Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019: Making Money by Blogging with WordAds

Once upon a time, there were a whole lot of folks who thought that blogging was the quick way to a work from home job. All it took was dedication, the right topics/audience, and the time to create quality content.

While I won’t say that is never the case, I feel it’s pretty rare. Now days, I feel it’s even more rare than back when Full-Time Blogger was the dream. The Net is constantly changing, and new technologies, such as video and streaming, nudge out the old. For a while it was blogging, then it was building up a YouTube channel, now everyone wants to be a professional Streamer.

But let’s reel that back in and talk about what’s feasibly possible. If you host your blog on WordPress.com, it is possible to make money from WordAds. However, don’t expect it to pay the bills… much less even cover the cost of hosting (unless you’re really lucky).

My WordAds Experience

Looking at my WordAds stats, I started hosting ads on my blog back in February of 2018. Now, WordAds does not pay out until you reach over $100 in revenue.

To put it into perspective, I got my first payout June of 2019.

Now, keep in mind, in order to host WordAds, you must have the Premium WordPress.com package. This is $8 a month, about $96 a year.

My thinking on taking this plunge last year was… it’s only $3 a month over what I was already paying for a Personal account. And if I can make $100 in a year in revenue, then my blog would pay for its own hosting.

This didn’t quite happen, as you can see… But hey, $107 in my pocket is more than nothing. While it didn’t completely pay my hosting, it did cover some. Also, I went ahead and grabbed a deal to lock in my WordPress package for two more years at a discounted price earlier in this year, so I’m paying a lot less for hosting for the upcoming period.

WordAds Eligibility

One more thing to keep in mind – there is an application process. Just because you upgrade to Premium doesn’t mean WordAds will approve you. The exact amount of traffic required is vague, and you must also have your own domain name.

Q: I applied to WordAds. When will it be available to me?
A: Our advertisers have a minimum traffic requirement. Once you reach the level they’re looking for, your application will be automatically sent to them for evaluation.
Q: What is the minimum traffic requirement?
A: A site generally needs thousands of pageviews each month to earn meaningful revenue.
Q: Why do I need a custom domain name?
A: We are unable to provide WordAds for sites with the default free [example].wordpress.com URL, so you’ll need to either register a new domain name or map an existing domain name to your WordPress.com blog of choice.

From the WordAds FAQ

I guess somewhere down the line, in the many years I’d hosted at WordPress, I somehow qualified for WordAds. I don’t think I have a ton of traffic every month, but apparently, it is enough.

The Ads

Revenue each month is not just based on the amount of traffic you get, but the quality of the ads that WordAds can provide to your blog. This appears to vary widely from month to month – some months I have a lot more views than others, but make less revenue! How does that even work?

My list of revenue – Feb started at the end of the month

I read about it, and it really does rely on who is advertising with WordAds and how much the advertiser is willing to pay. For example, April and June were pretty good months for me, partially because I was seeing FFXIV ads on my blog. I’m going to guess that S/E is willing to put more ad money towards Shadowbrigners than the standard ads that are served up normally.

It also helped that Shadowbringers hype drummed up some traffic – but as you can see, that didn’t help May very much for some reason (?)

Let’s talk about Ad Control. I’ve never seen a way to tell an ad not to display on my site. Some of the ads don’t really relate to my content, but nothing has ever been offensive that I’ve seen.

While you do have some control over where ads appear on your blog, it’s only a general location. For example, you can turn it on or off on your sidebar, but you can’t control where on the sidebar it shows – I’m going to guess this is based on your WordPress theme (?)

Ad Placement Settings

Overall, the system is pretty set-it-and-forget-it and it takes care of itself. I don’t really mess with ad settings, or even do much more than check back on it every now and then.

WordPress has added an Ads section to the JetPack stats, so now you can see your earnings daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. This is a lot better than it used to be – simply waiting to see what last month’s payout was at some random point in the month after.

So, is WordAds worth it? I’m not thrilled to slap ads on my blog, but I’ve also not heard anyone complain about them. It’s low maintenance, but also low return. However, some return is better than no return, right?

Disclaimer: All this being said, please, please keep in mind that just because you upgrade to a Premium WordPress account does not assure WordAds will approve your application. So please don’t run out and upgrade your WordPress account based on what I wrote here. This is only my personal experience, and from doing reading, it varies depending on the blog.