Recently I received a few emails asking me about advertising on this site and to be really honest with you I hadn’t ever thought about it, at least not at any great length. Site monetization for me has always been of the unobtrusive variety where I stick in some google adwords and a couple Amazon links and leave it at that. By that same token I’ve made virtually nothing from this site and although I would love to at least be paying for the hosting I’m not overly concerned that I’m not. But what those couple emails about advertising did accomplish was it got me thinking about making money blogging and specifically off this site.
I realized a few things rather quickly: 1) I really wasn’t making much money off this site, 2) I could probably do a few things to improve my chances of making more, and 3) I really don’t have enough traffic for making a lot of money so my initial expectations should be maintained. I started doing some research on the subject and ran across a few sites and posts that were interesting:
Sites/Articles About Making Money Blogging:
I wanted to get a little perspective before I really made up my mind about any of this monetization stuff. The whole idea of making money off a blog stirs up a lot of controversy or at the very least makes the individual question why they are writing on their blog. Of course we would all love to make more money but are we posting and creating content just to make money? Personally I’m writing about personal finance for myself; and to let anyone interested hear how I’m dealing with it and sharing my stories about my struggles with money. Making money on this site is a perk something that I wasn’t expecting to receive in any great abundance if at all.
Do I think that making money while doing something that you genuinely like is a bad thing? Definitely not nor will I ever; I went back to school because of a banner ad so I would be a hypocrite if I thought that there was no value to online advertising. Though I do believe that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Sites that overdo it and bombard the reader with advertising take it too far. Also the bloggers out there that get paid to post without disclosing that they are making money off a specific post also make me question the validity of their writing and intentions (unfortunately these are often hard to discover).
The reason the whole idea of paid posting ever crossed my mind was that one of the requests for advertising also included the possibility of writing a paid post. Would I ever take money for writing a post on a specific topic to drop in a companies name and url? Yes I believe that I would as long as a few conditions were met: first off the tilt of the article could not be controlled by the purchaser (though I would give them the veto if they wanted the post to go up or not), as long as I had creative control over what I write then I would consider writing the post. Secondly it would have to be about a topic that is both related to my blog and one that I had something to say about. For example if someone offered to pay me about collecting Beanie Babies and how that could be an investment I would have to decline. A topic like that really has nothing to do with this site and I couldn’t care less about the topic. (My apologies if I just lost a potential advertiser). The final point for me that would have to be met if I were to write a paid post is that I would have to be allowed to disclose that it was a paid post. I’m open to this form of money making on a blog and I think it’s a very valid one as long as its limited and not hidden.
Thinking about monetizing this site really made me question why I post and raised a few questions about things such as traffic, trying to get more traffic and where to draw the line with my efforts to make money off the site. Realistically I don’t have the traffic to generate any substantial revenue off this site, but is this site all about making money? No I would much rather have more traffic because of the posts I write and giving the readers an insight into my struggles with my finances. Maybe by writing these posts I can help some people gain some better control over their finances and maybe help them get to their million dollars. At the very least sharing my thoughts, opinions and experiences might give them some ideas as to what they could do with their own money situations. So does traffic matter? Yes of course , I want to share my thoughts, opinions, and experiences with people. I believe that it helps both them and me, I’ve learnt a lot from other personal finance sites and I think I have something to offer. The generation of traffic is about the content for me.
I am going to be changing a few things around this site as a result of this whole line of thinking in an effort to reduce visual clutter and potentially make myself a little bit more money (it would be nice to cover hosting costs). I really liked what Steve Pavlina had on his site, a donate button, it’s a very unobtrusive way of asking for support from some of the readers that you have out there who are in a position to help out. Maybe some have been in a similar position and can offer some additional support through a donation. Either way I liked this approach rather than trying to help sell books on Amazon and as a result I’ve put up a donate button.
For those of you out there who are also struggling mentally with what do to about monetizing your site I highly recommend reading problogger.net and the great article by Steve Pavlina on the subject. They’re both very informative on the subject and in the case of the Pavlina article they make you question why exactly you’re writing which will change your approach to the matter. Blogging can be a great hobby and a great way to make a little extra money while doing something you love; maybe one day I can write for a living rather than having a day job (I won’t hold my breath just yet)