June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Why Monetize?

Banner by Nina @ Nina Reads
The topic today is "Beyond Your Blog."  The idea is what opportunities - writing elsewhere, special events, etc. have opened up to you because of blogging.  The other idea: how you monetize your blog.

I see a lot of posts about how terrible ads on blogs are.  That they ruin the purity of the experience.  How dare someone try to make money from their blog!

First, let's think of some possible expenses:
  • Buying a domain name and hosting
  • Paying a graphic designer for a logo or blog layout
  • Buying and mailing giveaway prizes
  • Traveling to signing and conventions
  • Buying books at signings and conventions
  • Printing business cards or bookmarks to direct people to your blog
Now, because I don't have much money, I don't have many of those expenses.  I use a free blogging platform and make it look as pretty as I can with a free template.  I haven't hosted a contest where I mail out the prize in awhile.  I only attend signings and conventions where I can stay with friends or family and I tightly budget while there.  I haven't printed business cards, though I know I can get them for the price of shipping at Vistaprint.

I do use Amazon affiliate links.  If you click on a book cover in one of my reviews, it will take you to Amazon.  The money made, if you buy, goes to Sybil of The Good, The Bad and the Unread.  Why?  Because she sends me books to review for the site.  People buying books for In Bed With Books means she can ship me review copies for TGTBTU.  I created an Indiebound affiliate ID, but I've never used it.  I probably should.

As for ads, I briefly turned on Google AdSense ads and made no money.  I've been considering Project Wonderful, but that's probably a long shot.  Perhaps I could sell an above the fold ad directly.

So why have I been considering adding advertising to my blog when I have low expenses?  Because I am doing something worth being paid for.

As a blogger I:
  • Write and edit several articles a week totaling thousands of words
  • Spend at least an hour a day on blog-related business
  • Email professionals about business
  • Research my chosen field of interest
  • Analyze Google Analytics, pmetrics, and Site Meter to determine where traffic is coming from and how I can build my audience
  • Social network
  • Build a brand - and yes, it is a brand
These are all things people get paid to do.

I am not making money from In Bed With Books.  There are no ads in my sidebars.  But there is no reason I couldn't be making money.  There is nothing wrong with blogs that make their owners money.

What we do is valuable.  It is not about the purity of loving books, but about being recognized for what we do.  If you want to monetize, go for it.  Haters gonna hate.  My advice?  Just make sure you get paid fairly.  I've had someone offer to pay me $10 for a permalink in a post. Yeah right.

24 comments:

  1. I really underestimated how much WORK goes into blogging! You're right, it is hard work and I don't blame people trying to monetize from it. I know a lot of bloggers pay for giveaways out of their own pocket and that gets pricey. I do not even have a big blog or anything like that but we've already done 1-3 on your list. I can't imagine the expenses for other blogs!

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    1. A lot of people think blogging is easy, which is why bloggers should stand up and point out that it's work. Work you can do in your PJS, but still work.

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  2. Great post. I've made some money from my blog...mostly done in the last year, and I've had my blog for almost five years now. It's definitely tough work. I love it, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't, but it takes a lot of time and effort...and sometimes I try and keep up with it when I'm just not feeling it. I always get back into the groove though. At any rate, I agree with what you said. Bloggers should be able to get paid for what they do if they want, just like any other "business." Bloggers are hard-workers and what they do is valuable. If people want to pay them to do it? Why not? If you want to try and gain money from the blog through other avenues? Again, why nto? If you don't want too, that's cool too. Just don't judge others for their decisions. It's your blog. You own it. Do what you want as long as it's respectful of others, I say. :)

    -lauren

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  3. BEautiful post!! I completely agree with you! I don't have any adds, but I was thinking about how to make some money from it. I spend at least 2 hours a day on my blog and doing things as you well said, people get normally paid for.

    Enjoy aBEA!! :) :)

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    1. Thanks! And I have been enjoying aBEA.

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  4. Great post! Your right so many of the things we do others get paid for, but I still love it!

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    1. Oh, absolutely. Who would bother to blog if they don't enjoy it?

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  5. I do use Amazon Affiliates. I tried to do BlogAds, but I kept having issues with the ads not working. I ended up taking it off recently, I need to go back and work on it.

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  6. I take this issue from a different side, since I began my blog to talk about ("review") books I purchase on my own. Aside from the money I spend on books (which is a lot, I'll admit) the expenses I spend on my blog are minimal and I treat them as I would for any other hobby I may pursue.
    It is certainly fair to use available avenues to receive payment for blog work, but since blogging is a choice I don't think payment should in any way be expected.

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    1. Oh, it shouldn't be expected - I mean, no one is suddenly going to become your blog patron. But I don't get tearing down people who choose to make a little money.

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  7. LOL at Haters Gonna Hate.
    You've made some valid points. And I do have the expenses of the first three you listed, but sadly there are no conventions or events that I could go to... yet.. but in 2013 I hope to go to the Historical Novel Society Conference in Florida.
    Here's Today's post.

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    1. I hope you make it to the convention!

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  8. "These are all things people get paid to do." EXACTLY

    There are some that will say that it is selling out, but I feel that we spend so much time doing this we should be at least able to break even on hosting costs and the like. Yes, we are doing it out of passion and we should be able to find a way to make that passion pay a bit as well.

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    1. Saying someone is selling out is the part I just don't get. I dislike anytime people say you can't get paid for your passion.

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  9. I think the question should be "why not monetize"?
    It's not like the blogger is selling out because people choose to buy books from using their affiliate accounts or that we recommend books we don't like.
    It's a hobby, most of us don't read books we know we're not going to like.

    I'm having a giveaway on my site for Click Millionaires by Scott Fox (http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=5146) which gave me lots of good idea.s

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    1. Unfortunately, that's not the way people see it.

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  10. Interesting points. I know blogging isn't easy at times, but neither is monetizing necessarily. I've heard lots of people say it takes even more time to make the money than it does for their content. While that may be a rarer case, I don't want anything to detract from the centrality of my blog. There is a fine balance to be found among the two things & I'm still struggling to find mine. Thanks for the thoughts! Tattooed Books

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    1. Oh yes, actually making money is really hard. But recouping a few dollars here and there can be done.

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  11. Google Adsense doesn't provide much revenue at all. I think in the course of a year I made a dollar. :p I don't currently have any affiliate links or ads on my site, but I don't object to others doing so.

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    1. Yeah, Google Adsense makes you a penny per click or something.

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  12. I've had adsense ads for three years and just got my first $100 check. During that time I've made about $100 as a Amazon associate. I wrote a post once about making money blogging: http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2010/05/do-you-make-money-blogging.html

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    1. $200 in three years is better than nothing.

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