There’s a funny phenomenon when it comes to talking about money. I’m a money blogger, and yet, when it comes to my own income I’ve been quiet about it. The last time I mentioned my income specifics on here was … I can’t even find it. I’m digging through my archives and I think I’ve shared some things along the way, but more likely once this blog started making a little money, I stopped talking about it. I didn’t want to come across the wrong way.
Talking about income can be so taboo.
But that’s silly. This is a MONEY blog. You are here to read about finances, are you not? More specifically, my money and what I’m doing with it. I’m guessing you read here because you find me somewhat entertaining, but also so you can have some ideas to apply to your own situation.
So I’m going to tell you how much money I’ve earned with this ol blog. This blog’s income helped fund several of our money goals and for that, we are grateful. Totals you see are gross. Meaning, my actual take-home is way less when you count PayPal fees, blog hosting fees, and taxes. Taxes take a good third.
2007: I started this blog but it didn’t earn money
Lifetime total: $23,991 in blog gross earnings, take-home roughly $16k
That may not be much at all to you, but to me that is nothing to sneeze at! I’m looking at the difference between 2010 and 2011 and I’m scratching my head.
You might be, too. I didn’t post a ton. But my blog was older and advertisers found me fairly easily, and continued their advertising relationship. I am hopeful that 2012 will be a good year for me blog-wise, but it’s hard telling.
As you can probably tell from looking at my site, most of my revenue comes from sidebar advertisements. An advertiser will pay me a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for me placing their link in my sidebar. I have sold a lot of ads that way, and also via Linkworth* which matches up advertisers with my site. Unfortunately, this business model is not looked kindly upon by the big G search engine, and I’m phasing this out while I look for other ways to monetize.
My lifetime total of affiliate sales from Amazon* is $90.
My Ebates* year-to-date cash back is $92. Most of that this year is from my own purchases, but $20 of that was affiliate revenue. There was awhile back when I earned a lot from affiliate sign-ups on Ebates, but now I think most of you already have accounts (as you should! Totally easy, painless money).
I’ve earned $30 in Swagbucks* Amazon gift cards this year, and since I don’t have many referrals I think it was mostly my own searches and clicks.
Other bloggers might use this model, or they might earn income in other ways. They might be heavier on affiliate sales via Amazon or just any product they link to could net a commission for them if they have it set up right.
They might earn money through Google Adsense. Maybe they’re members of blog networks that provide ads and take commissions for their placement (such as Linkworth, or BlogHer). Or maybe they take money for sponsored or guest posts, or links within blog posts.
I don’t mind ads within a post if it’s marked as sponsored, but I don’t like it when bloggers don’t mention that a post is sponsored. Ya know?
Some bloggers create their own products — say ebooks, for instance, and sell them and make money that way. Or they make money by selling other people’s ebooks as an affiliate.
There are a variety of business models out there and each blogger will have to determine what will work best for him or her. As for me, I think I’m going to see if I can diversify my blogging revenue somewhat.
Since I’m being really open about my blog income, there’s one other thing I’ll tell you in the interest of being transparent. Recently, I shopped my blog around to see if I could find a buyer. I thought maybe I could find someone to take over all the web work and SEO and ads and…work, and then I could just write posts.
Or, if the price was right, I’d step away entirely. Before you get mad at me and never read this site again, I thought that if I could get the 1-2.5x my annual blogging income as a selling price, then yeah it would be worth it to sell and start another blog some time. I mean seriously, could you fault me if I could get $25k for this site?
Alas. I cannot. This blog is worth more to me than it is to a buyer. It’s a personal personal finance blog, and the ad model I have right now isn’t sellable.
I’ve had to think about why I am keeping my blog going. The prospect of another year of $10k gross is hard to ignore. Even a year of $5k gross is a lot of money to me. I could do a lot for my kids’ college funds with that.
But there’s more.
I do value the creative outlet it provides. Being a SAHM isn’t easy, and it can be isolating. I like the friends I have made through this site and I’d miss the interaction. Also, I’m really encouraged when some of you share that a post of mine helped you save some cash, or otherwise inspired you to do something to improve your finances. Further, you all inspire me to stay the course. It’s not like I’ve “arrived” financially or anything.
I’m not staying with my blog for the money, though it is a nice perk.
I hope that what I’ve written here hasn’t turned you off. I’m hoping that you’ll stay with me in the coming year.
In that vein, I’d like to perhaps outsource some of the more mundane tasks, such as the advertising and site maintenance stuff. I’m looking into prospects for that so I can stick with the parts that I enjoy most (writing and interacting with you!).
I’ll update my 2012 blog revenue next year and we can talk about what went well and what flopped.
Thank you for your readership! Without you, I wouldn’t have earned a nickel.
*Denotes affiliate link