Can Jewish Websites Make Money?

We all love our web sites! We pour our blood, sweat, tears, bank accounts and prayers into them!

With G-d’s help, traffic gradually increases, our mailing list grows and our brand is established.

And then, at a certain point, we begin to wonder: Hey! When am I going to make some money out of this? Like real, serious money?

Lately I’ve been discussing this issue with a lot of people who run Jewish-themed blogs and websites. All struggle with this issue, even the ones that are getting fabulous traffic.

Meanwhile, every day I hear of new websites established to target the Jewish market.

It’s time for the Jewish web to face some facts about making money online, AKA “monetization.”

Let’s start by looking at this fascinating infographic made by Heather from, which really illustrates how the money can flow as your site grows in traffic/reputation and you develop as an entrepreneur:

can you make money from a blog?

Jewish Banner Ads

Let’s start with banner ads as a common monetization method that many Jewish sites aspire to.

If you have a ton of traffic and someone to sell ads for you, then banners are a great source of revenue.  The real work is getting to the critical mass of traffic that is necessary to attract advertisers and deliver results to them.

However, many Jewish sites make the mistake of thinking that banner ads are the be-all-and-end-all of monetization. And yet you will note that the infographic above puts banner ads low down on the heirachy of monetization options – she doesn’t consider them very lucrative.

This might come as a shock to some, but the reality is that ever since the first bubble burst in 2000, it has been acknowledged that banner ads are NOT where the serious money is online. There are only so many ads you can stuff onto your site and there is only so much you can charge for them. This seriously limits the earning power of your site.

Don’t get me wrong! Banner ads are a good source of revenue, but you are not going to make a mint from them. Depending on how much investment it takes to build your site up to the huge traffic needed to attract advertisers, you might not make enough to make that whole rollercoaster worthwhile!

So if not banner ads, where is the money on the Jewish Web???

Let’s explore some of the other options that Heather mentions in her graph:

Making Money with Adsense

Most people start with contextual ads, usually Google Adsense. There are some Jewish equivalents – Jlinks and YidSense, but I’m not sure what kind of results they deliver. Neither of them are open about it. Have any readers used them?

Adsense, on the other hand, is known to be an easy way to earn money, if you have traffic and you use it right. I use this WordPress Plugin to automatically insert ads in prime spots, like under the title or right after the final line of the article – check this example post on MavenMall. Putting ads in the sidebar looks pretty but does not get you many clicks.

There are other contextual ad networks but I’m not a fan. They serve irrelevant ads! There are plenty of relevant Jewish ads that will come up when you use Adsense. And if you want to avoid inappropriate banner ads, just choose the “text ads only” option. This will prevent embarrassingly immodest ads from showing up in the middle of your parsha blog!

If you have a lot of traffic and your Adsense is properly placed, then Adsense can yield good results on a Jewish-themed site. I know of a nice heimishe lady who makes $300+ a month from Adsense on her site and the income is growing steadily (but don’t kid yourself about how much time and work she has put into her site!).

Jewish Affiliate Programs

You can make money by promoting other people’s products and earning a commission when you refer a sale (AKA affiliate marketing). I have made a list of Jewish affiliate programs which you can join, which might be a good fit for your Jewish-themed blog and website.

There are also many mainstream affiliate programs that are perfectly kosher and may be successfully promoted on a Jewish site. For example, a site for Jewish women can be an affiliate of and Jewish blog about health can be an affiliate for a vitamin company (that happens to have a hechsher).

Plenty of people make big money with affiliate marketing, but it requires effort and investment. Just throwing up a few links and banners will not yield big results. On MavenMall, we have a whole store filled with affiliate links but we still make more money by choosing affiliate products that we love, writing a post or review and making them them the subject of a marketing campaign.

More Jewish ecommerce sites should be encouraged to set up affiliate programs. It is such a low-risk way to promote your products and there really are many Jewish bloggers and site owners out their who would be happy to join. It’s WIN-WIN!

Selling Products

In the middle of the graph, you see “digital products” but physical products are also obviously great ways to make money online. In other words, SELLING SOMETHING IS A GREAT WAY TO MAKE MONEY!

So many of us are “infopreneurs,” giving away great content for free day-after-day, and that is great for building traffic. But if there is no “buy now” button anywhere on your site, it’s going to be hard to make serious money.

If you can’t think of a way to integrate a buy now button into your site model, it might be possible to set up product-focused sister sites (as she calls it, “multiple sites”) which are selling something relevant to your audience. Then you can leverage the success of your first site to promote the heck out of your commercial site.

For example, the popular marketing blog Copyblogger has done this supremely well. First they built up huge traffic of loyal readers thanks to lots of fabulous content, and they meanwhile made a bundle of money selling blogging products.

But they didn’t stop there. Copyblogger then leveraged their brand to start creating and promoting  products that are of interest to their fans on sister sites. For example, the new theme that I just installed on this blog was developed by Copyblogger Inc. and sold on a sister-site called StudioPress.  They also developed the Scribe SEO plugin (which I stopped using since I fell in love with Yoast’s Free SEO plugin). Copyblogger’s founder Brian Clark has basically developed products which he knows that his many blog-readers will very likely want to buy (especially from him) – WordPress plugins and themes.

Obviously you need a lot of traffic for this kind of business model to work. On the other hand, you could reduce your risk if your sister site uses a drop-shipping or white-label business model to avoid having to develop your own products or to deal with customer service issues (but that’s a whole other topic).

Paid software, premium videos and content, and apps are common examples of digital products that content sites sell to make money. Then there is a whole world of possibilities for physical products. If your visitors love you, a good number of them will be happy to buy.

Don’t be shy: SELL SOMETHING!

Selling Consultancy/Services

I am suprised that Heather’s infographic puts consultancy/services so high up. In my opinion this is the easiest way to make some real money through a website. Many consultants and service providers start blogs for the sole reason of promoting their professional services. These kinds of blogs don’t need a ton of traffic to do their job well. My niche translation site gets me a good amount of project offers even though it doesn’t have a huge amount of traffic and isn’t going to win any beauty contests.

Any good blog could benefit from a “hire me” button (even this one). I get job offers through this blog even without a hire-me button, but I would probably get more if I had one. Anyone who has run a successful blog for a few years has amassed a ton of knowledge and experience which is in very high demand in today’s market.

So here is one point where I disagree with Heather: Everyone should consider offering some sort of consulting or other services on their site!

Other Monetization Ideas

There are many. There are so many, it’s impossible to count. Most of them require a lot of traffic if you want to earn more than a few pennies.
Karin Kloosterman, of the successful blog Green Prophet, recently recommended Teliad and Linkworth as a way to earn a modest amount of steady income from a site, even if you don’t have tons of traffic. If you have a quality site, any kind of “sponsored post” program can earn you some money.

The bottom line is that you need to get creative about how you will make money from your Jewish website or blog. If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments.

So… who here is going to be the first Jewish site owner to change the rules about monetization in our market and really make some serious cash online?

Maybe it will be me!

PS. Thanks to Hannah Katsman from AMotherinIsrael for pointing me to, where I found the infographic

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required First Name Email Address *


  1. says

    I don’t know if I ever got around to writing about this, but there is only one “Jewish” website that has a proven success record, and that’s jdate.
    The Jewish target market is very small, not just because of the numbers, but because we’re highly skeptical about using anything that hasn’t been tested on goyim first. And since the Chareidim aren’t online as much, having separate hours for the Facebook pool isn’t a necessity.
    jDate is simply the only common denominator among almost every single Jew across the world: don’t marry a Shiksa. Outside of that idea, most Jews don’t consider themselves Jewish, and certainly don’t make decisions based on their religion. The Jewish Facebook or Jewish YouTube won’t attract assimilated Jews away from Facebook and YouTube.

    And that’s why we still need to be smart and innovative, compete with and succeed in the entire global market.

    • says

      You make an important point, Zvi, about the small size of the Jewish market. Sometimes it pays to broaden your market and understand that there are many other people apart from Jews who will be interested in your content and products, and to cater to them. This is certainly true in the modest clothing niche!
      On the other hand, there are many commercially successful websites catering primarily to Jews and even Orthodox Jews, and even chareidi Jews. But I’m not sure how many have really hit the big-time in terms of earnings. Jdate may indeed be a rare example, and I get the feeling it is no longer owned by Jews. It seems to be part of a larger network of niche dating sites.

  2. says

    When it comes to selling something, many bloggers don’t realize that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel, especially if they’ve spent time developing lots of quality content. If you’ve written many articles on a related theme, why not package them into an e-book? This is also true for website owners, but bloggers in particular can benefit, because by nature a blog harder to search for information, whereas info tends to be better organized and easily accessible on a website.

    You’ve already written the articles. Just pop them in an e-book template, get a great cover and you’re set not only to sell your book from your site/blog, but also from Amazon Kindle’s program and others like it. Publish on demand for folks who want a hard copy. You can also easily set up an affiliate program – have other people sell your book on their blogs and sites for a commission.

    If you’re lucky, your e-book might even get picked up by a “real” publisher and get translated around the world.

    • says

      Thanks for this suggestion Myriam. I guess most bloggers never think of doing this because their content is time sensitive and it gets stale before a book is assembled. But perhaps a blogger could have this goal in mind and work towards publishing enough evergreen posts on a particular topic in order to eventually produce a book. I love how you have done this on your site. You have a lot to teach us about the value of persistence and ingenuity online!

  3. says

    Just because the Jewish market is small doesn’t mean one can’t make a success of it online.

    A survey in the US last year found that there was a dramatic drop in online searches for Jewish-related keywords. I saw the drop myself with one of my sites and it has yet to recover. The only major Jewish site that actually increased traffic significantly in the last year rather than drop was (Kol hakavod to them – they deserve it.) Most of us can’t even begin to compete with the kind of resources they’ve poured into that wonderful site.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t mine our niche successfully. For one thing, depending on the nature of your business, consider if you really have to limit your audience to frum Jews. You may want to ask a shayla about this. I have it from a trustworthy source that Artscroll makes a lot of money selling books online in Korea. (How many of those Korean customers are frum Jews?)
    Next, if you’re going to make money from a small audience, you’d better get to the top of your niche with top notch SEO, lots of linking etc … In a post-Panda world – work hard to reduce your reliance on Google for either traffic or adsense. Either sell your own products and services, or write great reviews of your affiliate products. Set up affiliate programs for your own products, so other bloggers will sell for you. Another option many sites don’t use is the membership model. Offer special content to people who are willing to subscribe for a fee, either by joining your “club” or subscribing to a special “magazine” newsletter or offering access to instructional videos.

    One word of caution about choosing your affiliate programs – it seems so many sites in the Jewish niche are using the same programs, I end up seeing the same ads and programs everywhere … boringgggg. Maybe one of your fellow bloggers is reading this and setting up her own affiliate program and you can offer something really interesting and new!

    Just a few thoughts … here’s to hatzlacha, parnassa and bracha for all of us.

    • says

      Thanks for dropping by! I don’t think we’ve “met” before.
      I’m agreeing with everything you have to say! Let’s get creative and help each other find what works.

  4. says

    Interesting post.
    I think that most Jewish bloggers focus to much on writing their personal Jewish life experiences stories – it may be cute – but its very hard to make money with this type of blog. Also people get tired from reading personal life experience stories.
    People want value.
    I think Jewish bloggers can make some nice money if they focused on various niche topics within the following categories –
    Jewish traveling – promoting vacation rentals in locations where Jews vacation. Search for local affiliate programs in those locations.
    Jewish books – example: Blogging about Jewish books with a focus on upselling towards the holidays
    Jewish music – non Jews also listen to Jewish music :)
    Dead sea cosmetics, etc…

    Its mamesh endless.

    In my humble opinion people first need to learn proper keyword research, how to find buying keywords and then once they master this – the opportunities to make money online are endless!

    • says

      Hillel is onto something. Travel websites can be a goldmine and there are very few blogs or sites doing kosher travel well. Jewish weddings also have a lot of potential. the idea is to focus on topics with commercial value. of course, you can still integrate your personal experiences and views into it – that’s what makes it a blog!

  5. says

    Nice article. Regarding adsense ads – to make good money -$1,000 you need to add lots of ads, which leads to an unattractive site. It’s not always worth it, depending on your brand.

    • says

      Hi Leah
      Google does not allow you to have more than 3 adsense units on any one page, so you can’t plaster your site with them. The key to success with Adsense is lots of traffic and placing it right. Also some niches earn more per click. My Jewish sites seems to earn around 40 cents a click but I have a software site that earns $1.20 a click. Other niches can earn much more per click.
      Besides, the banner ads that people pay you to run can also be unprofessional and ugly and ruin the look of your site. At least with Adsense you can customize the color scheme to fit in with your site design – and this actually increases clicks too!
      If you have good traffic i really recommend you start experimenting with placing it in different ways, and trying different ad units.
      PS. IMHO Leah’s site is by far the most gorgeous Jewish site on the web right now! Everyone should check out

      • says

        Thanks Naomi for the plug;)
        We’ve been experimenting a bit with placement and seeing where it works best. Regarding ugly banner ads – I really believe that they ruin the users experience and in the long run they will backfire.

        • says

          I just looked through your site.
          Is it possible to place a unit within the recipes themselves? Under the titles? Or a text wraparound? Like a I said in my article, ads in the sidebar are known to get less clicks. Also there are differing opinions about Adsense on the homepage. Personally I don’t do it,.
          PS. Maybe you can partner with a Kosher food delivery service because I get so hungry looking at your site! You can either print it out and make it yourself – or click to order it right now!

      • says

        Hi – Naomi’s right – they’re are some kosher food delivery businesses with affiliate programs: meals for business travelers, nuts and chocolate gift baskets etc … that might fit in with your site.

        Also: 2 cents of my own to thrown in about Adsense. Don’t rely on it. You could make $1000/month for six months or several years straight and then $5 the next month, when Google is having a fit. It’s nice when it comes in but consider it icing on the cake. People made money online long before Adsense.

        Google will not admit to this, but it bears out from many peoples’ experience: sometimes, less is more. By getting rid of the adsense blocks or ads on pages that don’t bring in a lot, you can significantly raise what you make from the others – I’ve increased earnings by 70% on some sites by getting rid of the 50% of ads that brought in the least. More is not always better. Also, don’t use the same size block more than once on a page. Pick a different size for the others – that’s from Google’s own advice. Good luck – I have to go nosh now after looking at those gorgeous food photos!

  6. Robert says

    Thanks for your post Naomi,
    I got some interesting takeaways from it.

    I am actually participating at teliad by selling sponsored articles (blog posts) – it´s a good way to monetize blogs altough sometimes it would be great to earn more 😉 I didn´t find the article from Karin Kloosterman you mentioned, have you got the URL?
    thanks and regards

  7. says

    I really enjoyed this valuable post and its insightful comments.

    Some thoughts:

    1) the most important thing that is overlooked about adwords is the fact that… IT DEPENDS WHAT YOUR SITE IS ABOUT. Since adwords are contextual, a post about the new cherry pie recipe you made will have low paying links- while one about your experiences sitting on a flight next to “Los Angles top mesothelioma lawyer” would have Google’s engines serving up ads paying you $25 per click, since bids on keywords like that are high, Google pays you more!

    So “adwords”, while it should not be the only way you monetize your online work, does have its place in some situations. However, the overriding decision about adwords needs to be about how much it can make you, based on your traffic and click through rates.

    (for example… if this blog post had adwords on the side, a mesothelioma ad or asbestos ad might come up. why? because I’ve mentioned that word several times in this post, and if Google sees it as possibly relevant to such a search it will deliver those results. and this page might make it to a nice spot in Google for those terms. who knows? mesothelioma! los angles attorney! large cash settlement! asbestos!

    There- I’ve done mine :) )

    As far as consulting- the beauty of a blog post (or blog comment) that people find insightful is that it is bringing you traffic- people who are interested in that topic- who are reading what you have to say while at the same time, not being or feeling like they are being pitched or sold to. This makes for people who like what you have to say and want more of the same to contact you and inquire about your services- and in that way -pre selling them.

    A hire me button can change that equation. Why? Because by definition. You have just changed everything you are saying into an elegant sales pitch, and that “hire me” button makes them constantly aware of that fact.

    I use a combination; just like in an email sequence where some emails sell harder while others are all information packed with only a passing mention of the services I offer (if that!… like in this comment I’m typing now!), is the only way to really be able to gauge which works better for you in your market over the longer haul.

    And… Isn’t writing blog posts and then sharing those posts, with the tremendous value they contain, in social networks a way to get new people reading what you have to say, and expanding your sphere of influence and circle of contacts?

    Hashem set it up (seemingly!) as a numbers game… for everything you do, some percentage will move up a level in their interaction with you.

    like in this case- you yourself just got a lengthy comment chock-full of insight and information simply by giving a platform for yourself and others to discuss this… and that, in exchange, gives your page more Google juice as other people add content to your page and make this page the most relevant to people looking for information on monetizing Jewish sites or making money with adwords!

    And those last few words above… keywords to help Google like this page and index it as relevant.


    Rabbi Issamar

    • says

      I don’t have Adsense on this blog but maybe I should quickly insert it on this post!
      I’m interested in what you say about the impact of a “hire me” button. How about a big “Talk to Me” button?

  8. says

    I love this post and all of the comments. Naomi, you are once again identifying an unmet need in the marketplace and meeting it with this blog. There are so many things that I want to comment on but I think I’ll just discuss the one that stands out most to me – your discussion about why consultancy is up there as advanced. It doesn’t look to me like the infographic is talking about advanced traffic but advanced knowledge that you have to offer. If you already posses multiple academic degrees and are a seasoned conslutant, you have tons of content you can now sell as soon as you start your blog/website. So you jump right up to the higher revenue stream. As in the case with your translation site. You probably wouldn’t even need to waste your time with adsense or affiliate programs unless you a) want to learn about them hands-on and b) don’t want to throw away free and easy money making opportunities. Or c) your site is designed solely to take advantage of these easy revenue generating opportunities. There are many sites out there today that offer legitimate quality content but are designed to take advantage of the incredibly easy revenue generating opportunities that Google Ads and affiliate programs have to offer. My KosherShopaholic site is one such site and I think MavenMall is another. There are thousands upon thousands in the general market segment.

    If you are starting a blog/website with limited background to ‘sell’ as many mommy bloggers today do, then you will need to experience the stages depicted in this infographic to gradually increase your income through your blog in this way. Your knowledge that you share on the blog develops and grows along with your blog. This makes blogging/websites a great equalizer. Anyone can make money on the web and learn how to do it all for free, no matter what their background or education. Google AdSense and affiliate programs are to thank for that.

    I find it interesting that a site like Leah’s CookKosher might be penalized in user value for using Ads while news sites like Vos Is Nos get away with it very easily. I think that it is up to pioneers to set the standard. Your hard work deserves compensation. If ads or affiliate, sponsored promotions are used more often on sites, especially by the pioneers, it can become the acceptable standard.

    I love that you have started a networking and information sharing opportunity for us here. This is something that is missing in our niche as are a nice pool of advertisements targeting specifically to Orthodox Jews that we can post on our sites instead of Google because, in my experience, no matter how much you tweek those google ads, Papa John’s pizza and other irrelevant ads still manage to pop up too often for us to get the same kind of click-throughs as a non-Jewish/Kosher website would get. One of the biggest new areas in the internet and especially ‘mommy blogging’ arena is new and creative ways to monetize a website. I’m working now on a big project now that offers all the fragmented independant websites and bloggers in our niche market revenue opportunities by linking brands to bloggers together the way the biggies like BlogHer do for their partners.

    Shoshana Raff, aka, The Kosher Shopaholic

    • says

      Hi Shoshana
      If you are talking about starting a Jewish ad network, I think this is a fabulous idea and I know many Jewish site owners with significant traffic who will be eager to join. It it actually an idea that I have toyed with myself, but I’ve got too much else going on. And would be thrilled if someone else would do it – especially you!
      The main problem is that most of us find it hard to monetize our sites, and an ad network would take the pain out of that. There is already a Jewish ad network – Jmedia, but they are only interested in working with mega high-traffic sites, like The Jerusalem Post and A Jewish network that caters to the many smaller sites, like BlogHer does, makes a lot of sense and will give the advertisers much wider coverage.
      We should talk sometime because I have researched the idea quite a bit and maybe I could tell you what I learned.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your insight with us!

  9. says

    test, test, test.

    Personally- I have a “hire me” button on my blog.. but my blog caters mostly to people that know who I am, and I want that button on every page (for now anyway.)

    but for you- why not test (or split test, rather) a hire me button, a contact me button and only an opt in form… and let us know what worked best?


  10. says

    Thanks so much for your encouragement. Yes, I am working on building an Jewish niche ad network to meet the need we are discussing here. I would love to talk to you about this and learn about your research and all of the websites who need this. I am partnering with someone who is very connected with brands and selling advertisements. I hope to have a shell of a website for this done before KosherFest!
    Hey, which StudioPress Geneiss child theme would you recommend I use for this new site?

    I have a few more Jewish Niche affiliates as well that you haven’t mentioned. is run by a friend of mine they have high end gift baskets and there are others that I’ve written about on my site. KOL Foods organic meat & poultry, and Jewpon is testing their new affiliate program with me right now. If I think of others I’ll let you know. My ad network will address the unfilled need of other Jewish sites/brands/businesses who aren’t set up for affiliates but who would like to be promoted by bloggers.

    My husband wants to know why we’re giving all of our secrets away? (I’m working on a how to make money on the web post right now as well….)
    I think this is the best way to move up in your business, through honest sharing and helping. Its a good miztvah as well!
    Oh, Yes, I agree that you should put a nice hire me button on your blog. Next to the contact me.

    • says

      One thing I’ve learned along my business journey is that it’s foolish to worry too much about competition. The chances of someone else having the skills, funds, resources, contacts and drive to put together this kind of network are so slim that it would have to be min hashamayim if they did it too. Of course, once you are successful, IYH, then the copycats will get started, but that is just a tribute to your success.
      As for a Genesis theme – I had a quick look and I think that Metric looks perfect for this kind of the site – check it out
      Hatzlacha and let’s talk soon!

  11. says

    Hey Naomi,
    Very interesting piece! I have also thought a lot about the topic! I wanted to mention that another way to make money blogging is by selling video lessons on your blog! You can use a platform called Sparkeo ( to upload a video course, and embed & sell it straight from your blog. This is a way you can instantly sell your services/knowledge.


  12. says

    Thanks Naomi. It is an amazing tool for monetizing your knowledge and selling it online- straight from your own website or blog. And best part, the platform is developed in Tel Aviv :-)

  13. says

    Naomi I’m totally with you regarding a consulting/services blog. B’H it’s working for me and Shmuel! We’ve been using it to promote his video production and my online marketing, and pu pu pu. So far so good.

    Keep pumping out great articles!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *