Apparently “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” according to Jules Renard.
John Gruber over at Daring Fireball agrees and has kicked off another campaign to raise some funds to support his site. Whilst it’s certainly an issue to take stock of I’d venture that very few people make any kind of money running their sites – although Neil has announced that he made about £175 last month, which isn’t too shabby. Of course the highest profile (blog-wise) news on this front was most certainly Jason Kottke and his drive towards reader-supported blogging.
A quick caveat: I’m not concerned with those who are blogging specifically to make money. I’m talking largely about the hobbyist blogger, the majority of whom run their sites at a loss.
Thankfully my stats remain low so I don’t have any issues with bandwidth charges and the like but what if you do? Which is better? Adverts or a member/sponsor drive? Would it be possible for me to cover my costs for running this site? And more to the point, how much would YOU pay to read this site? (or perhaps how much should I be paying you?)
I will happily admit to having considered running adverts on this site but each time I do I find I can’t really justify them. My readership, whilst hugely intelligent and esoteric (somewhat good looking too), isn’t exactly numerous, and if I’m honest I think adverts just LOOK bad. In saying that, the idea of actually making a little cash, however paltry the figure, out of this hobby that I spend a lot of time on does hold some appeal. After all, what would be better than to get some cash for doing something you enjoy?
No, I don’t think I’ll ever go down the advert route (feel free to remind me of this if I ever do) but it does get a little draining to put time and effort into something with no reward. Ahhh now we are now approaching the crux of the matter.
I don’t begrudge John his readership (I’ve enjoyed his writing for some time myself), and he certainly has his own reasons for asking his readers to cough up a little cash (it’s not a huge amount, relatively) but I think just doing that crosses a line and possibly reveals one of the reasons you are involved in this funny little land of blogs. Yes, that age old question of “why do we blog?” rears it’s head again.
Do I blog for fame and fortune? Or something else, something a little harder to get a handle on, a little harder to define. Do I REALLY blog for me?
Well that question will remain unanswered but I can take Saturday as the perfect example of getting something good out of blogging. I got the chance to meet some interesting people, and as ever I came away with several good ideas, new points of view and a better take on myself.
Tell me, what price can you put on that?