For those of you who are thinking about using the paid Wordpress.com, this applies to you if you upgrade. I figured it would be helpful in your decision making process to really understand how much traffic you'll need to justify the cost.
So we've all read those articles about people being able to quit their day jobs and just blog. The thought of the alarm clock not going off at 5AM sounds kind of awesome. I mean don't get me wrong, I love sitting at my computer and sharing my experiences with others. My blog got started in 2016 and it got started on Wordpress.com. I figured there was no startup cost, so why not. If you are a fan of this blog, you know that I write about products that I use. Yes, I write mostly about food, however I figured consumers need to know: Is WordAds Worth It?
After getting started, I finally got a domain name that did not have .wordpress.com to it. After a few months I started noticing that I was getting traffic. So while this is funny to sit and type this now, I had almost four figures of traffic in a month. Yup. I broke 1000 page views in a month. I thought I was hot stuff.
So, the next logical step in my mind was to upgrade to Wordpress.com Premium. I wanted to see if I could not only make back to almost $100 investment, but actually make money. Through JetPack, I got to answer the question: Is WordAds was worth it? On a happy note, I have made back the investment.
But I would use this article as a reference to see if it would be worth it for you based on your traffic and needs. Now, my data might need some clarifications. I switched to Wordpress.org. More on this later.
I'm still at my day job. I do love what I do. But I do love the fantasy of just sitting behind the computer and writing these articles in my pajamas.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links at no extra cost to you.
If you are on Wordpress.com you can monetize by upgrading to a Premium account. If you are on Wordpress.org, you can apply through a plug in called Jetpack. The sign up is very easy and the link is right here. The approval process was almost immediate. There was little wait time which means ads were ready to be served just as quickly.
Traffic and Income
This is a very candid section of this blog and this post. I know in American society there is a bit of shyness talking about money and numbers. But knowledge is power. I'm posting this to share out what my experiences are. This page will only speak about my own experiences.
Here is a bit of the behind the scenes of BecomeBetty.com. I've kept JetPack installed and will just screen shot what I can see. Also, you can't have Google Analytics if you are on Wordpress.com. Let's start off with my time on Wordpress.com. I started in August of 2016. I moved the blog to Wordpress.org in March of 2017. You'll see a drop off in traffic in April because of this move.
Here is my traffic from the start through the first week of April 2018:
Making Money Online
What did my Wordpress.com Traffic Make Me?
Before you analyze this chart, this covers the time period where I was a part of Wordpress.com Premium. My site was growing. The only way to grow it further was to migrate off of Wordpress.com and move on to Wordpress.org. This just shows the one year I paid to be a part of Wordpress.com Premium. In other words, I monetized in September of 2016 and jumped off of Wordpress.com in March of 2017.
As you can see, my CPM did not ever reach as much $1 per 1,000 ads served. By the beginning of June, I needed to do more back end work and switch to a better hosting company, SiteGround. It was at that point, I turned ads back on.
What has my Wordpress.org Traffic Make Me?
Now, I moved from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org in the middle of March (that's why March has different income numbers on both). I followed a lot of advice online and moved to BlueHost. My speed was slow. The ads slowed things down even more.
I switched off of BlueHost and went to SiteGround. However, once I got a little more technical knowledge, I found that you can set up your ads in a bit more detail. I found that I could turn on more ads. On my homepage there were 3 ads running. Earnings for Food Blogs Tend to be highest in the fourth quarter of the year. While the rates were a bit better, I never got up to $2 CPM even during the highest paying quarter of the year, Q4.
My traffic isn't bad. It's reasonable. I'm just not in the hundreds of thousands of page views just yet. But I don't know if the CPM is competitive enough.
My Experience with WordAds
What I Liked
- Minimal wait time to get started
- No long application process
- On Wordpress.org, you have more control. Here is a screen shot of what options you are presented with. Once I realized I could run more than one ad, my income increased. When you see the income jump that is because I added a header ad and an extra in-post ad. Here is what the screen looks like behind the scenes:
What I Did Not Like
- If you are on Wordpress.com, this is really the only ad network you can be a part of.
- Ads load very slowly and do slow down a lot of the speed tests online.
- Not as much control over where they go. This is most true on Wordpress.com rather than Wordpress.org as you can control if you want a header ad.
- No console to see how you are doing on a day to day basis. You'll have to wait until the month is over plus a week or two to see how you did the previous month.
- My CPM never reached above $2. When I switched to Mediavine and then Adthrive, I make many times that.
So, Is WordAds Worth It?
I think it depends upon what you are looking to accomplish. For me, I was convinced that having a website that makes money (that doesn't sell anything) was some sort of sorcery. Being a part of their network gave me the confidence to know that it is possible.
If you are on Wordpress.com, this is your only option in terms of making money from your website or blog. Just realize you'll need quite a bit of traffic to break even.
If you are on Wordpress.org, you have far more options. Since I did not have Google Analytics set up for right away, that will limit you in terms of the ad networks that you can apply for.
Is WordAds worth it? I think for most people it won't be financially worth it. However, if you are like me and need something easy to get yourself started, it wasn't a bad place to start. There was little setup and work on my part. I also needed to know it was possible to at least make some money online. It isn't cheap to have or maintain a food blog. But at least it is something to offset some of the costs.
Psychologically, it motivated me to push the blog in its earliest months and to continually improve it. Most business hang up their first dollar they ever make. This is me hanging up my first $1.18. I'm not embarrassed by it. I'm quite proud of it.
Now, that I have things better set up, I'm grateful for the income that WordAds brought me, but I have moved to other ad networks. How much of a difference is there? I currently get about a $15 CPM. That's a huge difference.
For More Blogging Advice
If you found this helpful, check out my other Blogging Advice: