In the interest of blog transparency I’d like to use today’s post to give you a little behind the scenes look at what it takes to produce my blog.
This blog costs me about $200 (give or take) in an average year. This includes my domain name, some security add-ins, my web host, and an assortment of art files and plugins. This is bare bones stuff. It could cost me quite a bit more, but I’ve been doing a lot of things on my own rather than paying for plugins or hiring technical support.
As I write this I just got a rather terse email from my web host telling me I have to move my backups, so I see another costly fee in my future to find a suitable location for my backups. If you suddenly stop hearing from me it means they’ve suspended my blog before I’ve had a chance to remedy the situation. It’s always something.
When I moved to WordPress I did it with the expectation that I might be able to make just enough to pay for the incidentals required to put out a blog. I wasn’t so much thinking of making a profit, (though I wouldn’t sneeze at it either) but I did want to make enough pocket change to pay for hosting and other fees.
How does a blog make money?
There are multiple streams of income. Some require more commitment than others. All of them require more loyal readers than I probably have at present.
• The most common source of income is from affiliate advertising. Those usually come in the form of advertising banners littered throughout a blog.
• Some bloggers (including myself) include links to specific products–like last month’s Big Christmas List post. Don’t be too impressed. If you bought anything from clicking on any of my links, I made only a few cents here and there. To date, I’ve never been able to recoup my costs for maintaining this blog.
I’m told some bloggers make a nice income doing this, but either I’m not choosing products you might like or I simply don’t have enough of a fan base to make it work. Either way, it barely makes a ripple.
• Some bloggers sell workshops, books, or other products of their own making. I’m on the fence about this. On one hand I’d like to start writing again, but apparently, it’s not enough to write a book or workshop. You have to sell it like a prized pony. If I didn’t do that kind of peddling when I was a novelist, I’m not sure I’d be any better at it now.
• A growing number of bloggers are doing sponsored posts. These are blog posts where you pitch a product from a specific sponsor. I’ve met people who’ve actually had some success with this, but I’m not sure that would work for me unless it’s something I’ve used extensively and can talk about it with authority.
There’s nothing illegitimate about any of these venues. Some bloggers make a tidy profit. More power to them. They found their audience and can offer something their audience wants to buy from them.
I gave myself three years to create an income stream to support my blog. I’m already nearing the end of year two without much success.
I thoroughly enjoy blogging. I love connecting with readers and talking about things we have in common–or the things we don’t have in common. It can be a time sink though unless you’re earning revenue through it. If you’re a blogger you already know what a commitment that is even without the extra cost of self hosting.
I don’t regret in the least moving to a self-hosted blog. Despite the learning curve for the technical stuff, I’m happy I moved. WordPress has given me the freedom to design my blog my way, and not to the formula of Blogger.
But it all comes at a price.
Come March 2018, I have one more year to make this work and then I’ll have to make some hard decisions.
$200 might not seem like a lot of money, but as a frugal-minded person it’s an expense I shouldn’t allow unless I can make the blog pay for it in some way.
Much like a chicken that won’t lay eggs, if this blog can’t support itself, it’s headed for the pot. 😀 It might sound harsh, but I feel strongly that my writing should pay in some way. If it’s not through blogging, it should be somewhere else.
I know many of you still use Blogger. How about those of you on a self-hosted WordPress blog? Do you think a blog should support itself, or do you see it as an acceptable expense for promote your writing (or other career)?
PS If you have bought something through a link on my blog, Thank You! You truly do make this blog possible.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to support my efforts, any time you buy something through one of my Amazon links I earn a few cents. If I understand Amazon’s policy correctly, it does not have to be the item I listed. All you have to do is click any link (text or picture) I provide. From there you can navigate to the product you’d like to buy.
Again, thank you. I appreciate you all more than you know.