From Blogging to Business

How to find entrepreneurial success in social media

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Starrene Rhett uses an ad network to build revenue for her site, GangStarrGirl.com.

“[Black Web 2.0] found a niche that hardly anyone else has filled,” says Tamera Reynolds, director of Glam Media’s African American blog network, Black Life. Glam Media, a fashion and beauty Website for women, operates a partnership with more than 75 African American beauty and fashion bloggers.

Navigating Ad Networks

Black Web 2.0’s relatively short road to success isn’t so common for most bloggers. For Rhett, generating additional revenue from GangstarrGirl has been slow. Instead of solely soliciting advertisements or waiting for advertisers to beat down her door, she turned to what’s usually the starting point for most novice bloggers, Google AdSense, a free service that automatically delivers text and image ads to a blog based on the site’s content. But the margins were slim and she eventually turned to an ad network.

An ad network that secures premium advertisers – i.e. Tide and Toyota – for its bloggers can be lucrative for both parties. “The benefit to ad networks is a share in the revenue making the advertising sales and putting in place the technology that’s behind an ad,” Reynolds says. “The percentage an ad network receives depends on the actual network and quality of advertising they’re selling. It also depends upon the cache’ of the Website,” she explains.

As profitable as some of these sites can be for the blogger and ad network, grossing revenue can still be a challenge. “There’s still a matter of how many readers you get,” Rhett says, whose blog now averages 10,000 unique visitors per month. She received her first check for $15 from Google Adsense. She eventually switched to the Global Grind ad network where she received a check for $5 in March.  Rhett says aside from traffic an important factor in generating revenue some how much you are paid by some advertisers also depends on how many visitors click on the ads.

Boosting Site Traffic

While traffic is not the ultimate factor in how much money a blog can take in, there is a correlation. “Traffic can impact how much your blog makes when you’re earning revenue based on your CPM [cost per milli],” or cost per 1,000 people that view an ad, says Reynolds. But, “there are Websites that have developed a certain credibility of respect in their area,” which can also be attractive to advertisers who may be able to hit their target audience more easily.

Some advertisers opt for a ”click-through rate,” which measures the success of an online advertising campaign, Rhett explains. Even with a substantial amount of traffic, for some advertising platforms, if visitors don’t click on ads, the chances of generating revenue are slim.

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