I’ve been writing on this particular site since 2008 and I’ve been blogging since 2001. I’ve never “struck it big” or become famous from it, but I’ve had some cool opportunities come about from posting. Plus every now and then some pennies, quarters, and even a few dollars come my way. I’ve never pursued monetization in a big way.
But lately, more than ever, I feel like there are so many groups/messages/posts/emails about how to make money with your site. I read some of these with passing interest because I have a desire to keep myself current with what people are doing in these fields. But the past few months I feel more pressure to find extra dollars and I’ve been thinking more seriously about these tactics. I have thoughts like “Yeah… I could make more money here. I could sell out and provide more for my family!”
Then I see the stuff that comes out of these monetization attempts and I cringe. Here are some generic examples that totally mimic real situations I’ve seen, without pointing out specific people:
– I’m a lifestyle blogger with some offspring and here’s a post where I ramble for a few paragraphs about a day trip we took and oh… I’ve now snuck in some photos of us holding Brand X snacks while on our elaborate day trip and how much we enjoyed having them with us, even though this whole outing was carefully crafted to mention this snack food in a blog post and to take photos with said snack food. We even took a photographer (or Instagram-spouse) with us on this excursion.
– I’m a fitness expert and I’ve posted an article with a title like “7 Best Moves for Six-Pack Abs” but it starts with two paragraphs about my love for coffee. Then I talk about how I love to go get coffee at an artsy local coffee shop when I start my day “super early” at 8 am before my workout. However, it’s such a conundrum that I want to look cute while I get my cuppa, but I need to head straight to my workout at a boutique fitness studio after coffee. Enter Specific Athleisure Brand and all these clothes they sent me! I love them because they sent me money and free clothes, but also because I look so stylish in these outfits while I’m getting caffeinated and working out. Then I can go brunch with friends because I have a “super busy” life and these clothes will still look great! Yay! Oh yeah… you want six pack abs? Do some planks, crunches, etc. and you’ll have a six-pack like me!
– I’m a recipe blogger and I have shared gorgeous photos on Pinterest for some drool-worthy dessert which has enticed people to click over to my site. Once there, you have to read about 17 paragraphs where I talk about my day, various food products, and/or kitchen tools and how they are so convenient and critical in the preparation of this recipe. If you make it through all of these, you’ll finally find the recipe you came here for.
I’m being a cynic, but these posts bug me. I’ve done a couple of sponsored posts in the past and I have written a lot of reviews for products I’ve purchased and products sent to me for free. But I feel like if I’m reviewing a product I owe it to both the company and my readers to get to the point. “Hey, I’m talking about this thing here!” I’m not going to weave my kid or dog or spouse into an intricate story and mention the product awkwardly in the middle.
I’ve never sold an Instagram or Facebook or Twitter post but I’ve seen plenty of those. There are times when I see articles about how you need to be selling these channels and I think, “Maybe I should pimp myself out more.” Then I see an Instagram photo of someone awkwardly holding a package of crackers while balancing their kid or someone seductively groping a jar of protein powder while making a duck face and realize, “Yeah, I’m not doing that.”
So…. am I shirking all potential to make money here? No. I will still run Google Ads in a couple of spots on my site. I only get anything from those if someone clicks on them. Right now, I’m getting $100 roughly every 4-5 months, so it’s not a lot. I will probably still have a few affiliate links, especially to Amazon products, that might net me a couple of dollars and I won’t get paid until I’ve accumulated a certain level. I will always disclose if something is an affiliate link (uh… it’s the law. People are also incredibly shady about disclosure.) so readers know it’s an affiliate link. And I’ll continue to not make much money on this site!
I could put more effort into taking on sponsored posts. I get tons of junk email with opportunities for those. But I already work a full-time job and am I really doing more to provide for my family if I’m adding more stress by shirking sleep to do these types of posts? Because I’m not going to dig into my time with my daughter to put more effort into these things, so essentially it would have to come out of my running or sleeping time. There’s not a lot of flexibility around here!
Also, I don’t want to become super artificial. I recognize that may be kind of weird for these mediums at this point. But because I’m such an old-school blogger, I do miss the way it used to be where we garnered actual friendships and connections with people. There is already enough stress and anxiety in my life without trying to remember a made-up persona I have online.
Thank you to all of you who have read my site over the years, those who find it in the future, and those who sometimes click on the affiliate links/ads. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to! I’m just happy you’re here.