During PodCampPittsburgh, one of the biggest topics of discussion was monetizing: making money from your podcast (or blog). Many sites offer recommendations, usually focused around understanding your viewership/readership. A recent post by Grace Bonney of BizBox Blog on Slate (“How Does One Live Off of a Blog?“) brings together great ideas and a healthy dose of reality:
There are few design bloggers I know who live entirely off of their blogs. Most people have the support of a significant other’s income, freelance revenue or a side job that helps pay the bills. And I’m certainly no different. When it comes to paying my rent and putting food on the table I combine my site’s ad revenue with income from freelance jobs. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but for the most part we all work outside of our blogs in some capacity to make ends meet.
The whole article is worth reading, but I’ll quickly summarize Grace’s key steps to turning your blog or podcast into a revenue source:
1. Establish your blog or website’s basic stats.
2. Create a reader survey. (This is so you can write a more accurate audience profile.)
3. Create an advertising one-sheet (using the visitor stats and profile).
4. Set your prices.
5. Reach out to potential advertisers.
6. Maintain your boundaries and keep your advertisers happy.
These are just the highlights — make sure to check out the details and fine points.
As a final point, she considers the question of whether to use an aggregating ad service like Google Adwords or to find and manage targeted advertisers on your own. Grace suggests that dealing directly with advertisers has worked best for her, and I’d echo that opinion — the bloggers I know who’ve done best with advertising don’t rely on Adwords.
Another ad option to consider is signing up for an affiliate program, such as Commission Junction. If you have a truly targeted audience, and if there’s a fluid way to include specific product or brand ads on your pages or in the content, this is an excellent option. It’s worked well for me in a variety of settings.
How much you get out of your website depends on how much you put in. Create a plan, set some goals, and give it a try. Make sure to evaluate the results. then rinse and repeat.
(Thanks to Rob Walker/Murketing for highlighting the BizBox article.)