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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monetization: A Deeper Look


After seeing this documentary last week, I began to question my own ways of monetizing. I'm a baby blogger, nearly 5 months old, with only 5500 views per month. Therefore, I do not expect to make much money through advertisements, affiliates, sponsorships and the like. I've never been given a product to review, and the items I've used for giveaways have all been purchased with my own money.

Of the income I've garnered through blogging thus far, 82% is the result of direct sponsorships. The rest is from companies I've chosen to be affiliated with. To be more specific, here's the breakdown of the affiliate programs I participate in and how much I've earned:

Google AdSense: $7.01
Amazon Associates: $3.63
Just Fabulous + ModCloth (via Commission Junction): $1.50
ShopSense: $0.56
We Love Colors + Lulu's (via ShareASale): $0.00
Shopzilla Publisher Program: $0.00
Total all-time earnings: $12.70

Part of me wants to believe that every little bit counts. Let's rewind and take a peek into my work life. For over a year, I had both a full-time and part-time job. Together, I was getting 50-60 hours per week and a steady income with benefits. From a logical standpoint, I should have been happy -- but I wasn't. At the end of February 2011, I quit my full-time job and was promoted at my part-time one which, as you may know by now, is this fabulous clothing store.

I'm now only working 30 hours per week, which gives me plenty of time to concentrate on my writing and photography and spend time with my boyfriend. My job combines fashion and people, the two loves of my life. I'm more happy and relaxed than ever, but let's face the facts: I need money to survive. This is Los Angeles, people. Rent here is double what it was in Michigan, where I'm from. Gas prices are sky-high. And, um, I'm a shopaholic.

All of this considered, I'm grateful for these ads and affiliates. I'm not getting much, but I'm getting something. However, I haven't even made enough through any program to request payment; for some companies it's $10, for others it's $100.

That's when I begin to wonder: is it worth it? Am I really getting anything out of this, or is it a waste of space and time? And then comes the worst thought of all -- am I selling out?

As a blogger, has monetization been beneficial to you? What about as a reader -- do ads distract? I'd love to know your thoughts.

15 comments:

  1. I made the decision not to monetize my blog with affiliate programs. Or at least not yet. I want to make sure my blog is what I want it to be before I do anything like that.

    PLUS, I like to control content.

    Do I do giveaways with out companies? I do! But I have to like/ believe in the product. (I have been fortunate enough to have them donated)

    I don't know... I think it is a whatever works for you sort of thing. Have you checked out the article about it on IFB? Very interesting....

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  2. I don't monetize because I have less reader then you do and I think it distracts me from my purpose, i got a paid account cause i was getting super annoyed with seeing something pop up whenever i clicked somewhere.

    Everything is really related to money which sucks but i walked for 2 years in order to work a job that i made no money doing but loved to do anyway ps that soon changes no matter how passionate you are about what you do at least in my case.

    Life is harder when you aren't making what you're worth but it will come.

    I never feel bombarded by adds on your page it doesn't distract me from your awesome content.

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  3. I like that you don't have a ton of ads. I don't feel like your ads distract from your content. Maybe one day you'll bring in the big bucks with your awesome blog :)

    There are blogs that I had to stop reading because all they were is free clothes, and have too many ads. I like the 1/5th rule. Every ad/giveaway/review/sponsored post should be proceeded and followed with 4 posts of good solid content.

    I don't have any ads on my blog. I decided that unless I get sponsorships it's not worth my time. I've only received one free product for my self and one to giveaway. I only reviewed it, and gave it away because I really did like it. I think we have to be choosy with our partners, and ads.

    Lastly I think the best way to make a living from your blogging isn't really blogging. It's online businesses, web consulting, styling, design, e-books... you get the idea. Not really blogging but things that may stem from it.

    My Heart Blogged

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  4. I know what you mean, although I don't live in a high cost area, I want to MOVE to one... so I am desperately trying to make any extra $$ I can.

    I love cooking, and I love blogging (plus, it keeps me accountable). I haven't made a whole lot, maybe $30-$40 through adsense and amazon, and like you, I vacillate between "is it worth it" and "every little bit counts"

    In the end, though, I am cooking healthy food for my family, I wouldn't be trying as many new things if I wasn't blogging about the results, so I guess at this point I'm just going to have to consider any little bit a bonus.

    I like the above comment a lot, too, a lot of good advice.

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  5. I think that your blog is fun! You seem to enjoy it, you've made some friendships through it. What you get out of it? Support, humour, friendship, advice. Yes, it's an unconventional way to make friends, but I say the more the merrier in terms of friendships,no? I don't think the ads on your page are intrusive, and I don't feel that you are selling out.
    Another lady of whose blog I am an avid reader, Heather B. Armstrong has shared her own reasons for agreeing to advertise on her blog here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/magazine/27armstrong-t.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1
    You may have heard of her blog, Dooce.com.

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  6. I want to clarify that when I said the following, I was referring to monetizing my blog, not blogging in general.

    "That's when I begin to wonder: is it worth it? Am I really getting anything out of this, or is it a waste of space and time?"

    There are many, many reasons why I blog and I would never do it for the sole purpose of making money. If I wanted money, I would probably be doing anything else other than this. Ha!

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  7. This is going to sound horrible but for me it's all about self-promotion. I'm not sure where my blog is going to take me, but I'd rather go somewhere with it and have fun than go nowhere at all.

    My website is easier - it's pure advertising for ME and my design studio (which is just me again) but it does work in that regard.

    Your ads don't bother me, but it would bother me if all I was making was $30. That wouldn't be worth it for me.

    You work at Ann Taylor? Which one where?

    Love,
    Heather
    http://thestyleconfessions.com/

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  8. I never started my blog for monetization, but I was recently contacted by a vendor for a sponsorship, so I'm considering it. But if I make money off it I do, if I don't I don't. I care more about displaying my personal style and meeting people around the world. I don't think you're selling out. Lots of people use blogs to make money.

    Shasie
    Live Life in Style

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  9. Personally I tried affiliates but really they are only of benefit to the companies. I monetise by selling links and banner ads for which I set my own fees. To be I have to be fairly compensated to have some huge banner on my blog!

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  10. Its a great topic. if 5 months is baby blogger, what less than a month is?
    I am still learning my way around and not sure what will do in the future.

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  11. I love My Heart Blogged's comment "I like the 1/5th rule. Every ad/giveaway/review/sponsored post should be proceeded and followed with 4 posts of good solid content." What a great ratio to follow! I like to think that I have a better ratio than that.

    To be honest, now that my site is larger, I do find that affiliate programs work more. And I've seen some large bloggers, who once they started working with affiliate companies, made an announcement... so that their readers knew what was going on and more WANTED to click the links to buy and help support their favorite bloggers....

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  12. I think your blog looks fantastic and clean the way it is. I don't think you should necessarily give up, but

    When I first started blogging I got frustrated really quickly, and I stopped looking for ways to monetize beyond my first ebook (I wrote my first blog, now http://gothicweddingplanner.com, to promote my ebook). After a year of blogging on GWP and my fashion/lifestyle/alternative subculture blog http://steffmetal.com I noticed things really started happening for me. People wanted to interview me, companies started noticing my site, people wanted to send me demos and books and t-shirts.

    I found the best money makers have not been affiliates, but rather unique, creative products, and I think this works in any . if you're selling something that's different and unique to YOU, you increase the chance that someone else buys it. I have a few affiliates for info products, and their links are in my ebooks, and I occasionally sell an ad or two, but mostly, I make my own products, sell artwork, and use my blog to find opportunities, like ghost blogging, freelance writing, copywriting, covering events, doing creative collaborations, etc. I think that's the real joy of blogging - finding creative ways to work with companies and make your own money.

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  13. I am perhaps late to the party, but completely see your point. I blog in different niches and have been blogging for a while now. Although I don't live off it, I can make some money which helps (by the way, rents in New York are probably twice that of LA!) I hope you make something more now.

    The problem with a niche like fashion is that a few top blogs get all the money, which is higher than in many other areas. The rest don't get so much. I don't see affiliate sales as bad, like some commentators have pointed out. After all, you can honestly recommend something that you like, can't you?

    I am also curious - from the list, it seems like you made the most through Adsense yet I don't see it anywhere on your blog now

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  14. For some reason this post made me laugh. No offence, I do think its funny! Anyways, I hope you're now in better condition and making better $$. As from my personal blogging monetasation experience - first 5 months I probably earned about $200. Sold 2 text links :) then as my audience grew, my traffic started picking up and now I generate about $200 per week which is still nothing compare to what I was earning at my full time job as a senior accountant. Note - I have a child and we livein a rental property - so all bills are out of our own pocket... not fun! So what I'm trying to say is that you can't expect making big $$ quickly. Blogging doesn't work like that - it is years and I repeat, years of hard UNPAID work. So, to all who is reading and will read this article - keep that in mind, you have to be prepared to work for free for at least a year before you make any money. And do not expect you will become Rumi Neely overnight - you will not.

    Kindest,
    Maria

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I completely agree that it doesn't happen overnight (which I've learned from experience over the years since writing this post). I don't really understand how it's funny, but I'm glad it made you laugh!

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