Non-Profit

Back when I bought my domain and was teetering on the edge of taking blogging slightly more seriously (subjective, of course), I flirted with the idea of monetizing. Monetizing = selling ad space, joining a for-profit ad network, hiding a trojan horse in the comments to steal routing numbers from mean commenters… you get the idea. I’d been told it was an easy way to put a few pennies in the bank, and even a little baby blog like mine could rack up enough per-view ad revenue to buy a pair of running socks* and maybe a packet of Gu each year. Seemed like an alright gig.

*short, non-compression, single pack socks

So I looked into a few options (BlogHer, Adsense, affiliate programs, etc) and just never went for it. Yes I’ve run some sponsored posts and done giveaways, and for a brief moment had a Brooks affiliate button on my side bar that literally no one ever clicked on so I made $0.00 from, but other than that SarahOUaL has been a non-contributing member to my income statement since its inception in 2010. Product reviews, comp’d entries, and discounts on stuff I was already buying are a very nice perk that I don’t discredit at all, they just can’t pay my rent or give me ground to stand on in the Breadwinner Debates with Brian.

newbie blogger

the early days blogging at oual.wordpress.com as Sarah Soon-To-Be. my posture (and content?) has deteriorated significantly since then, and I kind of miss the limes header and bobblehead audience.

In the end, there were a few reasons I decided not to monetize my blog:

  • I didn’t want to feel like I HAD to write.

Sometimes (last week, case-in-point) I just don’t feel like writing. And that’s fine because no one is relying on traffic or views from me. I never wanted to feel an obligation, whether it be to post when I didn’t have anything to say or promote something I didn’t really care for, and I definitely didn’t want my tone to change because of it. I wanted my blog to be MY space. Not Mine + ___ Advertiser’s.

  • Site stats stress me out.

The pressure of hitting page view goals or equating a slow day with a smaller paycheck was way more stress than I wanted. I already felt like checking my analytics was somewhat of a counterproductive habit; the numbers always seemed to rebel when I tried reacting to the reports. Plus once in a blue moon there’d be a referring source link I just did NOT need to know was sending visitors to my site. Unless I need to report numbers (views, clicks, etc) for a sponsored post, I keep my eyes off the stats dashboard. QOL has improved dramatically.

  • No in-house IT department.

There was something – self-host, maybe? – I would’ve had to do to get BlogHer running, and I just simply didn’t feel like dealing with it. Maybe it would’ve been super easy, I got distracted by something and didn’t care enough to look back into it.

  • You.

There are a lot of blogs who do monetizing smartly and tastefully. I respect those people that can make a career out of blogging and still balance their voice and content in a way that seems genuine. I’m not sure I could do that, and it wouldn’t be worth sacrificing the connection I’ve built with all of you to do so. Also one time someone* told me they loved that there were none of those “pop up spinny fandangle box things” on my site, and I took that to heart. Fandangle box-free since 2010!

*it was my grandma

Bottom line, the little $$ I might’ve made (and had to claim on my taxes? F that.) just didn’t seem worth the hassle, and that’s why you don’t see ads here.

That’s also why I’m not apologizing for not writing since last Monday.

Sarah OUaL

* I’m not trying to take away from anyone who does monetize, just giving the reasons why I don’t since a few people have asked or seemed shocked when I tell them I don’t make money from the blog.

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26 thoughts on “Non-Profit

  1. Perfectly written. Too often blogging is associated with making money and unfortunately that takes away from the writing. I’d rather read quality posts than be pitched a product 3x a week or have to click my way through 3 ads just to see the content. It’s pretty obvious which blogs are about the writing and which are only about trying to make a buck. I prefer the former.

    Fandangle box-free is the way to be!

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  2. Right there with you. I was hooked up with one of the big ad networks for awhile (another blog, another life) and the requirement to blog X times every week/day/whatever really sucked the fun out of it. I’m totally cool with the occasional review or giveaway, but the ones that exist solely for selling shit just bum me out.

    I’m glad you keep blogging, though. I’ve learned a lot from you re: running, you’re fucking hilarious, and a great writer.

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    • I think this is what bugs me the most about monetized blogs. Its not that I begrudge bloggers for making money; its the phoniness of the product shilling that really gets me.

      Most of the time it ends up being this bad cycle: Blogger has good product with interesting thing to say –> People like to read blogger’s insight and opinion –> Blogger things, “hey, I can make a living / make some money off this thing –> cue sponsored content, reviews for things with little discernible tie to the content of the blog, inane tie-ins to products, glowing product reviews on items that have never before and never will again be mentioned on the blog –> good product and interesting things to say are no more –> reader is bored and/or annoyed.

      I get that bloggers can do whatever they want and don’t “owe” anyone anything, but that argument feels a little juvenile (its my party and I’ll do what I want to . . . you can’t tell me what to do). It seems much more genuine and honorable to have pride in one’s own work product.

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  3. Love it, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the subject. Sometimes I feel like I’m a slacker with my blog, and I should make the jump to make it a “real” blog, but then when I see some of the blogs I follow all going to the same events, pushing the same products, being ambassadors for the same company…I get sick of the whole thing. I don’t want to read the same post from 5 different bloggers. I love that you stand out as different…gives me the guts to do the same and just keep enjoying my little corner of the blog world.

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I’m on board with you- I’ve toyed with ads (and do have a p90x ad because I seriously believe in it and want to help anyone who also wants to try the program i had so much success with) but in the end, I write because I love it and the feedback I get from inspiring others is worth more to me than slinging products I don’t care about or overwhelming my page with ads. Like you i also enjoy some blogging perks but those aren’t the reason I write!

    Keep it up! :)

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  5. One of the reasons why I love your blog is because you’re NOT trying to push products on people! Although I do love the occasional giveaway. If I were to have someone sponsor my blog or to affiliate with someone, it would have to be a company I truly believe in (like Mizuno, because I push their product anyways, and they don’t even pay me to do that). But that’s a long way down the road…

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  6. I read many healthy living blogs and I appreciate the people who do not make the majority of their income off a blog. The sponsored posts are often disingenuous. As someone who works well over forty hours per week at a stressful job, it can be hard to stomach somebody who can wake up whenever and run in free sneakers and gear. Thanks for the post and keeping it real.

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  7. I’m not advertising either, one day it might happen, and hopefully in the tasteful manner, but i’m feeling the same as you. I don’t want blogging to be a job or something that HAS to be done and stats that have to be met. I respect your decision :)

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  8. I think it’s very admirable of you not to monetize. When I started getting into it,I became obsessive really quickly, checking my stats ALL the time. After a few months, I knew I had a problem and I really had to take a step back. I think I’ve found a really good balance right now, especially because I write a lot less. Sometimes I just don’t feel like I have anything to say…

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  9. Thanks for being you. It’s why I enjoy reading your blog. You are a talented writer and communicate what’s moving you. Advertising overwhelms all bloggers, thrilled that you haven’t drank the Kool Aid!

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  10. The yarnharlot wrote about this very topic really eloquently a couple of weeks ago. Sure we’ve all seen people blogs blow up with the help of ads/giveaways/sponsorships but at what cost? That said I’m so happy for people who are able to supplement or replace their income writing about something they love. It’s a tricky issue but for me to much as involvement is a turn off in most cases.

    Here’s the link (it’s a knitting blog but this post, not so much): http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2014/01/23/tin_.html

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