Thoughts on Blogging Full Time and Making Money

I so badly want to blog full-time, but I just don’t want to be a sell-out. I need to make sure that I still have my integrity in tact. I told myself that if I ever get sponsors they will have to be products that I actually like and the ads have to be discrete and pretty. (Is that silly? I can hear B groaning, but I think men are different)

Moleskin immediately comes to mind. That would be one of my dream sponsors. Am I being totally unrealistic? Do you feel the same way? Do you have the same fears when it comes to trying to make money out of your blog?

I have been dithering quite a bit, when it comes to commercializing my blog. Dithering for 7 months in fact. Right now if this was a business and paying for a domain was like paying rent for a shop space, I am effectively loosing money. But the blog is my baby, and even so I would still do it. It’s a total labour of love.

I have a confession. I have not been responding yet to commercial enquiries and B told me that’s really bad. He says that it’s akin to having a shop and closing the door on the customer. I have to agree, reluctantly, and even though I want to make money, I am so afraid. Afraid that my readers will lose faith in me and that I will alienate them as that’s how I feel about blogs that are too commercialized and where every other post is an advertorial. Another fear is a common one. That of the unknown. The technical aspects that I am unsure of. I don’t even know what the market rate is, as this is a new field and most bloggers don’t reveal how much they charge. I will do some research into this and probably do a whole post on it soon. I do like the discovery process.

How I wish I could leave the business aspects of the blog to someone else and just concentrate on writing full-time. But on the other hand I’m a control freak and getting increasingly more so in mid-life. My real wish is to be a freelance writer and I guess that’s the wish of many a blogger. We blog in the first place because we can’t go a day without writing. Because writing is like breathing to us. And the best part about blogging is that you’re the editor, and you have total artistic control. If the blog sucks, I’m responsible for it too.

Would love your thoughts about this rarely talked about subject.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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36 Responses to Thoughts on Blogging Full Time and Making Money

  1. Julie says:

    Blogging and money are two hot topics if you ask me.

    When I started blogging I also wondered about the money making possibilities of writing. I’ve researched it as well and I know exactly what you mean about wanting to make money on your blog at the same time not wanting to sell out.

    If I were you I’d perhaps come up with a list of ad rates, say even $5-10 per week to have a link to restaurant or something. You could start with a 100×100 pixel right side bar fee.

    The first thing I’d do would be have a your ad here box on your right. I don’t think that’s selling out. I think that’s part of publishing. There are some cute signs if you google ‘your ad here’.

    I believe it costs more if higher up too so you might want to consider that. I’m still hoping to make money selling paintings. For the time being I’ve found a huge positive aspect in the compliments I get on my work, although I sometimes wish I could bring my work to the forfront. I’ve hidden it under a tab and my pix are all way too small IMHO.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I thank you profusely Julie. Your insights are really useful to me and I’m sure many bloggers who are wondering about this, out there. I’m glad you say that it’s part of publishing and not selling out – that’s quite a comfort.

  2. ProTerran says:

    It all depends on how big traffic this site generates. If it’s like 1-2k unique visits per day, then I think you may have chance to find someone who would pay for ads.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for the advice ProTerran. Having actual figures as a benchmark helps a lot. I guess it will take a while for me to get those numbers consistently here, since I just moved. Used to have above 1k at my old site, but I hope to have that hear soon.

      • ProTerran says:

        When the content quality of a website is high (which in this case in my opinion is), then adding “donation button” could be a good solution – especially when the traffic volume is increasing.

        I know many websites where blogger/writer has resigned from ads (to make website more user friendly) for donations and it really paid off.

  3. notabilia says:

    ProBlogger.com and DesignSponge.com have a lot of articles (and comments) about these topics. I agree one has to think long and hard about blogging for $$$. Good luck!

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for the links notabilia. Learnt so much from you already. You’re my guide to the Singapore Arts scene.

      • notabilia says:

        You might also want to check out http://decor8eclasses.com. I took her class last year and it really gave me a great deal of insight into professional blogging and/or the things that blogging could lead to. I highly, highly recommend.

        And thanks for your kind words. Though I don’t blog directly for $$$ (no ads), my blog has led to quite a number of paid gigs (writing, styling, teaching). I also get invited to lots of show openings and such due to my blog and this helps to expand my network.

  4. kirsten says:

    If it’s something that you’ve decided that you want to do, then just go for it and try! You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve once you just do it. πŸ™‚

    For me I don’t really feel comfortable with advertorials, or even the bloggers’ club things that OMY.sg invite me to. Neither do I really feel like putting ads on my blog, so I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I won’t be making money with this.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks Kirsten…you’re one of the very first people I met in the blogging world….still recall that you were being stalked online at the time, and I felt so worried about you…..and annoyed at the creepy guy.

      Yeah partly being the agoraphobe that I am, not too comfortable with OMY type events. Totally respect your decision. It’s a choice that we make peace with depending on our comfort levels I guess. I also want to remain anonymous so that’s my issue.

      Adore your spud production logo by the way πŸ™‚

  5. Laura says:

    Good luck on whatever you decide to do, I’m sure it will be right for you. I found your blog a while ago but have only recently become a more regular viewer recently (more fool me)!

  6. Crystal says:

    I’m still at 150-200 hits a day, so I’m pretty far off a desirable level of traffic for ad space, sadly.

    I don’t think ads ruin the integrity of a blog. I think if you keep them small (as others have said) and are always open about sponsored posts, there’s no reason not to try. Plenty of people I read regularly (amalah.com, uppercasewoman.com etc) are paid bloggers (whether on their own sites or via secondary sites that they are open about).

    For a little over a year I was a paid blogger for a more “adult” website, writing about sexuality and parenting. That writing gig inspired my new career as a sex educator on the topic of sex and pregnancy, sex and the post partum period and eventually I want to add talking to children about sex. So whether it makes you a ton of cash or not, it can lead to exciting new opportunities, regardless.

    • bookjunkie says:

      It’s really wonderful that blogging led you to discover your new career. Also I am glad to know that you think ads don’t ruin the integrity of a blog as long as they don’t overwhelm the blog.

  7. imp says:

    Perfectly fine to blog for money if that’s the direction you want to go. But if your sponsors are mainly from Sgp, the ad culture here is different, from say Thailand or Malaysia. Firms and restaurants here have no sense of humor. Side bar ads- no issues. It’s your reviews that you can’t be totally honest about, even if you don’t like something. But at some point, you’ll need to put a face to this blog. It generates higher hits and an inclination for advertisers to approach you if they know who and how.

    On the portion of writing, if you keep that integrity, readers will know. I’ve read blogs who started out fine, and when the paid advertorials come in, they stopped knowing how to write, and I stopped reading. The posts become rambling, overload of information and it stinks ‘trying too hard to sell’. But yes, I only use a blog for further information and my trust level for it goes down alot.

    But yes, paid blogging opens the door to many freelance writing opportunities. it’s not selling out. It’s all a matter of fine balancing on your part.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for your views Imp. I would be ok with nice looking side bar ads.

      Yeah, I really don’t feel comfortable having to sell things I don’t like. I really need that honesty in writing, otherwise it becomes zero fun and a total chore. I tend to gloss over advertorial posts so I don’t think those work. Unless of course it’s a product I already love and sells on it’s own, but it rarely is and is usually some obscure or low quality product. The worse one I’ve seen are advertorials for pizza hut’s new products – the one where the cheese oozes of the crust like puss (I’m being so mean here because I never tried it – but it looked like that to me). Don’t think Pizza Hut will be calling me anytime soon, but then again I only order Dominos ;-p

      The freelance writing opportunities sound like the most enticing. I guess in the end I have to remember that these blogs are ours and we makes the rules and not the advertisers – otherwise we lose ourselves for $.

      • notabilia says:

        I agree w/ Imp. Eventually, if you want more opportunities, you are going to have to put a face to your blog (at least in Singapore). I blogged anonymously until April, but then had to “come out” to make the connections I wanted to make. (Look out for me in Sunday’s ST ;).)

        Now, as people approach me, I have had to create a strict guidelines for myself (i.e. no reviews unless I deem whatever they are selling/pitching review-worthy). As I wrote above, I am making no money directly from my blog, but I am making money through the opportunities I have found and/or have come to me via my blog.

        Again, good luck. You will find a balance that works for you. (And, I love talking about this stuff. A lot. If you want to chat in depth, you know where to find me.)

  8. Zoe Lim says:

    Opportunities have presented themselves, seize it!
    Just remember that no matter what happens, stay true to yourself and decisions and you won’t go wrong. πŸ™‚

  9. Claudia says:

    Hi, just wondering. How to get advertorials in blogs?

    • bookjunkie says:

      I think mostly companies would approach you through a contact page or email on your blog?

      But I think I’d rather have sponsors than advertorials as I find advertorials biased and tend to avoid them when I see them on other blogs. Unless the advertiser allows you to be completely honest and not just flatter them because they are paying you. Somehow I am just not comfortable if I can’t be completely honest.

  10. Claudia says:

    Haha. Me too. Prefer to do my own reviews so that I can be completely honest. If it’s not good, I can’t say that it’s good.

    By the way, saw some nice photos you took at Holland Village. Do they allow photo-taking in shops? Sometimes, I got asked to stop taking photographs!

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much Claudia πŸ™‚

      yeah me too. I get annoyed when I’m told to stop (rudely) because isn’t this free promotion? There was this chocolate shop in Vivo that loudly & rudely told people no photos and they closed in like a month. They basically chased away potential customers and free advertising due to paranoia that everyone who takes photos must be their business competitor or spy or something? Or perhaps they are just not well versed with the blogging world and the potential organic marketing benefits?

  11. Claudia says:

    Yeah, but oh well! Have you tried asking them before? I did and they just said that it’s their company’s policy. They have no idea themselves too!

  12. Larel says:

    I feel that its a chicken and egg thing somehow, unless you’ve reached financial freedom. The money will let you concentrate more on blogging i guess. Well, you should be happy that people like to read your blog! I stumbled upon this blog and I feel that the content is really really very nice. Makes me look at Singapore in a different angle πŸ™‚

    Appreciate your honest reviews too. Keep it that way πŸ™‚ I feel that even if the business aspects were to come in, it may allow you to do better because you can be selective. Still the decision is up to you πŸ™‚

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Larel. Really appreciate it πŸ™‚ Would love to do this as a living and balance it by being selective.

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