If You Couldn't Be Paid for Blogging…

A little while ago, while we were discussing this mess with Google penalizing people, Valentin got me thinking about a very important question. For me it boiled down to :

“If you couldn’t receive any kind of financial compensation for your blogging, would you still be at it?”

And I think for a lot of us, it’s a very interesting question to explore.

…So let’s explore.

Your Blog’s Revenue is Now Zero
Of course we’re dealing in the hypothetical, but WHAT IF by an act of God, your blog could no longer generate any revenue? That means no sponsored posts, no direct ad sales, CPM, CPC, no anything! And you’re not allowed to invent another revenue stream either! So just to recap – Your blog can’t make money, PLUS it is not allowed to help another product make money, online or off.

Would Your Content Change?
Most of us are currently in the “thick of things” as it goes with our blogs and the internet, myself included. We forget that quite often, we blog about things only because we think we’ll get paid in someway for it. But if the money incentative went away, how would your blog change?

I can tell you that this site would be quite different. Firstly, it would be much more personal and you’d see me talking every last thing that popped into my head. Some posts would be short, and some would go on for WAY too long. And besides the structure of the posts (which again would be all over the place), the biggest change would probably be in frequency. I don’t know which way it would go either a lot less or a lot more, but it would definietely be different.

Why Do YOU Blog?
I guess that’s really what it all comes down to. And I think this is the reason why sometimes us bloggers have little tiffs with each other. We all have our reasons for blogging, and sometimes those reasons can be very different. I think in the blogosphere you definitely have those that are writers at heart and thus blogging is very personal to them.

Consequently, they can sometimes feel as if advertisements are perverting their craft. And I can understand that. I think for these “purists”, they feel the blogosphere would be much better if advertisements and the lure of money w/blogging went away.

… Now I’m not really trying to say anything with this post, but I thought the whole thing was very interesting to think about. Would you still be blogging if there was no longer any money in it?

21 thoughts on “If You Couldn't Be Paid for Blogging…”

  1. Good question Bush. Other than contest winnings, I haven’t had my blog monetized for a couple of months now. I do, however, fully intend to use it for entreprenuerial purposes eventually. I just need to determine exactly how.

    I have to honestly say, if there were never any potential to make money with my blog, it would probably fade away eventually because my mind is always distracted by ways to make something proffitable.

    I love blogging so I honestly don’t know if I would stick with it.

    Thank goodness we don’t have to find out 😉

  2. Absolutely. I started blogging way before I knew I could make money from it. To me, making money blogging is an added bonus. I often try to incorporate my paid blogging with my life. Whether it be a memory from my past or about my family.

  3. @Ad Tracker – Hey there buddy! Thanks for the honest answer, it adds a lot to the conversation. And I hear ya, the potential to make money blogging certainly makes the whole venture worth staying with and keeping up with for a lot of bloggers. *nod*

    @Sassy – I kinda stumbled into blogging myself not knowing that I could make money doing it. Before my site was a blog, it was a lot more…arduous to update content and it never got to the point where people were coming to look at it. And again like yourself, if I wasn’t trying to put this blog into a certain “niche”, there’d be a ton more family stuff on there. But I guess that’s why I have my other blog!

  4. Hey Bush,

    Yeah, I’d still blog. It’s a great way to get things off your chest that would otherwise eat you up inside. I’ve kept a couple of blogs that had no monetization on it, and oddly enough, I still had people reading.

    Of course, the money part is great, but sometimes I think that people put too much into it.

  5. @Christine – *nod* Blogging is definitely a release for a lot of us. Honestly, I don’t do a ton of releasing on this site, nor do I on my other blog but maybe that’s because not too many things really bother me or make me feel like I have to say something.

    But of course, things that make you angry aren’t the only things that you have to get off your chest. I know one of the things that I love about my other blog is that with being a new dad, there are so many things that I just have to say or get out and amongst my friends, I’m one of the few who is married and the only one who has kids! So that makes Da Mack Daddy really the only place where I have a theater to talk about parenting!

    (And big thanks to bringing this up because there was a post I meant to write a while ago which I never did… Hopefully I’ll still manage to get it out…)

  6. I have allways said something I know, I feel, I breath, but maybe I can`t put it in plain english. Plain words I mean.

    First of all, I, personaly, I value far more the challenge than the prize. As I`m a rebel – Thoreau`s way.

    You say mostly everybody (cut the “mostly”) espect a kinda reward for his actions. Blogging, for instance.

    And here we come to the roots : what the heck is blogging ?
    If is not, basicaly, spreading opinions and impressions, then I don`t find a better explanation.

    Making money (online) is like a vehicle. In this new age of (inter)communications, blog is the vehicle`s engine.
    Pretty essential, isn`t it ?
    Not quite : a vehicle need MANY things. Just engine is not even close to enough. Whorst even : outthere are vehicles running WITHOUT an engine .. and working just perfect ..

    Internet marketing gurus keep saying “money are in the list”. Now, once blogs become (for some) the mighty-money-making-machine, they abuse this wonderfull communication tool with the business itself.

    Blogging is not a business.

    Blogging is something you MUST like to do. While doing it, it MAY help your business, MAY add value to business thru image you create to readers, thru respect and aprouval you grab for your opinions and impressions and even make you famous (or notorius 😛 ).

    Well, some may allready make a living from blogging – earning enough from just blogging, I mean.
    Right, also some industries offer “n” tousends jobs in a certain factory, despite that that factory polute the enviorment.
    I mean, doing something wich SEEMS to work doesn`t mean is also the right thing to do …

  7. I would blog even if it did not make money…as I do now. It is a hobby and a way to share my creativity. However, I would like to make a bit of money to pay for photography, art materials and pay for the site. 🙂

  8. My blogging certainly started as something that I never intended to make a lot of money with. In fact, when my blog started making more money than my website, Restaurant Selector, I was really surprised.

    However, now that I have seen the money that can be made from blogging it’s hard to pass that money up. I would also argue that there is no way my blog would still be up if I was not making money on it.

    It’s actually a very funny thing to me. In the rules of PayPerPost it talks about this very fact. Your blog must be interesting, it must have meaningful content within non-oppurtunity (paid) posts. My blog has this, I think. The only reason it has this though is because I know that by putting up my thoughts and news stories I will be able to put up a payperpost oppurtunity.

    Also, to that end, as far as blogging goes, one of the funnest things for me is to take to seemingly unrelated things and combine them in one discussion for the sake of advertising. Like when I recommended that Keira and Keeley put on miliatary uniforms. If not for ads and paid posting I would have never come up with that post. So in that sense it’s not about the money, but more about the idea.

  9. If I couldn’t make money blogging, I’d still do it. My posts would cover a lot more topics from personal to tech to everything in between. Blogging is my therapy. Monetized or not, I’m here for the long haul.

  10. Nice thought Bush but i think i will continue blogging the same way. When i started blogging i didnt have any idea about monetization or adsense etc . So i will continue to blog but will focus more on content and less on design issues etc .

  11. @Valentin – Hey! I’m glad you got a chance to come over and check out this since you were the one who inspired it. I meant to write it a couple of weeks ago, but I ended up taking a little vacation instead.

    So when I said “mostly”, it was only for that sentence meaning most of us are neck deep in our blogs and blogging and may have lost perspective with this whole thing. I should’ve been clearer on that.

    And your comments remind me of an interesting conversation I had with one of my other friends about business and how funny that word is. If you ask a handful of people what business is, I bet you’ll get a ton of different answers. Maybe blogging shouldn’t be a business, but for a lot of people it is. Is that wrong? Who am I to say?

    @Beth – That’s another great thing about blogging… For artists, (of all kinds), it can be a great way to both show off your work, and also make a bit to keep doing it. *nod* (BTW, I’m still itching from that one picture).

    @Keira Blog – Interesting thoughts in regards to PPP. For those of you who don’t know, like Apex (Keira Blog) explains, PPP wants its sponsored reviews to be surrounded by legit content… I.e., they don’t want a blog to exist just for the purpose of sponsored posts.

    Isn’t that a funny thought?

    ‘Cause we all know that some blogs exist just for sponsored posts. Again, not saying it’s right or wrong, just saying it is what it is. And Apex, I really appreciate the thoughtful response here too. Sponsored reviews are certainly an odd thing… Because they CAN give you some good ideas for postings OR they give you an excuse to write some really good reviews. *shrugs* Funny things.

    @Brown – Yeah, I think we’re on the same page with this. Both on the content side if things changed, to the time frame which wouldn’t. (#):)

    @Madhur – Hm…Didn’t consider design. Reminds me of that link on BlogSolid about ads killing blog design… ‘Cause I happen to think if there was no monetization possibilities in blog design, blogs would look a lot more personal. Not that I’m so artistic that the current state of affairs really kills me though.

  12. @ Bush–

    I agree about getting things off your chest isn’t just about angry issues. My other blog Redhead Rants is my personal site. I talk about everything from my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers losing their backsides this year, to my 17 yr. old son dancing in a coconut bra and grass skirt on stage. (I’m so proud).

    I’ve only started doing sponsored posts on that site here recently, but I’ve got a system. I never post a sponsored ad unless I can come up with a regular post to place afterward. That way, the first thing people see when they stop by is a normal post, instead of a sponsored one. :o)

  13. Interestingly enough, the reason I don’t make money blogging is the same reason I was a terrible gigilo after high school. You can’t sell what you can’t give away. My failure in either venture was certainly not due to a lack of enthusiasm or a sincere desire to succeed!

    That aside, I think that the point where I make money doing something is the point where it becomes work. I enjoy many things, but when I feel like I HAVE to do something, it becomes a job and I end up losing interest. So, for what it’s worth, I don’t believe I’ll ever make or want to make money blogging. I’ll just enjoy the liberating thrill of being able to write for my faithful 40 and the rest of the intarweb be damned! 😀

  14. Great topic!

    I was blogging for about 8 months before I added my first advertisements (AdSense).

    I’m glad I did that first and I think it helped me succeed and get better at blogging.

  15. @Christine – In regards to sponsored posts, I used to do the same thing that you’re doing being getting a content post up up afterwards as soon as I possibly can. But then I was talking to Opal T on the subject and she kinda changed my mind on the subject.

    She basically said something to the effect of “they’re paying you for the review and more importantly the exposure so why not be fair to them and give them what they want”. So now that’s what I try and do. Plus, if I write good posts, it looks good for future advertisers too.

    @Steve – For me and making money endeavors, I think the whole “becoming work” thing is the hardest part of it all. Well, besides the whole making money aspect. That’s why even though I can make money with sponsored posts, I don’t feel great doing it. Not from a ethical point of view or anything but just because I know that if I DON’T do those posts, I don’t make money. That’s why despite how hard it can be, I refuse to give up on AdSense. Did that make any sense?

  16. @Kyle – I’m glad you like what you’re readin’ buddy! And on the waiting to place ads tip, I gotta agree. I’ve been involved in various parts of web development and blogging is just A DIFFERENT animal that takes time to learn if you’re going to have any kind of success with it.

  17. @ Bush–Wow, that actually makes a lot of sense. After all, these people are paying good money to have their ads displayed, and I’m working hard to give them the best adcopy I can.

    Dang, I might have to rethink this now. LOL. Thanks

  18. @Christine – Hey, if in the end all I did was just give you another way to think about something I’m happy. (#):) I think sponsored reviews are going to be treated a little different by everyone so I guess you just gotta figure out what’ll work best for you and your site. *nod*

  19. Hey Bush,
    Thanks for the mention buddy. Yes, I would still blog because well I’ve always enjoyed writing although there was a time when I stopped writing for years blogging helped me move past that block.

    I always try to see things from all sides. I guess that makes me a fence rider, right? 😉 However I did notice when I changed my outlook on paid reviews (putting myself in their shoes and how I would feel if my paid review was pushed off the page quickly) everything changed. I have a lot more advertisers accepting my offers or contacting me directly now. The biggest direct offer I received using a paid review website has been $150. On my own it has been more.

    There are some advertisers that not only look at how you write their review some of them will be looking at the way you write reviews for others. Guess what some of your potential advertisers might be regular readers of your website.

    I just got an email from an advertiser/reader today about my alternative healing website. They want to buy adspace. I don’t post on there a lot i fact I only posted on there once last month although I did add a few pages. I did not know they were an advertiser.

    If you write a good quality review they will be willing to pay you a lot more mine tend to be long and go over the number count. I don’t have to count to see if I have enough. I really enjoy writing those reviews.

    If I wasn’t making any money there are a two websites I would cut because they were made to be “Cash website” but the others nope they would stay.

    I write my posts, and then I’ll occasionally hunt for a suitable affiliate (if the website will support that sort of thing some of them won’t because it would turn off my readers.) A good example is my homeschooling website. I wrote about a good history resource, and then I thought after it was posted…hmm I bet I can find a good affiliate to match up with this content. Guess what? I did. 😉

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