Saturday, 19 December 2015

Blog economy

Some of you have probably noticed that there are links to webshops on this blog. And here is a disclosure: If you click on the link, and buy something, I'm getting a commission from the purchase.

So does this mean that writing this blog is my day job? And should you also start a blog, and get rich quick?

Blog traffic


Anyone can write a blog, but to get people to actually read it takes a lot of time and effort. Here you can see the statistics for my blog:


I haven't done much in particular to attract the readers. I could have been more active on social media and so on to draw more readers, but I prefer not to be pushy.

Rather, most of the traffic comes from people using search engines. And it takes time before search engines consistently direct traffic to your blog. You should expect to write quality articles for a long time, probably at least a year, before you can expect to gain any significant traffic from search engines.

From the statistics, you can see that the traffic peaked around late 2013, and has since been in decline. This is partially due to that I don't write quite as frequently, but mostly, I think, due to more competition. Competition from fellow bloggers, but more importantly, competition from serious review sites like DPReview.

Back when I started, there was not much resources about Micro Four Thirds on the internet, and more people, relatively, came to my blog. Nowadays, more alternatives exist, and, to be frank, at a higher quality, too. But I think some readers like to see independent articles as well, and some of those find their way to my blog.

I think there are some handful of individuals who started blogging very early, and are now getting a lot of search engine hits. They probably get a lot of traffic. But for a new blogger to reach this level takes a long time. Expect to work hard on the writing for years to get many readers.

Commission


I'm using the American Amazon store for the webshop links. If anyone buys something I have linked to, I get a commission: 4% of the sales amount. For non-electronics items, the commission can be higher, around 6-7%.

For each click on a webshop link, around 2.5% actually buy something. This is called the conversion rate, the rate of clicks converted into a sale. Perhaps you think 2.5% sounds low, but this is a quite common level.

Actually, I think the level normally is a bit higher, around 3-4%. But non-American readers of my blog are less likely to buy anything from the American Amazon shop, and that brings the rate down a bit for my blog.

I could have implemented a system to direct readers to a webshop in their own country. However, to make those changes now would be extremely time consuming for me, and the reward would be fairly marginal. So I retain only the American links for now.

When someone buys something, most of the time it is something inexpensive. Like lens caps or adapter, which give me only cents in commission. Once in a while, someone will buy a lens, which earns me some tens of dollars. But it is rare.

On a monthly basis, this commission amounts to around US$70. Given that I usually spend around 20-30 hours per month on the blog, this is of course far from sufficient to pay for my time.

And here I come to my point: Bloggers should not expect to get any significant monetary reward. Only some very few bloggers reach a number of readers that makes them a normal wage. Most end up with peanuts.

If you work hard and write good articles frequently, you will end up with a fair number of readers. But breaking even, in terms of getting well paid for the work, does not come easy.

Videos


You've probably seen the ads on youtube videos. Surely, those who make the videos get rich?

The most viewed video I have made, is this one, showing the very impressive IBIS inside the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II:



This video was featured on the technology portal Gizmodo about a year ago, and has had a total of 115.000 views at this time of writing. Now, it has around 500 new views per month.

The total ad income on this video is US$50. Given that I spent around five hours creating the video, at least this gained me an ok hourly wage, didn't it?

Sort of. But this simple calculation fails to take into consideration the 100 other videos I have uploaded, which have not gained any significant income. Considering also the other videos, the hourly payment again goes down to a negligible level.

Conclusion


You should not start blogging, expecting to get paid well. Only some very few, very active bloggers can expect that. Most get paid next to nothing.

If you do start blogging, it should be out of a genuine interest in the writing. As a hobby. That is what I do.

13 comments:

  1. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this blog. Thanks for writing it. I've learned a lot!

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  2. Yes, that is reality indeed. It is not so easy to create a valuable content. Such a content I find on your blog each time you write something here. I really appreciate it. Sorry for the reward is not adequate. ­čś»

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    1. Thanks for the comments. Happy readers is my reward!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. You wrote "I could have implemented a system to direct readers to a webshop in their own country."

    Could you please tell me a few more details about how you would do that? This is exactly what I'm looking for at the moment! Thank you very much in advance! :)

    p.s. I've been following your blog for quite a long time now, you'd really deserve more revenue considering all the time and effort you've put into creating this content...

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    1. To be honest, I haven't researched this area a lot myself. But this thing is certainly possible, I have seen other blogs do it, having webshop links tailored to the reader's country.

      I think there are third party services that do this for you, as well. They would direct your traffic to various sites, and probably claim some part of your commission as their commission.

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    2. Thanks anyway, in the meantime I found one or two such services, geniuslink for example :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing these insights, including blog stats etc. Very interesting! Also thank you for your work on the blog - I particularly enjoy your calm, factual style and the unbiased, unsensational approach. A refreshing difference from other blogs and rumour sites.

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  6. Hi Fredrik, I subscribe to your blog and appreciate Your posts. I read all of them since it is updated quite seldom.

    T

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  7. Yup... It takes time. Even if you write the best articlesm people still won't necessarily come. I have 3 blogs - one on travel photography, one on anything remotely connected to photography and one on my conversion of an old schoolbus into a motorhome. Income ranges from 50c a month upwards via adsense,

    There is no schedule for my updates, The bus blog gets maybe 15 views daily. The general photo blog gets 100 - 200 hits daily. The travel photo blog gets maybe 50 daily. The bus blog has been going for a year, The others, for several years.

    I regard the blogs as a vanity thing. The travel photography blog is advertised on Twitter by 8 bot accounts, proving Twitter is useless. The number of hits from Twitter is minuscule. Twitter was just an experiment that I just leave running because it cant hurt.

    I dont think there is a magic potion to make blogs popular and to make them make money, It just seems to me that we are scrabbling for crumbs like pigeons in a town center.

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    1. Blogging is a "winner takes it all" business. Some very few make a good living out of it, due to hard work, smartness, good timing. The rest make nothing.

      I guess this goes for many of the other internet era jobs, like app development, youtube, instagram, etc.

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  8. I appreciate the hard work you put into creating quality content. Ive used your recommendations to guide a couple of my purchases. So, thank you.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your experience. You blog is one of my all time favorites for the simple reason it is stamped with you particular personality and interests. As a reader I feel like I am getting your genuine M4/3 experiences like you were a fellow member of a camera club generously sharing your research. You helped my decide between the 14 and 20mm Pany pancakes because you gave the kind of information that 'professional' review sites like DPReview just can't. So I regard you as a unique resource, not as competing with other sites. Again, I use the camera case you recommend because your review is an account of long experience using it - not just a review. Likewise, I discovered the Samyang fisheye through this blog and it works as you say and is no trouble to deal with even for my old eyes because I can focus it scale.I have never felt the need to defish the results but I know exactly what to do should the need arise and more importantly understand the peculiar distorted rendition the lens crates thanks to your detailed analysis. You think things through in an unusual and helpful way. So thanks, you make a real contribution to the world of M4/3.

    ReplyDelete