This post is a public service to these people who tell me that they are going to write a blog and make money “from the advertising revenue”.
In short, it’s a bad idea.
Perhaps you have amazing things to say and you will be one of the tiny, tiny fraction of bloggers who make a lot of money from blogging. I write two blogs, and contribute to a third. This one, I started because I wanted to remember the ideas I had about statistics and programming and have them recorded somewhere I could access from wherever I happen to be traveling. For example, I had a problem with AMOS saying something about “illegal path” every time I tried to calculate estimates. I don’t use AMOS all that often and I wanted to remember how I solved that for next time it came up. (My next post is on that.) I worked at a large organization where I was told that no one cared what I thought and if I wanted to express my own ideas I should start a blog or something. I started a blog. Also, I quit that job and went to work full-time as president of The Julia Group. Best decision I ever made besides the one to have children.
My second blog I started because I also teach judo and I thought people who read my judo blog would find occasional forays into relative risk calculation with SAS to be confusing.
According to the web hosts, I get a combined 130,000 visits per month, with significantly more going to this blog than the judo one. HOWEVER, according to blogher, which pays me based on some algorithm of theirs, the “real visits” that are not spam bots or web crawlers are less than half of that. Accepting their figures, that still means a half million times a year, someone reads what I ramble on about – and here is the clincher – I make less than $2,000 a year directly from blogging.
I hasten to add that I put almost no effort into SEO marketing or really hustling to get people to read my blog because there is a lot more fun stuff I can think of to do than tweet every fifteen minutes – hey, look what I wrote, hey, look at me, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME !!!!
If you think that google ad sense is the answer – I have had ad sense on my judo blog for five years. This year, they sent me a check for $104. That’s this year, not this month.
An area where I could probably triple how much I make would be sponsored posts. These typically pay from $50-$150, although some are more or less.
What is a sponsored post? I can only tell you my experience – I get an email from someone who says they have a client interested in a post on X. Nine times out of ten, I have no interest in X and I delete it. The only two sponsored posts I’ve written lately were for Blogher and Kaplan University. They were on How to hold a job, raise a family and still be sane at graduation and The Midcareer Pivot
Sponsored posts are a good deal when they come along because they were the sort of thing I would write anyway ,with an ad at the bottom. I can see where some advertisers might want you to write specifically about their product, a sort of ad in disguise. I’d have a real problem with that, personally.
I think there are a lot more sponsored post opportunities if you are into writing about cooking or doing book reviews, but the kind of books I usually read, like Professional Jquery or Essentials of Biostatistics, are not the type sponsors are looking to have reviewed. You couldn’t pay me enough to read Fifty Shades of Grey.
In short, if you’re doing blogging for the money, unless you really, really like spending your time on social media promoting yourself (and probably not even then), you’d probably make more money per hour bagging french fries at McDonalds.
SO … QUIT BLOGGING?
- Occasionally, I get clients who have read my blog.
- It’s an opportunity to get feedback on research ideas I’m tossing around.
- I can use my blog to disseminate results from research to a far broader audience than read refereed journals.
- It’s a nice break from “the real work” of programming, writing grants and reports.
- When I wrote my book on matwork, I posted a lot of rough drafts on my judo blog to get comments.
There are several reasons for blogging … but getting rich quick isn’t one of them and anyone who tells you it is probably plans on getting rich from money people like you giving them money to learn the non-existent secrets.