A very polite comment on a recent post that featured a number of affiliate links suggested it looked like the post was written as a way to put out the links and make money. I’ve done a lot more in the last few months to monetise this blog, so let me be brutally honest about the how and why of this. (Coincidentally, today Sheila of To Love, Honor and Vacuum had a guest post from Julie of Intimacy in Marriage on this very issue.)
Lori and I spend 30-50 hours a week doing online marriage ministry. That includes the blogs, The Marriage Bed, Twitter, Facebook, and email help. We have some awesome folks who support us with donations, but as the economy has suffered, donations have slumped a bit. Hours to donations works out to less than minimum wage. Please understand we would gladly do what we do without any income from it (in fact we did for many years) but like you, we have to pay our bills. Our choices are to make more from what we do, or do less of it so we can spend more time making money.
I realise any kind of monetising of the blog runs the risk of my losing credibility. I see others adding ads, and it bothers me, even though I understand why they do it. I have tried to be very careful with what I do. I could make several hundred a month by joining an ad network, but I am unwilling to do this because I do not feel I would have enough control over what is shown. Likewise for the “sponsored posts” folks want to place here in exchange for paying me.
I am strongly opposed to putting anything in front of you unless I know and trust it. I’ve refused to mention books that would have brought me commissions because I felt the book had problems or didn’t have anything to offer my readers. I am actually very picky about what I share here.
If you’re still with me, and you want to help, here’s how:
Use the links on this page for on-line shopping. Yes, this really can add up. If half my readers spent $100 a year starting with those links, it would pay my mortgage. I have started to add a link to the shop to give page at the end of my posts to make it easy to use them (Bottom right, below the image credit)
If you decide to buy a book I suggest, shop from the links I give if you buy online.
Frankly, I’d like to do this blog without receiving any income in any way from it. If I had enough to live on without anything from blogging, I would still recommend products I think are good, but I would link them to accounts that benefit other ministries. And, while I greatly appreciate those who donate to us, I hate asking for money, and I would gladly stop. This is what I would like, but God doesn’t seem too interested in my way.
Finally, please know most regular bloggers are in a similar bind. The time required to turn out posts is far greater than most think. I talk to a great many Christian bloggers, and some have stopped or cut back because of time versus income issues. If you really value a blog that takes donations, please consider donating. Even $5 a month or $25 one time makes a difference. If you decide to buy a book mentioned on a blog, look for a link in the blog, as it will likely make a bit for the blogger.