Triggered by an absolutely brilliant post by OurNextLife, we want to talk about our blog income (or lack thereof, actually). The post by ONL is about the income that some big-name financial blogger are generating with their site. ONL states that she thinks the bloggers deserve the blog income, but that they should be more open about it. Her pet peeve is that these bloggers are no longer living FI based on their original premises of investing into assets (which is what made/makes them great blogs to read). Which is fine, but some transparency would be nice. It would also be interesting to see how blogger do that don’t have ads or affiliate marketing income, during FI (i.e. no extra blog income). We both completely agree!
Mr. Money Mustache actually seems to do this to a degree. He still posts his expenses on a yearly basis, which have been quite stable throughout the years. He obviously earns a lot more money via his blog. How much is unknown, but it is fair to say that he would easily cover his living expenses of $25.000/year. What is he doing with all this extra cash? Who knows! But some of it he is donating to charities (he donated $100.000 last year, see link below), which is a great way to spend some of that extra blogging income if you’d ask us.
So let’s be transparent on our blog too. We have posted about the blog income topic before here and here. To date we only had Google AdSense to generate some income to cover hosting expenses. We started this blog income experiment in November 2015 with the aim to take the ads offline (for the remainder of the year) once we had received sufficient income to cover expenses.
With a starting blog, this was obviously not yet possible. But we are starting to have increased traffic to our site (getting close to beating 40.000 pageviews this month). We have now received our first payment of €70+ (apparently we are not allowed to expose the actual value due to restrictions in the Google Adsense T&C’s). But considering we paid about €150 for the first two years for hosting and domain name, we are far from breaking even at this point. Google AdSense is certainly not going to make us rich 😉
When we started this blog, we had done our research and found a hosting provider (neostrada.nl) that fitted our criteria and had a good promotional rate for the first year (at least for that time). We have since found out that we are overpaying at the moment (it is worth mentioning that the services have been great so far). Once renewal of the contract comes in September, we will have to renegotiate or move to a better (read cheaper) hosting provider (thank Mr FOB for the hint). Once we do this, we also don’t have to keep the ads up for longer than necessary.
That being said, our current intent is still to not make any extra money via this blog. However, this may change in the future as a bit of extra cash is always useful for during (partial) FI. We are not expecting heaps of money and also want to stay true to our (blogging) ethics. However, diversified as we are in our investments, we would happily receive some extra cash from this blog on a monthly basis to cover our living expenses. It’s a bit of a dilemma!
Ads and Affiliate Marketing
Ok, so what have we changed to our blog recently? Google Adsense will remain for now (until the time we break even on overall operating costs). However, we have moved the ads over to the side bar to keep them out of the posts to not annoy you, our beloved readers, too much.
Based on all the talk about affiliate marketing by various bloggers, we decided to give this a go too. But where to start and what to consider?
First off, we do not want to promote things we don’t use ourselves or that does not jive with that our blog is about: wise investing and limiting expenses. We therefore decided against credit cards/air miles/similar products. We also don’t feel much for programs such as Euroclix (Dutch), Klezzer (Dutch)and similar consumer (review) programs. So those our out too.
What we do use ourselves are companies such as Bol.com and Amazon.com. We have used these companies for years and like them too. Full disclosure in the case of Bol.com (the Dutch version of Amazon.com), we actually own Ahold shares which is the mother company. Increased sales at Bol.com will impact our future dividend income, but any potential use of an affiliate link would also provide us direct income (albeit not very much). In short, this would be a win-(small) win.
We have therefore decided to add an Bol.com affiliate program widget to the blog as a trial. If you would use this link, we will get a small commission (which varies per product and ranges up to 8%). It would obviously not affect your sales price, as it’s part of the marketing budget of Ahold/Bol.com.
What do you think? What would you as a reader still find acceptable on Cheesy Finance? We truly value your opinions as our readers! So please, let us know the good, bad and ugly.
P.s. this posts does not contain any affiliate links! 🙂