Today, I want to step away from the usual and talk about something that relates to the business of running a website like this. Most people would like to assume that a blog like this or any other is a labor of love. For the most part, that’s correct. Except that labor becomes very time-consuming and begins to wear thin after a while. Especially as the costs mount.
A simple blog like Aaron’s EnvironMental requires hours of time and two or three hundred dollars a year to operate. That might not seem like much, but when your livelihood itself is time-consuming and you have two small children and a disabled wife to care for.. well, it adds up. $200 or more a year is grocery money. So the blog has to become some kind of business to at least become self-sustaining. When I started Aaron’s EnvironMental, the only thing I knew about making money online were affiliate links (which generally suck) and Google AdSense (which is pretty low-income on even the most popular of blogs). I wish I’d have had a book like Luke Weil‘s How to Monetize a Small Blog back then.
Luke was nice enough to send me a copy for review. This is a small, concise little work that covers all of the basics to get a new blogger started down the road of monetization for their little endeavor. It may seem nuts, but even the newest blog can actually make some money. We learned that quickly with CarNewsCafe.com when we began offering a sort of paid advertorial in the form of paid outbound links on otherwise topic-fitting articles. That worked well there.
Here on Aaron’s EnvironMental, I use a twist on affiliate marketing that Luke hints to but doesn’t cover in his book. Most of my stuff here are product reviews. So much so that I’m (don’t tell anyone) going to change the formatting of this website soon to reflect that. Although I don’t usually get paid to do those reviews (I am getting $5 for this one, just to cover the time because Luke is a nice guy), I do get free product. That might not mean money in the bank, but it means I get stuff I and my family wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to buy and try. It also means that we always have a few things on hand to offer as wedding or baby shower presents. Plus my little daughters enjoy getting the Amazon boxes every few days.
Anyway, back to How To Monetize a Small Blog. If you have a website of any kind, I recommend you read this little book. You can run through it in about thirty minutes over a cup of coffee and get enough information that you’ll know most of your best options for making your blog self-sufficient and, if you’re lucky, profitable. Who wouldn’t want that?