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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How do Genealogy Blogs compare to Mommy Blogs

The discussion in the genealogy Blogging community about "making money from Blogging" brings up an interesting issue. It the genealogical community even large enough for any number of Blogs dedicated solely to genealogy to make money? You will note that I use the word "solely" on purpose. In this case, I am not talking about genealogy Bloggers that use their Blog posts to promote their other activities like lecturing, teaching or selling some kind of product. Of course, a Blog is now a recognized factor in any advertising or promotional campaign, but can you make money writing Blog posts? In the interests of full disclosure,  you can easily note that my Blog is "monetized" to use the Google term. I can tell you that the amount of money, total, that I have earned from Blogging would not pay for two tanks of gas for my truck.

But, the question remains, can genealogists make money at genealogy? Apart from the Blogging world, the answer is a very qualified yes. Unfortunately, the market for genealogists is extremely small. A search on Monster.com for genealogy showed 43 jobs. Unfortunately, 22 of those job openings were for a start-up Website asking for writers on general instructional topics, not specifically genealogy. Two were for Web designers for the LDS Church. Two were for OneGreatFamily.com and seven were from Ancestry.com. As a comparison, a search under "Law" brought up 1000+ jobs. The Association of Professional Genealogists has about 2000 members world wide. As a comparison, Arizona alone has the Attorney State Bar numbers listed into the 20,000s. I mention these to show that if there is a market for genealogy related services and products, those markets are relatively small.

What about the Blogging sites? How do genealogists stack up to Mommy Blogs? I would guess that Dick Eastman has the most popular individual genealogy Blog. Alexa.com ranks websites on traffic. Today, his Blog ranks #151,616. This is really good considering the Alexa.com database considers over 4 million websites. Genealogy's Star, on the other hand, is ranked #834,610 today. Now, let's go to a typical Mommy Blog. Take SugarDoodle.info for example, this site is ranked #415,515 today. But also consider SimpleMom.net ranked today at #35,614. If you think any of the genealogy websites are monetized, take a look at SimpleMom.net. No one out there in the genealogy Blogging community even comes close to monetizing their site like the Mommy Blogs.

I mentioned Dick Eastman, what about Tom MacEntee? Tom's Geneabloggers site comes closest to a monetized site. His Alexa.com rank today is #451,689. In this market, the lower the number, the higher the ranking and the more traffic. Advertising on  a website (including Blogs) is all about numbers. So how many people a day visit these sites?

For some of that information we go to Quantcast.com. Qauntcast.com ranks Dick Eastman's Newsletter at #38,947 in the U.S. and shows about 4.5K people a day. Actually, pretty good. Geneabloggers ranks #326,153 and shows about 3.7K per month (not day).  What about SugarDoodle.info? Quantcast.com has SugarDoodle.info at #47,456 with about 34.1K per month. Next, back to SimpleMom.net. Her traffic is "hidden by owner" but is estimated at 47.5K per month. Back to the baseline, Genealogy's Star (and Walking Arizona) is ranked #412,463 and has about 3.2K people per month.

But here is the real difference, the number of Mommy Blogs is estimated at close to 4 million! I just chose two at random, but what about the really popular ones? Take a look at 5minutesformom.com. Alexa.com has this site at #20,217. By the way, there is a huge difference in traffic as your ranking increases towards the top ranks. To give you an idea, Ancestry.com is ranked at #980 today, MyHeritage.com is at #3,994 and FamilySearch.org is ranked at #9,091. So, you talk all you want about making money, the real issue is traffic. Can you get the numbers up to a level where advertising on your site will actually be attractive to someone selling a product?

Theoretically, there should be a market. If Ancestry.com can attract the numbers, then why not a genealogy Blog? But you have to recognize that genealogy is a far smaller and less online area than many, many others.

8 comments:

  1. Great reality check. But I couldn't help but think maybe your gas tank is too big????

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  2. I don't think many people are expecting to make a full-time living from their genealogy blog.

    I do think that it's not unreasonable to expect to make enough to offset your expenses and maybe pay for your time.

    I also think we need to get over the idea that it's somehow dirty or wrong or distasteful to monetize your blog...and I also think that we need to ensure that readers understand how to support the blogs they like, so they can make informed choices as to whether to do so.

    My traffic levels now are about the same as they were when I had a blog focused on giving job hunting advice. My income level from the blog, though, is MUCH smaller. My old readers were more familiar with the ways in which readers support blogs financially than new ones.

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  3. It's really sugardoodle.net (sugardoodle.info redirects to .net), which has an Alexa rank of 58,624. That's pretty amazing considering the relatively narrow focus of sugardoodle.

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  4. On a related note, maybe you could start a big new trend with "grandpa blogs"! :)

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  5. Sorry for all the comments. I wouldn't trust Alexa rankings very much. One of my sites gets 3-5k visitors per month and Alexa has it ranked around 6.5 million (that could be accurate but I doubt it). Another of my sites gets about 1000 visitors per month but has a slightly higher Alexa ranking (6.4 million). I'm not sure there are really good ranking systems.

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  7. Good points, however, I would point out that the number of jobs, in this economy, may not be the best metric. I agree that genealogy blogging can help, but not enough to make a living at.

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    ReplyDelete