do I want to make money from my blog?

Right now I’m going through a phase that I suspect is familiar to all bloggers – one where I’m questioning my blog’s purpose and direction. Specifically, at the moment I’m wondering about monetising it. I didn’t start blogging with an aim to make money at all, ‘Writing Bubble’ was just an outlet for my thoughts, and a way to connect with other people. And I’m very happy with the how it has developed in that way. But recently, I’ve been wondering if it’s time to make a change.

money

Over the last two-and-a-half years my blog has slowly got more readers and interactions and whether it’s recently crossed some sort of threshold on the Domain Authority scale (she says, like she knows what Domain Authority is… ) or just got on a list by chance somehow, I’m now frequently getting approached by PR’s. I keep being asked how much I charge for sponsored content and if I would like to collaborate on this, that or the other. It’s all fairly basic stuff – I imagine the emails are sent out en masse to thousands of bloggers, but still, it’s made me stop and think.

Do I want this? Do I want to earn money from my blog?

In one way of course, earning money from blogging would be fab. I know some people have hugely successful, glittering careers based on their blogs while many others have created a steady stream of decent income by committing themselves to their own little corner of the internet. If I put my mind and energies to it, I’m sure I could make this blog (moderately) successful in that way. And wouldn’t that be lovely? Money made from writing, here at home. And in MY space on the internet too – not writing for another publication but for my own. Tempting.

Tempting…

But do I really want it? Enough to prioritise it? Because honestly, if I went down that road I think more time-sacrifices would have to be made. I’ve already found that fitting in my illustration course, with all the drawing practice that entails, is squeezing time from other activities like reading and writing and collapsing like a potato in front of the telly. Plus there are unavoidable time-draws like work and running a house to consider. And then there are the things that REALLY matter – my life as a mother, a wife and a friend. How much more can I juggle?

On top of this there’s the question of what content I’d be happy to put in this blog and how that would square with how much I was hoping to earn from it. To make a reasonable amount would I end up blogging about nail varnish or furniture polish or other things I don’t give two hoots about? Or could I target myself at enough interesting brands to mean I need only to blog about stuff that is of genuine interest to me and, of course, my readers? At the moment I can write whatever I like but in collaborations, compromises would need to be made… wouldn’t they?

So I’m kind of spinning my wheels on the issue at the moment. Toying with notions. Undecided.

If you have any thoughts or advice to offer on this issue I’d love to hear from you!

Writing Bubble
And then the fun began...

41 thoughts on “do I want to make money from my blog?

  1. Mummy Tries

    As you’re already juggling so much, and have no financial pressure, I’d say go for the opportunities that are an excellent fit for Writing Bubble, and will provide you with decent ££ or a great product that you need. The problem with monetization, is that most bloggers don’t set out boundaries beforehand, and end up saying yes to everything. This ends up diluting their blogs message, and they more often than not sell themselves short. Best of luck lovely xxx

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Useful thoughts, Reneé, Thanks. I definitely want to remain true to my blog and not shoehorn in boring promotional posts about loo cleaner. It makes sense to decide on boundaries right at the start. xx
      Maddy recently posted…for the love of shoesMy Profile

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  2. Kamsin

    It sounds like you’re in an exciting place in your blogging journey. At the end of the day you know if your heart if this is something you want or not.

    I started my blog wanting to make money from home. I am tired of commuting long distances to work, especially now I have a child. But I’m a long way from crossing any threshold into being able to make that a reality. And I am wondering if it was even the right goal in the first place.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Kamsin recently posted…Manifesto for Mums Who Want MoreMy Profile

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  3. Tara Borin

    That’s so exciting, Maddy! Even just to be approached. I constantly go through this back and forth in my mind, wondering what the heck I’m blogging for. Some days I want to write with the intention of monetizing, some days I just want this to be a part of building an online platform, with the goal of being a published poet. Some days I just want to scrap it all! I think you’re right to be cautious about where you put your energies. I’ve seen some blogs successfully monetize by being very intentional in which products they rep. You put a lot of energy into this space; it would be nice to make a little money from it, wouldn’t it? Could you try a few sponsored posts without committing to it long term, just to see how it feels for you?
    Tara Borin recently posted…4 Ways to Get Through a Creative SlumpMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do for the best isn’t it, Tara? Especially when goals conflict, or COULD conflict… like if I monetise my blog could it get a higher profile and thus build my platform which is useful for a writer? OR could it put people off and be totally counter-productive? It would be good to earn some money from this blog, just not at any cost. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you find an answer too. xx
      Maddy recently posted…the zipwire to inspirationMy Profile

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  4. David

    Only you can tell, but I admire your efforts to illustrate AND write. That’s tough.
    In the meantime I’m in love with the Inga Moore’s illustrations at the moment. So full of character, a deep understanding of nature and technique that makes me swoon. If you haven’t already, check out her illustrations for Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden; so quintessentially English.

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  5. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)

    I think if you don’t need the money, only accept offers which really appeal to you. I’ve been lucky to review some things which I’ve really loved, and liked the sound of from the outset, though I’ve yet to make any actual cash from blogging. Trying to write about something you’re not interested in is always harder work anyway! x #thetruthabout
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Women in Welsh Local PoliticsMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      I think you’re right about that! I’ve done some book reviews which didn’t bring in money but did give me free books – always a bonus! That sort of promotional stuff totally fits with my blog, and if I could find more relevant things that interest me and that pay that would be ideal! Thanks for commenting Jess. x
      Maddy recently posted…furious birdMy Profile

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  6. Angela Zemp

    I agree with most of the above comments.

    What I would say, is firstly: CONGRATULATIONS that your blog has become successful enough to attract these offers, and secondly: don’t rush to decide! Take your time, it’s quite an important decision, and will/may change the tone of your blog considerably.

    What about starting off with just a monthly ‘products I love’ special? Then you’re not swamping your readers with too much advertising, which MAY lose you followers.

    You could also pick an area that you ARE really interested in, and therefore maintain genuine enthusiasm about the products.

    Good luck, whatever you decide! :)

    The Hedgehog x

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Really interesting thoughts Angela! I definitely wouldn’t want to blog too often about products – even if they’re are REALLY fabulous and relevant, I always find those sorts of posts dull unless I’m on the look out for something along those lines anyway. A monthly roundup is an interesting idea. Thanks for commenting, and for the congratulations :) xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  7. Sara | mumturnedmom

    Oh, you know I’ve been going round in circles on this one for the last year! Still haven’t worked out what I want to do, and I get offered stuff all the time! It’s a big step, for me, to turn the blog into a job and I keep coming back to the worry that it would take the joy out of it for me and make it something I have to do, rather than want to. But, I would love to make a bit of money from it… I I said, circles, circles!! If you come to any conclusion, do let me know :) #thetruthabout
    P.S. Sorry I’m not linking to #whatimwriting this week x
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…Siblings: March 2016My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      I can really see how you could go round in circles on it because there’s not an obvious answer. I would worry about taking the joy out of blogging too, and losing readers and also putting extra obligations onto myself. Hope you find a good solution too (do let me know!) and don’t worry at all about not linking to #whatImWriting – I think the best way to handle linkys is to join in when you have something relevant ( and enough time to comment which can be a whole time-consuming thing in its own right!) and don’t feel obliged otherwise. You’re a great member of our community. Thanks for commenting xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  8. Marija Smits

    This is an interesting question, Maddy, and obviously only one you can answer yourself. I have to say that from my point of view (as a reader of blogs) the moment a blog I like starts getting commercial I lose interest. Then again it seems that only lifestyle blogs are really (badly) prone to this, writing ones not so much. I love to know about writers and their books but not so much about ‘other’ material stuff that I may or may not want to buy…
    Marija Smits recently posted…The Editor (and creative contributor) to Her BookMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      I know what you mean about losing interest, my heart falls a bit when sponsored posts start appearing… so why on earth would I want to put them in my blog? I think (just to answer my own question!) it’s partially the seduction of money but partly as another, tangible answer to ‘why do you blog?’ – a question I ask myself reasonably often. I think it’s some kind of external validation somehow too. Thanks for commenting, Marija.xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  9. Sam

    I dipped my feet into the water of collaborative posts a bit last year but as you say it does mean writing about stuff that isn’t really to do with you or the nature of your blog in general. I definitely think that the lure of making a living self employed from blogging is very appealing but I believe that you would need to drop any other work commitments to do it well because it sounds massively time consuming and you wouldn’t be able to just walk into cherry picking the right collaboration to suit your tastes – I think the people that seem to do that are people who are extremely slick and have a background in online marketing or social media management. I also wonder about the true nature of family life for those super successful bloggers – it is definitely portrayed as perfect but in reality I reckon either there is a dad who is taking on a lot of extra responsibilities or some fully involved grandparents! That’s just my opinion though, I know someone like Aby of You Baby Me Mummy works ridiculously hard but seems to love every single minute of it! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout this week Maddy X
    Sam recently posted…The truth about… #66My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Interesting thoughts Sam! I’ve looked at some of these glossy blogs and wondered ‘How on earth do they do it?!’ too! I’m just not a shiny enough person to be that sort of blogger, it’s just whether there’s a way of doing it that would be that magic formula of a little extra effort for a lot of extra return while also not having to compromise myself or my blog at all… hmm, doesn’t sound likely now I’ve put it like that! Thanks for commenting. xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  10. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files

    You’re right, EVERY blogger wonders this at some point! There are so many directions you can go with monetization. If you want to be really involved you can write sponsored posts and recruit people to advertise on your site – if you want to have absolutely no work (other than ordering your checks) throw some AdSense ads in your sidebar. It’s a tough decision, though.
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…A Mother’s Love Letter to St. Patrick’s DayMy Profile

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  11. Jo Winwood

    Everyone has summed up what I was going to say! It’s lovely to be asked but the real skill is only saying ‘yes’ to the things to really want to be involved in. It must be so easy to say ‘yes’ to everything and sucking all the joy out of blogging.
    Jo Winwood recently posted…What I’m WritingMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      That’s the thing, isn’t it? The seduction money v’s the excitement of creativity and authenticity. I can imagine it being a slippery slope too so, as some other commenters have said, I’d have to be really boundaried about it. Thanks for commenting, Jo. x
      Maddy recently posted…for the love of shoesMy Profile

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  12. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Hmm! I think many bloggers are initially drawn to blogging by the potential for earning from it, but there are also many who aren’t. I would look at why you started/continue blogging, does monetising your blog fit with that reason? Also there are ways of monetising beyond sponsored post type things if that is what you want. I would try to make it a conscious decision, but only you can decide. xx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Hidden TreasureMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Alice, useful questions. Sponsored posts don’t fit with my I started blogging at all unless they are to do with writing or reading and I don’t think the PR approaches I’ve had are really down that line. book reviews I can do though so maybe I could think about affiliate links. There’s so much to consider! xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  13. Emily Organ

    I think there are a couple of things to consider – firstly do you want to remain true to why you set up your blog in the first place? And secondly – will people still read and comment when you put up commerical posts? It was something I toyed with when I had a parenting blog and I did a few sponsored posts before deciding against it. I found it boring writing up reviews and sponsored posts and no one read or commented on them anyway. I also saw some really entertaining well read blogs become bland-tastic once their owners cottoned on they could just write commercial stuff and earn money. If you want to earn money from your blog I say go for it, if you want to maintain your readership and engagement then you’ll have to strike a balance between the good stuff and the ads. I’m sure you could do it successfully but it also takes time as you so rightly point out!
    Emily Organ recently posted…Publication Day!My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Emily, as someone who generally avoids reading sponsored posts on others blogs I can really understand that that sort of content wouldn’t have the same engagement and would be dull to write. And that’s the opposite of why I started this blog or why it’s still going now. Interesting… xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  14. Abby

    If you can find ways to monetise while being true to what your readers expect of you, go for it. I’ve never found anything that quite fits with my blog so not monetised yet.
    As a reader, I’ve always engaged a lot more with bloggers who monetise with posts about experiences rather than product. I wonder if this is one of the appeal of food blogging – products are involved, but creating and eating gorgeous food is such a wholesome experience.
    If I did monetise, I’d commit 100% – engage with current audience, explain changes – i think most would support. I’d also write a full on business plan that I wouldn’t share. I’d include ethos (to guide decisions, when blinkered by pound signs), and an outline of what the blog is as a brand, to help in marketing and again in order to help guide decisions on who to work with. Finally, it would include reference to money – if you are monetising, don’t be ashamed to think about how much money you would like to make and what you will need to do to generate that income.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Abby recently posted…Kim Kardashian posted a picture of a really boring bathroomMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      You sound very wise to have a plan like that, Abby, even though it’s still a theoretic plan at this stage. And yes, some kinds of sponsored posts are more engaging than others aren’t they? I love anything to do with books which I guess is also an experience as well as a product kind of like foody stuff. Mind you, I don’t read food blogs (though I have been known to go ‘oooh’ over a photo on instagram!) so I guess it really is a matter of finding something that both you and your readers are genuinely interested in. Thanks for commenting xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  15. Cara

    Hi, so I have had the occasional bit of sponsored content on my blog, but I mean seriously occasional, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone thinking of doing it with me because those posts get very few hits. I can see how it would work for a fashion blogger or something, but people don’t read my blog because they’re thinking of buying something.

    In related stuff though, I have been asked to write first a column for my local paper (which was unpaid, but helped me build up networks locally), and more recently a column in a parenting magazine. That was going to be unpaid but I turned that down, and was surprised when they came back to ask how much. I clearly asked for too little because they said yes straight away! Anyway, both of these opportunities came out of people reading my blog, and neither column is exactly what I tend to write, but they liked my style and saw that I could be a good fit, so that was good.

    As for making money, I’m sticking with my patron (read husband), and trying to write a book. He’s already worked out what to spend the first million on (never going to happen).

    Loving your work. <3
    Cara recently posted…writing: What I’m writing just nowMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Cara! Well done for getting those columns and especially for turning the second one down when it was unpaid. The recent Huff Post scandal has made me think hard about the payment vs exposure issue, I mean writers SHOULD be paid and it’s so common that we’re not! It’s interesting that your sponsored posts were so unpopular as I’ve often wondered if that’s the case generally… and then I wonder how sponsoring posts works for the companies if most readers think ‘urg, no’ and click away. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and good luck with your novel xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week sixty-eightMy Profile

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  16. tracey bowden

    I publish reviews and sponsored content on my blog. I never accept pre written and I always make sure I can fit it in with my blog. As I cover a lot of random things I can pretty much make good posts to fit in nicely or adapt ones I already have written, which I prefer. I use blogging as a way of topping up my income but if you don’t need to do that I agree you should only take on projects that you are interested in an fit well with your blog otherwise you are just going to end up diluting it with irrelevant posts.
    tracey bowden recently posted…Non Uniform Day #OOTDMy Profile

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  17. Chrissie

    This is a tough one. I mean, why would you turn down the opportunity to make money doing something you love doing? But then, if you were being forced to write, would you love it so much? The sponsored posts I’ve done added sohch pressure to blogging that it took away some of the joy and even though the products were great for parenting, getting them to feel right on the blog took lots of drafting and thought.
    Ideally I’d liked to get paid because I’m fabulous, but that’s not where I am right now…
    Big decisions ahead, Maddy. Your blog is big enough to go for it, it’s just whether that’s right for your blog x
    Chrissie recently posted…For a friendMy Profile

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  18. Sophie Lovett

    I have mulled this one over in the past and decided not to go down the monetising route (for now at least) for pretty much all the reasons you mention! It is very tempting though so well worth some serious consideration – looks like you’ve got lots of excellent advice here if you do decide to give it a go! Xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…12/52My Profile

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