Hey there! I promise I’ll get back to the decorating and DIY stuff tomorrow, but today I wanted to share with y’all a little bit about the money part of blogging.
I think there are lots of new people around here lately (yay! and hi, newbies! welcome! ) because I’ve had several people ask me lately, “Kristi, what do you do for a living?”
It’s definitely an understandable question. You see me writing about all these DIY projects I do, like spending two weeks refinishing my floors, and you think, “My gosh, surely she’s not doing all of this plus working a full time job, right?”
The truth is that this blog is actually one of my two main sources of income. (The other one is my WordPress website design business, where I design blogs and websites for bloggers and small businesses.)
I know that blogging for money baffles lots of people, and the first question is generally, “How do you make money blogging?”
Think of a blog like any other periodical (magazine, newspaper), and it’ll make more sense. Those publications sell advertising space to generate revenue. Same with a blog. If you look at the top of my blog, in the sidebar on the right, and in the footer of each post, you’ll see ads. I get paid for displaying those ads. And interestingly, I get paid for those whether people click on them or not. Just like magazines and newspapers get paid by advertisers for displaying ads, regardless of whether or not that publication’s readers visit the advertiser’s store or website, or whether or not they purchase anything from the advertiser.
But most of you probably knew all of that, right? I mean, you see these ads everywhere, and I think you all realized that we don’t just show these ads out of the goodness of our hearts.
So let’s talk about a stickier subject…
Are you familiar with sponsored posts? A sponsored post is simply one in which the blogger gets paid by a company in order to talk about their product. There are very specific guidelines that bloggers are supposed to follow when they write sponsored posts. It’s supposed to be very evident that the post is sponsored, and there’s supposed to be a disclosure stated clearly on the post saying that it’s sponsored. Unfortunately, those disclosures sometimes get left off, and bloggers sometimes are a little vague about whether or not they’re getting paid to promote a product.
I’ll be really honest with you. In general, I hate sponsored posts. I’ve seen sponsored posts absolutely ruin blogs before. There’s one blog in particular that I used to read on a daily basis (or at least every time she published a new post) because she had great projects, interesting content, and seemed really down to earth. Hers was one of my top five favorite blogs. But over time, I noticed that the content became more and more “sponsored posts” to the point that it seemed like she wouldn’t write a post unless some company was paying her to write it.
When I realized that was happening, I was out of there. When bloggers will only recommend products that they’re getting paid to pimp on their blogs, I feel like they lose integrity. I don’t really know if the product is a good one, or if they’re just telling me it is because they’re getting paid $500, or have been given $1000-worth of free products, to tell me how great it is. Know what I mean?
Now that’s not to say that I don’t think bloggers should get paid for what they do. I absolutely do think that bloggers should get paid for their hard work, just like magazine editors should get paid for theirs. And in fact, that’s kind of my point of writing this today.
You see, over the last few years, I’ve turned down about 99.9% of the paid opportunities that have come my way. I was just so afraid of turning my blog into that blog.
But I’ve decided recently that I’m going to start taking a closer look at some of these paid sponsorship opportunities and including them on my blog. Since Matt isn’t able to work, that means that if we need extra money (like, you know, money for a new-to-us old house that needs lots of work ), then I’m the only one who can make that additional money. And needless to say, our house needs lots of work.
I do spent a large amount of time working on my blog. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about the time I spend actually working on projects. After all, since most of the projects that I do involve designing and decorating my own home, I think I’d be pretty hard pressed to convince anyone that I deserve to be paid for that, right? Yeah…that’s kind of silly.
No, when I’m talking about the amount of work, I’m not talking about the time it takes to sand my floors, or build a built-in bookcase. Those things are just for me…for my home…things I should be doing simply because I’m a homeowner, just like you do projects around your house because you need and want to update and maintain your home.
When I talk about the time I spend working on my blog, I’m talking about the time it takes to take photos of each and every step of a project, edit photos (the most time-consuming part of blogging!!), write posts, design and maintain the actual blog, etc.
That’s the part that I consider actual work. And don’t get me wrong!! I absolutely LOVE my work. It’s like going to the best job in the world every day. But it does take an incredible amount of time, and I’d like to get paid a decent amount for the time I put into it.
So…yeah. Sponsored posts. I’m gonna start doing them a bit more often than I have been in the past years. But here’s what I promise to you:
(1) I won’t let sponsored posts start taking over the blog.
If you start to see a high concentration of sponsored posts in comparison to non-sponsored posts, please feel free to call me out on it. Seriously. Again, I don’t want to become that blog.
(2) Sponsored posts will be clearly marked.
Even though it’s the law, and bloggers really aren’t supposed to have the option of whether or not they want to disclose this info, there are still some bloggers who manage to be vague about it. I won’t be vague. Not only will there be clear disclosures within the post, but I’ve also made some changes to the home page of my blog so that sponsored posts are clearly marked:
That way if you’re reading a post, and I recommend a certain product, you won’t have to wonder if I’m getting paid to promote it. Most of my product recommendations are just genuine “here’s what I use” types of mentions. But if I’m getting paid for it, there will be no question.
(3) I’ll try my absolute best to only bring you products that I actually, genuinely like and would (or do) use myself.
Remember this post about the noise cancelling headphones? That was a sponsored post (as I stated in the post). I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say how much I got paid for that (I can’t remember what was in the contract), but I’ll just say that they paid me several hundred dollars for that post. The money was nice, but if the products hadn’t been ones that I actually use and felt good about recommending, I can say with certainty that I would have passed up that opportunity.
But I do use those products…regularly…and I think that anyone doing the kind of projects that I do needs to be using those products as well. In fact, those headphones were an absolute MUST when I was sanding my hardwood floors. After the first day of sanding, I noticed a significant loss of hearing ability and a constant loud ringing in my ears for several hours afterwards. I was actually a bit scared because of it, wondering if I had done permanent damage to my ears. Fortunately, the next morning they were okay, the ringing was gone, and my hearing was back to normal, but I was sure to take those headphones and use them the rest of the time. And it was so nice to be able to listen to music while I worked!
So when the opportunity presented itself, I was happy to recommend them, and most certainly happy to be paid for it.
But again, I genuinely want to only bring attention to products and services that I would use (or do use) myself.
Case in point:
I was given an opportunity to write a sponsored post for another company, and the deadline for submitting my post for approval was looming. The pay was great, the post should have been easy. The service sounded like a really great concept, so when the opportunity (and pay) presented itself, I thought, “Yes! Absolutely! That sounds way cool, and I think people will love it!”
The problem? When I really took the time to learn more about the service, I just couldn’t get into it. I thought that maybe I was just distracted or busy and feeling rushed, so this morning I got up at 6:00 just so I could have a large chunk of quiet time to myself before Matt woke up so that I could really dig into the information, understand it the concept better, write my post, and have it submitted for approval by the deadline.
After an hour of staring at the information, I just couldn’t get into it. While the concept sounded really great, the actual service just wasn’t something I was interested in, and definitely not something I wanted to recommend.
So I wrote to them and told them I wouldn’t (couldn’t) write the post, not even for several hundred dollars, because while the concept sounded really great, the actual service just fell flat for me. I knew I’d never use it, and therefore couldn’t recommend it to my readers.
I don’t share that to say, “Hey! Look at me! Look at all this integrity I have!!” I say it because I really want you to know that when I do sponsored posts, it really is my genuine desire to bring attention only to things that I think are of value, and pertain to the topic of this site.
But I’m human. And I’m capable of being tempted by money and shiny objects. And when someone says, “Hey, we’ll pay you $500 to write a post about ______,” or they say, “Hey, we’ll send you this $1,000 product for free if you’ll write a post,” it can get tempting, especially when I have a “new” house that needs soooo much work, and I could use every penny that comes my way. So if you see me start writing posts about products that you feel quite certain I’d never use, or about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the topics of this blog (i.e., decorating, design, and DIY), feel free to call me on it.
Anyway, I’ll stop rambling. Again, I know this whole topic of blogging for money is a bit of a mystery for non-bloggers. Trust me…it’s even a bit of a mystery for most bloggers! And if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask and I’ll do my very best to answer your questions.
I appreciate y’all, more than you know!