Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’ve been working away on your blog for a while now — months, maybe even years. You don’t have a huge audience, maybe a few thousand readers, maybe even less. But it’s a dedicated audience. They read every post, they get into it in the comments, and they tell you they consider your site a valuable resource.
But properly maintaining a blog is hard work. You’re diligent about posting frequently so that your audience stays engaged, and the hours are really adding up. You’re starting to wonder about the bottom line. With your traffic, ad revenue won’t amount to much (if anything), and you’re not crazy about sponsored posts or affiliate programs that might tarnish your blog’s reputation.
Most importantly, you really care about your readers. You don’t want to let them down by posting less frequently or closing up shop altogether, but you’re just not sure the current pace is sustainable, especially if you’re not seeing much (or any) revenue.
It sounds like you might be suffering from “blogger burnout,” and here at Tinypass we think we might have a solution.
Here’s the idea: Ask your readers to become investors in your site. We’re not talking big money — maybe just a few bucks a month to read the occasional “featured” post or subscribe to your archives. There’s still plenty of free content on your site so you’re not locking anyone out, but you are giving your dedicated readers an easy way to help keep the good stuff coming. And this is more than just a tip jar, which are frequently ignored by even the most dedicated fans.
By asking your readers to become invested in your site, you’re giving them a reason to keep coming back. You’re giving them a reason to tell their friends about your site, and best of all, you’re finally generating a little cash for your efforts. At Tinypass, we’re seeing sites with even just a few hundred unique visitors generate hundreds of dollars a month.
There are lots of tools out there to help you monetize your blog, but we think Tinypass is unique in that it costs nothing to get started, and with our easy-to-use plugins for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, you can start accepting payments for blog content with almost no effort. For your readers, payments are quick, secure, and painless. You can charge for a single post, set up site-wide subscriptions, and even let your readers pay what they want for access.
In our experience, it’s best to start small and think creatively. Maybe for $5 a month your paying readers get access to new posts 24-hours before everyone else. Maybe it costs 25¢ to browse the photos accompanying an article. Maybe it costs $1 a month for commenting privileges. The sky is the limit, and we always encourage our partners to think beyond the traditional “paywall” and find the ways of charging that make sense for their particular content and their particular audience.
You’re working hard on your blog, and chances are your readers appreciate that. Why not give them a quick and easy way to pay a little something in exchange for the content they care about? If the alternative is less content, or no content at all, we’re betting they’ll know a bargain when they see it!
By Will Coghlan, Tinypass.com