Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blog

Posted 23 June, 2012 by Danny in Blog / 25 Comments

Happy Saturday! Topics for these discussion posts come to me out of the blue.Today I would like to talk about a slightly controversial topic! So be prepared!

I want to talk about monetizing your blog.

Before I go on, please let’s be respectful towards each other. 

When I started blogging I refused to think about monetizing the blog. If this discussion would have been 2 years before, I would have had a strong argument against having ads on my blog, or having affiliate programs. But, I am now in a different place. The Bookworms grew and I especially grew with this blog, I became more invested not only in the content of the blog, but I spend also a ridiculous amount of time with design and prettiness of the posts and the blog itself!

The change to WordPress was the beginning. I wanted a more professional way of blogging, I wanted to be able to be more individual. But of course, with WordPress comes hosting…

Then, there are giveaways! I guess you know that we have a fair number of giveaways running on the blog! Some are sponsored by publishers or authors for which I am super grateful, but there are also lots of giveaways we sponsor ourselves. And, that we get a book for free from a publisher doesn’t mean it’s free to ship it out. Needless to say, Pushy spends tons of money on shipping costs.

Don’t get me wrong!

This is not a whining post about how much money I spend for a hobby I love. Nope, no whining – just the truth and honestly? I happily & gladly spend every cent that goes into the Bookworms. Needless to say, it’s my very own decision how much to put into blogging.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to get tiny amount back? And I say: yes it would be nice! I don’t expect to actually earn money, it would be just nice to get a few cents back from what I put into this blog.. In the end, every cent would go back into the blog, or in giveaways. So, this is when I decided it’s time to look into monetizing options.

And… This Danny girl here is picky!

  1. Advertisement needs to be Book specific! Yep, I do not want to have random Google ads sitting on my sidebar. I know that this works for other sites, but not for me. I want all advertisement to have something to do with Books! In the end, The Bewitched Bookworms are a Book Blog for a reason right?
  2. Adds need to look good! I am a design nerd, I happily admit, that this was something very important to me.
  3. I want to decide exactly what is advertised on my sidebar!

Programs I joined and try out!

So, here is what I ended up deciding and which program I ended up joining!

amazon Affiliates:

I buy nearly all of my books on amazon and I linked to them before. So it was an easy decision to join this program. Plus they have this cute carousel widget which I love looking at. 🙂

Does it work for me?

Yes, because it’s easy to use and I love the style! Do I get real value out of it? Nope. Last month I “made” $0.43. I know, I was also pretty amazed by this awful lot of money…  😉

Audible Affiliates:

I looooove audible! I have a platinum membership and I still need more credits. Audible is my one and only source of audiobooks. Plus, I love to share awesome audiobooks which is why I love to do audio giveaways! I was happy when audible introduced the gift option. Woot!

Does it work for me?

Yes and No. Yes, because they have cute Buttons and great deals for new memberships so I have this Button on my sidebar. No, because liking back to a particular audiobook in a review is too much afford, so I don’t do it!

Book Depository:

Whenever we do a book giveaway we end up buying it from The Book Depository. Also, since they ship worldwide we can make those giveaways international. Since we use them for giveaways on the blog, I decided to join their program

Does it work for me?

No idea, I just joined the program a week ago. But, the Buttons look nice and the linking part is easy! So I have a good feeling!

Blog Ads:

They contacted me a few month ago to see if I’d like to join and after reflection I decided to give it a shot! I saw them around on a few blogs I read, and the ads looked really nice.

Does it work for me?

YES – this program is actually the best. You are selling actual ad space and you are not just an affiliate. The big difference, you get paid for the time the ad appears on your blog and it’s not based on sales from your site. Also, you can choose which ad to approve and if it’s an add you do not want to have on your blog, you just decline. Full control! Which is something I truly wanted! Moreover, you can modify the add and change a few things to make get it fitting to your layout!


*sigh* now onto the difficult part and I would like to raise one question: 

Does this make me a bad book reviewer? Does this make me less of a blogger?

I think I heard the argument before. We do not get paid for our reviews! Nope, writing reviews should be based on our personal opinion and not tainted by the money you get. With joining Affiliate programs or selling ad space I do not think my value as a blogger drops, nor do I think it does on other blogs.

Also, those programs do not affect my personal opinion in any way. Why would they?

It is something completely else to actually get paid for reviews. And this is still ok for me as long as it is mentioned somewhere. Like Kirkus – they sell their reviewing service together with their name.

The Bookworms? We are a Book Review Blog –  nothing more, but also nothing less! I anyway think I get compensated by the publishers because, they are giving me free books for freaking sake!  I couldn’t be more happy than getting free books to read and talk about. Also this does not affect my personal opinion any more or any less!

So now, by monetizing my blog, I don’t and won’t monetize my reviews and my opinions! I think this must be a clear and distinkt difference which I hope I made here on the Bookworms!


Now, I want to hear from you! Are you  against monetizing?

If so why? And If so, do you look differently at blogs that do this? Do you think less of them as a blogger? Just hit me with it – I would love to talk about this with you!

If you do go into the same direction I go – which programs have you joined, which work for you and which don’t.

Happy Discussion!

Much Love,




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25 Responses to “Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blog”

  1. I have book only affiliates on my blog and use them to sponsor giveaways..i am not making any money..but if approached would do the blog ads you spoke of. I spend oodles of hours and time on my blog and tons on giveaways…so any amount helps. I agree they should be book related for book reviewers and the bulk of the blog should be actual reviews and not full page ads..LOL Great post!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted..Embers by Laura BickleMy Profile

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    I know what you mean! I just recently saw that a blog I followed just changed to ” Product reviews” and now all I see is advertisement. This is too much and thee I feel like this is not a blog focused on Book related stuff anymore!

    I can only recommend BlogAds! They are great!
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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  2. Honestly, I have never thought about earning money through my blog since it’s a hobby for me and nothing more. I get where you’re coming from though. When you have such a big blog, there’s a need to host giveaways and such to show your appreciation and all and I know how much that my cost. I guess it’s OK to earn a little something via these ads. I agree though that they need to have pretty designs and they shouldn’t be excessive. I’ve seen a couple of blogs that have their sidebars filled with advertisements and that’s not appealing at all.
    This is a great post, Danny. I need to come back and check out some of the replies!

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    Ok Nick. I want to clarify -I do not feel the NEED to host giveaways. Nobody is forcing me… we actually love to do giveaways. Pushy and me are the same , we love to share what we got. Either ARC’s we got but didn’t request, or when Pushy goes to a signing she always gets book signed for the blog.
    But we do not feel the need to do this, we simply love to share.

    I guess there is a fine line between an overcrowded sidebar and a small amount of selective ads!
    Thanks :-))
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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    Nick @ Nick's Book Blog 6/23/2012

    Ok. So I realize, my choice of word was a little misleading. What I was trying to say is that when you have blog , you feel like giving away bookish things to show that you love your followers and appreciate their comments/feedback.
    Sorry for the misunderstanding. 🙁

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    OoO Ok! That makes sense :))) And yes this is exactly why we do this. And I give away books to friends all the time, sometimes when I want them to read a certain book and they are not sure, I just go and buy it for them:) Then they read it and are actually super happy that they did!
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

  3. Emily D

    I don’t have a blog, so I can’t really give that perspective, but as a reader of your blog, I don’t mind the ads. It makes sense to me. You’re spending a lot of time on it, spending your own money, and it makes sense that you get some compensation for it.
    You deserve it for all the hard work you guys put in!

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    Emily, thank you so much for your comment and input here!!! While I might think that some other bloggers can understand, it’s actually the readers I’m excited to hear from.
    And I was a little scared that maybe running ads would lessen the appeal to read our blog. Thank you so much Emily! Now, I feel so much better!
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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  4. I really don’t have a problem with blogs who monetize. I believe it’s a personal choice–I mean, the blog’s yours, isn’t it?–and it looks like you’re going about it the right way. You’re book-centric, with only ads that suit you and your style. Perfect!

    Plus, it does get expensive once you factor in hosting and giveaways and all that jazz. Me, I’m really too lazy at the moment to do all that–you put a LOT of effort into figuring all that out. Go you!
    Mary @ Book Swarm recently posted..Beware the Gramplars: SOULBOUND by Heather BrewerMy Profile

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    Yes it is – but if you scare away readers than the blog can be all mine, but suddenly I’m alone lool!
    Thank you so much for your input Mary!!!! And there is no need for giveaways and extensive hosting to run an awesome book blog.
    Happy Saturday!! *hugs*
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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  5. No, I’m not against it and I’m glad to know Blogads words b/c they contacted me and I didn’t know what to do. I need to fund my shipping and would like to do a some more personal giveaways but money is tight. After all, aren’t we already giving free advertising for the books we review? I have no problem with advertising book related products. I don’t want them popping up in my face so I can’t see the blog post or interrupting my reading of the review, but yours are very tasteful. No problem with what you’ve got going on. Monetize on. Would you believe that Amazon Associates is illegal in my state? Not that they are profitable, but still.


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    Danny 6/23/2012

    Oh hon, I can strongly recommend them! They have a super nice suport team and I sold my first 3 ads within the first 2 month. That was nice! Plus you are able to customize the ads to free your blog!

    And perfectly agreed, we do free publicity for the books we read! absolutely right!

    Truly, amazon affiliates is just not working.. I link and link but of course, most people just go and buy the book without clicking on my links :)) Still, I’m not yet defeated 🙂
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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    hrose2931 6/23/2012

    I’m sorry, I buy most everything from them, though through pre-order, but I will try to remember click through your amazon affiliates program..

    BTW/ I like this feature. Logging off now. Must put my patch back on and stop looking cross eyed at the computer!


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  6. Darkfallen

    Ive played with the amazon affiliates but it just doesn’t do anything for me. I mean I LOVE the carousel widget but I never make anything off of it. I might need to look into blogads because in the last year I’ve spent over $300 on shipping giveaways. I’m the sucker that feels bad if it’s not open internationally so I’m constantly paying crazy shipping fees. A little would go a long way!

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    Danny 6/23/2012

    Same here. I’m a amazon affiliate since so long but.. never got more than $0.44 lool! But I do not give up, for this, I like the carousel widget too much – it’s so pretty!

    Wow! $300 in shipping? That is so much!! Yes, look into blogads, they are really great and hopefully the will work for you!
    Happy Saturday!
    Danny recently posted..Discussed! by Danny – Monetize a blogMy Profile

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  7. I can totally understand that you guys try to get something back for all the effort you put in your blog and giveaways 🙂 I don’t have any giveaways and I always appreciate it very much when people do. It doesn’t bother me when a blog has adds and I don’t think that it makes you a bad reviewer. I never thought about it that way.

    Perhaps in a far away furture, when I feel like having a giveaway, I will join in Thebooksdepository. But for now, I’m having a great time as it is 😀
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  8. Kristin

    I have absolutely no problem with anyone who has a blog doing whatever they can to get money to offset costs as long as they don’t allow the $$ to affect their reviews, etc. on the blog. As long as everything’s on the up and up, I say go for it.

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  9. I’m all for it. I mean as long as it doesn’t affect the blog content I could care less. I have visited a few blogs (won’t say who), but it seemed like all they had was advertising and the content was lacking. Anyways… Monetizing your blog is a good thing as long as you do it in a way that’s not overwhelming.. If that makes sense?

    Great post! It’s great because if I ever want to monetize I can come back here and read up on the different ways! (:
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  10. Good for you! Ruby from Ruby’s Reads was just talking about this and I’ll say the same thing I said to her–I’m all for it! My only criteria personally would be that I’d want the ads to be book-related, and specifically to the genres I review.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! When I have a free moment (in, like, a few months from now!) I now know who to contact to ask for advice on monetizing 🙂
    Small Review recently posted..Books I got this week (2)My Profile

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  11. Honestly, I have never thought about earning money through my blog since it’s a hobby for me and nothing more. I get where you’re coming from though. When you have such a big blog, there’s a need to host giveaways and such to show your appreciation and all and I know how much that my cost.You deserve it for all the hard work you guys put in!

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  12. I so agree with you that Monetizing doesn’t mean you do it on the reviews or opinions! And not doing it isn’t wrong either. I started try to become an affiliate, just to try it, and it’s slow, but I don’t mind it too much either, as I’m not too desperate to make a lot of money. I find it as a nice sponsoring to giveaways! I have thought about trying Blog Ads etc. though, but I haven’t looked into it too much yet.

    I agree though; receiving free, awesome books are definitely enough of compensation!
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  13. I know I am still thinking about doing this. I hate blogs cluttered with ads but yours are nice and discrete and if they work and help cover the mailing costs…I look at it like this..being a blogger saves me money in the long run since I don’t have to buy as many books.
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  14. I’m new to the blogosphere, having just started mine in January of this year. My goals were two-fold: to have an outlet to get my thoughts on the books I read down (since most of my IRL friends and family don’t read like I do) and to maybe, someday, make enough money from it to support my book-buying addiction. So, the answer to your question is, no – I absolutely don’t have a problem with monetizing your blog. Now, if I could only get more than 16 followers….

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