How Make Money On A Site With A Small Budget

by Jeremy Schoemaker on September 12, 2007 · 113 comments

Ken Causey asks:

You have $100 to advertise your new blog, what do you do? and how to you make money with so little traffic so that you can keep the ball rolling?

ShoeMoney: Wow good question and a very hard one to answer. But I am going to try and its going to be a long answer. Please keep in mind I have never spent money to gain users on this blog… but I will try my best to answer your question and apply what I do on other sites.

Really all blogs (that can be called blogs) should have 1 goal in mind – To get RSS subscriptions. This is what traditional marketers would refer to as ” new user acquisition”. Then how long they can keep someone subscribed would be “user retention”. Keep in mind I am a VERY traditional marketer. I boil down statistics until they are raw. So basically you should be able to see some sort of trend or corolation between your revenue and your RSS subscription. This can also be measured with unique hits but with blogs its more about the RSS subscriptions. For instance I value new RSS subscribers at about $2 per NEW SUBSCRIBER. So how did I come to that conclusion…. Well basically as my rss subscriptions have grown so has the income on this site. Its pretty close to being inline with about 2$ per subscriber per month. Now its not always close and maybe this will change… its just how it is right now. You also have to keep in mind that this site gets less then 3% of its visitors from search engines. So my valuation for RSS subscribers is probably a little higher then someone who 50% of there traffic is from search engines.

Ok… so why is it important to put a $$ on a RSS subscriber? Well in Google Analytics you can set a goal. Lets say you make that your “Rss subscribe” page. The easiest way to do this would be to have a “subscribe page” which redirects to your jump page (which has your analytics goal code) then goes to feedburner. There is other ways to do that but thats the first one that poped into my head.

Now so you have assigned that goal of $2 cause you know what kind of return you get for each subscriber… now here is the REALLY cool part. You can use refering URLS to show you what sites are giving you what value. I can really only show you this with a picture to illustrate:


Ok so because I have assigned a dollar value on my goal I can now see how much I could spend on a site based on the conversion metrics. Now this chart isnt setup right cause I was doing it wrong and recording every one instead of only new but whatever you can get the point (I think).

Basically from the chart you see that:

Advertising on I can spend up to .20 CPC and still make money.

On techcrunch I cant spend more then .06 CPC to make money.

On John Reeses I can spend up to .28 CPC to make money

AND the best conversion for RSS subscribers on is John Chow whos clicks I value at .36 CPC.

Now I blocked out a bunch of sites cause the point of this post was not to embarrass sites that did not convert into RSS subscribers but rather to show you that by using your own analytics it will show you where to spend your money.

Also keep in mind that my goal might not be your goal and my value might not be your value. I am just a statistic nut. Maybe someday I will break down all the goals of nextpimp and how I value them and where we spend money and why. IMO this is really the difference between making a shitload of cash or losing your shirt. PDITTY said its all about the Benjamins I say its all about the analytics! What?

So long answer to your short question… Place a value on your goal then watch your analytics to see who is sending you traffic and what that traffic is worth to you. Now take your 100$ and either CPM target that site with Google or send the blogger an email and see what kind of deal you can work out for advertising on there site.

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

Michelle recommends you check out these amazing posts:

  1. privacy-card-3x2 Getting your privacy back offline
  2. work-in-progress Progress and Completion
  3. trump-youre-fired How To Fire Someone


1 Patrick Altoft

You could just add an onclick tracking link to your RSS feed link:

2 Vlad

I always wanted to measure this via Google Analytics. Jeremy, when you talk about “jump page” – can this be done with a “php redirect page”?

3 Thomas

I agree, RSS subscribers are the foundation of a blog. It’s a good idea to collate expenditure with subscribers too. I’m going to be doing this as I try to build up some subscribers myself.

4 Dave Dugdale

Jeremy, thanks for another good post. Interesting how you track your goals by subscribers.

5 Paul Bradish

Excellent post. I may have to give this a shot with a small Adwords campaign (still have some free vouchers to use up).

6 GeorgeB

Whoa, this is pretty pimp. Now I have done my share of railing against analytics for not being all it’s cracked up to be. Perhaps I should revisit with this newly acquired knowledge.

7 Justin Cook

But what if your goal is to have people click on your AdSense ads? How do you assign a value to that?

8 seo toronto

in google adsense portal you can set ip restrictions for clicking that will help

9 Ken Causey

Wow, out of all those questions, mine gets answered, thanks a lot, I guess I need to come up with a value, monetize my RSS and get my site targeted ads up

thanks jeremy

10 Amit Bhawani

Excellent way to spend the money?

11 Amit Bhawani

Edit : I meant to say yes its the best way to spend and yes john chow gives the best conversions.

12 Dave

I’d also be interested in the way you create the redirect…is that something you can divulge? I’ve tried in the past to do the exact same thing, but I guess technically it wasn’t working correctly.

13 Vlad

I just set a php redirect page on my blog. But I am afraid it will not work because the php sends a header function to the user’s browser- therefore I am not sure if Google Analytics code will pick up anything.

14 Vlad

Jeremy, is this method covers the “e-mail subscriptions” as well? I use Feedburner for my e-mail subscriptions. I was just wondering if you would put the same value on your e-mail subscribers as those who subscribe to you let say via Google Reader?

15 Supermodel

Thanks for sharing. Just add another fan to your list :)

16 Aditya Kumar Singh

Well that was my question and someone else asked it :P

17 Aditya Kumar Singh

I guess it works for all kind of feed subscriptions. He is just counting the feedburner feedcount

18 Blogging The Movie

I totally agree.. I’m hoping that my next marketing scheme will unleash the craziness of gaining a high RSS feed count.

19 CPA Affiliates

nice explanation of valuing worth of visitors/rss subscribers etc.

20 ShoeMoney

The best way to do it is to do a 301 to your page that has the analytics code then meta refresh that to your feedburner link

21 ShoeMoney

feedcount only shows current. That gets more into customer retention

22 ShoeMoney

this doesnt measure email subscriptions. Email subscriptions are really awesome and I will get into that more.

23 ShoeMoney

he best way to do it is to do a 301 to your page that has the analytics code then meta refresh that to your feedburner link. I should have probably put up some example code. I will next week ;)

There are probably better ways to do it.

24 PFJournal

This is a great breakdown. Much more specific than some of the vague answers I’m use to seeing.

25 Vlad

Thanks Jeremy. That was my second guess.

26 doug m

excellent post, thats one question i’ve been thinking about and this is exactly the answer i was looking for

27 Sucker

You also see where not to spend any time. In this case, StumbleUpon. :)

28 Google Tutor

great post jeremy but why do you say it doesn’t measure email subs? I do email subs through feedburner as well and it seems like your technique here would measure email as well as rss

29 Desmond

Great post….I think im going to have to reread it a couple of time because dayum i suck at math lol…..Had a quick question to ask. What tracking software do you recommend that we use on our blogs to see where people are coming from, going to , and what links they are clicking?


30 Klaudio

I would try it out, if i’ve the time to blog more than once a week :(

31 Jonathan Volk

Wow! Simply Amazing post! :) Thanks for the tips!

32 Theo

You make it sound so simple, I will definitely try your suggestions

33 Word Hugger

Yet another useful post. Thanks!

34 lyricsreg

I knew nothing about all this … and I call myself a webmaster

35 Luis

great post shoe! thanks

36 KiwiPulse

Very useful informations, Now that I know more about the RSS subscriber, I will consider to make some extra money. Thanks

37 Danny @ Blogs for Money

Interesting stats, but it’s hard to get all your feedburner subscribers without changing the autodiscovery meta tags on your page, and that’s probably not a good idea, since people subscribing might end up with the “middle” page bookmarked instead of the resulting url :(

38 Blogging Experiment

I wrote a post on how I do my affiliate jump pages just a few days ago. Not sure if it’s the absolute best way to do it but it seems to work for me. Will be watching for your example, Shoe.

39 Jente

Damn interesting, never used that feature of google analytics. Got to try to value our visitors too.

40 Jeremy Enke

The $100 is actually negligible. Nobody is going to blow up because of the first hundred they spend. At the end of the day it still comes down to hard work. I wrote an article on this last week as well.

If I only had $100

41 Grivon

Eye opening!! Did you take marketing in post secondary education shoe?? Thinking of picking up some of those skills myself!

42 UndergrdoundAttraction

Interesting post Jeremy! I agree that it’s VERY important to put metrics on your visitors and find out how each one is worth. By doing that you can really understand how much to spend to go out and get them!

43 KingJacob

Ive only ever set goals for click conversions, but I could see why you would want to keep tack of referals conversion to subscribers. Also not all sites are monetized the same so that 2 wont be the same for smaller or bigger sites.

44 King Jacob

Thats cause it really is simple, you just got to think

45 Blogging The Movie

Hey Shoemoney,

I just wrote a little post about you. There’s a running poll on my blog to see if your fans would like to select you to be part of the movie. The winner will have a chance to be featured in Blogging the Movie. You’re up against John Chow, Dosh Dosh and Problogger.


46 Brian

Awesome information yet again! Thanks, Shoe.


Great insight into how you make your decisions. Thanks for sharing (again!) Shoemoney:)


I’ve put setting this up to the top of my “to do” list for today. Can’t believe I haven’t already been using it.

49 Peter Cooper

Nice tips, will be going through this idea more later. Wish I could make $2 per subscriber per month though.. I’ve got 11,000 subscribers and am at about 2 CENTS per subscriber. Oops! :)

50 Tracy

You could spend it by advertising on the site of the coolest man in the universe.

51 Click Input

Pretty amazing post with the level of detail you get into!

52 Bill "Bo" Harrison

You could also monetize your site using auction ads. ;} We’ve had good success with that. btw, has anyone heard of a new ad network called widgetbucks? I haven’t heard of it and a couple of friends are getting emails about it.

53 Gary R. Hess

Nice info Shoe. I never really thought about doing this. I’m not sure how distracting this would be to visitors and what not though. I was playing around with a few things and decided to use an onclick event instead which triggers the goal. The problem though is that the autofeed finder in browsers can’t have it, leaving out a nice % of people.

54 Krunal Chauhan

this could be a real cool experiment Shoe ;) But let me ask you, would you Prefer PPC on 2 or 3 tier search engines ?

55 Lazy Owner

Great post with the code on how to do it at
(Not my blog)

Looks pretty clean and easy enough to do. I’m going to see if it works.

56 lyricsreg

That page is not loading. I really want to read your example

57 Vlad

I look forward to your example of code. Meanwhile I have created a jump page with what I call “instant meta refresh”- setting to refresh time to 0, I really do not what people to see the jump page. There is no sign that Google analytics is wordking, but I probably should give it a few hours.

58 Patches and Hacks

Great post. This just made me use analytics again. I disabled it before because I wasn’t using it and it was jut making the page load slower. Bit now I see it has great features and it can really help. I found this article about how to track rss subscriptions with analytics:

59 Nick Sullivan

Nice post, I enjoyed reading your answer.

60 thewild1

i guess i need to get my rss subscribers up

61 The Dino

I guess this is regarding only blogs… I think I should set up some so I could run also this method.

62 BlogChip

why dont you use blog submitter such as Submit Em’ Up….maybe it will work amatuer blogger like us..

63 Modern Worker

Dang man, nice way of breaking it down. Fantastic question also.

64 Nathan H

Nice tips, making money on a low budget I beleive really depends on your niche and one way isnt the best for all ways.

65 Joeychgo

Nice tips. Its good to show the newbies a step by step

66 King Jacob

A movie about blogging, “interesting”

67 King Jacob

all those submit sites arent really worth it, good seo, alot of links and good content is all you need.

68 Word Hugger

Blah, the main 20 featured sold. If one loses their spot, shoot me an email.

PS: I voted for you shoemoney. :)

69 Seo Next

Wow thats nice , i will try to increase our blog RSS subscriptions from now.Placing big RSS button on blog will help to increase subscriptions i think.

70 chetan

Nice post Jeremy :)

Good tips, and nice things shared for newbies!

71 Thomas

Ok, you state in the article that each RSS subscriber is worth $2 per month to you! So, you would not pay for any advertising that doesn’t acquire users at a cheaper cost than $2 per subscriber. But, what about customer lifetime value? I’m sure that the retention period, which you also mentioned in your article, is longer than 1 month. So, wouldn’t it be smart to still acquire RSS subscribers at $2.50 per subscriber, because the customer lifetime value will be higher than that.
Wouldn’t it be correct to find out your retention of subscribers in month, multiply that with their monthly value that should be discounted at a certain rate, and then find the true value of each subscriber. Yes, that number is higher, but it will also allow you to do more different advertising to get quicker of the ground.
And, fact of the matter is, the bigger you are, the easier it is to monetize your blog and get even more per subscriber.
Basically, I don’t argue with you at all about the analytics, which looks awesome. But, the customer value you are assigning might be a little on the low side.

72 Seo Next

I will try this and also wait for your example code.

73 Seo Next

Yes i,am waiting for your post on Email subscriptions, i need to maintain my own email list.

74 Neon

this is very nice way of analyse and decide what to spend the advertising money based on current traffic source.
but for a new blog, it is quite hard to do such analysis. i will prefer to use SE to search for my keyword which i want to target and build links from there.

75 shy guy

Hm.. money.. everything about money..
SOmetimes get tired about it but can i escape from it?? No..


Analytics r0X0r!!

77 Finnea

making money on the internet is really easy. However, making a living from the internet is a bit more tricky.”
If it were true, we would get a new blog-millionaire per day :)
I agree that anybody can earn online, but not more than 1% from them can earn enough to leave on this money

78 Andy Jolls

Jeremy, interesting post. I wonder how things have changed in the past year?

79 Atlanta wedding photographer

I use analytics and it has been great in finding out where people are coming from and how to focus on my niche. I never thought about assigning a $ amount to them. I am also trying to get more RSS subscribers and it seems that one of the best ways is really to keep up with your blog content. What do you think?

80 SEO Toronto

Blog content is good, free links, especially considering google announced that even no follow links are given link juice

81 Portland window cleaning

“How Make Money On A Site With A Small Budget”

Awesome post, I was planning on starting a blog up on a small budget. :)

82 Rental Ads

This is awesome! I’m glad I found this article. I use analytics on my website, but never knew anything like this was possible. I’m going to code this today. Thanks!

83 JavaGenious

Thank you for sharing information on “How to build a blog with a small budget”

84 premium breast up

Great! It is cool to see this. I learned something new

85 Sahil Kotak

That’s a nice post Shoe, I would check into it a bit more.

86 Bumper Stickers printing

this is nice post

87 seo expert

i did not understand the concept of investing money for subscriber services. Instead get someone to make few videos about your site and put them across all major video publishers. It will cost $5 but since video content can be duplicated without any problems you can publish it across all video portals.
To save the money – make the video yourself.

Previous post:

Next post: