Because I’ve been on the BlogHer ad network for awhile, I’m frequently asked about it by bloggers thinking about ways to make money from their efforts.
To date, being part of BlogHer hasn’t been been particularly lucrative for me. Last year, I made a whopping $100, barely enough to cover my website’s annual domain name and hosting fees. But ad revenue has picked up dramatically over the past two months and I’m on track to make more than double or even triple that in 2011 – though even that’s not as much as I could make writing a single 500-word magazine article. Some bloggers make more, some make less. It all boils down to how much traffic is coming into your site, and what the revenue sharing arrangement is with the ad network you sign up with.
If you’ve been thinking about joining an ad network and are considering applying to join BlogHer, here’s what to know:
1. Just because you want to join doesn’t mean you can. BlogHer’s publishing network – which is what they call the 2,500 or so blogs that carry their ads – is different from BlogHer.com, the company’s website, which the company says reaches 25 million women each month. BlogHer periodically accepts applications from bloggers interested in joining the ad network. Fill out BlogHer’s online application to put yourself in the running.
2. BlogHer ads get prime real estate on your blog. If and when BlogHer accepts you into their ad network, you can run their ads on your blog. However, you can’t just stick them any old place you’d like. When you join, you agree to adhere to a number of BlogHer policies and rules, one of them being that whatever BlogHer ad unit you choose to place on your blog will be located “above the fold,” in other words, high enough up on your blog’s front page that readers don’t have to scroll down to see it. There are other stipulations as well: that ads from other blog ad networks you belong to don’t get higher placement, that your blog hosting service allows advertising, that you’ll stick to their editorial guidelines regarding sponsored posts, etc.
3. You can opt out of ads that aren’t a good fit. One thing I like about BlogHer is the ability they give bloggers to opt out of running certain types of ads that might not be a good fit for their blog or that they find personally objectionable. For example, since I don’t run a parenting blog, I opt out of all ads for baby products. Vegetarian bloggers can opt out of ads showing meat or dairy products. Bloggers can also opt out of ads for political parties or religious groups.
4. Ad rates vary, therefore so will revenue from BlogHer ads on your blog. Like many other ad networks, BlogHer charges advertisers on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis. Those rates range anywhere from nothing for public service announcements to upwards of $9 or $10. BlogHer takes a cut of all ads and the balance goes to the blogger as a commission. How much money you make depends on how many of your readers look at a page on your blog featuring a specific ad and how many of them click on the ad. One ad on my blog had 14,000 impressions, i.e., 14,000 separate views, but received zero revenue because it was a public service announcement. On the other hand, another ad only had 1,200 page views but I made $5.30 because the CPM was $7.50.
5. You only get a check after reaching a certain level of ad income. BlogHer pays bloggers 45 days after the close of the month, but only if their share of ad revenue for that period is $25 or more. If it’s not, the company hold funds until the accrued value reaches that amount. Bloggers get paid by check or in their PayPal account. Bloggers can use an online revenue report tools to see the ad activity on their blog and what their commission they’ve earned to date for any specified time period.
6. Ads aren’t the only way you can make money. Once you become part of BlogHer’s ad network, you’re offered other money-making opportunities. The company periodically offers bloggers the chance to earn $20, $50 or $100 by reviewing a book or other product, or to enter sweepstakes drawings to win similar amounts or more. If the company’s editorial staff makes you a featured blogger for the week or decides to run one of your posts on their front page – which you give them permission to do when you join the network – it could increase traffic to your site, which in turn can increase your ad revenue. If they choose to syndicate one of your posts, which means it runs in full on BlogHer, it’s an extra $50 in your pocket.
7. It’s easy to keep track of what’s going on. The BlogHer team produces a weekly e-newsletter with updates on the network, ad campaigns and more.
8. BlogHer gives bloggers in and out of its ad network opportunities to get together in person. BlogHer’s annual conference got so popular, the company’s created a series of spin offs on specialty topics such as food, crafts and business and technology. Speaking of the annual conference, the 2011 powwow takes place Aug. 5-6 in San Diego; see details on the BlogHer ’11 conference page.
Read more on BlogHer and blog ad networks:
Lisa Stone on BlogHer: The women’s blog network comes into its own (WordCount) – My recap of Stone’s talk at the 2009 Online News Association conference.
AdNetwork’s List of Networks (AdNetwork.net) – This list of 458 online advertising networks includes networks that run ads on major websites, social networks, mobile phones and podcasts, as well as blogs. You’ll have to search the list to find the blog networks, but they’re there. Many of them only rep big-name websites or blogs, or work only in Africa, Asia, Europe or other parts of the world. A number cater to specific blog niches, such as men 18 to 35, sports, entertainment/gaming, etc. Plan on spending a good chunk of time combing through the list for matches.
List of online ad networks (eprofits) – A short list of ad networks, including CPM-based and affiliate programs.
If you’re on BlogHer or another blog ad network, what’s your experience been?