Hope for your financial life and beyond

Will You Still Love Me If I Blog For Money?

blog for moneyIt’s a tad bit presumptuous of a post title, don’t you think? I’m taking a gigantic leap in assuming my readers love and appreciate the content they get at Luke1428. Furthermore, that they would continue to tune in day after day if there was an inexplicable directional shift in my blog philosophy – like if I chose to blog for money?

As it stands now, Luke1428 is growing. June and July have seen the best viewership to date in the little over a year the site has been up and running. Why risk ruining a good thing now?

Because I believe this space can be better. Maybe even awesome!

But let me ease any apprehension you might be having right from the start. I could never blog for money only. It’s not in my DNA.

Why I’m Here

The personal journey that led me to construct Luke1428 in the back of my brain contained spiritual and practical elements. It was the culmination of a personal financial evolution that had been occurring in my life over a three-year time span. A blog seemed like the perfect place to share this life transformation.

Being a complete blogging novice (and the cautious, slow-moving-on-anything-new type), I did all the reading I could. Feelings of apprehension and fear overwhelmed me when I read the statistics that most blogs last less than 6 months. I wanted something more enduring than that but didn’t know if I had the skill, willpower, time or topics to make it.

It was obvious from surfing the web that people were making money blogging. Those Google ads aren’t there for decoration. But making money was the least of my worries and not really what I wanted to focus on anyway. My goal was to share what I had learned on my journey and help others along the way. So I made a one-year goal to only write and then to reassess my plans.

Blog For Money vs. Making Money From a Blog

It’s such a fine line between these two worlds, isn’t it?

If making money alone was the stated goal from the inception of Luke1428, I believe you would not be reading this now. I would have crashed and burned long ago. My creativity, my humor and my spiritual insights would have been stifled as I tried to manipulate every article towards bringing in some dollars. In short, my content would have suffered and I would have moved aimlessly along without purpose.

I also believe it would not have been as fun along the way.

I’m not against people who blog for money. If that is their clearly defined goal and ambition, I see nothing wrong with someone going in that direction. It’s just not me. Not now. Probably not ever.

However, I’m not against my writing leading to some monetary action as a side benefit. If that occurred, it would not be in conflict with my goals from my perspective. I believe everyone has the right to be rewarded for their hard work and skill.

Most of the blogging community that I interact with is already doing some form of advertising. For the most part, the ads do not detract from the quality experience I have while at their site. And from their own admission, many seem to be doing quite well with them.

So yes, I’m here to say that in year two of Luke1428 I’m going to be experimenting with some ad placements. I have no idea how this will go and I may trash it all together if it doesn’t look or feel right. Once again, I find myself being in a complete novice position in understanding how this works, so I have a lot of work ahead of me in this arena. Cue Google Adsense Academy.

What I do know is that I still thoroughly enjoy my writing and the chance to give hope and encouragement to people’s financial and personal lives. That goal will never change whether my ad experiment is a hit or not.

Questions: What is your perspective – Do you blog for money or make money blogging? How did you come to that decision? What tips do you have about placing ads on your site? What’s been most profitable for you?

Photo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: An Unintentional Coke Zero Detox

Prior Post: I’m Saving Thousands in 60 Seconds or Less

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Comments

  1. I thought like that at one point, but if you’re married with children, the opportunity cost doesn’t make sense to just blog. Unless of course, you just enjoy and love every aspect of blogging such as writing, managing, designing and administering, which is probably not true for anybody.

    I’m into design and wordpress, but can’t say that I love writing all too much. Blogging is hard work and it takes focus and consistency and monetizing your blog is a great strategy to stay motivated and get you going.

    Your writing is top-notch Brian and I doubt anyone would think that you’re selling out.

    • Thanks for the compliment Peter! It’s always nice to get feedback from other writers. I waited to begin advertising until now because I wasn’t sure I would actually enjoy blogging. Once I realized it was something I liked, making money from my work seemed like the next logical step. We will see how it goes.

  2. I admit, I’m one of those bloggers who started out with a goal in mind of turning my blog into a moneymaking business, one that would allow my wife to stay home with our son and in the long run help our long term financial health. Was making money my only goal of running my sites? No. But at the same time I appreciate that I’m able to turn all my long hours of hard work into a nice financial return.

    If you’re not getting a financial return out of the blogging, it is hard to make it a long term business, and not just a short term hobby. You have to really love writing, blogging, being an administrator and designer, wordpress expert and more. For me, I enjoy blogging, but if it hadn’t been a moneymaking side income for me, I probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as I have. (5+ years now!)

    So good luck, I think trying to turn a profit with your blog is an admirable goal. Keep on pumping out helpful content, add in some ads and you’ll be well on your way!

    • Thanks for that insight. I’ve just started monetizing and learning how best to do that. I do love the writing but it’s nice to see some profit from it. I think art and profits can coexist.

  3. moneybulldog says:

    I think most bloggers out there including myself know just how much work goes into running a blog, if there are opportunities to make a little money along the way then I think that’s fair game. Just my own opinion though. Hope it goes well for you mate.

    • I’ve realized in my first year of blogging that it is more work than I imagined. And I’m doing less than many people. Seems reasonable to get rewarded a bit for the work you put into it.

  4. I started for fun and ended up making money, which is awesome. I’d rather give up my content for free and have a few ads than charge readers for content without them knowing what they are buying.

  5. Tanya @ The Heavy Purse says:

    I definitely don’t think your sell out to want to make money from your blog. It takes a lot of work and as a long as the ads don’t overtake your blog, I think it’s smart to make some money for your efforts. I do agree with Mrs PoP that I see the occasional blogger allow sponsored posts that are, well … not very good. Once or twice okay, but when I see it consistently, then it does become a problem for me as well. Good luck as navigate to the next step and I hope it’s prosperous for you!

  6. As long as the quality of the content doesn’t decrease, then I don’t think readers have any problem with advertisements. What I would be wary of is posting terrible “guest posts” that aren’t up to your high standards because an advertiser paid you to do so. There are, sadly, blogs that I’ve taken off my RSS reader because the content quality dropped so much when the blog content became more paid “guest” (ie sponsored) posts than posts written by the blogger themselves.

    I guess I look at it this way? Did the Reeses Pieces product placement ruin the movie ET? No. So there’s a way to have sponsors and ads while maintaining a quality product. Do that, and hopefully your site can still be as awesome as ET is today in 30 years!

    • Now I want to go buy some Reeses Pieces! 🙂

    • That is a great example! I understand what you are saying about the sponsored posts. I don’t care to read posts that have no life breathed into them by the author and don’t engage the reader. They are pretty easy to spot if you have been reading awhile.

  7. Robb Engen says:

    Advertising doesn’t have to take away from the quality of your site. I’d suggest most of your regular readers are ‘ad blind’ anyway because they’re used to seeing it everywhere else and they come here for the content, not what’s posted on your sidebar.

    There are ways to only show advertising to search engine visitors, delay it from appearing on your latest post for a few days, or even just to display it on older posts.

    Where it gets tricky is when advertisers want you to recommend their product to your readers. It’s certainly the most profitable form of advertising, but that’s where you need to have some clearly defined guidelines.

    My take is that the product has to be relevant to my audience (as in, can Canadians use it?), it has to be useful, and if I haven’t tried it myself at least I’m aware of the product and can vouch that it offers value.

    For example, a newspaper bought an ad campaign on my site and wanted me to blog about the product. Before accepting, I asked for an exclusive offer for our readers (not available anywhere else) and a free trial for myself to test it out first. The product turned out to be great and the offer for our readers would save them a significant amount of money to try it out for 3 months (99 cents per month before it jumped to $19.99). I think those are the types of scenarios where everybody wins.

    • That’s a great help Robb! I agree that defining the guidelines and creating win-win scenarios is a big deal. In my mind, that shows the readership you are still focused on them to a certain extent. They know you are getting a benefit but are OK with that because you helped them out. Excellent!

      • Robb Engen says:

        As your blog grows, you can use it as a platform to get access to more and better deals that you can then share with your readers. It’s a beautiful thing. Good luck, Brian!

  8. I decided yesterday to add AdSense to my blog (but I haven’t yet). I took “pride” that there were no ads on my blog, but when I was talking with a fellow blogger friend last night she said she hadn’t even noticed that my blog was ad-free. Betcha most people didn’t realize it for your blog either.

    For me, I want my blog to grow, and my goal is to use any money I make off the blog to go back into the blog – by participating in giveaways, advertising my blog, etc. I don’t think ANY blogger will shame you for this.

    • That’s an interesting take Amanda. I hadn’t considered that. Mostly the blogs I read have well designed ad placements that don’t inhibit the experience of the site for me as I read. When it’s done poorly though it’s real obvious and I’m pretty turned off by it. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Honestly, if you aren’t making money off a blog it’s pretty unsustainable. I love the fact that I have been able to hire a once-a-week staff writer and hope to outsource more so that I can concentrate on revenue. I view the site as a business and honestly if I wasn’t making money I would have burnt out by now or not have had enough time because I would have been doing other side hustles with my time.

    • Sustainability is definitely an issue I’m thinking through. I want to do this long term and be awesome at it. Intangible rewards are great (i.e. the satisfaction I receive from knowing I’ve helped someone). But somewhere along the way I think we need some tangible rewards (like money) as well. I think both types of rewards work in combination to move us forward.

  10. I don’t have any issues with bloggers making money off their blogs. It’s a goal of mine down the road once I get things rolling. Plus, it seems like you’re going about this responsibly, and notifying your readers is great. Go for it, and make sure to share with us what you’ve learned in the process!

    • Thanks E.M. I felt it was necessary to bring this out into the open before I made any moves. I like to keep people informed about the new things happening here. You are basically taking the same approach that I did…getting things established before taking on a deeper challenge. I will keep notes of how it goes and post what I learn along the way.

  11. Alexa Mason says:

    I don’t think trying to earn money from your blog is being a sell out, especially if you are honest and sincere with all the moves you make. I blog about the stuff I like and stuff that I think may help other single mothers. I don’t sell out, but if I can make money doing something I love then why not?

    • “I blog about the stuff I like…” I think that is huge Alexa! And your readers could tell if you were pushing something just to earn a buck. I think they could see through that and it would turn them off. Great point!

  12. Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    My take is that if some advertiser wants to pay me money so that I can be rewarded financially from all the work it takes to run a blog, I’ll be happy to take it. If a car loan company wants to pay me so that I can tell you how to save money on cars, I’ll take it. I don’t fault anyone for trying to make money unless it’s done in an unethical way and unless you are telling people to sign up for Payday loans, I think it’s the next logical step.

    • You raise a great point Kim. There are ethical boundaries for sure. And I guess there would be things I would not want on my site because they go against what I believe about personal finance or my faith or whatever.

  13. I guess that’s the difference between having your blog as a business and having it as a hobby. There’s this weird thing in the blogosphere against business minded bloggers. I don’t think it’s selling out at all, if that’s your perogative.

  14. I definitely didn’t start out to make money directly from my blog, but I think it’s a pretty interesting goal. For me, writing useful articles and connecting with readers is definitely still priority #1, but I think you can do that and still try to make money from it. I haven’t made anything yet, though I do have a couple of adsense blocks up. They’ve earned a little, but far from the $100 needed to get a payment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making money as long as you’re still providing value to your readers.

    • I agree Matt, content and connection are king. Those two things will help a blog grow more than any other. Seems like making money is just the next step in the evolution of a blog, if the owner decides to go that direction. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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