Established Methods to Monetize Blogs

Now you can hear the perspective of bloggers who monetize blog content using one or more performance marketing techniques, advertising networks, and affiliate programs. This is Part 1 of the survey results. Although informal, the survey gleanings are telling.

Never mind the ebooks and so-called special reports — these are the real inside scoops!

The Performance Marketing Challenge

Performance marketing has been a hit-or-miss affair for me. One of the big advertising networks even shut down my account because I had not made enough sales to warrant them being bothered. According to the literature and website marketing mantras, such networks exist to enable big companies to make more money by extending their virtual arms into the realm of a small army of publishers. On the flip side, the networks exist in order to help small publishers increase their income from websites, blogs, and other contacts with their readers and customers.

To my way of thinking, when the publishers actually make sales should not be a concern, since they only pay for performance. I’ve made a few dollars here and there. In some cases the challenges have outweighed the change but I haven’t abandoned the notion of making money through the performance marketing industry. It remains a part of my content monetizing mix.

Bloggers Survey

I realized I’d never asked the bloggers I read, follow, tweet, and chat with how they use affiliate marketing in the overall scheme of monetizing their blog content. I’ve certainly noticed Google Adsense advertisements on some of them, sought out those who display Amazon products, and recognized offers for web hosting and other services. While I could just speak from my own perspective, my curiosity grew and grew the more I thought about writing an article here at Performance Insider. I became convinced that other bloggers and affiliate marketers wanted to know the experiences of their peers as much as I did.

The Real Inside Scoops

To this end, today you have Part 1 of the results of an informal survey I conducted via email, Skype, and text documents of some of the most influential bloggers, Twitter users, social media mavens, and Google+ early adopters setting pen to digital paper right now. For good measure, also included are a smattering of long-time affiliate marketing experts who have worked within the performance marketing industry in one capacity or another.

The overall gist of the survey concerns how bloggers are using performance marketing — including PPC and CPA — to monetize blog content and how the industry can better serve them. The survey responses will be presented in three parts.

Are Bloggers Really Affiliate Marketers?

Performance Marketing Bloggers Survey - Affiliates Monetize Blog Content

A number of the bloggers who were asked to take the questionnaire declined because they didn’t use any performance marketing activities to monetize content on their blogs. Interestingly, many of those who declined confessed they didn’t understand what performance marketing entailed. Others were in fact using a performance marketing advertising network but didn’t realize it was considered part of the performance marketing industry.

General Observations

The bloggers who participated in the survey represented a diverse group in their knowledge base, length of time on the scene, earnings, and experiences. Some bloggers were new to the industry, some reported not having good results after only a short while, some were somewhat indifferent to the entire industry and process. After reading the responses, these are my general observations. While there are not any real numbers attached, they provide a snapshot of thinking and experiences from bloggers’ perspectives about the overall state of the performance marketing industry. Keep in mind, these are not the results of a widely dispersed survey.

  1. Over half of the respondents were small business owners, many with offline businesses
  2. More men than women appear to use performance marketing methods
  3. Newer bloggers seemed less certain as to what avenues are considered performance marketing
  4. Ability to earn some income seemed to outweigh the negatives
  5. Most bloggers think improvements are needed in more than one area
  6. About half cited an experience that either negatively impacts or somewhat hampers ability to earn
  7. A small percentage had some experience with a diverse marketing mix, including PPC activites and monetizing with CPA networks
  8. Some bloggers indicated they were simultaneously using at least two of the larger affiliate networks
  9. A percentage indicated the need for better creatives and variety in creatives as a factor of improvement
  10. Several indicated corruption (or at least some dishonesty) was a part of the industry

Next Up . . .

Next up is a closer look at the first four questions asked in the survey and the bloggers’ responses about how they use performance marketing to monetize blog content. Thanks in advance to all those who took the time to share opinions and suggestions, and to industry giants like Adam Riemer and Ron Cripps, who provided a primer on getting started with CPA marketing.

Stay on the lookout for PART 2 – Survey: How Bloggers Monetize Blog Content coming in the next few days. UPDATE: Part 2 is now available.

*Image courtesy of Wordle.

Survey is Still Open. Please add your perspective and experiences. Take this short, multiple choice survey.

Other Articles in this Series

Read Part 2: Survey: How Bloggers Monetize Blog Content.

Read Part 3: Improvements Pave the Way to Monetize Blogs.

What's your opinion?