This is going to be off topic, but I promise it’s an anomaly. I’m not about to become a blogger who blogs about blogging.
And fair warning: this is probably going to be a little rambly. Proceed accordingly (or not!)
This is a topic I’ve been thinking about and talking about with another blogger friend of mine, and it’s also something that comes up sometimes in reader comments or emails.
So, I just have a bunch of thoughts on the topic that I’m going to throw together in a list format.
(and I’m throwing in random photos because we all know posts with only text are rather boring.)
Blogging isn’t a free hobby.
If you have a small blog on WordPress.com or Blogger and you don’t spend much time on it, then yeah, it can be a free hobby.
But once you are a larger blogger, there are bigger costs associated, both in time and in real dollars.
For instance, those $4/month hosting plans don’t work except for small blogs. I pay several hundred dollars a month for hosting-related expenses (and hosting isn’t the only expense a blog incurs, either.)
And of course, there’s the time cost. I love blogging! I totally do. Putting words and pictures together brings me great joy.
But the fact is, it does take time and energy away from other things.
Blog-reading IS a free hobby.
The content I provide here never costs my readers anything, which is great. I want to help people who want to save money, and it’s marvelous that I can give that help freely.
But it also means that something needs to pay for the costs associated with blogging (unless the blogger is independently wealthy both in time and money!)
I want to serve my readers even while making money.
There are a LOT of things I could do to make more money than I do, but I choose not to do most of them because I want to serve you guys well.
(I was chatting with a blogging friend of mine who has similar traffic and when I told her what I earn, she was like, “Girl! What you are doing is a labor of love.” Which is a nice way of saying that I’m not really earning what I “should” be.)
I don’t want to recommend products that won’t really serve you, promote companies I don’t believe in, plaster my blog with pop-ups, sell something every day, recommend stuff only because it’ll earn me money, and so on.
I recommend companies/products/services that I believe in.
For example, when TurboTax emailed me to ask if I’d do a sponsored post for them, I said an enthusiastic yes! I’ve bought TurboTax for decades, it saves me lots of money and headache, and I believe it’s a product that will serve you guys well too.
These are all things I use and love, and I share them because I think they could be awesome for you too.
Do I earn a small commission if you purchase those things through my affiliate links? Yup!
But the commission costs you nothing extra (a win for you!), I hope that the products I promote serve you well (a win for you!), and the income helps to keep my blog going (hopefully another win for you.)
And whenever possible, I try to include ways to make these things even more of a win for you…I usually ask companies if they’re willing to do a giveaway or make a discount promo code for my readers.
I do not feel guilty about using affiliate links.
When I write a post about a recipe and I recommend a helpful kitchen item, I see no reason to avoid using an affiliate link.
I’d be sharing the recommendation anyway, and neither the reader nor I benefit from me using a non-affiliate link.
Or if I share about how Ting keeps our cell phone bill so low and I use an affiliate link in that post, that doesn’t change how helpful the post is to readers.
(So many of you are saving so many dollars with Ting!)
If I use my affiliate link, though, you guys get a discount and Ting pays me a commission. Win/win.
And if someone comes across my post about getting rid of lice and they buy a lice comb thru my affiliate link, that doesn’t change the fact that my post has helped countless frazzled parents get rid of lice, you know? I’d be helping frazzled parents regardless.
The low-down on Amazon links and RSS/email
So. Amazon has kind of a weird rule about not allowing affiliate links in email feeds or RSS readers.
A lot of bloggers get around this by truncating their feeds, and forcing readers to click thru to the site. I’ve never been a fan of truncated feeds, though, so I’ve opted to use a plug-in that just removes Amazon links from email/RSS.
The problem is, this removes the links entirely, which means that those of you who read me via RSS or email will get text that seems like it should be a link, but it’s not.
So, this isn’t a super perfect solution, but I dunno what else to do.
A fair number of bloggers are just not worrying about complying with Amazon’s rule (odds are good Amazon won’t enforce it), but that doesn’t really sit right with my conscience.
Anyway! If I’m making a recommendation and you’re wanting to get the link to whatever I’m recommending, you’ll have to click on over to the actual blog for the link to work.
And if you are feeling grateful for a non-truncated feed, I would feel super grateful if you clicked over to the blog if you’re interested in buying something I recommend.
I think that pretty much covers it. Thank you for being a lovely group of readers!