Monday, April 18, 2005

[Misc] Making Money From Your Blog?


Just out of interest, do you do anything to make money with your blog, and if so, what do you do and how well is it working?

To kick start:

I will first say that I am hoping that I and all the authors of Digital Dish (I think Dr B is the only other activated member of this community who is a co-author of the book)will make at least some money and preferably LOTS from our book which is a compilation of the best food blog writing we could get our hands on from the Summer of 2003 to 2004. If it succeeds we will do 2004 to 2005 and hopefully have LOTS more participants!

However, that aside, I also have google ads and some odd links through to Amazon affiliates. I 'get' about $1.50 per month from Google (which means I haven't actually gotten anything yet since they wait until you have $100 to issue a check). I also 'get' about $10 from Amazon per year.

Anyone else?


Ellen said...

I have Google AdWords on my blog and the main site that hosts the blog. (The site came first.) I was, until recently, up to about $2.00 a day on the ads overall, but very little of it comes from the blog. (I can track by "channel" and the recnet improvments came after reading an e-book on GoogleAds but it's too soon to really be sure.) I love RSS feeds for reading, but you then eliminate the impressions of the ads of course, and hence lessen the odds of any revenue. My gut reaction is that blog readers are a unique beast regardless.

Alice said...

I have Goodle Adsense and it generates enough $ to cover my domain name/forwarding, my flickr membership, and an ice cream cone or two per month. I got much better 'targeted ads' when I made my blog post only one post at a time. Now, I get sushi robot ads on my sushi posts.

drbiggles said...

Hey Owen,

Yeah, I dunno. I'm not a big fan of the ads. I get ads through teevee, radio, and many other web sites. I figure less clutter is better.
However, I can be bought. I'm shallow that way. If I thought I could bring in an extra 300 bux a month, I'd do it. And I put up a Paypal Donate button last year when a few food bloggers and myself got a small mention in Gourmet Magazine.
I know how to spend my money pretty well, I don't need any ads to help.


Kate said...

I would probably dispel the idea of making a full time living off of a food blog alone, at least not yet.

A quick Anecdote: I was talking with the owner of a site who has a v. large readership. This person has explored various ad models and other tools and tricks...amount of money they've made so far? $600. That's $600 bucks for the entire year. This was coming from the owner of one of the top five food blogs out there. That's a cold reality that one must face if profitability is your goal.

That's not to say that you can't pay for hosting costs and other expenses. But it takes a fair amount of research, and trying out a variety of ad services. Sadly, the majority of these services are of the "Hit the Dancing Monkey" variety, with the loud graphics and annoying animation. These types of ads don't fit in the theme of my own blog, and I quickly dismissed them. I've kept Adsense and Blogads, as I can somewhat control the ads being shown.

My advice? Focus on bringing people to your site first, then worry about ads.

Amy Sherman said...

I'm really uncomfortable with the idea of ads on my site. Just a personal hang up I guess. I don't mind them on other people's sites but somehow I feel it would compromise mine.

Space is already at a premium and I don't think ads contribute value to the site and I doubt they would contribute enough $$$$ to make it worthwhile. I'm even more convinced of that based on the comments here so far...

Owen said...

I should make it clear that I have no expectations to make money from it either - I was just wondering. THe amazon referrer thing seems like a better idea in some ways since if nothing else you can (with a little creativity) get 4% off things at Amazon using it...

Sam said...

For me, I value my integrity and i have aethetics standards too. No way am I advertising anything on my blog. The ads look really bad which goes against the grain of me trying to make my blog very good looking.
Neither will i accept solicitations from anyone. If someone approaches me with a product, they are probably ensuring I will never write about them.
My hobby is finding good food. I don't want it to find me. Recommendations from others is a different thing. But a PR company, food manafacturer or restauranteur who approaches me, trying to get me to try their stuff isn't really understanding what i am doing here. If they do that, I am 99% bound to be put off trying them out. It has the opposit effect on me from what they are trying to achieve.
So, no, advertising or making money doesn't fit into my plan. It's my hobby, not my job. If it was a job, things might be different, but right now its not, so I want to keep it completely amateur.
Part of my plan is to support a charity with donations from readers. I have approached someone I would like to support, and if that goes ahead, it will be the only money my blog makes and it will be for a good cause.

Cate said...

I had ads up on my site for all of one day. I just decided it wasn't the look I was going for. I want people to come to my blog to read what I'm saying, first and foremost, and then be able to use it as a resource (linking to other food sites, blogs, etc.).

That said, the Amazon referrer think doesn't bother me, particularly when I link to them a lot if I mention a cookbook on my site (two yesterday alone). How does one set that up?

McAuliflower said...

I agree with Sam regarding ads... I'm too much of a control freak to let someone else's aesthetic (or lack of) pop up in my design.

I've had fun making designs to put up in a Cafe Press store. You get to set your profit on all items, and they take care of shipping and filing orders. Jen and I have been my only customers so far... but I'm doing this to have fun, not make money.

I think a potential money maker around the holidays would be to sell calendars featuring your own blog's stunning photography for each month and with a couple of recipes thrown in there. Cafe Press also offers calenders though I don't have any experience with this product.

Owen said...

mcauliflower (such a lovely name) I think you all have convinced me. Ads will be coming down when I have time.

I'll leave the referral stuff for Amazon in though (and I'll post about how to do it). You should check LuLu ( out for things like calendars rather than cafe press - they have a much better pricing structure

Rachael said...

I had no idea about the Amazon kick-back! How fab. I link to there all the time (and ecookbooks when I can...gotta support the littler guy!), can someone tell me how to get hooked up with that program? Thanks!

Owen said...

OK, go to

Click the more stores... link at the top right of the tabs. Scroll down the long list and near the bottom on the left column is 'Associates Program' under Services. Click that and then follow the directions to join.

They strongly encourage you to build these graphical links that are like ads, but with a little digging you can find out how to build a plain text link that takes the clicker to Amazon with your referrer code embedded. Then if they buy, you get the referrer fee. It isn't a lot, but it is perfectly fair and honest and doesn't affect your design and since you are in control, you only build links for things you are really recommending.

There are tools out there somewhere that will scan you pages and build links for you for everything you mantion that could have a link. Since I only do it for things I highly recommend, I haven't bothered with that.

molly said...

Me too Sweetnicks, I had ads up for a day and then took them down. It just didn't feel right for me and I decided to pay for the Typepad subscription so that I could write about my love. I also see some ads on people's sites about dating and stuff that I imagine is not what they had in mind, but if it makes them money and their happy, then there ya go.

Ellen said...

Amazon's agreement says you can't make money off your own purchases, btw. And they now strip off purchases you make when they tally your revenue. (I presume they're cross-checking emails or ship-to addresses.) So go to a fellow blogger's site and make your purchases from there!

McAuliflower said...

If its not too late on this discussion... I'd like to kick a little bit of the political in here: Amazon vs Powells.

Powells is such a fixture here in the Northwest US. Portland, Oregon has the honor of hosting the Mothership store and several of its thematic satellites scattered about the town. Enough with the tourism plugs and onto the meat of the matter: Amazon's political identity as gleaned through political contributions.

This may get lengthy, hope you stick with me...
As gleaned from

"Amazon's PAC sponsored politicians that act counter to the interests of their customers. This []PAC supported politicians that amongst other things supported "safeguards" regulating TV news content, opposed the "freedom to read" amendment allowing federal funds to be used to demand patron records from bookstores and libraries, and sponsored a bill to legalize "censorship software" for stripping "offensive content" out of films."

"2003-2004 election cycle contributions:
41.41% to Democratic Party candidates
58.59% to Republican Party candidates
0% to Other candidates"

the link through to revels that the Amazon PAC made election donations to the following embarrassing politicians: Santorum, Rick (R-PA), Specter, Arlen (R-PA), Pickering, Charles "Chip" Jr (R-MS), Smith, Lamar (R-TX), Istook, Ernest J (R-OK) [is gutting Amtrak to pave way for private rails].

vs the info on Powell's, which put 100% of its 2003-2004 election contributions to Democratic candidates, both local and nationwide.

Powells also has a partnership program based on referals. They offer 7.5% commission on purchases you direct (excluding your own).

I use Powell's as my book-linker and have never found an instance where Amazon suited that need better.

becky said...

Just beginning my blog - thank you all so much for the discussion. The kicker for me was the PAC info. Goodbye Amazon, Hello Powell.

Alanna said...

I've used both Google ads and Amazon referrals. But Google often kidnaps the Amazon referrals. It's got to be a code thing -- but works right on preview, then wrong after publishing. I'd rather do the Amazon referrals so just deleted the Google ads.