Monetizing Your Blog – An Introduction

So you have your blog created, you have a few posts up, you’re getting decent traffic and you are ready to take it to the next level.

Let’s not kid ourselves. We all hope that we can create a very successful blog that will eventually bring in enough income that will enable us to retire early and enjoy life. It’s possible. If your blog attracts enough readers that come to visit on a daily basis, and by enough I mean tens of thousands, you can make a lot of money. There are plenty successful blogs out there that earn a lot of income. However, don’t quit your day job yet, it can take years before you get there, if at all. Many people give up along the way because they are overwhelmed with the amount of work required. But if you are determined and you persevere, you never know, you might be one of the lucky ones.

There are many ways to monetize your blog but I will only cover a few here.

  • Google Adsense is probably by far the most popular way for bloggers to earn an income. Not only is it the most popular, it’s probably the most profitable too. Google adsense is free join, all you require is a gmail account and anyone over 18 years of age can apply. It can take a few days for the approval process, but once approved you log in to your adsense account, select the ad sizes and types you wish to display on your blog and it will generate code that you have to paste on your web page where you want the ad to appear. With adsense you can place different size ads on your blog, up to 3 ads per page. Adsense mostly pays on cost per click and the cost can vary tremendously. I’ve seen ads that pay nothing, to ads that can pay $3 or $4 per click. The ads that are displayed on your page are customized to the content on your page, which I think is the greatest thing about adsense.
  • Join a food publishing network. There are lots of ad publishing networks geared towards food blogs. One that I have used and am currently still using is FoodieBlogroll. They are relatively still new and the revenue can vary greatly from month to month. The way they pay is CPM, which stands for cost for 1000 impressions. You can also place up to 3 ads on your page, and I would recommend this, because this triples your revenue. The CPM cost also varies a lot, they advertise that it could be as high as $8, but I’ve never seen it that high. However, there have been months, when I have made a substantial amount of money with them if the traffic on my blog was good. There are many other such publishing networks, another one being BlogHer Publishing Network or FoodBuzz.  I really can’t tell you much about FoodBuzz or BlogHer because I haven’t yet tried them.
  • – I love these guys, they CPM, their CPM rates may vary, but I’ve had great success with them. Much better than foodieblogroll and pretty close if not the same income as google adsense. I strongly recommend signing up with these guys, however they have a monthly minimum of 30,000 pageviews to start with them.
  • Amazon Associates – I haven’t been very successful with amazon but I have read of others making quite a good profit with them. You can have your own amazon store where you can promote the products you believe in and use yourself. Becoming an amazon associate is free and you earn a commission for every product you sell that can range from 4% to 6%.
  • Join other ad publishing networks that are not specifically for food blogs. One such ad network is Lijit publishing network  which also pays per impressions.
  • Become an affiliate and promote a product or a service on your blog, for example become an affiliate with ClickBank. By promoting these products or services on your blog, you earn a good commission for every product sold, that originates from your website. The commission could vary, but it could go up to 75%.
  • VigLink is a new servince that I’m just experimenting with right now. Basically what it does is turn is scan your page for keywords that it can turn into affiliate links.


  1. Jo, *do* get into BlogHer. Unlike Google AdSense, you get paid for page hits, not when readers click on ads. I am on the mailing list of one blog, and each month, they send out their income reports. They make twice as much off BlogHer than off Google. I feel it’s worth getting into.

    There are a few requirements for them that Google does not have, for instance, you must have one post per week for at least 90 days. They will also review your site to see if it conforms to their criteria. I have recently applied to them, but they do take about 45 days to get back to you. All the info is on their site.

    • Hi Judy,
      Yes this is something I’ve been contemplating for a long time. I actually got accepted into BlogHer earlier this year and changed my mind and did not go with them. My reason was their requirements, like you said post at least once a week and so on. Not that I don’t post every week, but it should be my decision and not BlogHer’s. It’s something I’m still thinking about. I am currently with FoodieBlogroll and they started with Media Glam in November so I want to see how they work out and if it is not good then I’ll consider BlogHer again. I do love google Adsense, they have provided a steady income for me. There are many options, it’s just a matter of trying them all out and see which ones pay better.

  2. Jessica says:

    How is it going with FoodieBlogRoll and Glam? I am considering signing up and wanted some insight. I have not been approved with BlogHer, so still waiting for that possibility.

    • Hi Jessica,
      Since they added the Glam ads it’s been doing much better, they now have this Likelii Wine ads too which come with the foodieblogroll widget and that one has been performing really well in February. I’m still waiting for Blogher though, I’m on a waiting list so we’ll see how that works out. I’m really curious to see which one is better, though I have a feeling it’s Blogher that pays more.

  3. Hi Jo,very informative post.I have a doubt though,I have selected for foodie blogroll publisher program,but all I see in my website in only their ad tags and not any real ads.Can you please tell me if this is something wrong or should I wait for some more time.

    • Hi Harini,
      Nothing’s wrong. The reason that happens is because they do not fill 100% of your pageviews, many times it’s only a very small percentage that actually gets filled with ads. If you look at your revenue report versus your performance report you will notice there is a huge difference. So nothing to worry about, when I go to your blog I see actual ads so you’re ok.

  4. Great article, I just started my food blog with wordpress after merging from blogger, I have a domain and hosting space through bluehost. I am reading everywhere that you can not use adsense, or any ads for that matter with wordpress as they do not allow it? I see that you are with wordpress, and have ads….I am so very confused…. thanks for your insight!

    • Hi Summer,
      I’ve never heard that before. Yes of course you can have adsense ads and use wordpress as a content management system, unless they are talking about hosting with wordpress.

  5. Nice article and lovely blog! I am currently at the blogger, I bought my domain but still I am hosting my blog at Google. I just noticed that many people are merging from blogger to WordPress and I was thinking about it and choose self-hosting. I was wondering why they are changing from blogger to WordPress.

  6. Hi Jo,
    I was wondering if you will be (or if you have and I just couldn’t find it) posting an updated summary of what you have learned from advertising networks. I’m sure you’ve changed a lot and learned even more since this original post, not to mention changes in the programs themselves.
    Also, being a Canadian food blogger, can you speak to challenges, opportunities, and differences that we will experience north of the border?
    Fantastic site guys. Very useful tips, and I like that you dumb things down in a way that I can understand concepts that I have no knowledge of (yet).
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Raj,
      Great idea! I will try and write a post on that, making time is another challenge since I’m working on multiple projects and a full time job. 🙂 But you are absolutely correct, as Canadians we do have our challenges and not just with advertising networks but other things as well like participating in things. For example I was once asked to review Top Chef and as part of that you could qualify for prizes, however not as a Canadian. That’s just one example out of many.

  7. Hi Jo,

    Do you know if I can have Blogher and Foodieblogroll at the same time on my blog?

    • I don’t believe so. Foodieblogroll wants their ads above the fold and while blogher doesn’t necessarily want their ads above the fold anymore, they don’t want any other ads above theirs, so I’m afraid it’s one or the other. Blogher is the way to go though. 🙂

      • Hi again Jo,

        So you’ve since switched to Blogher? My site is still very young and I believe they denied my application due to low traffic, though they didn’t verify that. Do you know if Foodieblogroll is easier to meet requirements for? Also, do you know what the Foodie Blogroll Widget looks like?

        • Foodieblogroll would accept probably every food blog, they don’t care how often you post, how much traffic you get or anything like that. Blogher is quite a bit pickier with who they accept and there are a bunch of requirements you have to meet. You can see what the widget looks like on this blog in the footer.

  8. Hello, great post! My site is too young and BlogHer denied my application – low traffic issues! I tried Infolinks, but to be honest I don’t like they way of advertising and I don’t have courage to apply with Adsense 🙁 definitely will try FoodBlogRoll next!

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