Monday, September 10, 2012

Monetizing My Blog?

I began blogging to keep a record of how hard I was going to work to lose weight.  I never expected all of the extras that would come with keeping a public journal - the friendships developed, the freebies offered, the opportunities to make some money...it all sounds enticing, right?

Well sure, but when it comes right down to it, I am just not interested enough, or motivated enough, to really monetize myself or this blog.  Yes, I've had a few link ads in my sidebar - but when my opportunity to become a BlogHer blogger came up, I decided not to go that route.  I like how my blog looks and didn't want to clutter it up with huge picture ads.  Plus, I can write whatever I want here, about whatever products I want - once you sign into an advertising contract like BlogHer, you are limited.

While I occasionally get a pang of "I wish that company would send stuff to me" when I see other bloggers wearing things that I already use or think I would like to try out, I really can't complain.  I've been extremely lucky to receive some pretty cool things over the years, and the truth is, I don't court companies.  I don't have a Twitter account, nor do I have a Facebook page for this blog.  I rarely email companies about products that I love, asking for a freebie to review and give away.  I'm not a "sponsored" runner - I don't get my shoes, clothing or race entry fees paid for like many of the bigger running bloggers.  Conferences?  Forget it...if I'm going to buy a plane ticket, it'll be for a true vacation, not a networking thing.  And therein lies the rub:  I'm just not willing to play that game.  I don't worry about things like my Klout score (never heard of it? it's like a credit score for bloggers), and I like it this way.  Obviously I'm not super ambitious; plus, I think I'm also reaching the point in life where I can't be bothered with playing games to get ahead...and honestly, while I like a freebie as much as the next person, just because it's free doesn't mean that I'll automatically accept it (hooboy, some things I've been offered have made me blush !).  That said, I'll be posting a book review tomorrow on a diet book that I really liked, so obviously I still play the game to some extent - but it's on my terms.

This post is not meant to disparage any bloggers who do play the game; as individuals, we all choose how much we want to invest in blogging and reap whatever payoff that comes from it.  There have been some bloggers who've documented their weight-loss journey and ended up writing a book - and while I've been encouraged to do the same thing, it just hasn't happened for me...writing a book seems so overwhelming compared to writing a blog post, and after my first chapter, I haven't mustered up the energy to continue with it.

I'm not the blogger to read if you're looking for tips on making money from blogging.  And while you'll probably never see me on any talk show touting my weight loss, you can come here and read about a normal person who managed to lose a lot of weight and is keeping that weight off by eating sensibly most of the time, coupled with the unexpected discovery of enjoying exercise.  Please feel free to take whatever you can out of my ramblings and make it work for yourself.  And know that if I do become a sellout, it'll be for something big - like a Mini Cooper (hah!).  Otherwise, you can pretty much count on the fact that if I say I like something, I really do...and you know I'll say so if I don't.

40 comments:

  1. Good for you Shelley. Most of the "big bloggers" that I read are in the decorating or parenting fields, not running, but I see the same problems you do. I really don't care to read long posts about this or that blogging conference and all the other blogging buddies they went drinking with, and I really hate their sneaky product placements -- I was reading what I thought was a great parenting post on how to know when it's time to get your kid a cell phone (my daughter has been begging for one since 3rd grade and is now in middle school so this is an issue of great importance to me, LOL!). All of the sudden it turned into a pitch for a certain cell phone that has parental control features. So. Freaking. Annoying. You can't tell what these bloggers think vs. what they are being paid to say. That's one of the reasons I like to read your blog - no annoying ads and a good mix of running/eating/knitting advice. I also think it's awesome that you don't hesitate to really bash something you were sent for free but didn't like -- the "paid" bloggers NEVER do that. When you're tempted by that fancy tech shirt or new pair of shoes, just know that your readers really appreciate you just as you are!

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    1. Thank you for this. I appreciate your comment and your support so much!

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  2. And all of those reasons are why you are a much loved maintenance (now) blogger! Sometimes I click on a blog that has been monetized and get so discouraged by all the ads and waiting for it to load that I click off and never bother to read it. Now, how good is that. I guess it's different strokes for different folks but I'd rather swim with the fishes than the big sharks.

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    1. I do the same thing - and that is a huge reason why I've never jumped into the ads, etc...figure if it bothers me to go to sites that have them, why would I do it to my readers?

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    2. ITA with Helen. I'm not interested in buying things from bloggers, I am interested in hearing about their lives. Their successes, failures, ideas, jokes, outfits, endurance, and strength -- that's what appeals to me.

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  3. I'm trying to start monetising my blog(s) Shelley but it's hard. I often sit there and wonder why no one sends me stuff to sample or no one wants to pay me to write for them (etc).

    But, like you, I have to remember why I started this and in my case it's because I LOVE writing. I find it cathartic and it's the one thing that I seriously enjoy doing (that's relatively healthy!!!).

    Deb

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    1. I think it's pretty hard to actually make enough money to live off of by blogging. And at what point does your love of writing cede to writing about free stuff?

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  4. The blogs that are sponsored are the ones I dropped over the years. I don't want to read a product review every second day or so.

    I love your blog and am actually happy you didn't go that road.

    The way blogs are used in the US by companies to sell their products is not something that is that big here. Blogging, I think, is bigger in the US than in my country. I don't know anyone in my "real" life that blogs but then again there aren't many people that know I blog. I keep my blog for me and for my friends abroad that I found through it and for me that's enough.

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    1. I guess blogging probably is bigger in the US/Canada than in Europe, but on the other hand, you live in EUROPE - ooh la la!

      I stopped reading blogs that were always pitching something. It gets boring, especially when it seems like random stuff that doesn't particularly "go" with the blogger.

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  5. Lol on the mini cooper. ;). I think it's good not to go commercial. It keeps you open to trying new things.

    I would imagine that if you were a spoke person for a wheat product, you may never try to go wheat free because you are beholden to the brand. Or if you were trying to eat fewer processed foods and your paid ads were all for packaged products. In that way, big food has tricked down every where.

    Glad you are keeping it real. Karen P

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    1. You are so right on being beholden. I can write about what products I like AND change my mind if I find something that works better.

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  6. I am the same way Shelley - I have never reached out to companies, I don't even understand Twitter and I don't have a Facebook page for my blog either. I do have one sponsor - FoodBuzz, and while I never go on their site, I do generate about $100 a month from the tiny side bar ad - but I use that money to buy scallops and good steaks during the month as a treat!

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    1. That's a decent amount of money per month - maybe I should become a food blogger? Haha, can you just see it: yogurt, frozen yogurt, watermelon. So exciting! ;)

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    2. And pineapple, & an occasional coconut m & m. Haha. Oo, the recipe possibilities there! :)

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  7. Shelley, I love you and your blog just the way you are. Someone above said it...keepin' it real!

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  8. There are a few blogs I read consistently and yours is one of them because I can relate to so much of what you share. I love your style and have even purchased the flip flops you reviewed, so somebody owes you some commission!

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    1. ...or a free pair of flip flops! ;)

      Glad you liked them!

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  9. How funny! I just finished a mini-webinar on how to increase traffic to your blog and how to monetize your blog! In the end, I think it all depends on what you're trying to do with your blog and if it's more to keep yourself on track and motivated, then it's all good! :-)

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    1. Exactly. Knowing what you want, and making your blog work for you.

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  10. Great post, and for me, a fascinating topic because I go swinging wildly back and forth on it. There are times when I get greedy and get behind on reviews and my blog becomes polluted with a whole bunch of product posts. Other times I go so long without responding to pitches that I start to miss the fun of freebies and giveaways, and just when I'm in the mood they dry up. (Or are all for things like butt-deodorant and diet pills).

    I think you've taken a great approach, and are seen as honest and credible as a result. Some bloggers who are always super-enthusiastic about every product that comes along are a bit more suspect and it gets hard to trust their opinion.

    And I'll be curious about the book review!

    Ooops, I'm logged in my other email and don't see name/url as a comment form option--this is Crabby from Cranky Fitness!

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    1. When I felt resentful at having to write some reviews recently, I realized that it was time to stop accepting stuff, even stuff that sounded halfway interesting, because it's not worth it to HAVE to write. I would rather WANT to write, you know?

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  11. A MINI COOPER??? I could get a mini cooper if I just blog the right way?? LOL. I'l like you. Just can't be bothered courting that stuff. Plus it messes up the blog. Well, I guess there are sometimes ads that pop up on my blog because I don't pay wordpress to keep them off? I don't know how that works. I guess we're lucky that we don't have to try to make money from it. I feel that way about my quilts too.

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    1. Haha, if I ever figure out how to get a Mini Cooper by blogging, I'll be sure to let you know. I think I'm just going to have to get one the old-fashioned way - cold, hard cash. Some day. Not now. I have running shoes to buy!

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  12. I sometimes get jealous of all the free stuff I see people getting. I have gotten some, which is pretty neat. I do love free stuff, but I am never going sponsored by any company.

    I run the foodblogger ads on my page to basically pay for the hosting of my site and maybe be able to buy some green beans for coffee. I figure the food stuff is pretty harmless as far as ads go, (although foodbuzz got bought out and the ads are changing, so I may have to rethink it).

    I will never get rich off my site, but that's not the point. I'm not thinking of writing a book or getting any kind of deal. I just want to write what I want when I want to write it - like you.

    Most times ads don't bother me too much, but some blogs got too commercial for me or too 'sponsored' feeling.

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    1. I don't pay for hosting my blog - I mean, I pay $10 a year for the domain name, but that's it...I guess Wordpress costs? Don't let Blogger know, because I like using it for free! ;)

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    2. Shelley I don't pay for Wordpress. Like you all I pay is about $ 15 (I guess) for my domain name a year. Wordpress is free too.

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  13. I have ads on my blog but that's about the extent of my monetizing. I don't do reviews much anymore because it just feels like too much pressure!! I agree with you that I want to write what I want to write, not because I HAVE to write.

    It just takes so much more effort than I am willing to put out to make a blog profitable! Vive la lazy writers!! :)

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    1. Haha, lazy writers unite! We'll schedule a meeting...um, sometime. ;)

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    2. LOL. I'll um, try to remember to put it on my schedule. If I can find my schedule book.

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  14. This is interesting. I have no ads and make no money on my blog, nor have I been approached for reviews, though people do email asking if they can guest post from time to time. I'm toying with the idea of ads etc...its interesting to see what others do. Thanks Shelley. have a great Monday.

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    1. Roz, I come to your blog to read what you have to say, not what someone else wants to write...and I'm especially turned off if it's advertising something. Just my two cents.

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    2. Just to clarify - the guest post advertising something, not ads on your blog in particular...

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  15. I have been very careful about accepting products (it has to be something that feels right to me), and I've never allowed advertising or even guest posts (although I do know someone who I'd love to have guest post). I decided when I first started blogging that it would never be about making money (from the blog itself). The freedom is much more important!

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  16. I am careful as well about what I pimp on the blog. I just got ask to do a sex lube. Um does my blog look like something that would promote that? wth?
    lol.

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  17. Shelley, I really enjoy your blog. I have been following you for over a year and I look forward to reading your updates. You are an awesome blogger, keep it up!!! To thine own self, be true.

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  18. Like Mr. Rogers says; "There's no person in the whole world like you; & I like you just the way you are."

    :)

    Of course if you choose to dabble a bit, I think it would be fine because you are so real.

    Paco hasn't done a guest post for a while.

    Chrissy

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  19. I like trying out new products that I might have purchased anyway (and I like when you share about some too).

    What I don't like are the blogs that have so many ads on them, when I attempt to read them from my phone, it takes forever for them to download. That's when I know it's time to move on.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post today. Well stated as always.

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  20. Thank you for this wonderful post! If anyone started a blog to make money, I'm sure they would have quit by now :)

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