When I was first deciding whether to start a blog, I had the idea that blogging would somehow be a way to generate income. Maybe I could make enough to support my quilting, or even contribute to the household. I had some nebulous idea that my website would get enough traffic that I could put up ads and they would make money for me.
I spoke with a friend of mine who has a blog, Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Her blog is a great resource, and her Facebook group is very active. She helped me dial back my income generating ambitions and realize that blogging is more about being part of the larger quilting community.
Here is a breakdown of ways I found to monetize my blog.
Advertising: On WordPress you can do this once you pay for your site. I use the free site, so this is not an option for me yet. I’ve read that it is time consuming and represents a rather low return on investment. I think I would have to pay at least $100 per year to set this up, with no guarantee that it would make me more than $100. If you see an ad at the bottom of the page, it is something WordPress puts there for their benefit, not mine. I have to pay to make it go away.
Affiliate links: Several websites offer programs where you can sign up for an account and receive a modest commission for sales generated through your links. I have an Amazon affiliate account. I made $2.61 in my first three months. I have made nothing since then. It only works if I put in links to each post, and that isn’t appropriate for all of my posts. If I am going to put in a link to something, please be assured, I really love it.
Craftsy has an affiliate program as well. I’m in the process of signing up with them. I’m hoping to work on my free motion skills, and I have purchased a few patterns with them. I have yet to take a class, but I have downloaded some patterns.
Pattern Sales: This is something I actually am learning about now. I would very much like to develop my own quilt patterns. To do it right takes a lot of time, and I want my customers to feel that my patterns offer good value and a unique product.
Selling quilts/products: I have an Etsy account. I seem to spend about $2 per year and never sell anything. Again, until I am really serious about this, I’m not going to drive myself crazy.
Sponsored events: I don’t know how this works. I don’t put in enough effort to find a sponsor and host an event yet. I assume I would need more than the 180 followers and 10 daily visitors I currently have.
My point here is that I drove myself crazy thinking about ways to make money with my blog for a few months, despite an experienced friend’s advice. I don’t know what traffic is for an average quilt blog, if there is such a thing. I get between 50-200 readers per week, more if I post about a finished quilt and share it on all of my various Facebook groups. This is not enough readers to generate a substantial income, and that is perfectly fine.
I also only spend a few hours each week working on the blog. Clearly, I need to put more effort into it if I want to get money out of it. Just throwing my thoughts out into the internet is not reason enough for me to get paid. I’m not James Patterson.
Initially I was a little disappointed about it not being a money making project. I have gotten over it. I don’t want the blog to be a source of stress. I do think that as I continue to add more resources and come up with new projects, my followers will grow. Eventually I may be able to use what I am building to generate income.
My blog isn’t a business for me. It is a way to connect with other quilters and learn from them. It is also a way for non-quilting friends and family to see what I am up to, without being locked into my endless babbling about my favorite topic of the day. I’ve been participating in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and I have been learning so much. Connecting with other new bloggers has been very valuable, and I’m seeing the blog more as a two-way conversation, rather than just a repository of my knowledge.
This is by no means an exhaustive research project. I have spent several hours searching and chatting with others, but I am certainly not determined enough to find every way to squeeze a buck out of my blog. If you have any suggestions for monetizing a blog, please share them. I know I’m not the only one who is interested.
*The featured image is an origami of a dollar bill. My only explanation is that I didn’t want to use stock footage money photos, and I didn’t want to steal photos, either. So here it is. You can find instructions to make your own origami shirt out of a dollar here. Mine isn’t very good, and I skipped a step, because I didn’t know what they were talking about until I was finished.