Blogging for love or money?

The other day I was a little bit over-excited. Why?


How can a person get so excited over 42 English pence? Well it was my first ever earning from Amazon affiliates. Thank you to the person who probably clicked on a book link and ended up buying a pepper mill – I’d love to know who that was!?!

Image @ The Purl Bee (How to make a cute japanese coin-purse)

My day job is in digital media so I have been intrigued to experiment and learn about affiliate revenue. While the subject of making money from content can be a controversial subject in some circles, I don’t think that there’s any harm in hoping that I might make a few quid to support my bookaholism.

I do have a fairly subtle approach however founded on a couple of key principles:

  1. I only link to products from a supplier I would happily buy from myself and that I think is value for money.
  2. I try to put links where I think that they will be useful or relevant to people.

So that set me off thinking that there are some other affiliates I’d like to link to such as AbeBooks (not a paid link) which are a great source of used books, but the free version of WordPress does block most forms of affiliate links which while I totally understand the principle behind is a little bit restrictive. It is their right to do so – after all I’m using their space and tools free of charge but it makes me wonder whether there is any merit in paying.

I think it’s pretty obvious that my love of books is my primary purpose for blogging (I really wouldn’t write so much if it wasn’t) along with enjoying opinions and thoughts of the wonderful bookish community out there. On the other hand I’d love to know what other people think in general and recommendations about whether or not to upgrade to a paid hosting format.

I know that talking about money can be a little controversial but I’m feeling brazen today! Go on, give me your thoughts – I dare you…

21 responses to “Blogging for love or money?

  1. Polly, I have been toying with that idea myself. Not because I think it will make me a millionaire but because of the restrictive side of the free WP blog.

    I’m interested to hear what peeps think of the merits too.

    • novelinsights

      I’m definitely interested in doing it but need to do a bit of research to understand first. As is always the way!

  2. farmlanebooks

    I think that if you can get money for doing something you love then it is foolish to refuse it. I didn’t start blogging as a money making exercise, but now I’ve discovered that I can I’m going to try to maximise that (otherwise I’ll have to go and get a proper job when my boys are both in school!) I’d still continue blogging without the money, but it is a nice bonus!

    • novelinsights

      I think that is a sensible philosophy. Sounds like a virtuous circle anyway – not working full time = more reading time as well as time with your kids.

  3. I don’t see anything wrong with it, especially if you blog because you love books and you’re promoting the ones you love. Of course, even though I’ve been an affiliate for months, I still haven’t figured out how to link properly. I’m such a Luddite.

    • novelinsights

      🙂 that’s a bit harsh on yourself! It does take a little time to figure out and have a chance to have a go.

  4. I would be more than happy for you to make a bit of money from me buying something you had recommended – it makes perfect sense to me! I know nothing about affiliates or anything like that myself, but it does seem like a good idea.

    I think there are other advantages to using the paid WP thing too, and I think if you have the technical know-how to do so (for some reason i have it in my head that it’s harder to use the ‘real’ wordpress software, which may or may very well not be true!) then it would probably be a wise plan.

    • novelinsights

      Hi Jane, that’s sweet of you to say 🙂 I would be interested in the full WP stuff but I think you’re right it is harder simply because you have to go through the steps of sorting out hosting and it takes a bit of research to find out the advantages. Well perhaps when I have a few spare hours on my hands!

  5. So long as you’re honest about your recommendations (as you obviously are!) I don’t see a problem with making a little cash on the side.

  6. I don’t see what the fuss is all about on affiliate links. They really don’t pay much (or at all)! I have yet to get one cent from any affiliates. I don’t see how blogging could ever be a money-making scheme (if somebody knows, do tell! 🙂

    • novelinsights

      Haha, the magic secret. For me it’s not really a super-important thing and my expectation is that I’m more likely to make the odd penny than any serious pounds. It’s great to hear everyone’s thoughts though!

  7. It’s a nice bonus – I do it too. However in a year and a half, I’ve yet to amass enough for a payout!

    • novelinsights

      Lol. Definitley for love rather than money then 🙂 I guess it’s nice to experiment though, thanks for sharing your experiences!

  8. I pulled all my Amazon links and deleted my affiliate account with them about a year ago. Why? Because after 8 years I made a little under £2. It just didn’t seem worth the time and trouble.

    I’ve also started deleting all my Amazon reviews (I was a Top 100 reviewer for more than 5 years), because I couldn’t stand all the stupid, often derogatory comments, underneath reviews I’d written. I just don’t need the grief.

    Sorry. Rant over.

    • novelinsights

      Oh dear Kim, that’s not even enough to buy you a pint in a student bar! Thanks for sharing, that really made me laugh quite alot – Amazon have clearly given you internet-rage! Thanks for stopping by and posting your thoughts on this.

  9. I signed up to the Amazon Affiliates thing, because I thought a personalised book selection in a sidebar would be a nice touch – but because I’d played around with the HTML to make my blog into three columns, it messed up trying to put it in and it always missed off half the image. My problem is I know a *very* little HTML, but not enough to fix anything.

    And I decided not to have the Google paid links thing, because those I do find obtrusive.

    I think it’s up to everyone, of course, whether or not they want to make a bit of money from blogging – but I decided a while ago that I wouldn’t try. I seemed to tarnish it a bit, for me. Occasionally people email and ask if I will put up links to their products in exchange for money or kind, and I’ve always said no…

    • novelinsights

      Thanks for your thoughts / experiences on this Simon! There’s definitely no point if it becomes intrusive and I do think that it would be difficult to get Google links in without them being very much in the way. How annoying that the HTML messed up your layout – very silly!

  10. I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a bit of money from your site as long as it’s subtle and doesn’t lower the quality of your content because that’ll always be the most important. Too many people make the mistake of adding a way to make money, in a big way, because they have lots of visitors, and then find those visitors leave.

    • novelinsights

      Totally agree – there really isn’t any point if it distracts from your content. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  11. I know a lot of people think Amazon is killing real bookshops (something I’m undecided about myself) so I chose to be a Waterstones affiliate instead. So far it has earned me nada but I live in hope! I don’t think there’s any harm in earning some money from blogging but I suspect it’s unusual for it become much money. Good luck!

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