Right now, I’m involved in an ongoing Kaizen at work. Basically, my input is required to restructure our entire office procedures and set up, plus my usual responsibilities. This has been a time-consuming venture of debatable value, that has left me much less time than usual to write posts. Almost no time in fact. More than once my mind has strayed to “I wish I could just watch animes and work on my blog instead of this”… Let’s be clear, I enjoy my job and have no plans whatsoever of becoming a professional writer, but I daydream at times.
I’ve noticed a lot of blogs putting in place all sorts of monetization practices. Whether it’s advertising on the site, Ko-Fi donation apps or Patreon, it seems most of my favorite creators are trying to find a way to balance out the effort and time they put into their work, with a bit of profit to help them keep going. It’s great and a fantastic way to show some support towards people who put out content you enjoy.
I’ve thought about it myself a few times, but I keep coming to the conclusion that it’s just not for me. Despite this, I very regularly get questions about how to monetize a site or generate a profit from your blog. Let me be crystal clear folks – I am operating at a huge loss here – no profit in sight and I keep spending on it instead. Ok, I keep buying manga, games and merch that I read about on your blogs, but I consider that an associated expense. When I mention that I don’t monetize, the almost unavoidable follow up questions is: why? I even got into a moderately heated debate about it over twitter at some point. Ok not heated, Ok not debate… Somebody told me I should do it and I said meh…
For instance, despite having a plan that allows it, I have not activated ads on my blog because I cannot decide which ads are shown. These are different for different people and depend on an algorithm. I would love to sound all high and mighty and say that I refuse to advertise a product unless I have tested it because I love you all so so much but let’s be honest kids, you’ve all been bombarded by hundreds of ads before you ever got here and one more isn’t going to make much of a difference at this point. Obviously I would hate to be advertising something terrible but I have a feeling that WordPress’ quality assurance department is probably better at determining this than I would be by myself.
No no, kind folks, my one and true high ethical concern is that they might be ugly. I spent a lot of time putting this layout together. Despite often failing I also try to make visually attractive posts. Having some blocky ugly add ruin the visual integrity would physically irritate me. It would make me itchy.
Now I could parry that a little with affiliate links. Those are often customizable, with several icons to choose from and I could probably format them in a way that I find agreeable. This said, I’m on the lazy side and part of me feels it isn’t worth the trouble. Mostly though, I feel that if I’m directly choosing an affiliate on purpose, at that point I would like to be completely certain I can recommend the product. Maybe I’ll plug Crunchyroll somewhere eventually. I do watch all my anime on it and I’m generally happy with the service. But then again, you probably already have it. And I’m not big on orange.
The other option is to ask for a more direct support from my readers. There are a few options for this of course and the choice largely depends on your ultimate goal. If you have a specific project with an end product in mind, then a kickstarter might be the way to go. I LOVE the crowdfunding revolution and all the wonderful projects it has allowed. So many fantastic games have been kickstarted in the past few years!
For those bloggers looking to put together books or games, this is a fantastic option and if you have one, please tell me about it. I don’t have such grand aspirations. I am not sure what I’ll be posting tomorrow. Obviously, for a lot of us, there just isn’t anything to kickstart.
The standard in general funding seems to be Patreon. A lot of bloggers are using the platform in hopes of getting enough patrons to ultimately generate a stable enough income to replace their salaries. The monthly payment model of Patreon assures a certain stability not available with other resources that makes it the most reliable and viable option if you are truly trying to make blogging your full-time job. I really admire people with that type of drive.
For me though, it would be disingenuous. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love writing for a living because I would. It would be a dream. But I don’t think I would ever have the specific mix of guts and discipline it takes to be self-employed. More importantly though, the very second, I get a patron, that very first 1$ a month, transforms my blog from my hobby, sanctuary and détente, to my job. You will no longer be a dear and beloved reader, with whom I share anything and everything that happens to streak through my mind, you will be my boss and I will owe you posts.
I know you’re all the best bosses in the world. I know that when you (or I) become patrons for a blog, you’re simply saying – I like your stuff – keep at it, and you don’t really want anything more in return. But *I* am the type of person that will obsess over my new self-imposed responsibilities. That will consider it my duty to try and guess exactly what you all want to read about. That will suddenly care more about views than content because job performance is measurable, and it no longer matters whether I liked a post or not because I am not the one paying for it. I can already feel the writer’s block creeping up.
Honestly guys, don’t be like me. If you have Patrons, they gave money to your blog because they enjoy your writing as is. Just keep doing that and they’ll be thrilled – I’m sure.
This brings me to the last and possibly most personally attractive option. The donate button (buy me a coffee/beer…) Most importantly that little button is so cute that I considered putting a nonfunctioning version on my site just for decoration. C’mon – it’s adorable!
I also like the idea of single one-time donations better. It doesn’t tie the reader down to anything so it’s more like a reward for a job well done than a salary. In my mind, a lovely reader comes across my blog, recklessly and with little regard for health or good judgment plays one of my drinking games then drunk donates a couple of bucks before sending an embarrassing text to their ex
To be honest, the only reason I haven’t set one of those up is that I’m lazy. And I also suspect paypal to be an evil organization bent on taking over the world. Mostly the lazy part though.
I’m really curious guys. Do you have a blog and do you monetize it? Pros/cons? As a reader, do you find those things intrusive or unappealing?