I'm due to appear as part of a panel at the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation on the topic of "Blogging for profit". My place there is based more on technical input than blogging knowledge but, as an active blogger who already makes a tidy $7 (approximately) a month from Adsense, I thought a bit of research wouldn't go amiss to get an idea of the bigger picture.
A quick Google for "paid blogging" brings back a few options and it seems like there are a lot of companies wanting to get into the middle by taking a cut of someone blogging for profit, but how to attract some payment to take a cut of in the first place?
There are actually a number of different sites out there already, so I thought I should give them a try. They generally fall into two types: either you display ads, or someone pays you for writing about their product or service. In the latter case, favourable write-ups are generally preferable, but anything helps to give a good search engine ranking so some will pay you just for the exposure.
Beyond that, the differences are subtle. Some I had more success with than others (and there are a few more ads around this site as a result). Anyway, onto the round-up:
Google's own ad serving technology which can display a number of different formats of ads on a site and targets them based on keywords in the content.
For: easy to set up. Accounts are approved almost instantly. Pays via check or direct bank transfer.
Against: low payout rates, users see so many adwords messages they must be immune to them. by now
This is a bit like Adsense in that payments are made for putting ad units on a site. Instead of working out what posts are about you have to tell it which categories your blog fits into.
For: Easy to setup. Looks to be better payout rates than Adsense.
Works mostly on a cost per acquisition (rather than click, or impression) basis so should pay well on some sites, poorly on others.
Advertisers pay bloggers for writing posts about their products and services, so instead of showing adverts on your blog the blog becomes a set of adverts (almost). Advertisers choose how much to pay for a particular story and it's up to the blog writer to decide whether to take them up on the offer or not.
For: you know how much you're going to earn, and the pay is a lot better than more passive advertising.
Against: pays via PayPal only, getting a blog approved can take time, there's no guarantee of getting paid if the advertiser doesn't approve an article, some advertisers will only accept positive write-ups, and rates for articles are still generally only a few dollars.
Similar to PayPerPost in that the blogger is paid for writing, but in this case it's the advertisers who contact the bloggers to have content written for them.
For: pay rates are much better than other sites, payment via PayPal or cheque
Against: need to have a popular blog to be eligible (and this one wasn't popular enough, with a few hundred visitors a day), no explicit detail as to what the minimum requirements are, lack of advertisers willing to pay the rates they specificy, may be dead in the water as no-one's getting any reviews out of it.
Again, bloggers are paid for talking about new products.
For: easy to sign up for.
Against: only pays via PayPal, doesn't seem to have any activity on the site.
As with LoudLaunch. make money by talking about press releases. I haven't been able to activate this so I'm not sure what's going on.
Similar to ReviewMe, but appears to have more content. It's currently in Beta so I wasn't able to sign up for anything except notifications about when they might be able to let me in.
So... can you get paid for blogging?
Well, not a very conclusive answer, but it's kind of "yes, just not very much.