Over the years I’ve habitually reported on the workings of this blog to the “board.” That means you. Doing so feels right, it’s a way to retain transparency without cluttering my writings with this kind of statement; “If you click HERE I will earn $0.16, if you buy THIS I will earn $4.05.” Or, on the other hand, “THIS has no monetization, your click will generates no profit of any sort.”
And, as always when one summarizes one’s efforts for a kind audience, the act of reviewing is useful to the worker herself. No further ado.
The Statistics of “Privilege” The Blog
- 65,100 page views/month – holding steady from 11/2014
- 25,200 unique visitors/month – up 20% from 11/2014
- 53% repeat visitors – down 10% from 11/2014
- 3500 subscribers (including email, Feedly, Blogger, Bloglovin’) email subscribers come to the blog and thus are included in page views, the others read in their platforms of choice and thus are not. Up ~15%
2015 didn’t surface many questions of readership strategy. Feels like the blog grows organically, as will most satisfying projects. I made very few efforts to promote Privilege last year. Few guest posts, if any, no brand competitions. Any press has been accidental; any mentions in the blogosphere just a conversation between friends.
As for content, I have made the transition from all personal style all the time to what is generally termed, in the blogosphere, “lifestyle.”
We can deconstruct that word another day.
Monetization – 2015 Gross Income
- Earnings via affiliate sales: ~$2000
- Earnings via sponsored posts: ~$600
- Earnings via ads and other paid clicks: ~$8000
- Total up 5x from 2014
As you see, my earnings increased significantly, although they do not approach professional levels. Why the growth? I switched my primary monetization tool from RewardStyle to ShopStyle. RS uses affiliate links, i.e., commissions on sales, SS is a pay-per-click model. I have also established PPC relationships with some advertisers. This approach has been more profitable for me, and also feels more in line with my writings – i.e., while I’m not always saying “Shop for this,” I’m often saying, “Look at this, think about this, imagine this.”
I’d like now to revisit the question, why monetize at all? Reports to the board rely on bullet points.
- Monetization provides a metric for someone like me who simply cannot relinquish the concept of achievement. I enjoy seeing the click results come in. They are like little chirps of companionship and participation.
- And, as I said in 2014, in retirement these earnings are by no means nothing. They facilitate new sneakers, native plants, a jacket, a tray.
What are the risks of monetization? Alienating people, of course.
As it turns out, this process is somewhat self-regulating. If I don’t offer enough monetized links, I don’t get the feedback I enjoy. If I offer too many, you leave. A lot of inner dialogue ensues, sometimes other bloggers raise their voices on the topic. I listen to them, but I continue. I listen to you who read and support the blog even more. Monetization talks, but emails from readers are more articulate.
I usually take a break after one of these reports, like accountants after Tax Day. But last year, during several months of illness that kept me sofa-bound, I kept writing. It sustained me. This year, as it happens, we have just moved my mother into an assisted living facility. Her Alzheimer’s has progressed to the stage where she cannot remain at home. She needs a schedule of meals, activities, and sleep that even full-time home care can’t provide. As the only retired sibling, I’m doing much of the leg and paperwork. That’s as it should be, but I’d like to wait to take a blog break until the process is completed.
That means I’ll be here writing, occasionally distracted, always aware of the privilege. Onward. Thank you very much for reading. Those who comment, and it is by no means required, we’ve heard again and again that you are one of the best parts of this blog. Thank you for talking.