turning elsewhere. If, however, money from blog ads seems interesting — and if you understand that as with all things no results are promised or guaranteed — then read on.

Little Traffic and Big Profits, Big Traffic and Small Profits

It would be great to get a gazillion hits each day but that may not be the goal. The real goal for a commercial site is sales and profits. A lot of traffic from folks who don’t buy is useless. Some traffic from people who do buy can have a lot of weight in the sales department.

Don’t confuse your goal (money, or the expansion of an idea, or community service, or whatever) with the wrong measure. The goal is not to build the biggest site, it’s to get the most benefit — two ideas which are not necessarily the same.

Example: Johnson sells cars in Dallas. He gets a lot of traffic from Boston. Whoopee! But most folks in Boston buy cars locally, they don’t go down to Texas. So, while Johnson gets big stats from Massachusetts, his rival down the street, Benson, gets less traffic but he gets it from the Dallas area. Who has the “better” site, the one with more traffic or the one that generates more sales?

Getting Started

Most people will start with ads via Google, Yahoo! or Bing, an approach which is perfectly sensible. The ads generally reflect your site’s content and you can filter out those you don’t want. No less important, the ads can provide an interesting graphic addition to your site and if you get good ads from known companies that helps your site’s credibility.

In rough terms it should take about 15 minutes or so to set up an account and to have ad coding in hand. Just set up the code yourself or ask your blogmaster to do it.

That said, it takes time for a blog to season. We would expect few if any advertising dollars during the first six months to a year. As traffic builds, however, you may see better results.

Ultimately the goal should be to have advertisers place ads directly with you. The pay rate can be significantly higher if you have a specialized site, good traffic and visitors who buy.

Alternatively, while anyone can post blog ads, advertisers online only pay for results. Unlike the old models where advertisers paid for circulation or air time, with the Internet advertisers know how many clicks they get from each site and the value of those clicks. In the new world of advertising accountability, either you produce results or you’re out — and quickly.

Maybe Not For You

Some site owners prefer not to have advertising, the view being that ads degrade the quality of the site and take attention away from site content. When it’s your blog it’s something you own and control, whether you want ads or don’t want ads is a question for you to decide. There is no right or wrong answer, the only answer that counts is whatever you prefer.

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