Monetizing Your Blog

Following the idea of “Truth in Blogging” I thought I would say a few things on the factors that have gone into monetizing ( adding advertising ) the blog. For many years online, I had been writing pages with the view of sharing life experience on a number of topics. At that time I had a distaste for advertising, even though the one way I was able to afford hosting was through “free” hosts that advertised on your site in exchange for the free space and services. (This was geocities and others, including upsaid, blogger blogs). Presently TrueGrit is on JD’s for free, but I recently put my gardening website on its own domain which required paid hosting, etc.

Likewise, I chose to have free hosting for my blogs, it being the one way I could write online without burdening the family budget overmuch ( you still have to pay for your online connection! For those of you with less stringently tight budgets…never mind… for us, it means choices). Eventually, programs such as Amazon affiliate and Adsense were offered. I was slow to warm up, but signed in just to see if they actually worked. Well, they say you often get out what you put in, and after letting those things just sit on a few pages, it wasn’t surprising that I didn’t think they actually produced anything.

But once the amount of time given over to writing started adding up, there came a time to reassess the attitude ( shame) about seeking to have the online activities try to pay for themselves. I think some of the inner conflict comes from tensions over the “theology of work”. We sometimes have concerns over income, as if it somehow compromises the purity of our motivations in writing or sharing advice. But what is better? Trying to pay for ones hobby or getting a job at Starbucks? I might still have to do something like that, but I decided to try to make all the work I was doing carry along the advertising of affiliate programs.

It isn’t going to make me rich any time soon;) I do find it is helping defray costs for online activity. It also requires a bit of work to study how the online world actually works, and balancing the addition in such a way as to be as much an added value for the reader as possible. Some of that is incorporated in just making the sites visible on the web’s horizon, intersecting demands, I guess you could call it.

I thought it was informative to look at this through the filter of how we compartmentalize ideas of what is worthy use of our time, and what is serving God in that. That “theology of work” dilemma.

An interesting aside to this ( although it is a digression of thought) was a conversation I had with a friend at church. Her daughter has gone into full-time missions and does the usual fund-raising in between. Members of her hard-work ethic family raise eyebrows as they ask why should they support her missionary endeavors when they are paying for their kids education? The one seeming like asking for a handout while they are following the expected path of self-sufficiency. Kind of hard to answer isn’t it?

Well, I consider monetizing the blog as a sort of tentmaking activity. That, while you aren’t in it primarily to make money, you want to continue to provide service while supporting yourself with what talents you have.

Anyone else out there have conflicts over this?