How to Determine the Profitability of a Blog Post (Before You Write It)
Writing a blog post can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. You don’t know where you should draw the line between thoroughness and brevity.
You also have no idea if your blog post will make money after you hit the publish button. Though you may have a good idea of what may happen if you have a very good handle on your audience.
But what if you could get smarter on blog post profitability before you write the post? Well, you can. Plenty of professional bloggers are doing the same method that I use to determine where they should be spending their time writing high-quality, profitable blog posts.
The smarter you get on your blog posts and content strategy the better the long-term viability and value will be for your site. Again, a blog post can have relevance for years.
I created a free ad revenue calculator that determines blog profitability before you write it. I’ll go in exact detail of how you too can calculate profitability in advance. Let’s get into it.
Ways a Blog Post Can Make Money
Blogs can make money in a variety of ways. I’ll highlight a shortlist of some of the most popular ways and important considerations for targeting the right blog posts that are profitable.
1. Email leads
Email lists are still very important for the monetization strategy for your blog. Not simply because you make actual money when someone opts-in to your form. But due to the massive revenue opportunity from direct selling to those email opt-ins.
So, there is inherent “value” that needs to be accounted for relating to your opt-in form or whatever lead magnet you offer in exchange for someone’s email address.
The value of that lead is a bit of an art rather than a science. The value corresponds to the underlying value you that you will sell to that lead. If you have a ton of different products and affiliates to offer, then that lead is worth more to you.
If your email leads are solely for newsletter purposes, the value of the lead is much lower.
2. Affiliate conversions
This is another part of the calculation that requires a bit of estimation. If you are an experienced blogger, you likely have a strong handle on click-through rates for particular affiliates so you may have data that you can look to (I’ll get to that in the math below).
3. Display advertising
Display advertising is generally the most straightforward. There are several well-known advertising networks out there that go operate on different revenue models like either cost-per-click or cost-per-impression basis. I’ll show the math below on how you factor that into your calculation.
4. Other Considerations
There are plenty of other considerations that you can account into the profitability of a blog post. Examples would be social media followers as a result of your blog post. Those have value albeit low value.
Also, if you have a YouTube channel embedding the video could lead to additional views or subscribers. That can lead to additional monetization and value for your brand.
I generally do not include these in the math as I view them as “extra” to my targets. I certainly recommend that you include these in your posts but don’t rely on them for monetization.
Calculating the Profitability – The Math
In order to determine the profitability, you need to target a particular keyword and the estimation of the corresponding search volume.
First, determine the profitability or potential value of the display revenue. You can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find the keyword and corresponding cost-per-click.
(note: even if you don’t have display ads on your site, you still have value given that you always have the potential to add display advertising.)
Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “best travel credit cards.” According to Ahrefs, this keyword has a monthly search volume of 21,000 and an estimated cost-per-click of $25.
According to my data, if you rank for the first spot of a keyword you have a click through to your blog post of 20-30%. Let’s pick the mid-point of 25%
In our keyword example of “best travel credit cards”, that means 5,250 clicks to the blog post.
From that post (with display ads), readers click on the display ads at a rate of 1% which means that you get approximately 53 clicks at a cost of $25. That’s approximately $1,300 of monthly revenue!
Second, the offers displayed as “best travel credit cards” likely have affiliate conversion offers. Let’s say for each person that signs up for a new credit card (cost-per-action) you get $25. You can make that happen at a rate of 3% on your 5,250, so that is 157 conversions. That equates to approximately $3,900 of monthly revenue!
Third, maybe you also have an opt-in for your newsletter. That may happen at a conservative rate of 0.50%. So based on your 5,250 clicks, you’ll get 26 new email sign ups along the way. If your leads normally cost $2 per lead that’s an additional $52 of monthly value.
If you did not follow that, here is the formula:
Monthly Revenue of Keyword = (MT) x ((CV x CR) + (CPC x ACR) + (CPL x LCR))
MT = Monthly traffic to your site from a keyword
CV = Conversion value for your affiliate
CR = estimated conversion rate for your affiliate
CPC = cost-per-click of the keyword you are targeting
ACR = estimated ad click rate from your post to your ad network
CPL = estimated cost-per-lead for what it typically costs for you to acquire email leads
LCR: estimated lead conversion rate on that particular blog post
Now you can see the power of math. This is only for 1 keyword. If you rank for that keyword, you’ll likely rank for variations of that keyword as well.
Determine your advertising revenue upfront is crucial as time is precious. With blogging, you will likely be bootstrapping your efforts for growth. Ensure you spend your time on value-accretive actions.