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How I Make Money from Blogs – My Top Earners

Posted By Darren Rowse 8th of February 2007 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

Top-Income-StreamsUpdate – I have updated the list of my top income earners from blogging.

It’s been a fair while since I talked specifically about my blogging earnings. I decided a year or so ago that I wasn’t going to put specific dollar figures to my income any more in public – however as I get a lot of questions from readers asking for updates I thought I’d share where my blogging income has been coming from lately.

All I will say in terms of dollar figures is that I am still well and truly earning over six figures per year from the following income streams.

The following is a ranking of my top 9 income streams for the fourth Quarter of 2006. It is a summary of the income from my own personal blogs – ie income from b5media (where I am an employee as well as a shareholder) is not included – either is income from Six Figure Blogging (which continues to sell at a reasonable rate) or any speaking or consulting work that I do (very little these days anyway).

I’ve also included a little information on how I use each of these income streams and which products that they offer work best for me which I hope is helpful for others looking to monetize their blogs or websites. Note – Some of the following links are affiliate links.

1. Chitika

While they don’t work on every blog (for example I don’t use them here at ProBlogger) and there is a traffic minimum to be accepted by them Chitika continue to be my highest earner. They offer a variety of ad units and income streams – the top three for me are eMiniMalls, Related Product Units and Shoplincs. They continue to work best on product related sites. Place RPU units at the end of posts (they give a good option for people to click on when they finish reading and experiment with linking directly to products in your shoplinc from product reviews (of the same products) on your blogs. I’ve written plenty of Chitika Optimization tips here and here.

2. AdSense

The most popular form of advertising on blogs is AdSense (according to a few studies that I’ve seen) and for me it’s a reliable earner that brings in a significant level of income (just under what Chitika pulls in each month). While I use referrals and their search product on some of my sites I find that normal ad units are producing the best income for me – particularly rectangle (250 x 300 pixels) ones placed close to content with a blended design. For tips on optimizing AdSense on your blog check out this 8 part series.

3. Text Link Ads

Perhaps the biggest mover for me over the last 12 months in terms of my earnings has come from TLA. While they have a ceiling in what they earn per site they are another good solid earner for me – particularly now that they’ve added feedvertising (RSS ads) which out performs any other type of RSS ad that I’ve tried. I’m hearing from many bloggers that TLA is their biggest earner now. It works best on sites that have been around for a while – you don’t need big traffic to be accepted – but having a page rank and some search engine presence helps.

4. Amazon Associates

The forth Quarter of each year tends to be a good one for me when it comes to commissions from Amazon. The last quarter is a time that people are in a buying mood in the lead up to Christmas – smart placement (deep linking inside posts) can bring great conversions. The key is picking relevant products to promote. Read more tips on affiliate programs for blogs for a few other tips on optimizing Amazon.

5. Private Ad Deals

I don’t do a lot of private ad deals (it’s something I should focus upon more but there are only so many hours in the day) but when they come in they can be significant (if you have decent traffic). I’ve just signed two deals on my digital photography blog with Apple and Adobe for the next couple of months so I suspect this one will leap up next quarter.

6. Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs

My blogs have a variety of smaller affiliate programs running from them. I try to find quality products that relate to my topics that I can genuinely recommend – often via reviews. Some of the better converting products that I’ve recommended this last quarter included – Digital Photography Secrets (a camera technique series), Pro Photo Secrets (a photoshop product) and SEO Book (Aaron’s legendary resource).

7. ProBlogger Job Boards

Not spectacular earnings but growing. I see this more as a service to readers than an income stream at this point – however it does pay for itself and bring in a few hundred dollars each month.

8.Performancing’s Partners Network

The now defunct ad network did bring in a few hundred dollars last quarter. I was sad to see this close as it offered an interesting alternative.

9. BlogAds

I don’t use them much these days but they do bring in a little each month. I noticed BlogAds decrease in performance for me around the time they went to the new version. I’m not sure if it’s my problem or theirs but apart from one blog I rarely see any sales these days.

How Much Do I Spend?

A question that I’m regularly asked when I do such posts is ‘how much do you spend’ to earn what you earn?

The answer is ‘very little’.

I do experiment occasionally with using AdWords to promote my blogs – but don’t have the time or patience to get into it heavily (the biggest month I’ve had with AdWords ever is $100 – just over $3 a day). Other than that I don’t do any paid promotional activities and my costs are really just hosting related and the normal ISP and office costs.

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. Its really nice to learn these things from you. I used to see google adsense in your blog earlier, once after reading this post only i have realized that u are not using adsense in this layout. You are an inspiration for me, i started blogging after reading your blog for quite some time.

  2. Thanks for the info. I have just started out in the world of blogging, so your information about monetizing will really help.

  3. After a first visit it is obvious I will need to spend some more time here. Good time/information ratio here. Not much time and you get a lot of information.

  4. i was expecting the affiliate sales to be on the top list. oh well.

  5. Great tips Darren.
    I really hope that as I increase traffic to my blog, some of these options become viable and available to me.
    Keep up your great work!

  6. Internet businesses are hard work. You have to be prepared for the hard slog. Good advice darren.

  7. props for all your success, heres hoping i can make it too ;)

  8. Darren,

    Thanks for sharing your great tips.

    But it was is your comment :
    “I only blog on two of my blogs – but I have others writing for me on other blogs.” ..

    that is seemingly the real answer to “how to make money with blogs …” isn’t it?

    According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darren_Rowse
    you apparently have at least 20 blogs that you manage.

    Is it in fact 20 ? .. or what is the actual number?

    Can you list the blogs that you run? I’d like to read them to see if I can both a)recognize what makes them attractive to advertisers, (from a “learning-to-make-money-standpoint”) and b) just be entertained and/or learn something, as I love to read just for the sake of reading :)


  9. Hi darren, Thanks for this information. I would like to happy to know who pays you relatively more.

  10. Great posting. This is very helpful, and I like how you give details about each. It makes easier to then go and figure out which to try out on my blogs. Would you say that adsense would be a good start for a new blogger? I find adsense the easiest to use, and I also like to use amazon affiliates. I guess now I just need to build a traffic :)

  11. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for sharing your earning streams. It will inspire me at least to point 1-3. But now I was work hard to build a good traffic site. I hope it can be true soon. Thanks.

  12. i just wanna earn money for my studies…..
    i have my adsense account and blog also.but how can i start to earnig.give me idea for it….

  13. What is the easiest program for you in terms of maintaining the stability of the income?

  14. Since Text link Ads are mentioned in this article, I thought some of your readers might like to read about my less than stellar experience with them before signing up. I’m not saying every TLA user will encounter the same problems I did, but sometimes it’s good to see things from a different perspective.

  15. […] been a over six months since I last did it and a number of things have changed since that time – so I thought it might be worth an update. […]

  16. thanks for the tips. i have not made any money yet but hopefully with your tips i can start. thanks again.

  17. I might have to start using some of these. You say these are your top earners, so you use more than what’s on this list?

  18. I really do appreciate all this information you are sharing with us. Its really helpful especially for beginners like me to be able to read this information and understand it in half an hour. If i didn’t have your articles it would take me so much more time. So i can’t thank you enough.

    Regards Andrew

  19. I use only Google adsense of the list above.It works very nice for me.I am planning to include Widgetbucks to the site as well.

  20. I tried Text link ads but failed.Now using adsense.Works nice.Thanks for sharing this valuable info.

  21. I earn very little a month.I wonder how much do u earn with all that.By the way which one earns you more & is the easiest to operate.

  22. Thank you for giving information on money making!

  23. I will definitely have to look into these. Does Yahoo not work well?

  24. Darren, nice work with your blogs! I just started my first blog and i’m looking for ways to promote it. There is plenty of help and ideas on problogger.net. My question to you is this: when you first got started blogging, what would have been the best advice you never got? Thx.

  25. Such an informative blog. Liked it very much Darren. Keep helping new bloggers like me in this manner. :-)

  26. Amazing info for a starter like me. I didnt even knew about text links ads. I look forward for more.

  27. Any guidance as to what a unique visitor is worth? Based on the Wall Street Journal story about another blog (mongabay.com), each visitor is worth about 1.4 cents per visit.

    Is that about right in the case of problogger across all advertising revenue streams?

    I know it all depends on the niche and level of competition, but any guidance would be useful.

  28. Why you’re not using Bidvertiser?

  29. Nice to see you updated your list. I know that it takes more than just ads though, you have to have a massive influx of traffic everyday to even earn something on the net. Thanks for your sharing.

  30. Its really a good post, I had implemented the text links and google adsense and its giving good results.

    Keep posting good stuff. Thanks


  31. amparo says: 04/16/2008 at 11:36 am

    im so new to this blogging i have a lot of content to share and a lot of stuff people like to know and i know i will do well in blogging but my question is how many blogging sites are out there, can you name a few… cause to make money you have to keep your options open i mean what sites do you have your blogs on or you just use one site

  32. my top earner with blog is just GOOGLE ADSENSE.

    and also affiliate program (more than Adsense)..

    how PROBLOGGER JOB BOARDS bring you money/revenue?

  33. After 8 years, yes 8 years I kid you not, I’m making about $75 per week selling a very niche product. It takes very little effort and pays for my cable account.

    My advice is don’t expect overnight success.

    In hindsite what I should have done was set up 50 similar sites and cross-linked them.

    The site gets about 50 unique visitors per day and has done since 1999.

  34. strange to see chitika at the top.

  35. Yes,I also agree,Chitika eminimall is tye lowest earner for my blog…..don’t know why??

  36. Good post, I like the many income streams you are getting. I am using some that you mention myself, but to the faint at heart. A little work is require in finding your niche, writing good quality content for your blog and using rich keywords.

    Over all, I am glad to hear that this is working for someone.

  37. Wow, what an eye opener! Thanks for the info, Darren. I’m bookmarking your site and will coming back for more. I’m a full time college student, and I really like the thought of blogging to make some extra money. I currently have 1 website with not one ad on it – will will be changing shortly! I also have 4 blog sites that need some work. Six figures? — I have quite a bit to learn.

  38. Pity that earning money from these types of blog programmes etc. is not available to the entire world, but only a select few in the really developed countries. Here in Africa we can’t use these services because of the PayPal issue. We are not able to receive Paypal payments into this country, and PayPal don’t care about us in any way. I have a US PayPal account but no US Bank account. Sorry, there’s nothing I can do with the money in there. I’m even struggling for them just to transfer it somewhere else. It’s not a lot of money, either!

  39. @Gifts – Why dont you join as an advertiser somewhere that accepts paypal and do some small advertising campaigns for your blog with that money???

    You could easily put that money back into your blog. also some hosting services accept paypal as payment.

    =] just a tip!

    ive used most of these on blogs of mine and have made ‘OK’ money im gonna try out some of the rest soon.


  40. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for putting up this post. Its indeed very helpful specially I liked the way you have explained each of your main income sources which inturn helps me plan on things I should do :). I do part time blogging and have no plans to get into full time blogging in near future so looking to put some good contents that can bring me little money to keep me motivating write futher.

    Thanks once again for this post.


  41. Hello Darren,

    Thanks for this post.

    I love the way you took out time to explain clearly the different means of income.

    In a time like this when Google adsence has started bullying bloggers. Its really time we start looking at other income avenues


  42. Ok, so I created a Webkinz site (http://www.buy-new-webkinz.com) and I have a question. The site itself appears to be a store, but it actually pushes people through to Amazon where all orders are handles. I am capturing the Amazon Associate kickback, but I am wondering if anyone else is taking this approach. I really don’t want to have my own e-store. I just want to push people through to other people’s stores. Is this a viable technique? Can anyone weigh

  43. Google Adsense best for earn good income from home.

  44. I run 100 websites with the goal of making 1.00 per day. It is a struggle. I use adsense and commission junction.

  45. I’m wondering whether you are Google adsense makes you lot of money; as of I’ve heard from several people, ad sense makes very little money, is that true?

  46. Good sharing for blogger..But, is it real that 1 blog ONLY also can make money..?? I heard they have more than 1 blog to generate adsense $$ ?

  47. Darren, Do you use dedicated server for hosting?

  48. I need to make 500-1000 a month. Is that possible? Or do all these pay in micro-pennies?

  49. Hi article, Darren. You are kind having to show us your channels of income unlike most internet marketers.Can i use the same adsense account to two or more different website.Who can answer me with this enquiry.

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