RVers love blogging! These electronic newsletters provide us with a way to share our traveling adventures with our friends and families back home, and to keep in touch with other RVers we meet along the way. It’s also a diary of our daily lives and a way to look back on our adventures.
Blogs allow us to remain a part of our children’s and grandchildren’s lives; they can log in and see pictures of Grandma and Grandpa fishing, sightseeing, or just relaxing under the awning. These visual reminders seem to make the miles separating us go away.
But can your RV blog also become a source of income? It’s a question I get asked a lot from RVers who have or want to launch a blog.
There are several ways to monetize a blog, and the simplest is by putting advertising on your blog. On the surface, it looks easy. You sign up for one of the many advertising affiliate programs such as Google’s AdSense, paste in a simple code, wait for your readers to click the ad links, and then sit back and watch the money roll in. How cool is that?
There are literally thousands of books, e-books, special reports, and online courses you can buy or subscribe to that promise to help you make a fortune with affiliate advertising. Uh huh, and I have some swamp land in Florida I want to sell you.
Yes, you can make money by placing advertising on your RV blog. But can you earn enough money to make it worth the effort? Probably not. The sad truth is that out of the millions and millions of blogs on every topic imaginable floating around in cyberspace, very few bloggers make more than $5 or $10 a month, if that.
To make any significant money in blogging, you have to have a lot of visitors to your blog every day. I have been blogging daily since about 2006. My RV blog runs at least 500 words daily and I rarely miss a day. I average about 1,500 daily blog readers according to Google’s AdSense statistics. That number is down considerably from when we were fulltime RVers and were publishing the Gypsy Journal. My blog ad commissions average about twenty cents each, with some exceptions. At one time I averaged just over $18 a day in ad commissions and was taking in a little over $500 a month from AdSense alone. That wasn’t get rich money, but it covered our car payment every month, with enough left over for a few dinners out. These days I’m lucky to earn $75 a month from AdSense commissions on my blog.
What changed? Several things. As I stated, we no longer publish the Gypsy Journal, but when we did, many of our thousands of readers also read the blog every day. And, with the growth of social media, especially Facebook, people don’t seem to reads blogs as much as they used to. There is just too much competition for their time.
Writing 500+ words a day is a lot of work. But I approach it as part of our income stream. Most RVers don’t want to invest that much time into their blogging efforts. Why do I? Not really for the AdSense money, but more so because I enjoy it, because I make a few extra bucks with the ads on the blog, and because it is a great marketing resource for my books. Whenever I put a new book out and announce it in my blog, I can count on about 1,000 e-book sales in the first 48 hours or so. In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that the print version of Big Lake Ninja was now available on Amazon and so far I have sold 23 copies of it in printed form. That doesn’t sound like much, but printed books never sell as well as e-books.
Experienced blog publishers have found that Google is constantly tweaking and adjusting the formula they use to determine AdSense commissions, and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to how they do so. There were months when my commissions were high, and then the next month they suddenly dropped like a rock. Then a month later they were high again. The same type of ads are appearing, the number of visitors and ad clicks remained stable, but the commissions were much less. This is a cycle that I have seen come around every so often in the years I have been blogging.
I also have Amazon ads on my blog, which bring anywhere from $50 to $100 a month, and more during the Christmas season. At one time I tried some different affiliate marketing programs, including Commission Junction. They are one of the biggies in that fields. After eight months I dropped them because I saw no results at all and never earned a nickel from them.
You will also notice a few stand-alone ads on the sidebars. These are all from companies run by friends of mine, and while they bring in a few bucks they are not a huge revenue source.
One thing I would warn any blogger to avoid is sponsored blog content. The way this works is some company, usually through an agent that specializes in that sort of thing, will pay you to post an article they provide that is no more than a thinly (or not so thinly) disguised puff piece for their product or service, complete with embedded links to their website. Blog readers quickly recognize this for what it is, the blog equivalent of a TV infomercial. Do that more than once or twice and you will lose readers faster than rats deserting a sinking ship.
So, can you make money with an RV blog? Yes, if you work hard enough at it and put out a lot of information on a consistent basis you may be able to make a few bucks every month. But I sure would not want to try to live off of my commissions. I love blogging and would be doing this even if I did not have ads on the blog. And the ads do help buy dinner or give us a little bit of mad money every month.
My advice to you, if you are considering putting ads on your RV blog, is to go for it and see what happens. It doesn’t cost a thing to enroll in the AdSense program, so all you have to lose is a little bit of your time. But blog because you enjoy it, not because you expect to make any real money at it.
Congratulations John C. Powell, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. We had 75 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – Smile today, tomorrow could be worse.