For some reason, people seem confused or even offended when someone wants some kind of money for something they do as a hobby. In the case of blogs I can sort of see why – website advertising at its worse can be annoying, distracting, or plain offensive. But the fact is, running a decent blog is not free. Leaving aside the time spent updating, the main costs are domain name registration and hosting, as well as graphic/web design if you’re not a designer yourself.
I’ve thought about putting some sort of advertising on my site in the past, but always decided against it as I wasn’t serious enough about actually updating content. But lately I’ve been getting a few more visitors (hello!) and have started to put some serious thought into monetizing this site, even just a little bit.
Now don’t worry, you won’t see animated musical banner ads plastered all over my lovely website layout. And I definitely won’t start promoting products that I have no idea about or don’t personally enjoy. I’m going to try and go about this in the least obtrusive and most useful way possible.
At this stage all I’ve done is register for an Amazon affiliate account. This just means that when I review books or other products that they sell, I’ll link through to them on Amazon. The review will still be entirely my own thoughts, and I’m not going to pretend that a book or product is awesome if it clearly isn’t. At this point I’ll get 4% of any purchases through these links (and nothing if you just click through and don’t buy anything), so you can be sure that I’m not going to get rich off of this.
Okay yes, Amazon is a bit evil in the way many big monopolizing corporations are, and their business model is in some ways spelling the end of indie bookstores and traditional publishing. You have to choose your battles, and at this point I’m saving my fighting spirit for sustainable and ethical eating practices. If you’ve chosen boycotting Amazon as your battle then that’s great, I wouldn’t expect you to abandon that – any books that I review can probably also be bought from your local bookstore or BetterWorldBooks.com, which donates books and funds to charity.
I’ll put a note at the bottom of any post or page that has affiliate links. I hope no one holds this against me!