February 23, 2006

back of the envelope

Inspired by Kottke’s retirement from professional bloggerdom, here are some quick back of the envelope calculations on what it would take to earn Kottke-style scratch as an ad-supported blogger (instead of one supported by 1,450 micropatrons).  You can use this as your guide to whether you should quit your job and join the New York Magazine aspirational set.

  • Jason pulled in $39,900 from his campaign.  Let’s throw in an extra $100 for a nice decent meal out to celebrate the end of your hard-blogged year, and put up a revenue target of an even $40k. 
  • You’re a blogger, not a sales person.  You’re not hooked in with the cool kids, so The Deck ain’t for you.  Your skill set’s more in line with “copying and pasting JavaScript into my sidebar,” so you go AdSense all the way.
  • For arguments’ sake, we’ll say that you’re able to pull down a $1.75 effective CPM (over the course of the year you average $1.75 in revenue for every 1,000 page views).  There is absolutely no guarantee that you’d actually be able to hit that; ahealthy number for  a community generated content site could be targeted at $1 (especially after Google’s cut).  But for argument’s sake we’ll say that over time your editorial integrity drives to something just this side of an automated blogbot, and you start targeting your content at things that people actually pay good money to advertise next to.

OK, here comes the hard part.  Math!  $40,000 at $1.75 per 1,000 page views means that you’ll have to do north of 22.8 million page views in the year, or 1.9 million monthly, or approximately 64,000 a day.  Think you have it in you?

It doesn’t take a math genius (like me!) to know that this calculation is highly influenced by the eCPM you think you could earn; if you think I’m off, post your calculation in the comments.[1]

[1] Obvious and transparent tactic to drive additional page views.