Archive - Sep 2010

September 30th

Exploring Blog Monetization

Often, I've been asked how I make money blogging. My typical response is that I don't, directly. I blog because I feel I have something important to say. Yet there is an indirect component. Blogging boosts my profile. People can learn more about what and how I think and hopefully, decide to retain me for various contracts.

Yet part of what I'm interested in is how people make money online. It seems like a lot of it is selling snake oil, and there are probably hundreds of new scams created each day. Other parts are just over hyped. So, let's take a serious look at the sort of revenues that can be made on a blog.

First, there is Cost per Thousand Impression, or CPM advertising. This is advertising where you get paid by the number of times an ad is seen on your website. CPM rates can be all over the place, from much less than $1 per thousand impressions to more than $10 per thousand impressions. These rates will depend on whether you can target advertisements, the size of the advertisements and other factors. So lets take a blog with 10,000 impressions a month. Let's assume a better than average CPM of $4 per thousand impressions. If you don't have a great way of selling your ads, you might end up only getting $.25 per thousand impressions. If you can get ten such ads, you could be making about $400 per month, or only $25 per month. That said, I suspect many bloggers are getting closer to $25 per month.

Next there is Cost Per Click, or CPC advertising. The percentage of ads displayed that actually get clicked on varies considerably. Some people claim that rate is as high as 2% to 4%. Others report an average about a quarter of a percent of advertisements actually getting clicked on. This means that if you have 10,000 impressions a month, between 25 and 400 ads will actually get clicked on. Like with CPM advertising, the CPC rates vary considerably. For some ads, they might be as high as $10. For others, they can be less than $1. So, if you are getting 4% of your ads clicked on, that is 400 ads. If you get $1 per click, that is $400, about the same as more profitable CPM advertising. On the other hand, if you are getting a dollar per click on about .25% of advertisements, you're back at the $25/month range.

Let me pause for a moment to talk about the quality of traffic you receive, and how to increase traffic, and/or quality of traffic. One measure is the demographics. If I get a lot of really rich folks that like to buy things online, my traffic is really valuable to advertisers. If I get some traffic from moms trying to save a buck, that is still somewhat valuable. If most of my traffic is from people trying to find where to download free nude pictures of the latest celebrity, that traffic probably isn't worth a lot.

There are several networks that I belong to that bring in additional traffic to my site. EntreCard is a site where bloggers advertise their blogs on other participating blogs. People hop from one EntreCard site to the next 'dropping their cards' to gain credits that can be used to buy more advertising. This network drives a fair amount of traffic to me, but it is mostly, 'drop and run' traffic, that in most cases barely even reads my blog posts.

Adgitize works in a similar manner. It seems to be a smaller, more dedicated group of bloggers. With Adgitize, you buy and advertisement using real money, as opposed to the EntreCard Credits that EntreCard uses. Then, you receive credits for the number of other participating blogs you visit, for the number of ad impressions served, and for keeping your content current. For me, this site is generating about 60% of the traffic that EntreCard produces, but the participants spend more time on my site. In addition, each month, I receive more money from Adgitize than I spend on my advertisements. If you are an active blogger interested in low level monitization of your website, as well as building up a stronger community of readers, I recommend Adgitize.

Third in this group is CMF Ads. They have different advertising options, including a CPC and a CPM model. I've experimented with different options. As a general rule, the money that I make from CMF Ads gets reinvested into advertisements. It doesn't generate as much traffic as EntreCard or Adgitize, but can be a nice complement to the other networks. I use all three as you will see on the right side of this blog. I should note that both Adgitize and CMF Ads has an affiliate program so if you consider using them, please click on my links so I get credit.

Another form of advertising is paid posts. I haven't really done any paid posts, so I can't comment on them. I do participate in Business2Blogger which sends out an email of different opportunities to review products and get free samples. So far, most of the opportunities haven't been very interesting to me, and those that are, get filled up by other bloggers quickly.

Updated 10/1/2010

I have just received an email from Chris Kensworthy asking me to take down my links to the Escalate Network promotions because I have listed what the payout is. Because of my commitment to transparency, I seriously question the online advertising ethics of Escalate Network, Chili's and Vital Juice.

I am complying with their request and modifying the section below. I also strongly encourage people not to join Escalate Network, purchase chips from Chile's or sign up for Vital Juice.

Today, Business2blogger announced a special deal for its members to join Escalate Media Affiliate Network. As an affiliate network, I do get money for people signing up, so please consider it. Escalate Media is running on a third type of online advertising called Cost Per Action, or CPA advertising. One particular type of CPA advertising is Cost Per Lead, or CPL advertising. For simplicity, I just lump them all together as CPA.

What this means is that even if you click on an advertisement, the blogger doesn't get any money, unless you complete a specific action. This action could be something as simple as signing up for a mailing list, completing a survey, or filling out a form to request free samples.

As an illustration, if you click on:
(Ad for Chile's removed)
to can sign up for Chili's Free chips and queso coupons. You probably get added to a mailing list, and I get an amount I am not allowed to disclose.

Or, you can sign up for a nutrition mailing list from Vital Juice.
(Ad for Vital Juice removed)
I get an amount Vital Juice does not want disclosed from Vital Juice for each signup. People who like chips and are concerned about their health might want to try both.

As a different example, if you order a 'Free' Tote bag from VistaPrint, I get an amount that it might be okay with VistaPrint if I disclose, but I believe that Escalate Network would have a fit. I believe that only happens if you go all the way through and actually get one of the tote bags. Of course the way VistaPrint does this is that they offer a free totebag, but then try to get you to buy more things while you are there. Why not get a dozen tote bags instead? Maybe you can carry your chips in your tote bags.

Since this is my first day with Escalate Network, I'll experiment a little bit with it to see how it goes. If it seems productive, I may take some space on the right of my blog to further promote them.

The advertising on this blog isn't likely to replace the consulting that I do, but it gives me good information about various programs that are out there.

How about you? Are you making money off of your blog? How important is that to you? Are you getting the traffic you want? Are there other sites that you recommend?

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Exit 59 Traffic Study Public Meeting

On Wednesday, October 6th from 6 pm to 8 pm, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, together with stakeholders from Bethany, Woodbridge, and New Haven will hold a public informational hearing about the traffic patterns around Exit 59 of the Wilbur Cross Parkway.

The meeting will take place at the Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison Street in the Westville area of New Haven. It will offer the public a chance to learn more about the study underway and provide feedback.

This is part of an ongoing process which included a stakeholders meeting at Woodbridge Town Hall back in June. There are three additional stakeholders meetings planned and an additional public meeting planned for the spring. The study is expected to continue until the fall of 2011.

Besides traffic congestion problems, environmental and business aspects are being considered. Parts of the study area are within the 100 year floodplain, and seem to flood more frequently than that. The stakeholder committee also includes members of local businesses that get impacted by the transportation problems and looks at public and pedestrian traffic as well as vehicular traffic.

There is a study website that provides more details on the study, including presentations and reports so far. Members of the public are encouraged to review the website, participate in public meetings about the study and provide feedback to local elected officials.

Note: This article was originally posted at the Woodbridge Citizen

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September 29th

Beecher Road PTO Meeting

Monday, the Beecher Road School PTO held its first meeting of the new school year. Mothers, fathers, teachers and administrators were all in attendance to hear Second Grade teacher, Peter Halsey talk about the Responsive Classroom.

Mr. Halsey has been a long time responsive classroom consulting teacher. He spoke about the importance of teaching students good social skills to complement their academic skills. To do this, the classroom environment should be child centered with as much intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic motivation as possible. Students who have choices in how they will learn their academic material will be better motivated.

Key aspects of the responsive classroom is the morning meeting and teachers not only talking about appropriate behavior, but modeling it. The teaching methodology fits nicely with the Reading and Writing Workshop methodologies that the school has adopted based on work at Columbia Teacher's College.

Woodbridge School District Superintendent Dr. Guy Stella also attended the PTO meeting and talked about how the responsive classroom related to the school climate project. This project tracks improvements in student behavior. Just as data from the Connecticut Mastery Tests is being used to continually improve the academic performance of Beecher Road School Students, data from the school climate project can be used to improve the social performance through programs like the responsive classroom.

The meeting ended with a vote to approve the PTO budget and a discussion about various PTO goals for the year. Popular events like the Halloween Hoot are returning and there are many opportunities to help with the PTO. To encourage greater participation, the PTO continues to have babysitting available during PTO meetings and is now having a raffle for attendees. All parents and teachers are encouraged to participate in coming PTO meetings and activities.

Note: This article was originally written for the Woodbridge Citizen. I encourage residents of Woodbridge to read the Citizen, and to consider writing for it.

In addition, I encourage parents in all communities to attend and write online about their boards of education and parent teacher organizations.

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Wordless Wednesday

Fiona Bouncing, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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September 28th

Facebook Images

Facebook Images, originally uploaded by Aldon.

In a recent discussion on Facebook, a person was complaining about being tagged in a picture that their physical likeness was not in.

He went on to say that tagging people to promote an event or a cause was unconventional. I observed that I've often been tagged this way, and it seems very conventional and appropriate.

So, I created this image of various things I've been tagged in.

Have you been tagged in photographs that lack your physical image? Got any really good examples?

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