I never thought blogging could be very profitable, but after listening to a podcast with Guy Kawasaki, who says he could make 25-30K a year blogging, and after reading John Chow's blog, which shows him earning 3K a month, I decided to start integrating Google Adsense into my posts.
Google Adsense allows you to integrate Google's ads into your website or blog. The ads displayed match the categories you've set up and the keywords of your posts.
Google has some restrictions about the way you display and reference their ads. For example, I cannot encourage you to click the ads in my posts, nor can I provide special incentives for doing so, because while it would certainly throw some change my way, it would violate the Terms of Agreement and misrepresent the effectiveness of Google's ad program. I am also limited in the number of ads displayed per page.
It's remarkably easy to sign up for Google Adsense, even though the sign-up process requires you to complete an electronic tax form. Each month, you can have the money deposited directly into your bank account or mailed to you as a check.
To integrate Google's ads, I'm using the Deluxe Adsense plugin. It allows me to modify my template tags with a big of code and thereby have ads show up on all posts, rather than inserting the ads manually into each post (such as with Inline Adsense).
I'm also using the Adsense Earnings plugin to keep tabs on my earnings to date inside my dashboard.
I have not yet decided to go the Pay Per Post route, although I just might some day. Pay per post is a service that pays you money to post about certain topics. You disclose that you're being paid to post about it, and then it's not so controversial.
My only hesitation with Pay Per Post is that the products and services I might be paid to blog about may have nothing to do with the theme of my blog. However, I haven't explored this yet. My wife also asked what happens when I promote some crappy product for money and then lose my credibility. So there's that too. (I'm assuming you don't receive payment from a company for a bad review of their product.)
I bet there are some people out there, though, who post often enough and write quickly enough that they maintain a sustainable living from blogging. If you could jack up your search engine optimization skills, target the right market, and post about 10 times a day, it might actually work. Do you know any "professional bloggers" out there?
(By the way, I photoshopped that image above. I haven't earned anything yet.)
It's been nearly a month now since I integrated Google Adsense into this blog, but the earnings ($8.53) aren't what I anticipated, so I removed Google adsense from this site. For the past week, almost no one clicked any of the ads. I think all the readers who did click ads clicked them out of curiosity only. After the first experiment, there was no incentive to click them again. By the way, Google only mails you a check after you accumulate $100 worth of revenue.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.