Blogging is fun.
And most of us probably do it because it’s something that we enjoy doing.
Also, blogging allows us to show the world (or at least some small part of it) what we are passionate about.
Maybe you are also mainly doing it because you would like to HELP people by teaching them a thing or two about something.
Whatever your intention is, chances are that at some point you would also like to earn some money with your blog.
After all, it seems there’s nothing wrong with earning some money with your blog, as there’s undoubtebly a lot of work that goes into making a great blog.
That said, when is the best time to monetize your blog? Is it possible to monetize your blog from the get go or is better to wait for some time before trying to earn some money with it?
I have personally monetized dozens of websites and blogs before and, therefore, happen to know a thing or two about blog monetization.
Here’s what I learned so far!
Phase 1: Keep calm and focus on content only
While I do understand that you might want to monetize your blog from the get-go, I would definitely not recommend doing so.
Whatever way you would like to monetize your blog, there’s one thing that you will most likely need to make blog monetization a success: (Tons of) Traffic.
At this stage, you don’t have the traffic
And that’s exactly why you should not try to monetize your blog from the very beginning because most probably you don’t have enough traffic to make it work.
So, how much traffic do you need to make money from it?
Well, that really depends on how you are actually going to monetize your blog.
If you are planning to monetize your blog through display advertisement, it hardly makes sense to start doing so before you reach about 10’000 pageviews a month.
You might even want to wait until you reach about 30’000 pageviews a month before considering applying for an ad network.
If are planning to make money through affiliate marketing, you probably could start a little bit earlier but you will most likely need comparable amounts of traffic to really make some decent amount of money out of it.
But why? Why do I need to reach these kind of numbers before monetizing my blog?
There are actually a couple of good reasons for this.
Let me just say something incredibly important about the kind of traffic you want to get: If you can, try to get as much US traffic as possible.
The main reason for this is that US traffic is incredibly valuable in terms of ad revenue, whereas traffic from other countries is not worth much (at least not in terms of ad revenue).
I will dedicate a whole post to this topic soon, as it is an incredibly important topic but also a pretty complex one (to put it simply: I can’t get into that topic right here as I would need another 2000 words to get the message across).
For now, just try to remember that US traffic will generally pay you much more money than traffic from any other country, at least in terms of ad revenue.
Monetizing your blog comes with a sacrifice
One reason why monetizing your blog straight from the start is a bad idea, as we have seen earlier, is that when you start with your blog you simply don’t have the traffic that is necessary to make money with your blog.
The underlying concept here is very very simple: Lots of traffic, lots of money and lots of opportunities to transform the blog traffic into money. No traffic = no money. It’s really as simple as that.
Also, another good reason why going all in with monetizing your blog from the get-go doesn’t make sense is that monetizing your blog often also comes with a sacrifice.
Let’s say you put display ads on your website.
You need to be aware that display ads make your website A LOT slower. Depending on which ad network you work together with and what your actual set up is, the difference in Site Speed can be absolutely huge.
Moreover, display ads can be pretty intrusive and are not exactly good for user experience.
That said, it simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to have ads on your website too early, as it comes at a high price…
…a price that you’ll only want to pay if it really pays out for you in terms of ad revenue.
And that’s exactly the point. Until you reach like 10’000 pageviews a month (or in many cases even 30’000 pageviews a month), you are not likely to earn enough with ads that it is even worth bothering with.
Ok, great. But could you at least tell me how much money I can expect with let’s say 10’000 pageviews a month or 30’000 pageviews a month, please?
Ok. Let me try!
To be honest, it is impossible to tell you exactly how much you could earn at this point.
Let’s start with display advertising (by far my favorite way to earn money with blogs!).
With about 10’000 pageviews a month, you could be earning about 50 to 300 dollars a month through display advertising.
How much you truly gonna every month through display ads with about 10’000 pageviews (and basically any amount of traffic) largely depends on your niche.
So, if you have a successful blog about studying languages you might earn 100 dollars a month at that stage while with a blog about finance you might easily earn 300 dollars a month already.
Why is that?
Depending on the niche you are operating in, the amount of money you can earn through display ads varies considerably.
So if you would like to earn much with display ads, you should operate in a high-paying niche.
I do indeed have a blog about studying languages (linguaholic.com if you would like to check it out) and there, I earn about 5 to 12 dollars per 1000 visitors (highyl depends on the season).
That means that writing about languages is not a very lucrative niche. But I still do it because it is what I love to do. But in terms of money potential, this niche is not exactly great.
Other niches such as blogging, food, finance and SEO are good examples for high-paying niches in terms of money that you can earn through display advertising.
So, yea. No problem. Then I will just focus on these niches, right?
Well, you can definitely do that and it can work. But please keep in mind that these niches are highly competitive.
So while it is true that you can earn much more money in these niches from display ads, it is most certainly also much more difficult to generate a lot of traffic.
Chances are monetizing your blog at this stage is not even an option
As far as display advertising goes, most ad networks will need you to meet certain requirements in terms of traffic and quality…and until you meet these requirements, you won’t be able to monetize your blog in that way.
For instance, when monetizing your blog with Google Adsense, your website should at at least be 6 months old.
If your website is younger than that, chances are that you won’t be approved by Google Adsense.
Other ad networks such as EZOIC, Mediavine and AdThrive (kinda like the wholy grail of display advertising networks) have much higher requirements.
For instance, you need at least 10’000 sessions per month to qualify for EZOIC.
To get approved by Mediavine, you now need at least 50’000 sessions per month.
It used to be 30’000 sessions until very recently, but now you need 50’000 sessions per month in order to join Mediavine.
Mediavine is what I use on various websites of mine. And this ad network is absolutely amazing. I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation. Truly the best of the best.
AdThrive, another amazing ad network, even wants you to have at least 100’000 pageviews per month. If you have less traffic, you don’t even need to bother to apply.
That said, when just launched your blogging career, you will first need to meet these numbers before you can actually monetize your website with ads.
As far as Google Adsense goes, they do not have a minimum amount of traffic that they do demand but, as pointed out earlier, your website should be at least 6 months old in order to qualify for Adsense.
The way I see it, using just Adsense doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and the earning potential is very very limited compared to the other ad networks that I mentioned in this article.
Moreover, all these other ad networks are also official Google partners and kinda already include Adsense in their services.
As far as my experience goes, I would definitely first focus on getting as much traffic as possible and then just when you reach about 30’000 to 50’000 pageviews (sessions) per month, it is worth thinking about monetizing your website with ads.
As far as advertising through affiliate marketing goes, things are a bit different.
You could definitely start a tad earlier with affiliate marketing (such as through Amazon).
Some websites might see pretty early success with affiliate marketing. It really depends on the type of content that you are creating.
If you write good content about keywords with buyer-intent, you could see good affiliate sales pretty early on.
However, by far the biggest player in affiliate marketing has been Amazon but Amazon is gradually decreasing the amount of affiliate commissions that they are willing to pay to their associates.
In many niches, affiliate commissions are now incredibly low with Amazon and this is the main reason why I don’t bother with affiliate marketing anymore (or at least not with Amazon).
In many niches, you will only get a commission of a few percent now, as Amazon just recently slashed commission rates AGAIN. So imagine that someone bought a backpack on Amazon that cost 150 dollars there.
What you will get as an Amazon Associate is only a couple of percent of that.
That said, unless you have tons of referrals (tons of people that are buying stuff on Amazon through your referral links) or the products that you are referring are extremely expensive, Amazon Affiliate marketing is pretty much dead, at least in my eyes.
Depending on which niche you are working in, there might be other affiliate partners that you could work with and in some niches you might be able to establish some pretty good deals.
Phase 2: Get into the ad game at around 30’000 pageviews (sessions)
This is where things start to get interesting.
Until like a half year ago, 30’000 pageviews (well, sessions, which is just a little bit more than 30’000 pageviews) was really the point (threshold) where I got serious about monetizing my blogs through display ads.
At 30’000, I typically applied to get my blogs monetized with Mediavine.
Unfortunately, Mediavine now set the bar a little bit higher and they need you to have 50’000 sessions in order for your site get approved with them.
Mediavine is by far my favorite ad network. Once you registered with them, if your website gets approved, they will actually manage everything for you.
What does that mean?
Well, that simply means that they will install the ads on your website and they will make sur everything works perfectly. And they truly are professionals when it comes to advertising.
And it could very well be that you are underestimating the complexity of setting up ads on your website.
Trust me, I spent hundreds of hours setting up ads on many of my websites and there is just so many things that can go wrong.
That said, if you would like to focus on content instead (that’s actually always a great thing to do), Mediavine is absolute godsend.
The problem is that at 30’000 pageviews per month, your options will be limited as far as ad networks go.
Your best bet might be EZOIC at this point.
While I have very mixed feelings about EZOIC, nobody could deny that with the help of EZOIC you are definitely going to earn much more than just with Google Adsense.
In my case, once I switched from Adsense to Ezoic, this increased my earnings by about 100 percent.
The setup of EZOIC can be a bit troublesome and setting up ads on your website can be a daunting task. However, If you do enjoy to take full control of your ad setup, then you might enjoy what EZOIC has to offer to you.
But if you are not very tech-savy, you might have a hard time to setup everything properly.
However, it needs to be pointed out that once you are with EZOIC, they can definitely help you with setting up your ads and ad placeholders.
So, if you don’t want to do all the heavy-lifting by yourself, your account manager can help you to set up everything.
I did have some issues with EZOIC support, though. But overall, it was still worth it, as my earnings improved considerably.
Phase 3: Level up at around 50’000 pageviews (sessions)
The best advice I could probably ever give you if you would like to earn serious money with display advertising is to get your website approved with Mediavine as soon as you hit 50’000 sessions per month.
Thank me later for that:)
But before you get too excited, here are the basic requirements to get into Mediavine:
- As mentioned earlier, you will need to have 50’000 sessions per month in order to qualify for Mediavine (you can easily check these stats in your Google Analytics)
- The majority of your traffic needs to be from the US (this is crazy important eventhough Mediavine won’t stress that very much as far as their requirements go)
- Your website needs to be written in English (Mediavine also does not actually write this in their requirements but trust me, if your website is only in let’s say German or French, your chances to get approved with them are very very bad)
- Your website needs to be of good quality. Mediavine has very high standards and they won’t just approve any kind of website. Your website should have a decent design and layout, good quality content, should have a decent site speed, and so on…
- As Mediavine is an official Google Publishing partner, you need to be on good terms with Google (which basically means that you need to have a fully functional Google Adsense account and have not been banned before)
Phase 4: Reach for the stars at 100’000(+) pageviews
At 100’000 pageviews, the doors to ad revenue heaven slowly start to open.
The main reason for that being that you can apply for AdThrive with your blog.
AdThrive is by many considered to be the best ad network out there. Or let’s put it at that: It’s probably the best ad network out there that is tailored towards the general public.
Now, Mediavine and AdThrive earnings are usually on a pretty comparable level, with the slight edge towards AdThrive.
However, it really all depends on your niche. While Mediavine might be better for some niches, AdThrive might outperform Mediavine in other niches.
For instance, Mediavine has very strong roots in the food business. If you are a food blogger, it might just be that Mediavine is the perfect ad network for you.
On the other hand, if you are running a website that also includes a forum (that gets decent amount of traffic), AdThrive might be the better choice for you, as Mediavine does currently NOT monetize forums.
In any case, either Mediavine or AdThrive are excellent choices! And now that you are at 100’000 pageviews or more, chances are that you earn anything from 750 dollars up to like 4’000 dollars a month from ads alone.