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?
39 thoughts on “The Many Sides of the Monetization Coin”
I have clicked on the Kofi for a few blogs. Only the ones I held in very highest regard. But to monetize my own blog would force me to produce and I’d feel very guilty if I didn’t.
“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.”
Pretty much this.
you will be my boss and I will owe you posts.
This one thousand times. Nobody gets to tell me what or how to blog and if someone is giving me money, they’re going to feel like they have that right, even though they don’t.
Plus, I’ve always felt blogging was a hobby and to turn it into a “for money” thing is akin to that blogger becoming a hooker. If someone I follow starts with the affiliate links and ads, I will usually stop following them, because it means their focus is no longer on interacting with me as a person but on getting money out of me.
Creativity always seems to come with a heavy price. It’s a challenge to balance creativity and profit. It’s my dream too to write and focus on my hobby. Wish you luck!
I hope you’ll get your dream
I have clicked on some of the buy me a coffee buttons I’ve seen on a few blogs and I don’t think that it is all that intrusive. Having said that I never seriously considered monetizing my blog outside of a single sponsored post. I just never developed enough of a following or readership to have it make sense. It is also why I have paused on the blogging front because I wasn’t seeing the level of readership or interaction to make it worth continuing.
kofi buttons are pretty non threatning too . I have one and get tips here and there. It’s definitely not enough to live on but it helps and I appreciate. i imagine an older blog like yours where there is massive amount of content and where you actually write these awesome reviews should definitely be rewarded. I do wish wordpress let you pick the ads though. I have word ads activated and for the most part it will be something sort of relevent to my posts, fashion, beauty ect. But if I could get like genshin ads that would be great lol
Oh sweet! It took me 4.5 years bit I am finally an established blog! I feel like I reached a milestone. I would also like genshin adds, they’re pretty
See thats pretty impressive ! How may animes have reviewed? 4 years is great .
I’ve been trying to get back into Genshin, as I heard a rumor klee would be back on the banner
I’m not sure. I post every day so a few…
I wouldn’t dare attempt to monetise my site. Nobody is reading for free so they sure as hell won’t pay for any of it. :-/
You might be surprised
Doubt it… :-/
My free plan runs ads that I see 0 profit from. I should really buy at least the cheapest package at this point, but I encourage everyone to just use adblock on my site. Otherwise, I just don’t get enough hits to make monetization worth the effort. Actually using SEO might be a good idea for me now that I think of it.
I had a free plan for a long time with no adds. I wonder when they changed it
Same. It’s painful, but I feel like I can’t afford the cheapest package when I’m unemployed…
For what it’s worth both your sites look great from a reader’s perspective. So it’s not too intruy
I have my blog. I do not monetize it. And yet, there are the ads that pop up anyway, usually in awkward places on my posts, and for awkward products. I really dislike this, and would love to make money for me instead.
You must have enabled adds. I don’t think they can pop up without that
I’ll have to see about un-enabling them, if I can.
I hope you can!
Aesthetic was a big consideration for me too. I didn’t want random click bait images appearing so I decided to go the affiliate path where I can put a link to the manga, light novel, or anime. Can’t say I’m making any money yet, but I see it as a set and forget sort of thing. If anything comes of it it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
I think I’ll look again at Patreon once I have some web novel content to offer as part of it.
I know the least about affiliate links bit they seem like a very good option
I tried enabling ads, but then the pressure to actually monetize made me rethink my priorities. I don’t post every day, or about topics that I know will probably get more views, because simply put, I don’t want to and wouldn’t have the time anyway. Plus, my day job already involves a lot of writing, so when I think about relaxing in my downtime, I often prefer doing anything EXCEPT that. In the end, I found Ko-fi to be a good choice because I don’t feel like I’m promising my readers anything or putting undue pressure on myself to ‘perform’. Plus, yeah, the button’s pretty cute.
Cute buttons are way more important than people think
I’m sure you know by now I tried it, even focused on it. And the money it made never equaled the effort it cost. That’s me. That’s also back when affilliate links were the only choice and there weren’t easier methods. I love the new crowdfunding, Patreon, KoFi and all this and that and I’ve certainly bought someone a coffee here and there and I have a regular Patreon budget although it is spent on a podcast I like, and a charity I donate to, it has also had a few bloggers on it from time to time. If you had a Patreon I’d probably subscribe. And I’d be perfectly happy just to support you and let you carry on as you are. Because clearly I’m happy – I’ve been a subscriber and commentor for how long? That said – I totally see your side of that, because I’m very much the same way. Now it’s a job, it’s an obligation, i hold myself to a higher standard for content and I may well choose subject matter based on what is popular or maybe profitable, and yeah, the whole fun and hobby thing go kablooey. And I think that actually happens to a lot of people. As a reader, I barely notice if a blog is moneytized or not, as long as the blog entries don’t read like one long clickbait commercial. I hate to say it but I think we’ve all become well and thoroughly conditioned to ignoring banner ads, and I find the pop up video ones that follow you around the page beyond annoying. Now if I like what I’m reading and I SEE a Kofi button and I have a buck to spare that day, I might click it. (I definately know that PayPal is an evil entity set on world domination though and always use it as “guest” based on some former experience with them) So in conclusion; as a reader, meh I don’t care either way unless the ads tilt my annoyance meter. As a writer, I can’t endorse it and I would never do it again. IMHO for what it’s worth. And one note for Kofi and such like users – if I give you a Kofi it’s based not just on your value but also on my available income, so don’t use that as a metric for “oh, I wrote about A and got a Kofi donation so I must write more about A” it’s more likely I enjoy your blog and on the day you wrote about A (or I finally read the post) I had a buck I could spare. So that is something to keep in mind, too.
That’s a great point. There’s a lot more variables on the side of the donor than we can ever know about.
I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. If you already have a stable job and are satisfied with where you are at, than yeah, trying to monetize would be pretty pointless. For me personally, my situation is a little less figured out, and so if on the off chance that I can ever turn my writing hobby into a full time gig, than that would be pretty cool, but I understand if people feel like monetization isn’t for them. Awesome post!
It doesn’t seem easy to live off blogging. I hope you can do it! Or find something you like just as much
realistically, I would never live off it fully, but If I ever got to the point where I was going even on what I put it or making a little profit I would be happy. But thank you, I appreciate it.
I’d buy you a coffee
Should’ve bought one for Scott too
Oh yeah, Scott deserves a Samovar. And thank you, in this case it really is the thought that counts
Yes, I’m looking to monitize my blog. No, I don’t want to use ads. No, I don’t find requests of donations or patreon support annoying. Yes, I’m thinking of using them both, as soon as I can figure out the ways to get the payment into my country.
For my blog though, I probably won’t use patreon. I do have a plan to write a web serial in the future, so I will use patreon for that.
I don’t think I can write my blog for living, but I do think I can do writing and editing work for living. It certainly is easier than programming.
Writing and editing is easier to get into than programming? I feel like it’s really the opposite here. We’re hiring programmers left and right
Yes, but I suspect most of them have recently graduated from bootcamps, I don’t know where you work, so I can only suspect.
These programmers have only gone through a bootcamp, where they complete some standard projects if the bootcamp is good, and then go out and hunt for a job.
It also doesn’t help that I mostly deal with system level and command line stuff, which most developer don’t do nowadays.
I work at a law firm. Nope our programmers are all college educated from what I know but we have lost a few recently and are desperately looking for more. This said I ment in general. In canada there are a lot more jobs for programmers than writers at the moment
I don’t know, I’ve accepted the loss at this point. I turned off all the ads and have deleted my kofi profile because it wasn’t being used anyway. I was thinking about setting up a patreon maybe but I don’t know what I would do with it. Otherwise, I’m kind of fine where I am.