Recently, I purchased angel affirmation cards. One I seem to pull regularly suggests I consider crowdfunding. (For those unsure, crowdfunding is the financial backing of a project or venture by securing several small amounts of money from a considerable number of people via the Internet, by and large.)
Unless The Triple Threat Investigation Agency were developed into a film venture, I [personally] would never crowdfund, but as JJ often declares: never say never. Anyway, way too long story short, it again got me thinking [again] about earning money via a blog.
So, on a similar note to crowdfunding, let’s consider donations—i.e. soliciting for contributions from readers and followers. Is it a viable method to make some ca$h? The consensus is yes, but the optimum phrase here: some cash. While it’s certainly possible to earn a whack of cash, chances are—for the majority of us—we won’t make enough to sustain a living.
Your blog can feature a call-to-action donation button, be it in the form of a PayPal plug-in or one personally designed. Tip jars are similar in concept. If you’re going for it, make certain the button stands out and doesn’t get buried in links and the like. Give thought to placement.
Add a message. “If you love my blog, perhaps you might consider showing your appreciation” is a bit wordy and vague. “Donate Now” and “Give Today” are short and sweet. Maybe too much so? Perhaps you’ve heard of WordPress’ “Buy Me a Beer” PayPal donation plug-in or “buy me a beer”, “buy me a coffee” requests? You could entreat the same; it’s not exactly novel nowadays, but hey, it might just work for you.
Consider telling people what the money will be used for; give thought to your reason/need and work with it (you’re the blogger; there’s no shame in blogging about it). Maybe it’s to pay your blog host? To fund a blog project? Honesty has [a lot of] merit.
Some believe the donation button is a thing of the past. Maybe yes, maybe no. I still see them in my blog travels. Depending on who you ask about successful blog donations, you’ll get a “yeah, it’s great” or “no, it doesn’t work”, or something in between. Requesting donations—and receiving them—tend to work best for bloggers who:
- don’t have a blog filled with ads and affiliate links
- have devoted readers/followers
- provide value-add information and/or services, or
- cater to a sizable audience.
(Caveat: it’s been said having a donation button when new to the blogging scene can be construed as gauche, among other things.)
If you decide to go the donation-request route, make sure to thank those that make contributions (manners are not—yet—a thing of the past). And if you want to keep it professional/business-like, provide receipts.
Due diligence got me looking at alternatives to traditional donate buttons/plug-ins. There are a lot of sites out there related to donations. Flattr, a Swedish “micro-donation provider” sounds interesting. “Do what you love, make money, effortlessly. Flattr users automatically pay you as they enjoy your work. It’s that easy.” I adore easy. But with a little more reading, I’m not so sure. Will have to return and research more intently. Hmm. . . . Another post perhaps?