Do you monetize your blog?

November 18th, 2011

Tom Coburn raised an interesting question yesterday under our “How do you host your blog?” post.

What I’ve always wondered is how website owners have any luck at all getting revenue from their websites?

With that question in mind, do you monetize your blog? If so, how do you do it? Do you display ads, charge a subscription fee, offer premium services, or something else entirely?




  1. Babs Powers (13 comments.) says:

    My personal blog doesn’t have any ads.

    I did have Google ads on my recipe blog, but never saw any revenue from them so when I switched to a responsive theme (so folks could take my recipes with them to the store) I ditched them.

    My business blog is the only one currently with ads, and they are all for my shop, so I only get revenue from them when someone makes a purchase.

  2. Brian Pate (2 comments.) says: gets revenue from ads and premium services. My old blog made over $600 in AdSense revenue one year, but that has dropped way off. sells merchandise via CafePress, Etsy, etc.

    So each one is different.

    • Blopa (1 comments.) says:

      Do you filter your ads, leaving out those with low CPC (like 5 cents)?
      Once I found a tool that lets me choose those ads that pay nothing and then filter out in my Adsense account.

  3. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    This is really a much larger question. I think some of the confusion stems from the crappy wording.

    “Monetize” is a made up word. Nobody has ever “monetized” anything. Most often, the phrase “monetize your site” means to get paid for creating it in some manner. Because if you break it down, that’s what you want. You want to get paid for creating the website, or maintaining the website, or whatever.

    Getting paid is the same in all fields: find somebody to pay you for what it is that you want to do. For the case of creating a website, what you most likely want to be is something that has a different name: a “writer”. Getting paid to write is one of the hardest things to do. Ask any writer. ;)

    For the special case of websites, there is the concept of online advertising. Banner ads are the commonest form. The problem with advertising is that you have to find somebody willing to give you money to put their content in front of your readers. For some cases, this isn’t difficult. Example: If you run a highly popular gaming related website, then game and hardware manufacturers will shower you with cash to do exactly that.

    For other cases, this can be difficult for various reasons, such as: your audience is small, your audience is undefined as to a target demographic, you don’t write enough, etc. For these cases, they invented the concept of ad networks.

    All ad networks are a scam for the small operator. To make money on advertising with a network, you need to have a large audience, or have a target demographic, or something that is going to turn your viewers into clickers and purchasers of product. Because that’s what it’s about after all. If an ad doesn’t generate income for the people making they ad, then they’re not going to continue to pay you to show said ad. This is a simplified model, but that’s how reality works.

    Things like Google’s Adsense work based on these same factors, only they have commotized it and made it automated. So your site showing Google ads gets a value set on it based on how many views you get, how targetted the audience is, how much they click the links, etc.

    Notice how these same factors keep coming up again and again? Ads have to *work* to make money for the person displaying them alongside their content. So if you have a site that could do well with Adsense (or any other ad network), then you could in fact make more working directly with an advertiser. Which means you need the big popular site to begin with.

    So in short, ads suck and rarely make any money for the hobbiest or small blogger, unless you find somebody willing to pay you directly to place said ads. Directly working with the advertiser and cutting out the middle man is your best bet.

    On the other hand, sometimes ads don’t work at all, even for a large viewership. When you run a community based site, ads can kill it dead. Communities work differently because the members of said community work together to build the content of the site. Even a forum is a community, and people will rally behind it because that’s where they communicate with their friends and such. It’s the neighborhood paradigm, people act to preserve their neighborhood. So a donation model sometimes works there, because the neighborhood needs money to exist. However, a community based site is only rarely capable of fully supporting a specific member (the owner). Usually they can offset the costs of the site itself, or pay for that with only a modest return. Depends on the demographics of the community.

    One of my sites is a technical help site. I accept donations for it with a modest “buy me a beer” in the sidebar, and it makes enough to pay for the site and about half of my beer consumption. Nowhere near enough to live on, but to be fair, I do consume a lot of beer. :)

    There are sites with “premium” content behind a pay-wall. These can work but be aware of the blowback if all the content was free previously. This is a bit more direct, but at least it has the virtue of being completely honest with your readers. You need to live, and they want to read what you write, so they might pay a small amount for it if you ask.

    In the end, there’s only one surefire way to make money on the internet. Sell t-shirts. Seriously, people love t-shirts.

  4. Jawed (1 comments.) says:

    I don’t monetize my blogs from the very first day of launch. Depending on the niche, I start monteizing when my blog has gained some success from my writing, seo and other promotional activities.

    I use monetizing methods like AdSense, Premium Services, Affiliate Marketing and few others depending on the blog niche. I use AdSense only on blogs with higher CPC.


  5. Jos (5 comments.) says:

    I dabbled with AdSense on the non-blog sections of my site back when traffic was high and AdSense pay was still worth it, but I’ve long since removed it. It annoys me on other sites, wouldn’t want it on mine either.
    And there are way too many sites already where over 50% of the screen estate is ads.

  6. Mir Imran Elahi (2 comments.) says:

    I monetize my sites with google adsense and affiliate marketing. I also sell advertising space on monthly basis.

  7. Daryl Brown (1 comments.) says:

    I just started blogging but I am definitely curious about monetizing my blog

    • Richard says:

      @Daryl, has restrictions on user-generated advertising that you need to investigate. If you want to have ads, then is not the place for you. You are probably better off self-hosting a wordpress installation where you have far more freedom.

  8. Kitty (1 comments.) says:

    I do have adsense on my site and I also ruin affiliate ads for related products. Yet to raise enough for a cup of coffee LOL. Even so, the site is really a hobby more than an earner so … it would be nice to make some pennies but not necessary.

  9. Nicholas (1 comments.) says:


    A very interesting thread. I run a site and a blog. Just started about 1+ months ago and focusing a lot on building content and generating traffic. I’ve read up ALOT on affiliate marketing but whatever I see seems to be scam. Tried to sign up for 1 or 2 services and got nothing out of it. Grateful for Paypal protection service – got full refund. So, at present I’m at Adwords stage to generate traffic to the site and fortunately got a nice coupon offer so the first few weeks – I’m setting a CPC of 5 cents, is covered. To “monetize” so to speak I’m toying with Adsense and am bordering about a dollar a day! Wow.

    So definitely, the “monetizing” aspect is there but unless I’m in the million visitors I will not at all be able to generate any life-sustaining income. It is – and will alwasy be – just my little contribution back to life and the world. I’m not in it for the money but it could be great to cover hosting expenses etc. Time cost – the 3 hours I spend a day next to having a full (70+ hours a week job) will never be covered.

    Website above, blog is here:


  10. Jenni (2 comments.) says:

    Hi James, good question, actually I think everyone try to monetize their own blogs, you can look at my website too.

    I’m using banner ads, con-texture ads (Infolink) but the way that I made a lot of money from my blog is using email marketing. You can learn some useful tips here:

    Best regards

  11. BlogGirl (2 comments.) says:

    If your site is new don’t bother to sell out links yet, you have to wait a little longer and wait until it matures. Mature enough meaning you already gained visitors, ranks, etc. Monetizing your blog can also help you in paying your hosting bills and others are referring it as they full time job. I can say that I’m monetizing my blog if needed.

  12. suraj (1 comments.) says:

    First I try to gain traffic on my blog. After gaining good traffic, i start display Google ads to earn money. In High traffic blogs, i used buy sell ads.

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