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How has the Economic Downturn Impacted my Blogging Earnings?

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of March 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

How has the economic downturn impacted your blog earnings?

Team Nirvana recently emailed to ask me what impact the recession has had upon my blog earnings – it’s actually a question that I get quite a bit when talking to friends and family – (I guess everyone is asking it about everyone’s jobs at the moment).

In answering the question here I want to acknowledge that this is not one answer for all bloggers. As I’ve pondered the question for my own circumstances I’ve realized that the economic downturn will be impacted bloggers very differently depending upon factors such as their blogs topics (some topics are booming at the moment while others are not), the life stage of their blogs and numerous other factors such as the demographics of their audience.

That being said – here’s how things have been going for me of late:

Ad Revenue – Steady and Up in Private Ad Sales

My biggest income stream across my blogs at the moment has been advertising revenue. This comes from a combination of sources including AdSense and Chitika (I run these on DPS) and Private Ad Sales (here on ProBlogger, DPS and TwiTip) as well as a few other ad networks like Shopzilla and WidgetBucks.

Overall my advertising income has increased however this is largely due to an increase in private ad sales. I’ve noticed that ad networks like AdSense, Chitika, Shopzilla and WidgetBucks have been holding their own for me. Some have decreased a little but this is mainly due to me dedicating more ad space to private ad sales and decreasing the space I give to the networks (due largely to demand for private ad sales).

While I’m hearing other bloggers reporting a decline in private ad sales (which they attribute to the economy) I’ve seen the opposite and I put it down to a couple of reasons:

1. increasing traffic – DPS has continued to really grow in size and a natural reaction to his is that it is easier to sell to premium sized advertisers. For example we’ve recently been doing a large campaign with Lenovo which has gone particularly well.

2. my topic – here on ProBlogger I’m in a somewhat unique position to be blogging on a topic that there is actually more and more people coming online to learn about (making money online). As a result of this I’ve noticed more advertisers coming into the space. Similarly – starting a blog on Twitter recently was pretty good timing as Twitter is really growing at the moment.

Affiliate Revenue – Up a Little

Affiliate sales have certainly been healthy for me over the last 6 months (on all of my blogs). Again, there are a number of reasons for this:

1. Traffic is up – (see above – increased traffic means that you’ve more people potentially seeing your affiliate promotion)

2. Increased Affiliates to Promote – I’ve always found that affiliate marketing earnings seems to have periods where it naturally goes up and down partly depending upon what programs there are launching in your industry. For example in the ‘blogging’ space there were a few quality affiliate programs that all launched within weeks of each other a couple of months back.

3. More emphasis on Affiliate Marketing – at DPS I had rarely done an affiliate promotion (except for Amazon) since I started it two and a half years ago. In recent months I’ve begun to experiment more with it as an income stream on that site (with mixed success). I’m still looking for a high quality product that ‘fits’ perfectly with my audience but the attempts that I’ve had have brought some success so far.

Job Boards – Up a Little

The ProBlogger Job boards have continued to grow over the last month or so (particularly in the last month). Again this is one of those examples where the economy itself has actually benefited me as more and more people are moving online to find work and more and more people are looking to hire in this space.

Dollar Conversion Rates – Up

Perhaps the biggest contributor to an increased income of late has been the decline of the Australian dollar as opposed to the US dollar. Mid last year we were close to a $1USD = $1AUD scenario. As you’ll see by the graph below this has changed significantly which means as I write this $1USD converts to around $1.50AUD. Considering 99% of my income is in USD things have certainly improved of late. Of course the preceding 4 years saw us going from a similar position to what it was back in July so there are ups and downs in this type of thing.

Picture 4.png

Overall – Up…. a little

The largest contributor to my income increasing of late has been the conversion rate. All of the other three areas (ad sales, affiliate revenue and Job Board earnings) have seen small increases but not massive. In fact if you were to analyze the earnings increases against traffic increases I’m almost certain that traffic is up significantly higher than earnings – if traffic had remained steady I suspect earnings would have dropped.

My Strategy Going Forward

Here’s what I’m concentrating on in the next 6-12 months.

1. Building the Best Blogs I Can and Increasing Readership – while the amount of money that companies are spending online with their advertising MAY be decreasing, my approach is to continue to invest as much of my own time and energy into building great websites to attract what advertising I can now but to position myself for when things improve.

My prediction is that the internet is here to stay and will only continue to grow. As a result I firmly believe that we’ll see the ad dollars come back. I want to have sites with thriving communities and large readerships when the advertisers return.

2. Exploration of New Income Streams – on both of my main blogs (here at ProBlogger and at Digital Photography School) I am working on adding new income streams. I’ll hold off on announcing them here and now but in both cases they build on what I’ve already been doing on the sites and will hopefully add revenue so that I’m not quite so reliant upon the advertising revenue that the sites currently draw in.

How has the economic downturn impacted your blogs?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Heey Mike,Am so happy for you that u haven’t noticed much difference..Keep it up brother!.by the way I like your blog as well!

  2. Darren
    more traffic is always the best way to counter any downturn, but I’d be interested in what you’re seeing in CPM rates from networks vs your net return, as this might be a fairer measure of the overall market.

    Personally, I’m seeing a mix depending on the network. Adsense seems to be heading down a bit CPM based, but others have held their own, for example Valueclick.

  3. It sounds as though you’ve got your strategy and plans sorted Darren.

    I’ve found it interesting how you have a vested interest in develop a Twitter focussed blog. Thats a great idea as it mirrors the utility of this blog for bloggers.

    Question: why Twitter and not a blog about Facebook?

  4. Thank you, Darren, for sharing this bright spot of blogging income. When Merchant Circle’s survey of over 1100 businesses found that over 75% of them were reporting moderate to severe declines in income it looked like the economy might be affecting a very wide range of businesses.

    I am sure your wisdom has quite a bit to do with your excellent timing and choices of what to promote. Jobs and making money blogging are certainly growth niches when the economy is in decline and so many are being laid off or fear that they may be next.

  5. nothing changed, my revenue is still the same, hopefully stable :)

  6. Ladyexpat says: 03/20/2009 at 11:00 am

    Excellent article Darren.

    I’m curious, and maybe this is a topic for another blog……
    How do you choose affiliates to partner with? You have an excellent reputation in cyberspace, so I am thinking there must be certain criteria that you use.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Last November/December were bad for me, but I’m seeing new growth through this year, I believe the popularity of Twitter is helping, it’s good for all bloggers, because Twitter isn’t a walled garden.


  8. Although I have been marketing pet products for about 5 years, I just started blogging, so this info is very timely & pertinent. Thanks!

  9. all seems to be going well on internet business with the economic downturn and a lot of currencies has fallen against the dollar. make more money guys

  10. My revenue was seriously down

  11. Increasing revenue graph is the most satisfactory thing for any businessman. I am also trying to get maximum variety related with my niche and hence can make good money.

    As in this time visitors are more consious about their spending and attract them to spend money is really a tough task.

  12. Congratulation Darren, increasing earning in this down time is great news.
    I have also not found any big impact online ad revenues. It seems this is the field which will get less impacted then other. I feel it is the right time to start a new online project to get more benefit in future.

  13. I’m starting to see revenue creeping up again after a downturn. I hope it continues!

    I too am benefiting from exchange rates — US dollar to GB pound.

    I totally agree that bloggers should continue to build great content regardless of the situation, as it should put them in a much stronger position when things eventually pick up.

    Very interesting insights.

  14. Nice statistics for your blogs. Its really great.

  15. Darren,

    Your blog is interesting, how long have been blogging? I like this.

  16. My blog is too young for me to be analysing changes, but it’s great to know what resilience online businesses and, more specifically, online advertising has during economic hardship.
    Great blog, thanks!

  17. Interesting that you use widgetbucks. I recently added them to my websites but they have not earned me much yet. I am comparing them directly to Adsense by rotatating them in the same spots (Wish I had a wordpress plugin that could do this automatically).

  18. I am seeing the same thing all over the internet, advertisers are curbing their spending while more and more people are turning to the internet looking for new ways to make money.

  19. I dont agree with you darren, I saw a sharp reduction in ad pricing by the advertisers and hence many peoples adsense revenue is way down 50%. Probably since you are using affiliate links in your blog you are making some money.

  20. Let’s just hope everything will be back to normal soon..

  21. It has not really impacted my revenue as far as blogging is concerned. I have seen a decline in Adsense but that may be related to me not updating the blog frequently and also the decline in traffic since the new year.

    Blog revenue has not been great for a while, even when I was posting more frequently. I think that the revenue will be about the same even when traffic increases as I post more. So, for the Madlab Post, the “economic downturn” that many people are talking about at this time around the nation has not really affected the revenue of my blog. It is as slow as it has always been.

  22. I don’t think the economy is hurting my sites all that much. I have noticed decreases in only two areas: (1) My private sales of ads and blogad sales to smaller companies has gone way down. I think the little companies are cutting back on advertising. So that is the one area where I have taken a hit, but I didn’t have a lot of those ads anyway and they were never high dollar amounts. (2) My earnings from ad networks have gone up because my traffic has gone up and because of instances with a guaranteed CPM rate. But I noticed that some companies are paying less per CPM to the networks for ads. Not all by any means, but some.

    My adsense generally has remained the same or gone up slightly as traffic increased. This month it is way up for unknown reasons. My Shopzilla earnings are about the same, and my affiliate sales are up. Most of that I attribute to additional traffic. I have noticed an increase in sales of cheaper items and less sales of luxury items. But the increase in cheaper items has been quite large, making up for any loss in the higher end sales and generally surpassing it.

  23. Though the economy is downward spiral, one can always make extra income in the convenience of your home, having no hassles of getting into traffic going to your office. Making money online does not always mean that you have to have a product or service to sell. You can earn money by having our own blog or by joining making money online programs like affiliate marketing.

    thanks for sharing! cheers to your success!

  24. I don’t think the economic crisis/downturn has affected me. During these days, my blog’s earnings kept on increasing. Weee..

  25. The increase in my revenue has slowed over the last two month but continues to be and increase which is better then a decrease. I do need to explore additional online revenue options and income streams.

  26. Daren I have almost the same strategy as you ,and thanks for your last discussion about long tail,I write my “future post ,base on that long tail suggestion and although the conversion is decrease ,the unique visitor do add ,and with “next redesigning front page goes to more table less.I believe I can stay survive during the “recession repair”


  27. Yes, the number of advertisers and the rate of per click is also decreased, as i noticed.


  28. i see significant decrease on my earnings to 1cent. can u belive it.. i feel the crunch now..


  29. You should check out adsense…it has lower less than 1/2 for almost all the publishers.


  30. my site has little revenue

  31. Since the advent on the financial crisis last October, coupled with the seizure of both Bangkok airports, I started to run daily stories on my travel site. At that time my web design site had also slipped so, studiously, I now blog every day (except weekends) for both sites.

    Due to this daily diligence, site hits have doubled, although there has been a dramatic decrease year-on-year on hotel bookings, which is understandable.

    As for AdSense, well we’ll have to evaulate that later but as far as I can see ad clicks are on the ascendency. My take on it is to provide more content and thereby derive more revenue.

  32. I wish I had had a 33% increase in the currency exchange. My revenues are down 60% from December of last year. I do a lot of retail sales and Christmas was good. The worst drops before were only 30% so the 60 hurts. I will just keep plugging. At least I am stil making a living and not out looking for a job-ugh.

  33. My earnings are way up for some reason. I thought they would dive. I do tech stuff though, so maybe that’s just in high demand.

  34. I know of a blogger that uses adsense. He said he hasn’t seen a reduction of his adsense income.

  35. Well, as of right now I’m working on increasing my traffic. My traffic has gone up. Hopefully, this will mean an increase in revenue.

  36. I see many people losing their job cause crisis economic….. that’s great daren….. you can survive and grow better

  37. I really like this article, as someone who is just starting out, I was curious about this very thing and I think many of the comments here are dead on that web usage would be up this year….I just hope I can get this blogging thing figured out in time to capitalize!

    Thanks Darren!

  38. Search engine marketing, online ad campaigns and much more full web services!

  39. Interesting analysis, my blog earnings and ecommerce earnings are up as well, but my traffic has increased heaps.

  40. many big company ged bad impact crisis economic……great, you can survive and grow

  41. Darren you have changed well according to the conditions and its a lesson to all of us bloggers how to go about in the recession.

  42. Hey Darren,

    Glad to hear that all your income sources have been increasing, even those some less than others. Personally I feel that it is during these times that there are opportunities to start new blogs (especially when it is about the topic of money) as people are now more desperate to earn money and thus more likely to visit your site. For me, I just started one of my own sites recently along with a partner on affiliate marketing.

  43. i could earn huge money by my blog in this method .

    advertise is the best way for extra income.

  44. I don’t think we will really need to worry about the invome from blogs going down in the recession as people are more likely to look online for cheaper alternatives and spend more time researching topics before they spend any money on them. Also check out “did you know” on YouTube, I don’t think the growth will be slowing down..

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