Having a tale to tell is only the first step, of course. Still evolving is the art of making a living from that tale. Heather and Jon both worked in online marketing, yet they were hesitant about adding advertising to Dooce early on. More specifically, it was Heather who hesitated. She feared “selling out” and the reaction from readers. But after her postpartum breakdown, her therapist prescribed that she hire a baby-sitter to come every day. Ads became a way to pay for child care.
The Armstrongs started small at the end of 2004, with Google ads (the kind that appear on registered sites and pay anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars, depending on Web traffic). Before long they had contracted with an agency that actively sought display advertisers, making Dooce the first personal Web site to accept significant advertising. When monthly income from the blog exceeded Jon’s paycheck for the same period, he quit his job to manage the business.
Armstrong’s readers responded as she’d feared. “They screamed, ‘Who do you think you are?’ ” she remembers. “ ‘What made you important enough to make money on your Web site?’ ”
It is a question that hovers over all personal blogs — if they are based on trust, do you violate that trust by introducing commerce?
The more that I’ve thought about it, the movie Julie and Julia (affiliate link) was a more powerful representation of today’s blogging culture than I realized. it’s the “You’ve Got Mail” of this decade. More and more authors are leaving the corporate world and doing it full time.
It’s very inspiring, and all it requires is a simple blog service and the ability to write some damn good content.