Friday, August 21, 2009

On Blogging For Bucks

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I've been noticing a little bit of controversy around the blogosphere (at least the part I visit, mostly "Mommy blogs") about making money with blogging.

Some people think that bloggers who have ads on their site, or otherwise get paid to write, are selling out, that their integrity as writers is diminished.

Some folks think making money with a blog is fine as long as the writing continues to be unbiased and the blogger is not influenced to give a glowing review of a product simply because she is receiving a cash incentive.

Then, there are those who think as long as children are not exploited, any income is fine. Taking it one step further, sick children being showcased by a blogger who makes money seems to really get people riled up.

Here's what I think.

I started this blog, from the very first day, to make a little pocket change selling my oilcloth aprons.

I saw the opportunity when Barbara, at Mommy Life, asked why someone couldn't start up a little business making a cute apron she loved, but was no longer available. I did a quick bit of research and thought I would give it a go, and this blog was born. (I fully admit to exploiting my sewing machine in this endeavor.)

I knew I would use the blog as a place for customers to order the apron, but I also saw that I could keep my family and friends updated and entertained with the daily antics of our family.

At some point along the way, I was able to get some ads and they added to the change I was collecting. Last year, I made enough to pay for almost all of our children's Christmas gifts. (Each child gets one gift from us.)

Just this summer, I was able to order all but a few items for our homeschool curriculum with the income from my blog.

The reason I am telling you this is two fold.

First, I want you to know the primary reason I keep this blog up is for the enjoyment factor, not for the money. I won't ever post about something I don't believe in just to get paid.

Secondly, THANK YOU! I want you, my readers, to know that I appreciate you coming here to read my silly stories. Because of you, the advertisers know their products are getting noticed.

To those of you who use the links on my sidebar, Amazon and Swagbucks, thank you, too. I get a few cents each time someone uses those and those cents add up over time.

Obviously, I don't think there is anything wrong with a Mommy blogger making an income, large or small, with her writing. If I can do something I enjoy, that my family and friends enjoy, while still managing my home and caring for my children, and contribute a little bit to our family budget, why not?

What are your thoughts?


Cheryl said...

I feel pretty much the way you do. I have no problem with moms making money with their blogs if they continue to be unbiased in their opinions. If they want to get paid for any positive review, I think that's their prerogative too, but I won't be reading a blog that gives positive reviews to inferior products for a few bucks. I try to only read blogs with voices I feel I can trust.

Jamie said...

I have absolutely no problem with people making money for their writing. If I like a blog, I read it. If I don't, I don't visit again. It's really that simple.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

I agree with Cheryl. I do NOT like it when a blogger gets paid to give a positive review. It is then an advertisement and not a review.

That said, I think that making an income from a blog is a win for all parties. If a blogger offers valuable information (thus increasing traffic), the blogger is "rewarded" with the ability to earn some money, advertisers are happy to get exposure and readers have access to a world full of free information.

As far as sick kids go? When our baby was injured at birth I sent out regular email announcements updating our friends and family. If I had had a blog back then I would probably have posted updates on the blog as that would have been an easier way to spread the word about how he was progressing.

I suppose I don't know what people expect of someone who has an ill child. Mom bloggers blog about what is important to them and what is more important to a mommy than a sick child. So then should a mom who has an ill child be excluded from making any money? That certainly doesn't seem right.

That is my $.02, you can write me a check.

Smockity Frocks said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Ladies.

Kimberly, I have recently seen some say that constantly updating about a very sick child creates a lot of traffic because caring people want to pray for the child. If the blogger is making money from the traffic, then it may be tempting to exaggerate the illness to keep people coming back, thus make more money. They call this "exploiting the sick child".

I personally can't imagine any mother putting money over her child's health, but I guess it's a possibility.

Bonnie said...

I think it is awesome that you can do something you enjoy (making the aprons as well as writing), update family and friends, and make money all in one. There is nothing wrong with that. Plus, you bring joy to the life of people you don't even know - those of us who have met you and enjoy being a part of your life via reading. It is a pretty neat ministry as well.

rachel said...

I an happy for you if you can make some money while having fun. It doesn't get any better then that does it?

Smockity Frocks said...

Thank you for chiming in, everyone.

I have to say that when I see people complaining about a mommy blogger making money from blogging, the first thing that crosses my mind is they are jealous.

The mommy blogs that make a substantial income are the huge ones with thousands of readers and sometimes thousands of comments. When I see the complaints, they are just ripping apart every little thing they can about the blog, like "She overuses italics."

Alrighty then. Nitpicky much?

Brenda said...

What do I think? I think I wish I was making some money from my blog!

Jamie said...

I wanted to add something. The phenomenon of the mommy blog really reminds me of this book called The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan.
It is a true story of Ms. Ryan's mother and how she would always enter these complicated word jingle contests and would win prizes here and there that kept their family afloat. I believe this was in the 1950's.
To me Terry Ryan's mother would most assuredly be a mommy blogger if there was such a thing back then.
I really think you'd like the book.

Smockity Frocks said...

Jamie, I LOVE that book! I blogged about it here.

*Mirage* said...

Well, to try to keep it short (which for anyone who knows me is generally pretty close to impossible with me)... Here is my opinion! NOT directing this AT anyone, just a general this is how I feel.

a) I don't think it's bad to have ads on your blog as long as there aren't so many they get annoying.

b) If your primary purpose is making money and that's your only reason for writing then I think it will be obvious and people will not be as engaged. If you love to write and the few cents on the side is just a bonus for doing something you love, it will show and people will enjoy reading what you have to say.

c) I agree that if I had a sick kid that would be about all I'd blog about because that would be about all I'd think about. People with sick kids have tons of medical bills and probably need the extra cash the ads bring in. Medical care is insanely expensive. And if they are exploiting or exaggerating I think that's between them and God and if you think they're doing that for money then just don't read their blog. But do keep in mind that caring for someone who is in danger every moment is not only physically draining but also emotionally draining and while it may seem they are overblogging about it for the money, maybe they are just crying out for as much support as they can get because they are the one in the family holding it together and they need help holding themself together. They need to be told they are strong and they are being thought of and prayed for. Life seems a bit less overwhelming when you know there are people petitioning God for a miracle on your or your child's behalf.

d) I definately agree that it's rotten when people write a glowing review for a 2nd rate product just to get the money! I'm much more likely to try a product from a review by a blogger who is known to be honest on both sides, even if the review is mixed, than I am to try a glowing review by someone who always writes glowing reviews no matter the true quality of the product.

Sorry, so much for being short. I warned ya... Keeping it short is not in my list of talents! :p

Holly said...

The only thing that I have marveled at is how on earth someone who is out of their mind *crazy* worried about their baby even has time or desire to update their sidebar or to accept advertisers or enter into agreements with them. That is interesting to me - but I often assume that they have someone who is able to help them with that sort of thing.

But really, I think it is okay for a mom to make money from her blog! Why not?

Terri H said...

Thank you. That was well said.

Nicki said...

I think it's perfectly okay to make money with your blog. Welcome to the 21st century! What a great concept: writing about your family, your homeschool, your dirty laundry, or whatever and having large companies PAY YOU for the privilege of having a tiny little ad on your sidebar. I'm in! Now to get our Christmas presents paid for!

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