Caution: you are about to enter a no spin zone that details how blogs make money. Actually, I’m already lying since most blogs do not make anything. Unless you’re part of OPEC or selling snake oil, the life of a blogger isn’t one of glamour. The vocation of points blogging is a lot like the priesthood which requires a commitment to poverty, chastity, and obedience. Poverty is a result of spending hours obsessing over posts in the hopes that your Analytics account shows a spike in activity that can net a few more nickels. Chastity is an unintended externality of being a blogger. “Hey baby, I’m a blogger, how you doin?” Need I say more? And obedience in the blog world, at least in terms of points, comes from the tacit understanding that we will not obscenely broadcast offers and loopholes that will benefit our blogs individually in the short run but result in a net loss to the community. Of course, some people adhere to this rule more than others.
So how do blogs attempt to make money? I’ll tell you TPOL’s strategy which is clearly not aggressive enough.
1. Book Sales
TPOL’s plan was to start a blog to promote his book, Everyone’s Advice is Wrong, so that he could live the life of a gorging artist. It was never my plan to write 917 and counting posts in less than two years and make blogging part of my daily routine. But here I am.
And here is the book: (Always be closing.)
Step 1 of the book is Enjoy #ThePointsOfLife. If you enjoy traveling the world for free, imagine how much you’ll enjoy a permanent life outside of the cubicle.
That’s my pitch.
The most obvious way blogs make money are ads. Scrolling through the blog creates an impression for which I am paid.
Here’s how that works:
It would take thousands upon thousands of impressions for this strategy to produce meaningful money.
3. Affiliate Links
Another way blogs make money is affiliate links. In the points world, readers click the link for a credit card offer, apply for the card, and if they are approved the bank sends the blogger a kickback. It’s not the love for the big banks that has some blogs describing the benefits of a card over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Unless you’re a high volume blogger with hundreds of thousands of hits a day, your blog will not be eligible for the money baby affiliate links. You can set up some back-end, roundabout link for cards and hope that users show compassion by clicking on those specified links. This is too much of a hassle and inefficient for the reader. Simply put, readers go to where they’ve always gone to get the latest credit card deals and that’s fine. I do the same.
There are other affiliate links that bloggers can put on their site like Amazon but I have found the click-through-rate to be very poor. Why would a reader go to TPOL first to then go to Amazon? That’s a lot of patience and loyalty that I do not expect from anyone.
SPG? Is that you? Because I’m talking to you.
As the points game goes through its downs and downs, TPOL is worried about his chances of survival. The hustle can’t be killed off completely but the REdBird days of swiping your way to free first class are long gone. Concurrently, how many blogs does the world need which reviews Emirates Shower Class, SQ Suite Class, Cathay First, or Etihad Apartments? Here’s one more in case you are interested: Emirates, SQ, Cathay. Apartments coming in the fall.
Clearly, the way to survive in this business is by flying lie-flat.
Apologies that’s a misquote. The guys that last in this business, are the guys who fly straight. Low-key, quiet. But the guys who want it all, chicas, champagne, flash… they don’t last.
As much as I would love to do so, flying Emirates everyday is not a sustainable business model for TPOL. That is why, in addition to writing about crazy points schemes, TPOL spend hours writing Travel Guides that inform readers what to do when they arrive at their destination. My long-term plan is to link up with travel partners and media outlets which would enable TPOL’s Living Doesn’t Have to Suck message to reach more people.
The point of my blog is to show readers how they can use points as a springboard for travel while integrating lessons learned from such adventures which creates the disruption needed for them to strike out on their own, once and for all.
No, TPOL is not asking for money but I probably should lobby readers more for points gained by referring them to bonus credit card offers. While I do not receive monetary compensation from such referrals, it would be very helpful to gain a few thousand or hundred thousand points from readers reaching out to me before they applied for that Chase Ink or SPG. Having said that, if anyone is interested in applying for the Chase Ink 60k offer, I do receive 10k bonus points if I refer you.
If you’ve read my blog more than once, it should be apparent that I enjoy writing it. I used to post everyday even when my daily numbers were under 100 views. At the same time, I’m not against receiving a little pocket change as a result of my efforts.