Pay a Blogger Day (And, how I supported some Free in November)

28 Nov 2011

Before I get to my report of how I supported some Free this month, I want you to know about a pretty cool day, organized by the folks at Flattr.

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at 9.06.40 AM

Pay a Blogger Day is tomorrow (Tuesday, November 29th). The idea is that, if you read and enjoy blogs, you take this day to say "Thank you" to your favorite bloggers by paying them something tangible. You could click on their donation button, or their Flattr buttons, or buy something in their online stores.

As you might imagine, I love this idea! Go forth and appreciate your favorite bloggers, OK? And if you're a Flattr user yourself, comment here and I'll come Flattr you!


Image by tonx, via Flickr

Now… in other news, here's how I supported some Free in November.

I finally got off my patootie and made a donation to Wikipedia. Seriously, I use it a dozen times a week, and if there's any site to which I owe a debt of gratitude, it's that one.

What websites do YOU use all the time for free? Is there any way you can offer a little support?

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at 9.22.00 AM

I also had an interesting experience with a fellow blogger, Linda. I've read Linda's illustration blog for a while now, but I had no idea she had other creative bloggy enteavors going on. That is, until I saw this post in my pingbacks.

In it, Linda writes honestly about her stuggles with sustainability – about how much Free she's sharing, and how few sales are coming back. I think it's a brave and important step for any of us to be open about our challenges. How else are our readers supposed to know there's an opportunity to offer meaningful support? So I ordered a new copy of her excellent zine, Persieri.

But more importantly, I was able to share with Linda that, until that post happened, I wasn't even aware that she has multiple blogs and online stores. We had some productive dialog about how she might make these channels more visible.

In talking about our challenges, we come closer to finding solutions. If you're having trouble making your blog sustainable, I really encourage you to talk with your readers about it.

Free Julia

Image by Dana Rocks, via Flickr. This is not me, by the way.

Thank you, as always, for witnessing this little project, which I'm proud to report is in its 11th month. Turns out, it's not at all difficult to integrate regular community support into even my tight budget. How are you supporting your community? I'd love to hear - please leave a comment!


This is a great idea. Just saying thank you to our favorite blogger is priceless.Gratitude goes a long way. Thanks.

I love this lady - paving the way, as usual! P.S. I signed up for Flattr because of you, and Flattr-d you last month, (I think - what day is it? What time is it?). I've yet to figure out how to add Flattr buttons to my posts...but I'm hoping to add it to G+N sometime soon.

On the outside chance that this is useful...

Thanks for the Flattr! I look forward to Flattring you back. Ahem. :-)

I journal alot. ALOT ALOT! I LOVE to write, about anything or sometimes about everything! Most things I write are never seen by anyone but myself unless its a poem or something of that nature. The thing I have never understood is HOW does the process of turning these random words in my head, can become dollars in my hand, via blogging? Even if I have to say so myself, I'm a fairly smart person & even have a college education do I even BEGIN the process of forming a money paying blog? Who pays you? What determines HOW much or little you are paid? Are you paid on certain days or by a schedule or what? I honestly have NO IDEA!

[A portion of this comment was removed.]

Hi, LeyAnn -

I thought long and hard about your comment. I think your questions about how to get started monetizing a blog are good ones, but ultimately I felt that the other personal details you shared might not have the best home here on this blog. I feel for your predicament, but I think the discussion here is best confined to crafting and internet matters. So I sincerely hope you will forgive my editing your comment, and that you'll find the information I'm about to share useful.

First, it must be said that making money from a blog is a very slow process, and it's an entrepreneurial process. There aren't any companies or agencies who will currently pay a living wage to bloggers. It's more a matter of building up enough readers that you can do one of two things:

a) Sell exposure to those readers to advertisers

b) Devise products and services to sell to those readers

In either case, you're putting in lots and lots of time. Very, very few bloggers reach the massive levels of audience where they can make significant income at it. I don't make any money directly from blogging, but from developing products and services and offering them for sale to my readers. (And, a fair amount of side-work to fill in the gaps.)

I think it's important, if you want to make money as a blogger, to think of it as taking on a publishing job. The kind of blogging that earns income, directly or indirectly, is blogging that gives your readers information or inspiration they can use in their own lives. Most purely-personal blogs will not grow audiences large enough to monetize, though they may grow audiences large enough to be self-supporting over time. Think of your readers' needs, serve those, and you have a good start.

I hope that's of use, and I wish you all the best!

Thank you indeed for buying my book, Aviva! And I also like the model of actively seeking out other bloggers' affiliate links. Every little bit makes a big difference.

Your "support project" has been a huge inspiration for me and that inspiration resulted in my own intention to support crafty bloggers OR small local craft related businesses every single month.

You are so right! It really is not a difficult thing to do - to support fellow members of the crafty world every month. I started following in your footsteps in February and will never, ever stop!

Setting aside a budget amount - any amount - $5.00 if that is all that can be spared - and then spending it on something provided by a blogger who has generously provided tutorials and insight and resources! Very satisfying! And an awful lot of fun!

All it takes to start is to make the decision to participate in this way. It is almost New Years! Great time to resolve to support the crafty blogisphere every month in the coming year. Once started, it is almost addictive! GOOD Addictive!

You stated it so perfectly in your reply to Rachel. It isn't the amount. It is the support that matters. AND if HOW that support is given is shared, that adds greatly to the ongoing conversation and helps in moving the compass needle toward universal support for all the hours and hours and skill and talent and vision shared so generously by our fellow bloggers.

I sort of blew my budget in October buying stuff for Christmas gifts to make - mostly yarn! But I will be back in 2012 to continue supporting and sharing.

Awesome! I just Flattr-ed your two posts on how to read tatting patterns. Thank you, Heather!

I love this idea of Flattr! I've been interested in microloans for a long time, and the idea of micropayments for blogs is incredible. This is the first time I heard about it, and I immediately signed up and Flattred your post for letting me know about this (and all the post I've read and enjoyed in the past).

I'm so excited to have a new way to help out other bloggers and to offer people a way to help me with a little something too.

Don't give up, Kat - it takes time to build a readership! It took me a solid year before my audience started growing for this blog.

You're in a very natural place with your blog, and I've seen many other bloggers feeling the same, and almost always about six months in (like you are). I'd say, stay close to your love of the process of blogging, reach out to lots of other bloggers with comments, and give the process plenty of time. Your blog is clearly from the heart and encompasses all kinds of crafty goodness. It will find its audience!

My blogs don't generate comments, thus my readership is low. It seems like it should be a lot more, but I have no experience in 'selling' myself. I am one of the people who need help, especially financially, and I will be opening an account to I can hopefully get something IN. I read your posts to try to learn, and a few others to feed my brain. Anyway- thank you for posts like this one. Something, someday, will click in my brain and things will turn around.

The main way I support free is I go out of my way to use my favorite bloggers' affiliate links. I also try to buy occasionally from their Etsy stores, if they have them. I supported you by buying your book new, something I rarely can afford to do but I love the Kanzashi flowers and butterflies I've learned to make from you so I felt I should. :)

I'm going to have to check out Flattr. I've been seeing the buttons, but don't know anything about it. If it's a way to give micro payments, I like that idea! Thanks, Diane! I learn so much from you!

Hi Diane - Just wanted to thank you for mentioning my blog post and encouraging folks to speak out about sustaining our blogs and passions. I definitely learned that most folks didn't know how they could support me...even if it might have seemed obvious to me. Turns out I'm not the center of the world! LOL

Joking aside, it's really a big lesson, we think that it's the 100th time we've mentioned something or that xyz is so obvious...or that we are so exposing ourselves... when really, it's more like a gentle whisper. Goes to show, I've got a lot to learn about marketing!

Oh, right you are! In this fragmented-attention era, I think we can't mention things enough times. And yet, every marketing mention feels intrusive as I'm making it!

One of the best things I ever did was hire Kirsty Hall to consult on my blog. She pointed out a similar issue: it was hard to find my products for sale from my homepage, and I was presenting them in a shrinking way. This stuff is a constant process of trial-and-error, to be sure. :-)

I'm glad it helped, Diane :-)

Thanks for letting us know about Flattr and Pay a Blogger Day. It´s such an awesome initiative! :-)

Thank you for commenting back, Diane. I went to bed feeling disheartened. This morning, I'm back to the 'determined' mode, and your comments have revived the sagging ego, fueling more of my hard fought determination. I'm raising my coffee cup to you! Thank you, again. You are a bright beacon in the tumultuous sea of the blogoshere!

Great post, Diane! In following the links & reading posts/comments, I came across an interesting comment here:

It was such a novel way to look at things, and makes so much sense. I think it's a good perspective to share.

I think this will be a gradual shift in how people consume and support digital content. The more this subject is discussed, the more people will think about it and the more - even small - actions they will take to support the bloggers they love. Every conversation about it is an important one because it plants/re-plants/nurtures that seed of remembering how crucial it is to support the bloggers whose work you love and appreciate. We are trained by daily life to whip out cards in a flash at big box stores, but the habit of finding ways to support small, independent creatives is one folks - in general - haven't fully adopted yet. It takes time and frequent mentioning to break through those hard-set habits most folks have. (self included!)

I truly believe folks really want want to support the bloggers they love, but sometimes their attention spans are so fractured and overwhelmed, the thought of clicking that link/donating/subscribing, etc. flies out as quickly as it flew in. (Hellooooooo, me taking 3 weeks to get off my butt and subscribe to the Crafty Pod Podcast 2.0! ;) Constant, gentle reminders are really effective, I think. This series is a great example. I'd love to see it widespread. If more and more bloggers reported on the small, yet significant, ways they supported other creative endeavors, it would gradually grow into a whole movement. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Definitely - the discussion on Sandra's blog about her (very innovative, imho) online store is fascinating. I think it's definitely important for any content creator who seeks financial support to ask for it - and to give people several options. But at the end of the day, you are right - what's really needed is a sea change in the way consumers see the value of content. I agree that many people have good intentions, but these are so easy to forget in a crowded online landscape.

I really do wish more bloggers would share the ways they've given support to their favorite creators. The amounts of money don't matter - the act of supporting DOES. You're absolutely right, Rachel - the more we see people supporting each other, the more it becomes a social norm.

Hi Diane, Thanks for talking about Flattr, never heard about it and absolutely love the idea! I'm going to register and start Flattering around!!