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.
BlogHer unwrapped a major facelift recently, so if you haven’t looked at the website recently, now’s the time. The front page, which was looking busy and unorganized, has been revamped into a series of Pinterest-style post modules, with main navigation tools at the top and right of the page. (They must still be tweaking the design because they’ve got a message asking for feedback on it at the top of the front page.)
Over time, being part of BlogHer has become more lucrative for me, relatively speaking. This year, I expect to earn more than$500 in revenue from BlogHer ads that run on my site, as well as from participating in a handful of special campaigns, some of which required me to run sponsor messages or to write special posts for BlogHer’s site. That’s twice as much as I earned in ad revenue from the network in 2012; and quadruple what I earned in 2010, the year I joined. It’s still peanuts compared with what I make writing a single 500-word magazine article, though it brought me to the attention of BlogHer’s editors, who in late 2011 hired me in to manage a blogging series for them with a four-figure paycheck.
Some BlogHer bloggers make a lot more, some make less. It all boils down to how much traffic is coming to your site, how many of those readers click through to the BlogHer ad unit or units running on your page, and what percent of the advertising revenue you get on the ads that readers are clicking through to view.
What to Know About BlogHer
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+ blogs that carry their ads – is different from BlogHer.com, the company’s website, which the company says reaches a monthly audience of 92 million across blogs, websites and social media. BlogHer periodically accepts applications from bloggers interested in joining the ad network. To qualify, your blog needs to be 90 days old, be updated at least weekly — preferably at least 2X a week — not include profanity in the title or run adult content, accept comments and not require a password to view. To put yourself in the running, fill out BlogHer’s online application.
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. 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. The blog hosting service you use must allow advertising – that rules out any blogs running on WordPress.com, which doesn’t. Ads from other blog ad networks cannot be placed higher than the BlogHer ad unit. You also must agreed to stick to their editorial guidelines regarding sponsored posts, giveaways, 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 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 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. Because ad rates vary, revenue from BlogHer ads varies too.
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 paid after reaching a certain ad income level.
BlogHer pays bloggers 45 days after the close of the month, but only if your share of ad revenue for that period is $25 or more. If ad revenue on your site doesn’t hit the benchmark, the company holds funds until the accrued value reaches that amount. Bloggers get paid by check or in their PayPal account. Bloggers who are part of the BlogHer ad network can go to a page called “My Payment Information” to see the ad activity on their blog and what commission they’ve earned for a 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 for 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. You can also log onto your BlogHer Publishing Network account for the information.
8. BlogHer gives bloggers opportunities to meet 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 entrepreneurship. BlogHer conferences has gotten so big, the company devotes an entire section of its website to them. Read more here: BlogHer Conferences. The company’s biggest conference of the year took place in Chicago last month. You can read bloggers’ coverage of the conference here, here and here.
Read more on BlogHer and blog ad networks:
- 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.
- 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.
If you’re on BlogHer or another blog ad network, what’s your experience been?