Should You Join a Blog Network?

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Recently, a friend who is new to blogging asked me if she should join a blog network. She wondered if the exposure would be beneficial to her writing career and if the money was any good. Here’s what I told her.

What is a blog network?

First, I explained that a blog network is a group of blogs and bloggers writing under a common banner, similar to writers working for a newspaper. While most of a network’s bloggers aren’t employees (though the site’s editors may be) there usually are contractual agreements between the network and the bloggers, and editorial requirements like posting so many times per week with a minimal word count. Examples of these types of blog networks are b5media, 9Rules, and Examiner.com (which claims it’s not a blog network, when it pretty much is in my opinion.)

What’s the pay like?

Many network bloggers are paid based on revenue share, a portion of advertising revenue. The average pay on the bottom end is around $2/CPM ($2 per thousand views of a blog). If you have a low traffic blog, let’s say 200 views a day – which is not bad for a beginner – that’s $12 per month.

If you break the numbers down, that’s $12 for 12 posts per month. That’s three posts per week though you’re usually required to write more. If each post is 250 words, that’s .004 cents per word. If you’re lucky enough to have good to great traffic – in the 1,000 to 10,000 per day range – you may earn enough to make it worth your while. However, traffic like that takes months to years to acquire, and depends on the niche you’re blogging in and your blog marketing efforts.

Some of the better networks give their bloggers a monthly stipend. Other blog networks, like the Huffington Post, don’t pay anything.

Are there drawbacks?

If you quit your blog, get fired, or the network closes due to financial hardship, you probably don’t have the right to take your content with you.

With a blog network, you are not in total control of your blog. You may be prevented from posting about certain subjects, linking to your other blogs, or using profanity. Plus, you don’t have a say in the type of advertising the network runs, like a political ad for a candidate you can’t stand. Or maybe your blog network gets bought by another blog network, and you’re not happy about the new rules, requirements and/or pay.

With blog networks, you’re also at the mercy of their sales force and management. If they’re not making lucrative business deals and smart decisions, the network is going to be in poor financial shape. You could be forced to take a pay cut or may not get paid at all.

What are the positives?

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger gives eight reasons why you should join a blog network. Even though the post is over three years old, his points are still valid. So, if you’re considering joining a blog network, do a Google and Twitter search to find out if the network has a good reputation or disgruntled ex-bloggers and a high turnover rate.

Are most of the network’s blogs current? Or does it have scores of blogs that haven’t been updated in months or even years? Find out if the CEO is blogging and what he has to say about the health of his blog network.

Then read your contract carefully. Find out requirements, rights and pay details. If you’re told that you’ll make hundreds of dollars a week or month, it’s probably a scam. Finally, know what your time is worth and how long you’re willing to blog for (nearly) free in exchange for experience and exposure.

Have you worked for a blog network? What was your experience? Share below!

Anne-Marie Nichols is the Social Media Manager at Mom Central Consulting. You can also find her blogging up some healthy recipes at This Mama Cooks!

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Anne-Marie Nichols
Anne-Marie Nichols
Anne-Marie Nichols

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