The Business of Blogging

Blogging-For-Money

It’s been almost six years since I started this blog and as I approach that mind-blowing anniversary I feel the desire to address something that’s come up time and again in the comments sections here, in conversation and all over the interwebs as of late.  And that is the delicate business of making money from blogging.  A few weeks ago I posted about some vendors I was using for my renovation and someone commented asking what I was “given/paid” to link to these people in my post.  I jumped to my own defense, perhaps in haste, as I felt incredibly offended by the accusation that I can be paid to post about a product or vendor- espeically when I’m paying a vendor to do work for me!  But it did make me think about the business of blogging and how there is a huge amount of confusion and dilution of recommendations in blogging due to the fact that we are now seen as a venerable form of media and getting paid for it.

I am sure there are some bloggers who love the swag so much they will post about anyone and anything to get free stuff or money.  There are bloggers who don’t take on advertisers and don’t make a dime off their blog.  And then there are the rest of us who walk the middle of the road- we post about what we love and if we happen to get paid for it, well that’s just great. Yes, I get sent free stuff. Yes, I get offered discounts.  Yes, I get commissions on some things I link to on this blog. Yes, I have advertisers that pay me a fee for a little button on the sidebar.  But here is the most crucial side note to all that- I have a very strict rule for myself in which I ask myself every single time I link/post/accept an advertiser- “would I blog about this person/thing/service regardless of compensation? Does this fit with my aesthetic?”  If the answer is yes, then so be it.  If the answer is no, then I turn down whatever they are offering me and you don’t see any of it. In fact, I turn down way, WAY more than I accept.  And if I’m sent something that I don’t like, I try to give helpful feedback to the company as to why I won’t post about their item and offer to send it back.  I cannot be bought, but I do think I (and all other bloggers) deserve to be compensated when it’s appropriate.

While I never, ever want to turn into a “sell out”, I also have come to accept what people have been saying to me for years- that I deserve to make money for all the hard work and time I invest in this blog. As long as it does not compromise my content and what I recommend and post, then it harms no one if I happen to make a few bucks on the back end. It in fact propels me to blog MORE.  After all, this is an entrepreneurial venture at it’s core.  Leandra Mendine, the woman behind the famous “ManRepeller” blog posted a great piece this week about how “blogging” has somehow become a dirty word and how bloggers have entered a world in which we will constantly be questioned about our motivation to post about a certain thing-even when it comes from a totally honest and natural place.  The true motivation behind all our blogs is to create a career for ourselves that wasn’t being offered up to us in the traditional manner of times past.  No one was offering me a job as an editor at a shelter or fashion magazine– and so I became my OWN editor.  And now that companies small and large see us as a valuable alternative to expensive print media- we are reaping some of the same benefits.  But it bothers readers more, I think,  because our blogs were born from a simpler place of influence-free opinion.  They want to be sure that they are still getting honest content and not being hit over the head with paid advertorials.  That concerns me too as a reader and writer.

I am not a housewife with a hobby (as I’ve been accused of as well- not that there is anything wrong with that I/my blog are just neither of those things)- I need to make an income in order to continue spending hours a day penning this blog.  And it’s been so amazing to see so many other people be able to quit soul-sucking day jobs because their blogs have provided enough business and income to allow them to live out their dreams of self-employment.  And others, like myself, who now employ other people because of their blogs.  We’ve created this fantastic new economy of creativity, opinion and entrepreneur-ism, but we all have to make sure that we never lose what got us here- our unedited enthusiasm and opinion. Just as readers need to support us in our hopes to become financially independent and sound.  It’s a fine balance, it really is, but I for one plan to continue to tow that line with all my might.

 

118 comments

  1. Here! Here! Great soapbox chat! I support you and your business endeavors . I think it is fantastic that you make money doing what you love and hold yourself to a strict code of conduct. That’s why you have so many followers! Keep doing what you are doing. I personally love your sponsor posts because they are usually companies that have beautiful products that I didn’t know about otherwise. So in the wise words of “yearbook signing” I leave you with, you’re perfect just the way you are, don’t change!

  2. Well I AM a housewife with a hobby and that hobby is reading great blogs! OF COURSE you should earn something for all the work and heart you put into this blog. I personally have no fear that sponsorship is going to “taint” your blog in anyway. After years of reading your blog I know that you are authentic and have great taste and can’t imagine you featuring something hideous or not functional just to earn a few bucks. Your entire brand is about bringing beautiful, chic things to your clients and readers, I can’t imagine you doing anything to tarnish that – it would be shortsighted and a detriment to all that you have been working hard to build.

  3. Well, this is America and everyone should follow their passions. As long as you follow your authentic self, don’t compromise who you are and would actually use these products in your own home or a clients, then you should receive compensation. Just be really true to yourself – and continue to ask yourself, would I really use this and be honest. Certainly, the advertisers are getting something from your blog, otherwise they would not be approaching you. Go for it girlfriend! You have worked your rear off, and enjoy your success.

  4. You and other successful bloggers have created an outlet for small businesses to get the word out about their brand to a specific group of readers and a considerably discounted price!
    If someone has a problem tell them not to read it :) Everyone else looks forward to your posts!!

  5. I agree it could be helpful for you to have some sort of “disclosure” statement to ward of any future issues, inquiries, and whiners. It has always been obvious to me that you have sponsors, given your sponsor introduction posts, and that you accept advertising, as you disclose at the top of your blog. It is also clear that you put your heart and soul into your business and have developed a great relationship and trust with your audience. I don’t know you personally, but I adore your blog and believe you deserve all of your successes and the ability to earn compensation for your blogging.

  6. What a great post! I need to have my hubby read it! He’s always wondering when I’m going to start making some real money blogging. Ha ha!

  7. Its funny that you posted this when you did. Because as I went through my daily blog roll, and was reading another awesome blog, I felt that it had started to lack that personal feeling. I thought to myself, I will just head over to my favorite blog, Elements of Style. Because you never lack that. I just thought you should know, that your blog seems to be the perfect balance of being professional and personal.

  8. I read this standing in the customs line at JFK- 2 hours, so plenty of time to process the information. I do agree that we should be able to profit from our blogs, as long as the integrity of the blog is not lost! There are blogs out there that are clearly just writing ad copy for whatever company is paying them. I have been approached by companies to blog about products or topics that I do not know enough about, so I have refused. Although I would love to profit from all of the work I put into writing my blog, I certainly would not want to taint my reputation for a few dollars. Your blog is always straightforward and honest, and a fun read as well!

  9. Well said! You’re doing a great job and I, for one, have no problem with the choices you’ve made! Keep it up!

  10. Great post! I’ve been blogging for about 4 months now and I love it! The more time I spend blogging the more I realize that I’d love for it to grow into something that could support me financially, but there is always that authenticity line to consider.
    Just found your blog and really enjoy it! xx Kelley

Comments are closed.