Thursday, October 26, 2006

Keeping it free

KSMilkmaid, one of my favorite bloggers, discusses some pet peeves about overlinked, Google-savvy posts. She also shared a well-balanced, thoughtful article about attracting blog money.
I'm blessed to have more visitors here than I ever expected. Yet, you'll notice I don't have ads or even reviews of freebies. Part of me feels that selling you something defeats the purpose of Like Merchant Ships. Is this site a hobby or an income stream? Perhaps, as a lonely dial-up blogger, I'm simply more sensitive to the long page loads of blogs with heavily studded sidebars. Although, if I have to make an online purchase, I'm always happy to do it through another online friend's link.
Oh, well! Fellow bloggers might enjoy the article as much as I did. Ethical crisis notwithstanding.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is one of the many things I appreciate about your blog and I still read it several times a day.
Thank you

thehomespunheart said...

I love your blog just the way it is! Keeping a blog for me is a hobby and a way of gaining and keeping friends!

Jenn said...

Meredith-I totally agree. One of the reasons that I don't do ads is that I feel it is somehow wrong to try to earn money off of folks who are coming to read about frugality. Isn't that just encouraging them to spend money on things they may not need?

That being said, I did add the Amazon.com affliates thing to my blog just today-but that is more for folks to be able to see a picture of the cover of the book and to click over and read what the book is about. I don't actually expect to ever make any money on it. After all, I don't buy my books at Amazon, I just get them from the library! (well, once I've checked out a resource book and decided I want to have it then I do sometimes buy it from Amazon.com used. . ..)

I do try to link relevant content, but only when I think that it will provide clarification for readers. I must admit that I do hope that it will attract some folks to my website who might not have found out about frugality otherwise. . .

Kansas Milkmaid said...

Meredith:

I think there are perhaps many many reasons a person reads a blog. Mine started out as a hobby, I had no idea a person could earn income off of a blog. I also had no idea that people would turn to us and seek out detailed information daily. Now here is something for consideration:

We are seen as experts in our field, some have even called us movers and shakers. My blog is very much about how to. What most people don't see behind the scenes is the volumes of emails I answer on a daily basis on how to do what we are doing or even a list of resources for them to consider. Most of them want to know "where can I buy this book or that essential oil?" I have found myself answering those emails and it does take time. We face a serious dilemma. How can I help people make soap, start up a pastured poultry operation and share all that is packed in my brain without some kind of consultation fee or payment. I don't charge consultation fees yet, but when people do follow a link I recommend then I do get a small commission. The time we have here is valuable and very precious. I enjoy blogging and enjoy answering emails, however, when I have to sort out the issues of what is productive for our farm and what detracts (this embraces frugality in the most practical way), I have to face the very real issue that answering volumes of emails does not provide an income stream and the time it takes to answer them deters me from the activities that I normally do to earn income for our farm. The outcry for the information is outstanding and overwhelming. My husband is much more willing to allow me to answer emails, write articles and consult if there is an income coming in. It has been a wonderful way to diversify revenue on our farm without significant capital outlay or land investment. Most of these people are coming to me asking for such information anyway. Why not send them to a site and receive a commission for a referral. I do pay hosting services for my site and the small commission checks do help pay for my site maintenance etc.(Now that is frugality to be able to have a site pay for itself. And we do run a business from our blog) For some people, I could see where this works against the goals and values of their blog. For us, it works nicely. People have come to trust our recommendations.

There is one thing that does bother me a bit about frugality. It is not get all you can for free. Out of respect we want to honor the person giving services.

I have found that many people start out with a hobby and they are passionate about it. Their passion drives the hobby to a new level and that may encompass a business.

I do have some ads on my site, I have just placed them. My goal is to make sure the ads are content related meaning I believe in them and have tried them and found them to be helpful in our farmstead ministry.

I just signed up for an Amazon affliate account and it has a featured items page. I chose all the books that people ask me about all the time for resources. The nice thing about Amazon is that it has a new and used section. I have purchased many of my books for under five dollars. I could see where an Amazon site on frugality would be wonderful. You could recommend your favorite books on frugality and also encourage them to buy in the used section. But if you don't have a business site, it may not be for you.

It is also exciting to know that I can support other really nice businesses like Biblical Womanhood's business. Many people want to know how to make a family farm work. My hope is to refer them to Crystal's book on homegrown business in the near future. You will also notice a clixgalor banner on my site. My hope is to incorporate that into showing other farmers how to develop a website business where they can sell soaps, ebooks and such. You have to have traffic to do so and these little things are out there to help. So in time you should see it all come together on my site. The nice thing is that you aren't forced to buy anything. They are resources for those who need them. And some don't visit our site for that kind of resource. I hope this explains a little more of why I have decided to put ads on my site.

Sorry this is so long, but I do think it is wothy of an explanation.

Meredith said...

KSMilkmaid, thanks for the clarification. (I hope you didn't think I was challenging your decision to place ads!)
You have such a unique life and talents, no wonder you get so many emails!

We're all looking forward to the book, as well!

Kansas Milkmaid said...

Meredith:

I didn't take this as a challenge at all. In fact, I wrestled with these same issues. What are the ethics behind converting a site to an e-commerce site and should I do it? I even wrestle with a bit of guilt when I think of consultation services. I have even wrestled with a some guilt on converting some of my articles into an e-book. However, many people are asking for me to summarize hours of research and months of trial and error.

I believe it is good to test these things and ask God to test our motives as well. Thank you so much for this link and for the favorable review of my blog.

God's blessings be upon you and yours.