I recently received a comment from No Thanks who has the email address NoThanks@YouAreTheBiggestLiarHowCanYouEvenSleepAtNight.com and the website SellOut.com. As you can tell, this person believes that I'm a liar; their issue is that they believe I'm not honest about earning revenue on my blog. Instead of being angry or offended by a stranger's rant, I decided to use this as an opportunity to share why I monetize my blog.
First off, disclosing that I'm a paid blogger is required by the FTC, Google, and many of the brands that I work with; you can see my disclosure in the footer of my website and you can read more about this on my Disclosure Page.
Why I Monetize My Blog
I love blogging and I love dogs and one of my dreams is to blog full-time from home, surrounded by our dogs. It is possible to manage a blog for free, but it's not easy. And one thing many people don't realize is that Keep the Tail Wagging® is a legitimate business – it's actually Keep the Tail Wagging, Inc. – with overhead and taxes. Here is a list of the blogging expenses that I incur each month:
My Starting Costs
- Domain name
- Website hosting
- Website theme/design
- Premium plugins (social media, SEO, security, caching, etc.)
My Hardware Costs
- Webcam and microphone
- Lighting (for videos)
Other Business Costs
- Business licensing
- Consulting fees (graphic artist, marketing, business coach, copywriter, editor)
- Education and training
- Email marketing services
- Internet service
- Marketing materials (business cards, etc.)
- Office supplies and materials
- Smartphone and service
- Stock images
- Trademark licensing
- Travel costs (flight, hotel, Lift services, meals)
Learn More About the Cost of Blogging
- The Shocking Cost of Running a Blog, SmartBlogger.com
- How Much Does it Cost to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog?, ShoutMeLoud.com
How I Earn Money on My Blog
Bloggers can earn money in many ways. My goal with my blog is to keep the information free and available to pet parents who want to feed their dogs a healthier diet. I monetize my blog in the following ways:
Affiliate Marketing – affiliate marketing is when I earn a commission on the products I recommend. I'm given an affiliate link that tracks clicks and if you buy something through an affiliate link, then I earn a commission. I have affiliate relationships with Amazon.com, Bonnie and Clyde Pet Goods, Canine System Saver, FullBucket Daily Canine Powder, Herbsmith, Inc, IrieCBD, Natural Pet Organics, PawStruck.com, Pet’s Best Pet Insurance, Plant Therapy, Raw Paws Pet Food, Scout and Zoe’s, and Simply Earth.
Advertising – I work through a publishing network to place advertisements on my blog. These advertisements are based on your online search activity to better serve your interests. I do not have a relationship with those brands in the ads behind being a member of the publishing network.
Sponsorship/Sponsored Posts – I have sponsorships with brands that I love and support.
Books – I'm also the author of the book A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs and I'm currently wrapping up my second book. I earn royalties on the sale of my books.
T-Shirts and Other Swag – I have fun creating t-shirts and from time to time someone buys one (it's very rare).
Darwin's Natural Pet Products
One assumption people make about me is that I work for Darwin's Pet. I don't work for Darwin's Pet. Currently, I'm a general ledger accountant for a Seattle company. In the past, I have received money from Darwin's for the following:
- Darwin's Pet sponsored a series that I wrote about a local K9 office and their payment to me was made in food to the dog. I wrote about how the dog was doing on a raw food diet.
- Darwin's Pet has hired me for freelance opportunities. I no longer write articles for their blog because I don't have time and, to be honest, they haven't asked.
- Darwin's Pet generously sponsored National Raw Feeding Week in 2018.
I do not have an affiliate relationship with Darwin's Natural Pet Products, which means that when I recommend their food, which I do a lot, I do not earn a commission if you choose to buy their food. You can tell that my links to Darwin's Pet aren't affiliate links because when you hover over them, they read http://www.darwinspet.com – an affiliate link is much longer. Most links are to other articles on my website about Darwin's.
How Many Hours Do I Work?
One question people forget to ask me is “how many hours do you work
- Email marketing
- Video recording/editing
- Social media sharing
Does Monetization Make Me a Liar?
I do understand why people are suspicious of anyone who places information behind a paywall (which means you have to pay a fee to gain access) or earns an income through the sharing of information. Isn't this everyone's dream – to get paid to do what they love? Sadly, we live in a world where people aren't honest and will promote crap in exchange for money. I will admit that I have made some poor choices in the past and have learned a hard lesson, which is why I only promote food, treats, and products from brands that I believe in.
If I won't expose it to my dogs, then I won't promote it on my blog.
Many of the products I write about, I purchase. I find it easier to buy products from brands because I don't feel pressure to write their message, I can stick to my own message. For many of the brands that send me products, I usually end up buying them for my dogs and my friends because I love them – a few that come to mind are Dr. Harvey's, WINPROPET, Ewegurt, and Scout and Zoe's.
How Much Does My Blog Earn?
So this may be why you're visiting. You want a figure and I'm not going to give it to you. That wasn't the plan when I first started writing, but the closer I came to wrapping this up, the harder it was to put the figure in writing, on the internet, for nosy ass people to see, read, and judge. How much I make ain't none of
I ran up a lot of debt to build my business and now I'm paying that debt off. The next hurdle is making sure I can afford benefits, which are very expensive for individuals. Basically, I'm making enough to pay off debt, raise our dogs naturally, and reinvest into my business for continued growth.
There will always be people who think that someone desire to earn an income reflects negatively on the individual, I think it's admirable because I see a lot of people take their earnings and using it to create products and services that are helping pet parents raise healthier pets. While blogging may have started out as a hobby for me, it's now my business. We don't expect other business to give their products or services away for free; so why are we so quick to question a blogger's integrity for striving to build their dream business?