New blog - popular post - no money!
November 23, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

It's my first blog, and today one post is getting a lot of attention on digg. 15,000 hits by 9 AM, more to come. But I'm not making any money. Help!

I have a new blog (1 week old) with 2 Adsense panels on the left side. I have had 15,000 visitors this morning (it's 8:30 AM here), but only 18 ad clicks. I've made just a couple dollars so far. I must be doing something wrong.... or is this normal?

I have another blog post with affiliate links to itunes albums, but that entry is not the one getting the hits.

I expect to double or triple my hits today, maybe hit 50,000 this week. Any tips? Are there any other sources of ads or revenue I can put up immediately?

(Notes: The blog is on Blogger Beta. I've put the blog up with the sole purpose of hopefully creating additional income. I tried putting adsense ads in the middle of the blog post, but Blogger won't allow the javacript tag).
posted by kdern to Computers & Internet (40 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Update - my post is in the top 5 of the day on digg right now.
posted by kdern at 6:45 AM on November 23, 2006

Response by poster: 16,000 hits now. I need some advice.
posted by kdern at 6:49 AM on November 23, 2006

You should try and find people that sell ads based on views instead of clicks?
posted by chunking express at 6:56 AM on November 23, 2006

Digg/Slashdotters (to a lesser extent) aren't your usual web customers: they will swamp your site by reading it once, but then immediately leave to go to the next article in line. If your content is good enough, they might come back later (or pass word on to others about your site), but right now they won't be doing too much for your site.

Don't expect any incredible ad revenue from them because they don't click on ads (probably because most of them don't see the ads -- they have AdBlock or something).
posted by yellowbkpk at 6:59 AM on November 23, 2006

/minor threadjack

Are there any great articles or books on monetizing your blog? I only know about Steve Pavlina's stuff. Or is it all Top Sekret insider info?
posted by mecran01 at 7:05 AM on November 23, 2006

I agree with yellowbkpk. You should treat this as an opportunity to get regular readers who will click on ads in the future, and don't worry so much about your ad revenue today. Add a "Like this post? Subscribe for more." link at the end of the post, and be very responsive to comments.
posted by scottreynen at 7:06 AM on November 23, 2006

If you're blogging because you think you're going to make a lot of money doing so, then someone has badly deceived you.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:10 AM on November 23, 2006

I've been Slashdotted, Boing Boinged, and Metafiltered now and again for many years now. Their traffic does not equal money unless they're promoting a product that you're selling. If you're lucky, 5% may check out your site again in the future.
posted by waldo at 7:16 AM on November 23, 2006

Response by poster: OK - thanks for the tips. It's still exciting... up to almost 19,000 so far.
posted by kdern at 7:21 AM on November 23, 2006

Par for the course. I had a couple of items on my huge hobby-related website farked with about 15,000 views in one day. There were ads there, but they got scant few clicks. We make more from cutting deals with advertisers we know personally and from clicks from regulars. And what steven c. den beste said (on the money, as usual). I don't know who these legendary people are that supposedly make money hand over fist on ads... as far as I'm concerned it's a crock.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:21 AM on November 23, 2006

Not all traffic is equally valuable from an advertising standpoint. For example: my traffic nearly tripled during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, but the people visiting my site were looking for information on which neighbourhoods, homes, addresses got hit -- obviously not the sort of people who plan on clicking on ads, understandably -- so my ad income did not go up proportionately.

In other words, why they're visiting matters more than how many are visiting.

In the same way that traffic != clicks, the same number of clicks does not equal the same income: you can have the same amount of traffic, and the same number of clicks, but wildly fluctuating income, depending on the value of the ads clicked.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:30 AM on November 23, 2006

I click links from MeFi and other big blogs every day to sites just like your own. However, I've never in my life clicked on an ad online. I suspect most savvy web folks (which would include a lot of digg users) are the same.

My own site has been MeFi'd and Pitchfork'd--the best you can hope for is that the people check back and, more importantly, you're consistent enough to satisfy them. $, if it comes, is gravy.
posted by dobbs at 7:33 AM on November 23, 2006

Sheer curiousity: can you post a link to your site? I don't think that in this case a self-link would be frowned upon...I'd like to see what is attracting so many hit.
posted by davidmsc at 7:34 AM on November 23, 2006

One other thing: you should put your site in your mefi profile. You won't get a gazillion hits from it, but if you consistently post good things here, you'll get a dozen or two new readers a month from your profile.
posted by dobbs at 7:39 AM on November 23, 2006

Davidmsc, kdern's website in his profile points to his page, and its linked from there.
posted by xvs22 at 7:45 AM on November 23, 2006

You might look at being digged/slashdotted as a chance to attract more readers rather than get immediate ad revenue. I just can't see why I would re-visit "Stuff from Kevin." I can't figure out what the focus of the blog is, and it seems like pretty generic stuff.

So anyway, my suggestion is to add more of a description of what your blog is about and try to get people to subscribe as was said above. Adding ads in the middle of blog entries is not the right idea.
posted by grouse at 7:49 AM on November 23, 2006

Response by poster: Here's the post in question... just a bunch of silly YouTube posts. I was trying to get a lot of hits, and it seemed to have worked...
posted by kdern at 7:50 AM on November 23, 2006

Response by poster: Up to 21,200
posted by kdern at 7:50 AM on November 23, 2006

Most people are pointing out that Digg users are pretty Internet-savvy and not likely to click on ads, which is true, but no one has pointed out this yet: your ads are at the very top of your page, and yet you have so many embedded YouTube videos that by the time someone scrolls down to the bottom to see them all, they are more likely to close the browser/move on than they are to scroll back up top to maybe click an ad.

Besides, in the world of blogging, content is king. Creating a blog that's just "lists of cool shit" isn't going to win you any loyal readers, I don't think, and reeks of you having read a "how to get blog traffic through Digg" article.

On preview: no one cares how many hits you're getting.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:09 AM on November 23, 2006

If you've had 15K hits and 18 ad clicks, that's right around 1/1000. (My biggest internet day ever scored me a massive eight dollars in adsense. Hoo doggy!)

How many individual page loads do you produce yourself, as a surfer, in a week? How many ads do you yourself actually click? When you do click, why do you click?

The short of it: if you want to make money off your blog, develop a loyal cadre of readers whom you can monetize with merchendise or other targeted ventures. Ad money as a viable source of income is reserved, as far as I can tell, for sites with established, consistent high traffic that they can sell to specific advertisers.
posted by cortex at 8:59 AM on November 23, 2006

Kevin, I started a content-oriented personal finance blog last spring. Several entries have been dugg since I began. I know it sounds terrible, but the traffic is almost worthless. It's ephemeral. I don't think it's because Digg users are "savvy" (I actually think the opposite is true), but because they're just looking for a quick fix an then leaving. From my experience, Digg users:
  • Do not subscribe to feeds.
  • Do not visit other pages on the site except the one they clicked through to.
  • Are only slighly less likely to click on advertising than everyone else.
The first two are more frustrating, in my book, and the latter point goes against what you're seeing.

Some advice: First, to deal with the immediate problem, put in ads that take up more vertical space. These ads run out almost immediately. People are scrolling down to see your YouTube clips and leave the ads behind immediately. Not too hard to see why there are no click-throughs. Second, if you expect to have a moderately popular site, look into advertising that pays based on pageviews, not on clickthroughs.

Finally: trying to start a blog just to make money is a risky proposition. It looks to me as if your site is simply designed as a Digg magnet. You're taking the time to craft list entries of hot-button topics and then posting them to Digg (careful -- this will piss people off). I may be wrong, but this seems like an ill-conceived business model. I'm not trying to be harsh, because your site looks like fun, just straightforward. Digg traffic does not equal cash. Maybe if you weren't posting YouTube videos but Amazon links you could generate some dough, but even then I suspect you wouldn't see much income. Your best bet is to craft quality content that will stand the test of time and try to build a loyal readership. A thousand regular readers are better than a Digg front page post any day. Seriously.

Good luck!
posted by jdroth at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also, aren't you violating Google Adsense TOS by posting your clickthrough rates? Careful with that.
posted by jdroth at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2006

For a lot of good reading on the topic of making money at blogging (whether or not that is really your intention), try Performancing.
posted by jbickers at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2006

Robot Johnny wrote...

On preview: no one cares how many hits you're getting.

I do. I'm finding this entire thread to be an interesting view into the economics of blogging.
posted by tkolar at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2006

Your best bet is to craft quality content that will stand the test of time and try to build a loyal readership.

Exactly. For what it's worth, I wasn't at all tempted to digg your page, scroll down for lots more, click on the funny Bush page, or subscribe to your feed, despite all the red links urging that I do. A few paragraphs of clever commentary, or something along those lines, would go much further towards getting repeat traffic than a bunch of "click here! click here! CLICK HERE!!" links.
posted by rkent at 9:40 AM on November 23, 2006

In the future, you might want to try selling advertising through Project Wonderful. Basically, advertisers bid on ad space. Whoever's willing to pay the most gets their ad shown. If you're suddenly generating a lot more traffic than usual, bid prices will raise accordingly. I've never used them, but I've heard good things.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:14 AM on November 23, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all for your comments. I'm aware that my little blog experiment does not contain much real content. I am trying this to see if it is, in fact, possible to make some additional income with a blog. Whether it generates more than a few dollars income or not is yet to be seen.

The site has been up about a week. If it turns out I can easily make a couple hundred a month, I'd be thrilled. If not, it's not worth my trouble. My goal with this post was to get a lot of traffic and see what that brings. It's proving to be pretty interesting.

I have posted other posts that lead to Amazon and itunes affiliate links, and I'm curious to see if the attention this YouTube post has brought will lead to people clicking on those ads as well.

Again - I appreciate the comments.
posted by kdern at 10:15 AM on November 23, 2006

Sorry, here's the fixed link for Project Wonderful. Sorry to be another voice raining on your parade, but I don't think your little business venture is going to work out quite the way you want it to, for the reasons most people have pointed out. Good luck trying though.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:21 AM on November 23, 2006

If it were easy to make a couple hundred dollars a month with a blog, everyone would. As people have said above (specifically jdroth- he has a great site, I'd listen to him), you'll need to focus on getting return readers, not just posts on Digg.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:24 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also, aren't you violating Google Adsense TOS by posting your clickthrough rates? Careful with that.

No, that's been permitted for a long time now.
posted by mendel at 10:48 AM on November 23, 2006

jdroth is so on the (ahem) money on this one, it ain't even funny.
posted by dropkick at 11:57 AM on November 23, 2006

A word of warning. Someone dropped the dime on you and your strategy in the digg thread. There's a lot of crossover in users, I'm sure.
posted by proj at 12:02 PM on November 23, 2006

1000s of people linked to one of my pages after it was featured on digg. As a result, I am now ranked very highly for a certain keyword / phrase. The page now receives a few thousand visitors a day and a healthy click through rate. I'm not going to get rich, but I make some money. This is thanks to Digg / / all the others.

The lesson is that I didn't make a penny from the users who directly visited my site via digg, but over the long run I will make many penny's.
posted by maxpower at 2:33 PM on November 23, 2006

there could be people worse than those who attempt to blog for the sole reason of making money, but i haven't found those people yet.

if you want to make a few extra hundred dollars a month do it the old fashioned way: get a better job.

less than one half of one per cent of blogs make the sort of money that you are looking for.

and by the way, blogs that plea for their readers to digg every one of their posts are the type of blogs that deter repeat visitors.

want to make money blogging: post several times a day, every day, about something you're actually passionate about. comment on blogs that are within your expertise and fill whatever hole is out there in the blogosphere.

with 54 million blogs out there you wouldnt think that theres something thats missing out there, but look no further than Post Secret to see that it's creativity and good ideas that make for interesting blogs, not the desire for a few extra benjamins.
posted by tsarfan at 3:58 AM on November 24, 2006

there could be people worse than those who attempt to blog for the sole reason of making money, but i haven't found those people yet.

You can start with people who hyperbolize to a ridiculous extent. Almost as bad as those are murderers and child molesters.

Although your other points are all good.
posted by grouse at 5:06 AM on November 24, 2006

ok you found two.
posted by tsarfan at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just an update in case anyone is still reading this... it's about a week later and I've had over 100,000 hits. The digg traffic has died down now, but my blog has been linked on several other blogs, which has brought in about 8000 visitors a day for the last couple days. Most are from Belgium and Hungary.

It's a fascinating experiment and learning experience. Should have done it years ago. I'm definitely not making a lot of money (well under $100 so far). It will be interesting to see how long the hits continue... how long the long tail will be.

Thanks for your comments.
posted by kdern at 11:01 AM on November 27, 2006

Thanks for the update.
posted by tkolar at 11:11 AM on November 27, 2006

Response by poster: Update for future readers: I still get 150-300 hits a day from those few silly blog posts, which earns me a few cents a day. I've earned less than $23 since January.

Overall, the experience was fun and educational, which is all I was looking for. The $100 I earned was icing on the cake.
posted by kdern at 12:45 PM on September 12, 2007

This is really interesting, and I'm glad I stumbled across this thread. Thanks for keeping us updated.
posted by mecran01 at 7:19 PM on November 13, 2007

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