From Blogging to Business

How to find entrepreneurial success in social media


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

“[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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  • C. Bailey

    I’m proud of y’all. It’s so nice to see young black people succeeding especially in these hard times.

  • I would love to make blogging a part time career.

  • Renita Burns

    @ LaNeshe go for it and keep me up to date on your progress!

  • Congratulations on a fine article! The Twitterverse is FULL of black women expressing an opinion and being heard on substantive issues.

    Check out LaShandra Henry [ @sistasense ], as well. She’s building herself a web empire with child in tow!

    Check out Ory Okolloh [ @KenyaPundit ] brilliant Harvard Law grad from Kenya, who has changed the way the world responds to conflict in Africa.

    Check out Danielle Belton [ @BlackSnob ], who sends laughs and news about DC life, all the way back here to Cali.

    Check out Maisha Walker [ @maishawalker ], who is writing up a storm on digital topics for Inc Magazine!

    Me? I’ve been “working the web” actively since 1995, just very low key. While building a law practice, after 2 years in Japan, i decided that tech was MUCH more interesting. Built one of the first hand-coded client portals in existence.

    Since I discovered the benefit of Twitter, I’ve been sounding off at @MullenAR and about 20 other Twitter accounts to service around 200 domains on a PHP-handcoded framework in ADDITION to about 30 WordPress blogs.

    Inspired by Harvard big sister Carla Harris, I’m leaving the shadows in 2010, including moving forward with,,, and about 196 more domains that combine my interest and experience in law, Japan, Agile for Lawyers (which I am pioneering) and ADR issues, so stay tuned!

  • It’s great to see so many black people getting into blogging. It is a great way to get information out there and be environmentally friendly. Check me out We’re totally diggin’ our fellow bloggers!

  • This was a great article. I’ve been following Angela Benton – BlackWeb2.0 for awhile now. Thank you R Mullen … after reading this article, I was shocked to see my name in the comments section. is one of my main blogs and I’ve been blogging for years. Adsense is a nice part of my revenue stream, among other things and blogging has its perks! If not for my black parenting blog and creating the black moms club social network, I don’t think I would have gotten the opportunity to go to the Disney Mocha Mom Mixer last year! Blogs are great for pleasure and profit … you just have to learn how everything works and not do a trendy blog in the hopes of making millions or get frustrated because your don’t understand traffic. Learning is a big part of the process and it does help.

    Again, great article.
    LaShanda Henry | Founder of the MSOY Network

  • Hello,
    I am new to all of this. I know it takes dedication and hard work before you see the funds roll in. I am reading and researching and doing it daily. I can also be successful as the next person. Thank you for all your input. I wish you all the best!! And keep making the money.

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