Mountain or Mole Hill?

When I started this blog, I was young and foolish. We are going to ignore the fact that this was only last year. My thoughts on the whole blogging concept was that I would eventually hope to monetize it. A blog all about me should be easy to market, right?

[I highly recommend a vacation to my little fantasy world. Stay as long as you like!]

Tropical Island Paradise with a sandy beach and shade tree in the foreground

Anyway, now that I’m rolling along and have a wee bit of momentum going (more than 150 unique visitors last month!), I have been presented with some opportunities. Some were for sponsored posts, some were the opportunity to receive free product, and then there were options of affiliate links.

What’s a girl to do? (It feels so wrong to describe myself as a “woman”. Hillary and I discussed this over breakfast and both agreed that we need another word because it just feels too “grown up” for us.) I know: I’ll ask my legions of adoring fans!

My goal now is to earn enough to cover my domain name and hosting fees. While I can afford this (hello, I just gave up an incredibly expensive hobby in ballroom dance – once again, we’ll ignore January’s expensive medical bills!), if it were to pay its own way, that would be so cool!

When I go to a website and there is a link to buy something from another site, I automatically assume it is an affiliate link. Those don’t bother me. If the initial site got me interested enough in a product to want to buy it, I think they’ve earned their 4-10% commission on it. (On that song I just bought, that’s a dime!). So far, I’ve linked to lots of products on Amazon – and some of those links have even been followed! – but until this past weekend, I have not been an affiliate. I hope all of you will bear with me as I include these sources of (literally) pocket change.

Also, I’d previously mentioned how much I love my web host, FatCow. Their prices are incredible, their technical support is fantastic, and other than an isolated incident when their servers went down for about a half hour after everyone switched at once away from GoDaddy as a result of SOPA, their product has been top notch. They aren’t paying me to say this, but they would pay me if you clicked on the new link that appears on the right side bar and sign up with them.

These decisions seemed like no brainers. They mean I continue doing things exactly the way I have been, just I might break even if everyone continues to do what they have been doing… only more so!

The hard part to me came from the quid pro quo ones. I have had offers to receive free products. No legal strings attached. Initially those seemed weird to me considering I am easily influenced (an upcoming blog post will discuss this!), and I thought I might feel guilty if I didn’t write about the product. I’m over that. How would you feel if I wrote about something that had been sent to me for free with no obligation to blog about it?

Sponsored posts are a whole other kettle of fish. If it is a product that I love that I have written about in this blog, I might consider it. [Attention Hostess: I know you are struggling, and I LOVE ding dongs!] This is the one I’d most like your opinions on.

A box of Hostess Ding Dongs

Please don’t leave me hanging: What do you think of fully disclosed sponsored posts? Also, do you think I’m tarting up my blog with the occasional affiliate link? Is that (“tarting up”) even American English? Does anyone care (about my earning money from my blog, not the potential Britishism)? Thanks for your feedback!

6 thoughts on “Mountain or Mole Hill?”

  1. I’m impressed that you’ve had offers to receive free products. Where do those come from? I don’t mind when bloggers post about products they receive for free – with no obligation. It’s nice to get their feedback on products. Especially if they include a little story/antecdote/picture, etc. Not so much on those that are sponsored. Although I’m not sure I’d know the difference unless the blogger put full disclosure out there. The blogs that bother me, and I don’t know, but I can always “feel” it – are the ones with so many ads popping up and blasting and sparkling in the sidebars – and in your face in their text portions – that I can’t see anything but a blogger in a plaid suit trying to sell me a lemon from the lot. I can’t get past that to read what they’re saying. I’m sure you know those sites. Like with you – I enjoy what you have to say which is why I come back. I took a professional blogging class and the instructor told us to hold out and hold out and hold out again on ads & stuff. Build readership first. Uh-oh – am I rambling??? I tend to ramble. I say write away about free stuff. I’d say think twice about the sponsored and tarting up (funny) aspect. And if you get a minute – let me know where the free stuff offers are coming from. I think I’m like you – been at it almost a year now and have been enjoying the experience, my readers and the blogs I follow (like yours).

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Barbara. Sponsored posts on the whole bug me, especially those used-car dealer feeling ones that never say they are paid to promote things. The only time they don’t is like for some of the recipe blogs that I read when it is a product that the blogger has used forever (normally a special ingredient like Gluten Free this or that) and the manufacturer then sponsors a post. On those, normally the only difference I notice is in the anchor text. I’m cool with that.

      I don’t have your email address and don’t want to publicly mention the free items. Send me a message (tammy at grownupnowwhat dot com) and I’ll tell you all about it.

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  2. Hi Tammy,
    In my humble opinion I think all of these options are fine providing they are disclosed as you mentioned. I guess the key thing is to ensure you are adding valuable content for your readers. There is a fine balance between monetising effectively and monetising to the detriment of your readers.
    I look forward to hearing the choices you make and learning about some great products/services you use.
    Cheers, Caylie

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    1. Caylie, thanks for that insight. I think you are right that the readers are key. So long as the readers are receiving my normal quality of post, no one will care if I get a case of Ding Dongs.

      I’m just hoping that I haven’t now jinxed myself and the offers will stop!

      Tammy

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  3. Hey there! I am in the club of anything that is upfront is okay with me. Everyone has a reason for everything that they put time and effort into. You should be able to monetize this blog, since it’s obvious it’s a priority for you (it’s too well thought out, not to be). For me, it only makes sense, if you are one of the lucky ones who can make a dime on it. I just don’t like it when I am blindsided, like all those “get this free” and then after giving all your personal information they tell you that you have to sign up for 4-6 offers before they will give it to you. ‘Cause, really, is it actually free after all that? 😉
    Keep on keepin’ on girl!

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    1. Thank you so much. What kind words!

      I will not blind side you, and considering the affiliate link in my latest blog post, I might never earn a penny!

      I hate those “free” offers, too! My information is not free!

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