Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

UK political blogs just aren’t profitable

And so another attempt to make money out of someone blathering on about politics has failed, with the closure of Westmonster.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so…

Note to any other wannabe online publishers thinking of starting a UK politics blog: don’t bother. The audience figures even for the biggest aren’t sufficiently high (certainly in terms of uniques) to warrant any advertiser forking out anywhere near enough money to make such ventures profitable. The only way to make money via British blogging is adapting the long tail model, stealing some ideas out of AdSense’s book, and setting up an advertising platform across numerous blogs. Only Blogads has already done that – and the UK version, MessageSpace, is backed by some of those self-same big boys of the UK blog world.

Or, of course, you could lobby for funding and sponsorship – seems to work for places like EurActiv, that’d never (that I can see) be able to survive on advertising revenue alone. But the thing to remember is this: if newspapers only had political news in them, they’d swiftly go bankrupt.

4 Comments

  1. And you wouldn’t want to be like Euractiv as you would have to wear yellow suits to all your business meetings to make yourself stand out (seriously – they do this) and also just write about what your grant givers want you to write about.

    As for Westmonster – problem also was that it wasn’t especially good… It was never one of my must-reads in UK political blogging.

  2. Jon, you are exagerating a bit. Do you know that at Blogactiv we have to wear also green flashy suits. Joking…

  3. I have to agree. UK political blogging – actually, any non-US political blogging – simply doesn’t pull in enough page views to generate a decent income.

    Yes, you can bring in some nice pocket money. And I’m sure for some of the better bloggers were talking in the thousands of pounds range, but there’s nowhere near enough *targeted* page views to persuade advertisers to part with enough cash to provide a fulltime living.

    Probably a better way to look at UK blogging (if you really want to do it seriously and make a living) is to look at it as a way to build your career by building up your own brand. You can then leverage this to find paid work in other areas.

    One blogger who has really done this well is Tim Worstall – he’s come from nowhere to build a solid writing career largely off the back of opportunities built off the back of his blogging.

    If you really want to make money off just a blog, you need to pick a niche that is actually about some kind of product (ie, a blog about gadgets). That way you can sell really targetted adverts for sensible money to advertisers who know they are likely to get a good return for their money.

  4. Hmmm… Yellow suits, eh? So much for asking them if they’ve got any freelance work going…

    Andy – yep, I’d go along with that. Blogs can be good money-spinners for individuals, but indirectly – mine’s helped to land me a decent amount of real-world work that’s landed me a fair amount of cash, but money made directly from the blog amounts to no more than a couple of hundred quid over the last five years. (Then again, I haven’t really been trying, but still…)