A Guide To Monetizing Your Blog Network

Few things are as unrefreshing as looking at a list of blog networks and seeing a bunch of the same old thing. I personally think it’s part Andy Hagan and Chris Garrett’s fault. (O.K., maybe not) But people are not creating real networks. They are creating infomercials. That may bring you a little change from folks when it’s late night and they’re bored, but it does not, in any form of the word, make you, what the brother’s on the street call “f*ck you money.” (That’s when you have enough money that in case anyone asks you to do anything for pay you can say ‘f*ck you”.)

So I was looking over Spoke-Media’s sites yesterday for my Save This Network feature and I was impressed. They get it. It’s not the kind of sites I would visit or hang around but that’s the point.

If you have never visited, it’s 4 sites which feel like it’s run by drunken women. It’s like a private party (except for some cat named CJ who whines like he’s a belongs on The View, but those types go to parties,too).

Almost everything about the sites are perfect, in my eyes. It’s focused. Has features to keep you coming back (horospoke, indeed!) and has it’s targeted audience. It’s not dull (by a long shot) and they know their Brand.

But they seem to have a problem that most new networks are having. They have not figured out yet how to monitize their content. It got me so frustrated in fact seeing the affiliate ads that I decided to once and for all tell everyone within the sound of this keyboard how to really make money. This may end up being kinda long (since it’s important) so grab some Java, sit your ass down and take notes.

[note: this is for blog networks and real blogs. If you are just building blogs only to create revenue this will be a waste of your time and my effort]


1. Take every network generated ad off of your site.

I am serious. All the google adsense, amazon, and other ad networks. Get rid of all the affiliate programs and all of that crap. Take it off. I am serious.


First, blogs are different than websites. Blogs are personal. If you are truly building a Blog Network each and every aspect of it should reflect it’s writers. You are not building a site (or sites) to sell other peoples wares. You are creating a vibe, an attitude, a religion which people come to read and/or participate in and be entertained by.

Most ad-networks, along with not being a smart way of maximizing your network income, decide who will be advertising on your site. We don’t like that.

2.Learn Your Audience

If you are an Eminem fan you like to wear hooded sweatshirts, baggy jeans and hightop tennis shoes. I also know that if you dress like that but have never heard his music, if you did, you would probably like it.

Wal-Mart knows that if you buy Campbell’s Soup and Camel cigarettes, you will also probably buy original Crest toothpaste.

People are their brands.

Serious marketers collect information and have it’s customers down to almost every individual trait.

If you are serious about building a real network brand you will learn everything you can about your audience. You are doing them a favor by collecting it. It helps you find the things they really desire. Armed with this information you are ready to attack.

3.Think Small

There are 500,000 business created in the US every month. They all want the same thing. To get more people to love their crap enough to buy it.

Most business in the US are small businesses. None of them have enough money to really advertise in the way that they want. They know they have to reach customers any way they can. They have to do this. And That. To even stay in the game.

That’s where you come in. You know your audience. You know what they want. You also have influence over them because the people who come to your site trust you.

Now you can’t just call Nike and say “The folks who read my blog love cool tennis shoes and you should advertise on my blog.”  But who you can call are the abundant number of small sneaker companies trying to get a foothold in the consumers mind.

Now maybe they can’t pay you big money but they can pay you more than any ad-network.

4.Forget Clickthroughs and Hits and Unique Visitors

You are not selling a certain number of visitors. You want a specific kind of visitor. People who get it. People who love your site. And that’s what you are selling to advertisers.(Of course you might want to tell them how many people actually visit your site.) You sell the influence you have over your audience and the targeted reasearch you have on them. 

5.Advertise Different

Put together a real campaign. Think of something you and the advertiser could do which will really make them stand out in a crowd. Don’t sell banner ads. No. You are the fucking future. You tell the folks at Generate that you will set up a contest where the winner gets a Yayo Lamp if he find the 3 lamps they make out of cloth. You make a couple of hundred bucks, Generate is introduced to a whole new audience who actually had to look through the entire online catalog and your audience has fun and it makes you look cool.

O.K., I’m getting tired of typing. And I’m losing my passion for the subject. But I hope you understand what I am trying to say here. There is no reason you cannot be making real money on your site. There are literally too many people trying to reach targetted audiences.

Make something special. Do the hard work of telling the advertisers about it. And they will pay you. 




Explore posts in the same categories: advertising, blog media, blog networks, google, hype, keywords, money, SAVE THIS NETWORK, spoke media, Weblog, writers

8 Comments on “A Guide To Monetizing Your Blog Network”

  1. Dave Says:

    Again a great read.

    Long term for any blog I agree with you, on start up though, I think bloggers, don’t have that option if they want to earn money from day one. Any advertiser, even small ones, will want to see some examples of visitors, so at the very start i would say, they have to use google etc, but if they have traffic , i think your way is the way to go.

    One other time to use someone like Amazon is with DVD’s and CD’s, because the margins are so small, its less hassle to join with them, because the bloggers time should be spent looking for a deal that makes him the fuck you money , you mention.

  2. meme Says:

    i love that you came in expecting the worst, even stirring a storm up at boyspoke, and wrote what you wrote. my hat’s off to you. i will agree with you 100% regarding my half-assed efforts to monetize. i am more focused on maintaining quality content…the money will come, eventually. and if it doesn’t then it’s been a fun ride.

    (my writers would kill me if they read that…yo kids, no worries, i’m gonna get you all book deals, believe me)

  3. chartreuse Says:

    i really do like what you guys are doing. i felt like something was really happening there. I can’t tell you what was happening, but so what? A lot of people didn’t understand MTV or CNN either when they launched. But the cool kids did and the rest is history.

  4. chartreuse Says:

    I’m no expert (though I try to talk like one) but startup is the time when you should not be overly concerned with money, the project should get you high all by itself. Your sites, btw, have already made money. The deal you cut with your host was brilliant. He’s happy and you’re happy. Plus that’s one less expense you have.

  5. […] Now getting upset because someone posted a private email is something I can understand. But the whining about is a bit much. Cowboy’s post about it is very histronic and…gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that.). But it seems to be a given that if you are a Spoke Media guy to have to whine. […]

  6. […] I also found out at this site that Subnixus had called some niche sites infomercials. I did the same thing even though I didn’t know he had said it. Does that make me a thief? […]

  7. Tim Stay Says:

    I have passed your post among all of our executive team so we can discuss it.

    We are making our first priority to find quality authors so we can write profoundly unique content. We are not of a size yet to be able to monetize our traffic very well, but it is certainly a focus for us.

    I completely buy the argument that customized, targeted site specific ads are ideal and should monetize better.

    However, there are several challenges here:

    – How do you lower the transaction costs of finding the local, small, targeted advertiser?

    – how do you lower the transaction cost for the advertiser to allow them to easily put their ad on your site?

    – How do you scale so this can happen across dozens of blogs, or hundreds of blogs without having to build a huge advertising sales team?

    I would interested in your take on how to address these issues for a large network of sites, which we hope to become.

    We would also love your critique of Know More Media. Go ahead, give us both barrells. We know we don’t have everything right and really want to get intelligent feedback on how to improve.

  8. […] Let dance around with his clock but don’t encourage on his antics. Just send him back to Brokeback Mountain where he can sing with CJ. […]

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