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.

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

17 thoughts on “Blaugust 2019: Making Money by Blogging with WordAds

  1. Thanks for sharing these insights, Aywren!

    It’s been really interesting seeing a few different points of view surfacing about monetisation (even just at an aim to cover costs or partial costs level) this Blaugust. So far I’ve covered all costs out of pocket in the name of being a hobby, and I’m OK with that.

    But still curious what this all might look like and what user impressions are as well. AdWords vs. Affiliates and that kind of thing.

    I wonder, do you get any sort of insight in your stats on percentage of users running or likely to be running adblock plugins? I do for instance, but after this post whitelisted your page. Although even after a few cache clears and refreshes still aren’t seeing any ads strangely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WordPress doesn’t provide information on ads blocked that I’ve ever seen, only ads served. I’m not sure exactly what that number means, however – is an ad still technically “served” even if someone has an ad blocker that filters it out on the viewer’s end? That’s a good question!

      I’m also an ad-block user, especially with how intrusive some ads are now days. But, like you, I’ll whitelist sites I want to support (as long as they’re not obnoxious in letting me know about it). Thanks so much for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t even know you had ads. I use a very aggressive ad and script blocking regime and I whitelist nothing. As far as I’m concerned the web doesn’t have ads. (I never even see them on YouTube). If I ever come across a site that does manage to push ads through I generaly never visit it again, although if they’re simple, flat ads that are also relevant to the site’s content I’d most likley just ignore them. Any site that manages somehow to show me an ad that moves or makes a noise, though, receives the same response i’d give to someone yelling irrelevant garbage in an MMO – straight on block.

    Given the apparent costs of running a blog on WordPress or by self-hosting, I do wonder why Blogger seems to be falling out of fashion. I haven’t paid a penny in eight years and I’m 100% happy with how my blog looks and runs. What’s WP providing that’s worth paying for, if all you’re doing is posting text and pictures?

    Like

    1. Glad that the ads aren’t bothering folks who don’t want to see them. I’m totally fine with that since I also block ads on most sites myself.

      As for why I pay for a WordPress.com blog, it’s a rather long story. Every website I’ve ever built has run on a WordPress CMS, though I usually self-host mine and use a directed domain. I’ve been doing this for… gosh… long over 15-ormore years or so. This costs a flat fee for my hosting provider, plus the cost of the domain… and this blog would have remained self-hosted if my hosting service hadn’t started to deteriorate over the years.

      In fact, I’m so frustrated with my host that I’d completely move away from them if I didn’t have one particular site that just would take way more work than I have time to move. I still have several sites hosted there, and maybe one day I’ll make it a project to find something better, but it really seems hard to find a good, reliable host these days.

      I decided to move this blog off that host to take the pressure of the traffic it was causing the host. So I went webhost shopping. It was already a WordPress blog, so it made sense to keep it that way, making it easy to transfer – plus I have experience with transferring WordPress. I looked around at all the hosts, the space they offered, the transfer services, how much traffic they could handle, the reviews and the quality, and the price.

      In the end, I was skeptical about moving to WordPress.com because it does limit what you can do coming from a self-hosted blog. However, the Personal blog package was cheaper and more reliable than other hosts I looked at that offered less. Plus, it’s pretty much unbreakable (you exchange freedom for stability). I could have gone with the free blog option, but I wanted to keep my domain, have more space for media, and (ironically) remove the forced ads on the blog.

      I tried the service out, and really don’t have any complaints after all this time. I only put more money into an upgraded hosting package specifically to test WordAds and see if I could earn enough to pay some of the hosting off.

      Really, though, this is all a hobby and I’ve been paying the cost of my own hosting and domains for a very long time. My other sites don’t make a cent towards the crappy host I still use, and they probably never will. I’ll blog and build sites whether I make money from it or not. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am with Bhagpuss, I did not know you had ads. And, turning off Adblock and refreshing doesn’t show any. Not sure what to say.

    Still, that is an interesting insight. I have considered the idea. I think I get enough traffic to be accepted. The question is would I get enough revenue to offset the increased cost. Also, I am not fond of ads on blogs, at least the intrusive variety.

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    1. Aye, I’ve just tried with whitelist in Adblock, and then temporarily with all script blockers disabled — still no ads showing anywhere that I could spot.

      Was kinda curious to see how they displayed!

      Like

      1. Odd, I don’t know why they’re not showing up. But for an example of what they look like – I’ve screenshotted an ad from the top of my sidebar (there’s another at the bottom that’s similar) and the bottom of the above post.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am also using Firefox, which is pretty aggressive about refusing to let tracking elements in cookies get downloaded, so even with AdBlock off there is a high likelihood that I won’t see ads. (Chrome doesn’t do that because, of course, Google depends on ad and ad placement revenue.) I can see the little label that says “Advertisements” which is where an ad would likely go, but Firefox is suppressing the ad itself.

          Like

          1. Ah, I use Firefox too! I switch to Chrome when I have to do something serious that involves payment because on Firefox something always seems to seem to break before I get to the end of the transaction, whereas Chrome seems to let anyting through.

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    2. I’m glad the ads have not been bothering you! Not sure why they’re acting funny, but it’s fine either way. I’m really not too fussed about making money – I guess that shows because no one knows I had them! XD

      Like

  4. Thanks for the informative post! I didn’t realize this was an option through WordPress. Not really my thing but it’s interesting that they provide this to their customers. I wonder how many bloggers can actually see a return on this after premium fees and domain registration

    Like

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve looked around at reviews and what other folks have to say about WordAds. I did back when I first started it, and… well, I’ll just say, I set my expectations low when it came to earnings. I’m actually surprised and happy that I got any return at all!

      Like

  5. I also take a very scorched earth approach to websites with ads. Hence I was surprised by this post as I’ve never seen any here. However, I also appreciate the other side of the coin and understand why content creators want to find a source of revenue to support their work. I guess Patreon is the most benign method these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually find it a relief that the ads don’t bother people who don’t want to see them. Nothing annoys me more than clicking through to a site that throws a box up and demands I whitelist their ads to see their content. On one hand, I get it, but on the other, no. Don’t try to force me. I always leave immediately.

      I’m actually more surprised that I get revenue at all from ads, to tell the truth, given the fact I expected most folks to be using a blocker.

      Liked by 1 person

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