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July 16, 2015

Making Money Blogging: A Case Study

by Donna Huber

I recently had dinner with a couple that was interested in blogging and wanted some insight into the world. Whereas I took to blogging because I was passionate about talking about books. this couple is wanting to make money. The guy (as he was the one that wanted to run the blog) wanted to know what topic was the most profitable. He wasn't necessarily interested in writing about a passion.

Since that dinner, I have been thinking a lot more about how to make blogging profitable. When I started Girl Who Reads, I knew that it probably wouldn't let me quit my day job and I've told other book bloggers you don't blog about books to get rich. But can book blogging be profitable?

I think so.

Take a look at BookRiot.com. I'm pretty sure they are making some money. And looking at what they do can provide a number of lessons for other book bloggers that want to be profitable.

Lesson #1. Post more than once a day

Take a look a their homepage. I count 17 posts dated 7/14/2015.

I have tested out posting more than once a day a few times and have found it increases the traffic to the site. More traffic means more ad revenue from impressions and increases the likelihood of someone clicking on an ad or Amazon link. It can be difficult to post multiple times a day, especially if you are blogging alone. I have 7 people that regularly contribute to Girl Who Reads and I still have days where I'm struggling to post something.

It can be a goal to work up to, but posting more isn't the only reason they are profitable.

Lesson #2. Create content rich posts

Their posts aren't just promos, they provide real content. To be a profitable book blog you need to provide more than "hey look this book is out today" kinds of posts. Bookriot.com isn't just reviews either. It provides news and commentary about the book world.

There is a reason why many blogs that post multiple times a day posts promos - they are easy. But it isn't unique. And really how many reviews does one person read before deciding to buy a book? Does the average person even look past Amazon or Goodreads for a review?

They also use video, which gives their site an added bonus. The videos are well done so they re interesting and not filled with a bunch of "umms".

If you want your blog to be profitable you need to provide unique content. This doesn't mean you can't talk about the books everyone else is (July 14 all the posts on BookRiot were about Harper Lee's new book), but you need to talk about these popular books in a unique way.

Lesson #3. Eye-catching landing page

The design of a site definitely plays a part in its profitability. If a site isn't eye-catching from the get go, then some readers may just go.

The landing page on Bookriot.com is engaging. You immediately see what's new today without having to scroll for miles. There's plenty of space for ads without making the site cluttered or looking like it is just ads.

I think this may be the biggest issue book bloggers have with making their site profitable. I know I'm thinking of redesigning my blog. I get offers for ads all the time, but I don't have a good way of displaying them, without them getting in the way of the content.

But it isn't just about ad placement. It is about making people want to read their content. Though there are 17 posts about Harper Lee's book. but all the images with posts aren't the book cover. Hopefully as you expand the content of your site, the images you use will also expand beyond book covers and author images. It may require you to work on your graphic design or photography skills, or purchase a few credits at a stock photo site.

Bottom Line

Is it profitable to blog about books? It takes dedication and time. If you want it replace your day job, then you are going to have to put your day job hours into your blog.

Oh and if you are wondering what topic I told the guy would make a profitable blog: Cats.



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