When you start monetizing your blog, the biggest question in your mind is probably, “What should I charge?”
Figuring out what to charge is probably a question that will never have a permanent answer. Rates change as demand fluctuates, as you get to know how much work you put into projects, or how well a project is received, you'll notice that you might be undercharging, or you might notice no one is buying your services, in which you might be overcharging.
Either way, there is no standard to how much a blogger “should” charge. The only standard is the principle of supply and demand. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out where to start.
What are other blogs charging?
Asking what other people charge is a bit like asking how much people make. Don't ask unless you know them quite well. That said, it doesn't stop you from playing detective and seeing where you can find rates around the internet.
- Services like BlogAds will list in their “Buy Ads” section how much bloggers charge for their ads, and how much traffic they are getting.
- Look at your favorite blogger's “Advertise” Page to see if they have their rates listed, or have a downloadable rate card
- Talk with Ad Networks to get an idea of how much CPM (cost per millia, or thousand impressions) ads generally go for
You can adjust your pricing by looking at the CPM and how much traffic you have with tools like CPM Calculator. If the CPM is $5 for a premium space above the fold and you are getting 57,000 page views per month, a monthly ad will cost $285. Ads below the fold usually are charged less because they are not a prime location, so you can adjust your pricing in a way that advertisers will respond to.
Shoot Out Any Number
Ok, don't just shoot out any number, but if your potential client is interested you want to leave room for negotiation. If you know that it takes you eight hours to do the perfect outfit post, including ideating, photographing, writing, and promoting, or if you know you have to pay a photographer, factor in everything it would take for you to accomplish for the job. Say you want to be paid $50 an hour and you know this job will take you 8 hours, you might want to charge $400. If you feel that your blog is particularly influential, and you can show case studies on how it amplifies a campaign, you should increase your rate. Remember it's not just the hours you are actually spending on the project, it's also the time you've invested in building an influential audience.
People will pay for what they see has value. Remember it's your responsibility to communicate exactly what value you can provide a brand, this will give you more power in the types of rates you can charge.
The Dangers of Undercharging
Value does not necessarily equate with cheap. Would you buy a $5 steak at a restaurant? Hire a $5 developer in India? How about cheap haircut? How about a cheap cashmere sweater? Oh my god, think for the lint!
Anyway, cheap does not always mean good. If you charge too little a brand may not take you seriously. If they balk, inform them of why your rates are the way they are. If they still balk, then it's probably not a good fit. There is nothing wrong with holding out for the right fit. You may have to consider the packages and the way you are presenting your work, but ultimately you can support your rates provided the market can bear it.