Sunday, July 24, 2011

Discussion: Making Money on Your Blog

Let's be honest here, it would be nice if blogging made you money, right? I mean, sure, we all blog because we love blogging, but why turn down the opportunity to make money doing what you love?

Though some bloggers can make a lot of money, book blogging isn't exactly a lucrative niche. Maybe you'd make enough to pay for a few giveaways or a domain name. That's good though, right? Except...apparently this can be a pretty heated issue with strong opinions on both sides.

How do you feel when you see a blogger making money off their site?

In my travels I've come across a few different reactions.

The Negative Reactions

Sellout! The basic idea here is that you started blogging because you were in it for the books, but then you sold your integrity to make a buck. Can you be trusted anymore? Do you still care? Personally, I think it's pretty obvious when a blogger cares about their blog, and I don't think that's tied to money.

Greedy! This one's pretty similar to Sellout. The assumption is that you only care about making money. Your blog (and your readers) doesn't actually matter to you outside of being a means to earn cash. Again, personally I think it's clear when a blogger loves blogging, regardless of whether or not they're making money from it.

Beggar! Usually seen when someone has a donation link. The idea is that the blogger set up their blog as a way to beg you for money. Gimme gimme gimme is their motto!

The Positive Reactions

Good For You! This is the "I like you and I'm happy you're successful" response. This is usually the response I have whenever I see my blogging friends making some money doing what they love doing. 


It's a deal! This is the flip side of a donation button. The donation button is nice because then I have the option to donate when I feel they've been particularly helpful to me (and when my wallet allows, which it doesn't right now!). Introduce me to my favorite book ever? Host a particularly spectacular event? Teach me something useful? Sometimes it's nice to be able to say thank you with more than words.

How are you making money, anyway?

I've also noticed that the reaction can sometimes be tied to the money making method the blogger chooses. Here are a few common methods:

Amazon Affiliate! If you're an Amazon Affiliate, you may receive a small percentage of the sale price if someone clicks on a link to Amazon through your blog and then buys something from Amazon's site. Usually this is a pretty unobtrusive way to advertise because a reader isn't bombarded with a bunch of ads and only sees links they would probably find useful and are book-related anyway. For me, I buy my new books through Amazon, so I figure if I'm going to buy them anyway, then why not help out one of my beloved bloggers in the process? Only problem? Some people really don't like Amazon. There are other affiliate options out there, but I don't know much about them. Do you?

 Advertisements! Advertisements are probably the form of money making I would find most annoying. They're really obvious and often interrupt the flow of the post or clutter up the sidebars of a blog. Lucky for me, I use Adblock Plus, which blocks all those pesky advertisements from showing up on my screen. If I didn't use this software, ads might seriously deter me from reading a blog because they can just be such an eyesore. Especially if they're animated.

Donations! Another major form of revenue generation I've seen comes from donations. I don't mind this because it's usually a small button that doesn't take up much space and leaves the choice up to me. I like it when the blogger writes something nice and "No pressure," but it turns me off when their message is flashy and very "GIVE ME MONEY PLEEEEASE!!" 

So what's your opinion? Are you happy for the blogger? Do you still trust them? Would you still visit their blog?

What forms of advertising do you dislike? What forms do you like? Do you use any of these methods on your own site? If so, do you recommend it?


  1. I think it's a personal choice for each blogger, but I agree with you, that money doesn't have much to do with whether or not you love blogging or take it seriously.

    I usually don't mind the Amazon affiliate links and if I can use them, I sure do it.

    Adds are a bit annoying at times but hey, to each its own

  2. I think it's great if a blogger is managing to make money, although there's one site that makes me feel sick to look at it...


  3. I think that a blogger's blog is just that - their blog. If they are offering something you are not interested in, don't read it. Follow what you personally enjoy and otherwise let people be. I thought the whole blogging idea was for individuals to express their views and that is that. Those of us who follow can exercise our prerogative to participate if we want to or not. Was what I just said redundant :) OH Well - see you in the blogs.

  4. I don't mind if a blogger makes some money through their blog because they work so hard on it as long as they're still doing it because they love it rather than just for the earnings. Personally, I'm not a big fan of adverts on blogs (especially if they're not related to books) but I think the Amazon Affiliate scheme is really good and I'm happy to support other bloggers in that. Particularly with the donations it really does depend on how the blogger handles it because as you said, a nice message is fine and I know some people state they use any donations to fund giveaways. At the end of the day, it's up to each blogger's personal judgement and if I really liked the content of a blog then I wouldn't let money-making deter me!

  5. I'm not against ads on blogs per se, but it's not good when there are too many of them. I've seen this happen on a couple of blogs recently. They start off with one ad, and then suddenly there are ten! Also, the donation buttton is a turn off for me!

    I have an Amazon widget on my blog as I wanted to show my summer reading recommendations and that was the easiest way to do it. Also, it looks a lot prettier than anything I could have made myself. Want to know how much money I've made from that? I am literally rolling in cash right now! lol! Kidding. I've made nothing from it. Nada. But hopefully a couple of people got some reading recs! :)

    I also have a widget for The Book Depository, but I'm removing it the next time I do a clear up, as I can't log into my affiliate account on there anymore for some strange reason.

  6. I dislike donations and advertisements.

    For the donations i have the beggar opinion. I don't see how blogging needs extra money in that way? Why they should donate to someone? I feel proud when people visit my blog and read my reviews and commenting. It makes me happy. So i don't mind to have a new giveaway each month with my own money to say thanks to them. And blogger doesn't need host money so we are okay there.

    As for the ads, i personally don't get any cause of ABP but they are annoying. It's not the fact that they make money. Don't care about it. But when they pop up, or they are to many the pages load slowly and sometimes i just don't wait for them to load.

    It's personal choice. And i don't say i don't read blogs that try to make money but i made put a grin on my face when i see one of the things above. I think the Amazon and BD Affiliate is the most and most relative way to gain money, for blog reviewers.

  7. I think it's great that some book bloggers can make some money of their blog. While I usually don't have money to spare for Amazon or donations I appreciate that other people might be able to and that the option should be available for them. I wouldn't not follow a blog just because they make money from it, that's just pointless.

    I agree that ads are really distracting though. If it's something book-related I might let it slide but things like appliances and home decorating? Seriously? I don't really understand those.

  8. I don't have a problem with bloggers making money in any way off of their site. It's only an issue when the quality of the posts suffer (because they DON'T actually care about their blogs) or the ads/widgets/etc take up a tremendous amount of room and I'm FORCED to look at them. I don't like it when the ads are everywhere and the sidebar starts to look weird or makes it hard to navigate. Plus, there is the eyesore aspect as well. As long as their money-making methods don't interfere with my blogging experience, then I'm on board with 'Good for you!'

    ~ Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  9. I really like the idea of bloggers using the money they earn through affiliate links. I've tried to do it myself and earned 24 cents, so I can't say it was ever anything I was particularly good at. It doesn't matter now, though, because Californians can no longer do the affiliate thing through Amazon. I haven't heard anything from the Book Depository, but it doesn't really matter. I'm too lazy to link.

    About the money thing--I think it's subjective. People often ask me if I make money and my general answer is "No, but I get free books." The response is inevitably disappointment. I think about it differently, though. When I was young, I remember that my dad's boss gave him a company credit card that he could use to pay for his gas. That meant that the money he previously used on gas could now go to buy something else. Since purchasing books was where such a significant part of my income went preblog (although it's still significant), I can now spend that money elsewhere.

  10. I'd love to know anyone that made money from being an Amazon Affiliate. I've been one for a year and think I've made two dollars. They don't give you that money unless it's over ten or something.

    To each his own really. I don't like ads or donate buttons but there are so many blogs out there that you can find plenty with good content and neither on them.

    Some bloggers might have a real need to make money from their blog. Others may be cashing in on their high following number. But, it all comes down to it is their blog. I don't want anyone telling me what to put on mine.


  11. i have to agree with the annoying ad thing. man, it REALLY annoys me. the amazon affiliate's okay with me--and donate...i dunno.

    i don't really like the idea of making money off blogging to begin with. as long as it's unobstrusive, though, i don't mind.

    i was actually thinking about this topic the other day and was wondering if i should do a blog post about it. your post just about covers it, though :D

  12. I can see both sides. Ads do tend to bug me on blogs though.

  13. Interesting discussion topic and comments.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this for myself. I do the associate thing because I feel that it is not being too pushy and in reality anything I make would go back into the blog, even though I've only made like 10 bucks and have put way more than that into my blog. But the last thing I'd want to do is annoy people with a bunch of ads. I guess it is just up to the blogger. If you can pull it off successfully, why not.

  14. I tried to do the affiliate thing, but then Illinois passed a law that won't let it work so there went that idea. I don't have a problem with it, but I probably expect to see their site host lots of giveaways if there is a lot of advertising.

  15. I don't mind people making money off their blog - I'd really like to do that at some point :-)
    I also don't mind advertisements if they don't take up a lot of room. For example, The Story Siren has plenty of ads - more than most - and I don't think they detract from her blog.
    I wouldn't do the donation thing. I don't have anything against it in principal, but I know I'd never donate to support someone else's reading habit, so I don't see why they would donate to support mine.

  16. Alex, Seems like we’re on the same page :)

    ComaCalm, haha, I haven’t noticed their ads. I’m so glad I use ad-blockers!

    Denise, Totally agree with you. I was just curious about your individual preferences :)

    Stephanie, Ooh, good point! I didn’t even think of advertisements that aren’t book-related, but you’re right. They often leave me a little confused, like hm, one of these things doesn’t belong!

    Leanna, haha, yes, I’ve heard the Amazon Affiliate program was incredibly lucrative! :P But, like you said, at least the way you’re using it it serves another purpose. I’ve seen that happen with ads, too. At least, when I looked at a site on my work computer (that doesn’t have adblock) I was shocked at how many ads there were!

    Yiota, Isn’t ABP awesome? It makes reading some sites so much easier. The donation/pay idea is an interesting one that I’m only just sort of starting to understand. It seems like a lot of other types of blogs do seem to exist primarily to make money, but book blogging is a very different niche. Book bloggers seem a lot more into it for love of their hobby than for profit.

    Laura, Haha, yeah, I agree about the non-book ads. They’re strange. I agree, I wouldn’t stop reading a blog just because they were making money. I was pretty surprised when I saw that type of response.

    Asher, completely agree with you!

    Rubita, Oh, good point about different states not being able to use the Amazon program. I get the same response from people! But I agree with you. To me, books are a form of payment and, like you said, it’s saving money (that really just goes to more books!)

  17. Heather, Haha, I know I haven’t heard of anyone who has made a significant amount of money through Amazon’s program. Maybe it works better for higher dollar items like appliances? I agree too. Sometimes blogging can be a source of income for a person, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    Aleeza, Haha, yeah, especially when the ads are flashing, making noise, or clogging up the whole page. I’d be interested in reading your post and your readers’ comments. Would be interesting to see how they compare :)

    Anna, Agreed. :)

    Missie, I agree. It seems like if a blogger can find that balance between making money and not being intrusive about it then that’s the key. Hey! I think you’re the most successful Amazon Affiliate person I’ve seen. Double digits! :P

    Logan, Aw, I had heard about California, but I didn’t know Illinois passed a law too. That’s a shame.

    Alison, I just checked out The Story Siren’s blog now without my ad blocker. She does have a lot! I never realized because I apparently had them all blocked.

  18. The Story Siren's blog is actually the one that comes to my mind first when I think about this discussion. The ads on her blog don't irritate me exactly, but my feeling is, if the thought "Gosh she sure has a lot of ads on her blog" crosses my mind, that probably means she has too many. At least for my taste.

    I never thought about the donation button as supporting another person's reading habit. It's a really good point. I like the idea of being an affiliate because someone (else) should benefit from all the business that Amazon does thanks to us bloggers. It might as well be the people who read my blog.

  19. I've been debating this question for my own blog. When i think of it I start to feel guilty like I am a sell out or something.

  20. You know, my general thoughts on this have always been just, "Meh." I really don't care if a blogger wants to make a few extra dollars from their blog. I doubt anyone really makes a lot anyway. Even The Story Siren says she only makes enough to fund some giveaways.

  21. Ruby, Mmm, yes, she does have good bit of ads, but I like how they’re organized just on the side and since I don’t see them I don’t mind. I like how Adblock Plus allows a person to run ads without bothering readers. I never thought about the donation button that way either, but that’s probably because if I had any amount of donations I’d use the money for boring things like gas or food 'cause they don't pay much at work! :P

    Alexis, I think some people do see it as selling out, but that’s not what I would think. I think there are tasteful ways to display ads, and as long as they’re related to your blog then it doesn’t seem to bother a lot of people. It really does show when a blogger cares about their blog, and I wouldn’t consider them sell outs.

    Aylee, That’s true. I think she only makes enough for giveaways from Amazon Affiliate program. The paid for ads on the side seem to be a decent amount of money, but I don’t know the details.

  22. Another great post! =)
    Your posts get better!!
    I agree with all the negatives, I actually started to do the advert things and then decided against it as I dislike blogs crammed with blogs.
    Without mentioning names there is a blog I used to like but now has way too many, It's a shame and does take a lot away from good posts.


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