RSS readership correlation with Blog Revenue

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Curt from Penny Jobs left an interesting comment on a recent post about increasing my passive income to $300 p/month. His comment related to my target of growing my blogging (passive) income to $50 p/month by year end and was:

Here is a calculation for blogging income. JD of the ‘Get Rich Slowly’ blog posted in Nov that he has $5k income with 35000 RSS readers. Therefore, each reader is worth, 5k/35000 = $0.14 per month. If you have 65 readers, your income should be about .14×65= $9.10/month. If your goals is $50/month, then you need 357 readers.

My response was “…I think RSS readers is not necessarily an accurate figure to measure reader worth (though I am not an SEO expert). In fact I think as I have limited in-post advertising most of my RSS readers are not really big revenue generators. Most of my ad revenue comes from site visitors clicking on AdSense and affiliate marketing programs… ”.

Gather Little by Little (GLBL), a prominent personal finance blogger, happened to have a recent post on passing the 1500 RSS reader mark (congratulations) and I posed this question to him as a comment against the post. His response to me was:

Revenue is purely based on your traffic, not on RSS. RSS readers click on affiliate links, Search Engine visitors click on AdSense and ads, and text links are based on your page rank. I think it’s really hard to base income on RSS, a much better perspective is on traffic (i.e. page views per month).If I took just my ad revenue (minus affiliates and text links) my RSS would be .59 per reader or about $884/month. But I run 2 CPM ads where I get paid by impression. JD might be closer if you look at just AdSense, but .14c seems real low at least compared to what I am seeing. As for your target income, keep it up for a few months and you’ll far surpass $50.00/month. Andy, I don’t advertise my revenue, but for May I’ll be right at $XXXX (affiliates, text, links, and ads). [Editor - For confidentiality I am not putting it in the exact amount, but it is over $1000]

I think I am more in line with GLBL’s line of reasoning, though Curt’s RSS readers to blog correlation does have merit (my RSS readers to revenue ratio is about 0.15c) and I will be tracking it for my blog and publish an update over the next few months. What are your thoughts and if you manage a blog, have you seen this correlation/ratio to hold true?

Now to some of the finance related carnivals and festivals I participated in during the week. As usual kudos to all the host for taking the time to review and list all the great money related articles submitted from around the blogosphere.

Canadian Dream: Free at 45 hosted Carnival of Personal Finance #154 which included my post on Why Online High Yield Saving Accounts are Poor Investments

Funny About Money hosted And the Beat Goes On: 127th Festival of Frugality in which my article on Tipping Philosophies was published.

PiggyBankBlues hosted the 61st Carnival of Money Stories that featured my article on Embrace Fear for Financial Freedom.

You may have noticed that even though this is a personal finance focused blog, I do occasionally like to talk about the blogging part of things based on my experiences to date. This covers actually managing/running this blog, other good blogs I find along the way and the various festivals and carnivals I participate in. If you like to see more on my blogging experiences, check out the “Blogging” category. Your feedback is always appreciated.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

andy July 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It’s funny, I came back to this post via another search and I realized I forgot to update my numbers and thoughts.

1. I agree RSS is not a specific indicator of revenue, but generally the more popular a blog the more readers it has (RSS and search) and so the higher the revenue. I have over 9000 RSS subscribers and my revenue is definetly higher than when I had 100 or 1000 subscribers.

2. Yes, if you have a decent blog with some traffic it doesn’t take long to pass $50. I actually passed this a couple of months after writing this post. On average I now make over $2K a month from this site….so not too bad for a side income. But I do spend at least 10hrs per week directly on this site and probably 5hrs per week on admin related work.

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Logan November 29, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Great post Andy. As long as you keep on writing you will reach your goal of $50/mo.

I find that there is very little correlation between RSS and my adsense revenue. One of the sites I own is a tiny niche site (only 6 pages) and it has made me between $20 and $30 per month for the past 3 years. It does not have an RSS feed.

I own another adsense site that makes me around $70 per month (35 pages). This one is built on the WP engine and I average about 8 RSS readers per day. Which would be 29cents per RSS reader per month.

I agree with GLBL, pageviews are a better measure of revenue potential. Besides, you never hear anyone talking about how many people subscribe to Facebook’s RSS (does FB even have one?), but you do hear how many pageviews FB gets…you used to hear it every other day.

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identity lookout August 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I would have to agree with manuel on this one. I don’t notice a lot of value in rss feeds.

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Manuel Santos July 27, 2010 at 2:52 am

I see little value in RSS other than to create necessary activity. Prefer facebook for webpage activity.

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