Today's questions are about making money with blogging.
Q: Do you make any real money blogging at Casual Kitchen, and how do you make it?
A: Heavens, no. "Make real money blogging" has to be the second oldest lie of the internet. (The first is "I'm 23F, wanna see me on cam?")
Seriously, something like 0.000000000000001% of bloggers make significant money--and in a peculiar twist of irony, most of those bloggers blog about blogging. Huh. I guess I picked the wrong niche.
So... no, I don't make that much money blogging. These days, Casual Kitchen makes anywhere from a hundred bucks a month to a few hundred bucks a month. My income primarily comes from Google's Adsense service and Amazon affiliate links. I also make a small amount of money from posting infrequent Sponsored Tweets on Twitter, and from occasional spot advertising deals for ad space that I sign from time to time with individual advertisers.
Finally, I earn money from other affiliate agreements, such as my current efforts supporting Everett Bogue's inspiring books on minimalism (see the links to his books on CK's right hand margin).
All of this raises a second question that I'll ask (and answer) for the benefit of curious readers:
Q: If you don't make that much money, why even bother with ads and affiliate links at all?
It's a good question, and to be honest, I have considered eliminating all the ads here at Casual Kitchen.
A couple of thoughts. First, I've spent quite a bit of time over the years thinking about what kind of business model I want to run here. Is CK purely an idealistic creative outlet which should be free of financial concerns, or am I a fool to do anything other than maximize my revenues at all times?
My ideal is a middle ground between these two extremes: a model where I can get paid at least some money for my work, but in a way that doesn't burden my readers.
Second, ever since I started Casual Kitchen, there's been an encouragingly steady growth rate to my readership and my income here. If I can keep putting out thought-provoking articles and continue to grow my readership, perhaps this site can support me in a more substantial way in the not-too-distant future.
The bottom line is this: readers have access to all of the enormous amount of content here at Casual Kitchen at absolutely no cost. It's pretty hard to argue against free. And the best thing about an advertising or an affiliate revenue model is that my content can remain free, yet I can still earn money by, say, putting readers in front of books I've found valuable, or putting advertisers in front of thousands of potentially interested readers.
I guess at the end of the day I'm doing my best to strike a healthy medium that allows me to keep writing Casual Kitchen indefinitely. I think there can be a middle ground where everybody wins, and hopefully I've found something close to that here.
Finally, if you get value from an article at Casual Kitchen and you'd like to return the favor by helping support what I'm doing, you can easily do so. One of the easiest and most painless ways to support Casual Kitchen is to keep me in mind the next time you make any major purchases from Amazon.com. Instead of going to Amazon's site directly, use Casual Kitchen's affiliate links to Amazon instead. You won't pay a single cent extra for your purchases, yet I will receive a small commission on everything you buy.
Readers (especially those of you with blogs of your own!), what thoughts would you add?
A Reader Asks for Help
Best of Casual Kitchen 2009
Six Good Things About the Awful Economy
Help support Casual Kitchen by buying Everett Bogue's exceptional book The Art of Being Minimalist. (This is an affiliate link for an e-book I strongly recommend to my readers--and if you decide to make a purchase, your purchase will help fund all of the free content here at CK!)
How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from Amazon.com via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!