Blogging

It’s Okay to Want to Grow (and Monetize) Your Blog

It's okay to want to grow (and monetize) your blog - image of a desktop with laptop and notebook

Not long ago someone left this comment on a post I’d written:

“I guess you have to decide what you want.  Money, hits, likes or trying to help others.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it cast in a somewhat negative light that people were trying to grow their blogs, so I thought it was worth talking about, because I think that in a lot of cases that judgment is unfair.

First, though, let’s be clear what I’m not talking about.  I’m not talking about people who are only trying to make money and have no respect for the community.  I’m also not talking about people who are obnoxious and spammy, like what I refer to as rapid-fire-likers, who like 15 posts within the space of 1.5 seconds.

What I am talking about is bloggers who respect and engage in the blogging community, and hope to grow their blogs and maybe make some money while they’re at it.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of that.  I’ve worked hard at growing my blog, not because I get satisfaction out of the stats, but because I’m a blogger with a message.  I want to raise awareness about mental health issues and challenge stigma, and the more people view my blog, the more I’m spreading that message.

Sometimes I see people talking about hits/views and likes as if they’re completely meaningless.  I disagree.  Sure, there’s a segment of people who are liking without reading or viewing without actually reading.  But there are also genuine readers and genuine likers.  The actual number of views and likes may not mean all that much, and in terms of ego or blog quality it’s just not an indicator of that kind of thing, but when you want to spread a message, increasing numbers means more people hearing your message.  And why should that be a bad thing as a goal – not a goal in terms of the value of your blog, but a goal to support its purpose.

I also do some writing over at Medium.com, a site where authors can make some money, and I’ve seen a number of people writing about the expectation that seems to be out there that if you’re passionate about something and it’s important to you, you should do it for free.

Being alive costs money.  Some people in the blogging community don’t or can’t work, for various reasons, and blogging can be a way to try to earn some income.  In the last 3 months, I’ve been unable to work, and so my only income has been from book royalties and a little bit from Medium; I lump all of that in under the general umbrella of blogging.

And sure, if you prioritize monetization over all else, your site’s not going to be a very pleasant experience for your readers.  But for a lot of bloggers, that’s not the case.  Community-minded bloggers are more likely to be trying to make a bit of money on the side doing what they already enjoy.

So, to come back to that comment and whether there needs to be a choice between growth/monetization and helping others, I would say that the two can absolutely coexist.  I don’t stop wanting to help others just because I want to spread my message more broadly and supplement my often non-existent income, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.

And people are free not to like it; that’s what the unfollow button is for.

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36 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Want to Grow (and Monetize) Your Blog”

  1. Lol there’s nothing wrong with making money! I try to sell my books via blog and twitter, but I’m not very good at marketing. And I agree that there’s nothing wrong with growth or advertising, only with rude behavior. I consider asking for money for nothing to be offensive ~ others disagree. We all have blogs here. We all spend time on them. Why should I fling some cash at another blogger for no reason? I generally unfollow those who ask.

    1. I don’t have any problem with people having a donation button on their site so it’s there if anyone wants to use it, but yeah, the more in your face can be an issue. It usually doesn’t bother me, but there have been a few times when ti’s been enough that I found it offensive.

  2. Fab post and I totally agree. It’s never something I even considered as I had no idea what a blog was for or about until I stumbled across word press 3 months ago looking for support to give up alcohol. I’m naive to it but there are certainly people who clearly just have something they want to sell and you can spot them a mile off. Others, like yourself, obviously spend a lot of time, energy and thought in what you post, using your knowledge, skills, experience and research to support and help others. That is invaluable and if it brings an income then even better. So it should! Me, I just blurt any old thing out that pops into my head. That’s ok too. I greatly value your insights and the information/views you share. Keep going xx

    1. Thank you! And I agree, it’s usually pretty easy to differentiate people who choose blogging only because they think it’ll make them money vs. people who love blogging and decide it makes sense to take it further.,

  3. I agree that there’s nothing wrong with trying to earn money from your blog. I don’t even have a problem with people who put a GoFundMe (or whatever) link on their blog (I’ve seen that mostly either in people who are in dire economic distress or in heavily researched, scholarly blogs of a very high standard that clearly take a lot of research time).

    I try not to read too much into hits, likes, comments and so on. None of the blogs I’ve ever had have made much of an impact in that way, so it’s just dispiriting to think about it too much.

  4. i don’t see the harm at all in being able to make some money from doing something you genuinely enjoy. it’s absurd that people have a negative comment to make about absolutely everything these days.

      1. exactly. nobody starts out initially blogging and making money straight away. even if/when you do manage to make money from it, it isn’t a substantial amount the majority of the time. you shouldn’t have had to write this post to explain yourself but it’s good that you did as it allows people to understand to not make ridiculous assumptions without any proper or substantial base of logic.

  5. I agree!! Money is necessary to get by! It’s like saying, “Oh, you like working with Kindergarteners? Well, guess what? You can do it all day long without getting paid!” Uhuh. [Shakes head.] I don’t like them THAT much, thank you very much. I’ve never figured out how to make money at blogging, but I think (as I’ve joked before) that I could just post, “I saw my mother today. Please send money,” and I’d be rich. 😀

    I hope you can earn more money with blogging, ’cause I didn’t know you’ve been not working for three months. 🙁 Keep at it!!

  6. Thank you for posting how you feel about it. We feel pleased knowing you are able to monetize and feel helpful. You help us!

    We are conflicted about money because we worry about our own greed and so try to stay away from thinking about profit. We don’t trust ourself. When we read that you gain money by helping, we think of our therapists. One charges money to feed their family. One offered to see us for free. There is so much behind our views on anything, money included

    1. Money can be very complicated. Luckily my parents had a very healthy attitude towards money – save as much as possible, and spend on what’s actually important. Their approach has served me very well, but I know most people don’t have that kind of influence when they’re younger.

  7. Amen! I love blogging but there are many of us who cannot work a “regular” job due to medical issues and this can become a hopeful source of income. Great post.

  8. I absolutely agree with you. Personally my goal is to make money doing the thing I love most. Just because you are making money from it doesn’t mean it has become anything less. Money is most often the side-effect of doing something you love – because you are the best at doing what you love. The fact that you have kept at blogging regardless of the hits/likes means you love doing it. Now it is time for blogging to love you back. Relationships shouldn’t be one -sided 🙂 Good luck!

  9. Such a weird comment; if you want to help people, you should do that for free. Well lets spread that message to bankers, lawyers, hairdressers, GP’s , surgeons, writers, poets, ….

    In Communism everybody earns the same amount and does it work? No, it doesn’t. Doing all things for a money grab is not my idea of fun and I think people will catch on to that mindset too. But as in all things there is a demand and a supply. You supply good information and entertainment, there is a demand so why not earn some money with it? There is nothing wrong with that, living costs money like you said. A a good life makes it possible to offer a good service.

  10. Yes! This needed to be said. I get DMs and comments often that say I’m tarnishing the help that I offer by trying to monetize. Some even say my book should be free, because if I really wanted to help, I wouldn’t charge. It’s frustrating, because writing takes work. Thanks for this post!

  11. Absolutely agree with you — I can see that with how hard & constantly we’re pitched to by companies who want us to buy stuff we don’t need, this sort of thinking can result — but really, it’s all a matter of balance, ethics, & awareness…

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