Number one on my list of potential extra income sources was blogging/web revenue. The first website I ever owned was an online shop set up in 2006 for the craft items I made and sold, and I fumbled along with it for years, never making any money from it apart from a few sales. I read about how important it was to have a blog, so I set one up via Blogger… but I didn’t really know what I was doing then. Eventually, I wrapped up that business and started something entirely new.
How am I going to make more money by blogging? I’ve had some success with blogging in the past, but in a non-commercial sense… although I did win a prize of lots of art materials for one blog! That was a project-based blog though, with an audience that was primed to be engaged and supportive, and blogging as a business is very different.
|Here’s my blogging checklist…|
The difference between now and then is that I’m now prepared to view myself as a businessperson. I still write about personal issues, and I have no intention to just copy successful blogs (as I truly despise homogeneity), but I’m able to focus on writing more for readers and not just for myself.
Now, this blog is all about money, so I don’t feel bad about openly monetising it. But as for my art website… oh no. I’ve had that website for 5 years and never earned a penny off it. I couldn’t bear to put an ad near my precious art, darling!
Well, that was how I felt before. I’ve been thinking differently about it since starting this blog. I’ve learned a lot of things that I can apply to that art website, such as actually starting a blog on it, and gearing it towards personal finance for artists. Hey, I might be close to pulling the two of these together!
What I’m doing right now is monetising my websites with ads and affiliate marketing. I’ll be looking into other companies shortly, but right now I use AffiliateWindow, which requires a £5 ‘deposit’ to get started. This money is credited to your account balance, and you receive payment once your balance reaches the threshold of £20.
Whilst I allow Google ads on this site (and I have to sort those things out, since I was looking at it the other day and saw an ad for Russian ladies in the sidebar, and I promise you I haven’t been googling that!) I won’t go near that kind of ad on my art website. It would be incongruous. I will, however, put a discreet affiliate banner for Etsy there. I feel that I can actually endorse that merchant since I actually have friends who sell their crafts on Etsy, and I plan to look into selling there myself.
Apart from that, I hope to use that site to showcase and sell my artwork and my essays in the form of ebooks, but that’s a separate income stream.
So, back to this blog – I’ve actually taken away most of the Google AdSense blocks and most of the affiliate banners I tried when I first got them, because it was all too cluttered. When I first decided to have a go at placing ads on this blog, I’ll admit, I went a bit overboard. I never put an ad into a post, but there were too many of them all around… bad idea.I decided not to use affiliate banners for companies I didn’t actually use myself, but having too many banners made it look like just the opposite. They had to go. What’s the point of writing honest reviews and opinions when you look as though you’re trying to flog products indiscriminately? Less is more.
I’ve tried to improve the layout and design as much as I can to make it more pleasant for readers – you may have noticed the changes if you’ve visited before! This blog is (at the time of writing) hosted by Blogger, which is great because it’s free, and I can actually understand the back end of it! My art website is a free WordPress theme and oh – it’s ever so much prettier. But there have still been issues with layout, loading times and images, and getting to grips with the behind-the-scenes setup has been much more difficult than with Blogger. Still, I’ll keep running both until the day I decide to move this blog to WordPress as well, a day I’m putting off for as long as possible!
All of this comes at a price – trying to run two blogs (and keep up with the social media requirements for both) is a kind of madness. Fortunately, I like a bit of madness! I’m trying hard to keep all of the costs under control by doing everything myself – more madness, but this is a money-saving blog, so I’m keeping it real. 😉
Will it all pay off? Well, time will tell. I’ll be including income from advertising on my blogs in my income reports, but only once it’s in my bank account – until then, it’s not ‘real’.
Still, this is a longer-term venture, and we need to make a little more money right now. Up next will be my bash at selling my artwork!
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