When It Comes to Blog Monetization, Keep Things in Perspective

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Photo courtesy of iChaz

For the first ten posts of the Be a Blogger series I mostly ignored the topic of monetization.  This was by design. While I understand there are benefits of monetizing your blog early on in the process, I didn’t want to focus on the money-making aspects of blogging until the fundamentals were nailed down.

People begin blogging for a variety of reasons–some for money, some for love, and some for the love of money.  I started my blog for three reasons:

  • As a creative outlet.  My full time job does not require much creativity in terms of writing, so I thought blogging would appeal to the entrepreneurial writer bottled up inside me for over 30 years.
  • To be a source of inspiration for others.  Sometimes I think I irritate more people than I inspire, but because the ones who are irritated are the loudest, I hope it is only a skewed perception.  Here lately the number of supportive comments and emails I receive are proof that I’m on the right track.  A few weeks ago I received an email from a young college student who opened her first emergency fund inspired by one of my posts.  Knowing that you have a real impact on people’s lives through writing is very motivating.
  • It beats mowing lawns.  To help the debt snowball along I mowed lawns on the weekends last summer, something I had also done during one summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college.  I quickly discovered two things:  ten years is plenty of time to get grossly out of shape and to become spoiled by air conditioning.  Since I was doing this on top of my full time job I stayed pretty worn out.  It was time to find an easier side hustle (physically).

That’s Great, but What About the  Money?

Let’s face it–if you want to make money blogging you have to treat it as a business.  Or at least, you have to think like a business person.  Blogging has opened my eyes to the world of online marketing in ways I never knew existed prior to last December, and I thought I was pretty business savvy.  Many advertisers are finding out that the internet has more potential for reaching eyeballs than traditional advertising, and blogs are a fresh way to deliver their message.  Obviously, you have to balance monetization with having a user-friendly presentation, and it is something most bloggers struggle with.

“But I’m Only Making $5 a Day!”–Is This Worth It?

I remember after only a couple months of blogging I became glued to my blog stats and advertising accounts like a nervous senior waiting outside his professor’s office for grades to be posted.  I was addicted to the numbers, but disappointed by them constantly.  In March I figured out that from all my efforts I was making $5.00 a day–not even enough for a value meal at McDonalds.  However, after applying some quick math I realized I wasn’t doing so bad after all.

At 3% interest, my $3,000 emergency fund was spinning off about $0.25 a day at ING Direct (what’s a post about monetization without an affiliate link?).  I wondered how much money I’d have to have in there to generate $5.00 a day in interest.  $60,000!  That’s right; it would take $60,000 at 3% interest to generate $5.00 a day.  I felt much better about my online earnings from that point forward.  The income from blogging is not totally passive, because I do still work a number of hours each day writing, editing, commenting, emailing, etc, but I still get a kick out of going to sleep at night and waking up to find you’ve earned money.

Time To Quit the Day Job?

Not quite, but it is certainly feasible.  Many well-known bloggers are now probloggers and make writing their full time gig.  Of course many of them have safety nets in place (a large emergency fund, a working spouse, etc.), so it isn’t for everyone, and requires some thorough planning.  I doubt I will ever earn enough to completely replace my full time income, but once my debts are paid off and I have a one-year emergency fund in place, I wouldn’t need that much income to live comfortably.  Yes my friends, the wheels are turning.

Ready to start your own blog?  I host my blogs with HostGator–a great host with awesome support!

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