The Results Are In!!! – What Types of Blog are you Most Likely to Pay For?

It’s time, it’s here, it’s finally come!!!… cause I was too lazy to write this earlier!

But now, we can dig into the results of that little project we all did together a few weeks ago and find out how most consider subsidizing blogs. I want to really thank everyone who shared the post in an effort to get more data. I know for a fact that convincing people to take these isn’t easy but we got a decent sample size.

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we need more anime lawyers

First a little disclaimer/context. Bear in mind that the results here are representative of readers of this blog engaged enough to read through an entire post about blogging and more specifically monetizing, AND willing to spend the time to fill out the poll. This is an extremely specific demographic which may not accurately represent the larger audience for our blogs. It is a good place to start though and I think certain trends apply to all.

I did gather a few Twitter comments as well. I’ll share the most relevant ones here and the contrast is telling. For some reason there are bloggers who prefer to comment on my posts on twitter rather than here, so you may not have seen their opinions. Oh if you have no clue what I’m talking about, it’s this.

I started off by concentrating on method and commitment issues.

Unsurprisingly, the majority (39.58%) of people prefer being able to give money as one-time donations through apps such as Ko-Fi. This is inconvenient for creators as it makes cashflow completely unpredictable but it allows the donors freedom to give money whenever they want (to mark special occasions, reward particularly hard or good work or whenever they have the money to spare for instance) and doesn’t put them in the difficult position of having to cancel donations if their circumstances change.

A close second ( 35.42%) had no real preference between individual timely donations or monthly plans. While a marked minority (25%) prefered monthly payments despite the reward incentive. Now this may be because as bloggers we haven’t yet figured out interesting enough reward tiers (more on that later) or it could simply be that patrons see the blog itself as the only incentive they need and anything more is relatively trivial.

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this is what Google suggested for “Anime trivial”….

In any case I think the important takeaway here is that if you’re only going to have one method of giving money to your site, you should go with Ko-Fi or something similar. Of course there’s absolutely no need to limit yourself to a single method. As long as you have the time to keep up with whatever reward structure you decide to put in place, you should feel free to have a Patreon as well. In the end, monthly donors are the only sustainable way to ensure a living off a niche blog with limited advertiser appeal.

Just don’t skip out of the Ko-Fi altogether as you may be robbing yourself of potential blog income from people who are uncomfortable or unable to commit to monthly payments. And as a quick sidenote, don’t call people out publicly if they decide to stop funding you. You don’t know their circumstances, there’s no need to make them feel bad. It’s like punishing them for ever having given money at all. End of mini rant.

Let’s move on to the slightly more substantive issue. Product! What type of blog is most marketable nowadays. It’s fine to set up all these payment options but at the end of the day, people need to want to buy what you’re selling. It’s not only a question of traffic and readership (although the more readers do increase the likelihood that some will contribute). At the end of the day, a smaller blog with a dedicated audience could bring in more money than a much larger one with disengaged readers. You need to be providing something people actually want to pay for.

In my original post I laid out several options for types of blogs or posts that may invite readers to donate a bit in support.

blog types

we’ll get back to the other category

As you can see, most people really value originality. I didn’t really know what to expect from this one but I am surprised consistency isn’t higher up. Personally, if I’m donating on a monthly basis, I would like to be fairly certain the blogger will post something that month. I’ve seen to many blogs just suddenly disappear for various reasons, and knowing me I would probably end up paying for inactive blogs for months. I also think that it’s sort of a contract with your readers. Patreon rewards are nice and all but at the core, they’re paying for posts.

However, it seems I’m in the minority for this. Most readers are not that bothered about when and if posts come out and more interested about what’s in them… weirdos. The poll can give us a general idea of what readers empirically value. I like how clear cut it is with no two options being more or less even.

This said, the truly interesting info lies in the comments. I went through the comments left on the original post as well as a few I got from Twitter. One interesting side discovery where how different the blog and Twitter comments were.

Blog comments emphasized how they like posts that showed a lot of individuality and some personal perspective. They wanted the blogger to be genuine and unguarded. There was a lot of praise for people that could inject enough personality in their writing to really stand out and create completely unique posts. After all nobody else can be you.

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There was tons of good comments and I couldn’t fit them all in. I encourage you to go read the first post.

Twitter had an almost opposite message where the commenters pointed out that opinions were too easy to come by to be worth paying for and deeply researched and long posts that where there was an obvious effort on the part of the author were far more worthy of being sponsored. Basically an anime textbook. Although I think both opinions have value of course, I did find it funny that people on Twitter were uninterested in opinions. Context free opinions and reactions are pretty much what the platform is built for.. it’s really inconvenient for deploy research thesis.

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Finally, my bonus question asked you guys if you had any tier reward suggestions and a few of you really came through:

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The watch-a-long is my favorite by far. I actually really wish this existed. I understand time zones can be tricky but hey, they don’t need to show up if it’s in the middle of the night for them. I would watch anime with most of you I’m just too lazy to organize it.
So I do hope some of you got a bit of useful information out of this. Don’t forget me once you get rich! We can watch anime together!

anbime all watching tv

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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21 Responses

  1. Fascinating study—thanks for sharing your findings!

  2. AK says:

    I wanted to be an anime lawyer, but I had to settle for being a regular one. Not nearly as interesting.

    It’s good news for me if people don’t care as much about regular and frequent posting, since I post neither regularly nor frequently. I hope you can make good use of this info for your own blog.

  3. Karandi says:

    Thanks for sharing the results. It was an interesting discussion.

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    Well, I think that regularity being the least important is thematically consistent with one-time donations being the most popular payment methods. I’d interpret that as: I’m paying you for work already done.

    Now since I’ve never paid for a blog and will likely never pay for a blog (the reason is prosaic: I don’t pay for stuff online; I don’t order things online; and throwing my cash at the screen makes a mess around here and doesn’t get anything your way), I’m not sure about that, but usually the payment-option is somewhere on a side-bar. Now imagine, if it were possible to put a payment option right next to the like-option (which I can’t currently see on the computer I’m on). It’d be unintrusive, would slot right in with social media habits, and while the like-option is for generally liking something, the payment-like option is for exceptional posts. I sort of wonder how that would work out (and if there are blogs out there who already do this, and if the software actually allows this [since the donation providers and blog providers tend to be different companies]).

    Just a thought from someone who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about (because he has no blod and doesn’t pay for blogs).

    • Irina says:

      Actually that would be an organic way to introduce the idea of payment and would encourage creators as they would feel like specific works and effort is being rewarded and each post would bring the possibility of actual revenue.
      This is a fantastic idea and wordpress should pay you dearly for it.

  5. ramon3ljamon says:

    TIL you can edit our comments at will

    I’m not sure I am willing to entrust you with such boundless power

  6. ospreyshire says:

    Those results were good and I’m glad people still care about originality.

  7. Yomu says:

    Very cool. The watch a long idea is neat. Could also accept anime suggestions + a related post or something like that for a certain donation.

    Affiliate links aren’t a bad idea either – might be unreliable, but they don’t cost the reader anything, and some can give a discount in some cases. Even just an amazon affiliate link isn’t a bad idea I think, considering it doesn’t cost anything for the reader to click before they buy something on amazon.

    • Irina says:

      As long as you disclose your affiliates it’s great. I’ve heard they don’t pay much though

      • Yeah – the way you make money through Affiliates is if someone buys a big ticket item (or just a whole ton of stuff) along with what you actually linked to.

        (Anyway, as far as my blog goes, I’ve found Monthly Patreon + Ko-Fi + Affiliates seems to work pretty well).

  8. Pete Davison says:

    Interesting results, and pretty much in line with what I expected. Nice job! 🙂

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