The Challenge: Monetize the Blog

It’s hard for me to believe that, come August 28th, this blog will be 10 years old!

Even though our primary purpose in starting the blog didn’t include making money from it, blogs are, primarily, meant to generate income, to be “monetized,” as they say.

Spoiler Alert: we aren’t turning the blog into a “Pay-for-Play” site. Our blog content has always been, and will almost certainly remain free.

Zeiger Family Homestead donation block

The donation block, our main monetizer, on each of our website pages (Mark A. Zeiger).

We’ve monetized our blog and website to a small degree; we have our on line store, selling everything from our books, sifter plans, and soaps to custom-knit animals and T-shirt designs. We have our donation block on every page of the website. We receive a small amount when readers click on ads on the pages. We have our Book List page. But, to date, none of these could be considered full monetization, and all are more focused on the webpage side of our presentation, rather than the blog itself.

But, let’s face it. I suck at self promotion. I have a hard time asking people to buy our books, or anything else we produce. My “business strategy” is to put us out there with little or no fanfare, hope that people will like us and might buy our stuff. Madison Avenue, here I come . . . .

Zeiger Family Homestead T-shirt designs.

Two of our original designs. Am I proud of them? Yes! Can I promote them effectively? Not really. (Images: Cafe Press).

Ironically, as I faced this 10th anniversary, and recognized that we should have monetized the blog a long time ago, we got hit with some of the worst costs yet of maintaining the blog.

It’s a long, boring story, so briefly: Google, (the true owner of the internet?), recently decreed that all sites must have SSL, (which you can see as little green padlock icons next to your URLs) or face disparaging treatment from Google. This is why you now get a message that many sites you have long visited, such as Alaska state pages, or NOAA Weather, are now “untrustworthy.”

Our former web host, GoDaddy, is apparently one of the only web hosts that sees this new requirement as an opportunity to make money, so they charged us about $300 for SSL on our site! I soon learned that this is outright extortion. So, in true off-the-grid fashion (and, shameless plug: I describe this fully as a cost-cutting measure for any household in our new eBook: More Calories Than Cash: Frugality the Zeiger Family Homestead Way) I pared the cost of the website down as much as I could before looking for ways to monetize. I removed all our web-related information from GoDaddy, saving us quite a bit, but unfortunately we could not get back any of money they charged us! So, momentarily, our cost to produce this blog spiked uncomfortably.

(Incidentally, I switched to a local web host, so most of the money I spend on maintaining this blog now goes to our local economy. Bonus!)

We’ll overcome it through book sales, T-shirt sales . . . and a new endeavor that I’ll mention next time.

(Meanwhile, don’t worry—we will return to blogging about the homestead shortly.)

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