Don’t Feel Guilty If…You Give it Up for Free

by AJ on February 11, 2011 · 19 comments

I will admit it. I didn’t do my research.

When I started blogging, it was with the hope of having something to do as I faced being underemployed and a lot of free time. I was reading 2-3 blogs regularly but that was it. I knew there was Blogger and WordPress (I had never even heard of Tumblr!) and that one blogger had her title and just .com and the others had or after their names.

I chose WordPress because I liked the layouts better. That was it.

And I chose to have my blog be a blog because I didn’t know why I would spend money for something that was a hobby that I might not even like.

I had no idea people made money from blogging. That there were book deals to be had and money for clicks. Blogging for pay is awesome and a subject we love to cover here at Hollaback. But it’s not the only way to blog.

I have yet to invest a penny (besides my time, which I like to think is worth a pretty penny!) in my blog and I have yet to make a penny from my blog. I spend money on restaurants I review and races I enter, but not directly on my blog. And I’m pretty happy with that decision. Even if I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now, I don’t think I would do anything differently.

Giving it up for free is not without its own perks:

  • Freedom of Speech. I am never in situation in which I’ve accepted something for free and had to then write a negative review. Everything I review was purchased by me or as a gift from someone I know.  I’m also free to wax poetic about anything that strikes my fancy – whether it be food…or politics or the ethics of port-a-potty use during a race.
  • Time is money. My status as underemployed quickly changed when I began blogging (unrelated to blogging) and now I’m balancing two jobs. I have limited time and only so much of that can go to hobbies (I tried not doing laundry…it didn’t work). I blog about veganism, running, and queer culture because those are my passions. And blogging has become a passion, but it would be pretty boring if I devoted all my free time to it…what would I write about? The time I do have for blogging, I would rather devote to content and photos than learning CSS and perfecting my layout.
  • My dear readers. Because I don’t earn money everytime someone clicks on my blog or clicks on a corporate sponsor’s ad, I am not a slave to my statistics. I have a few loyal readers who can be counted on to generate great discussion. And that’s why I wanted to blog in the first place — to find a community and to interact with them.
  • Working girl. My job is entirely unrelated to blogging. I cannot advance my career with blogging nor do I want to make blogging my career. I love what I do professionally and I want blogging to stay a hobby. Some weeks I’m busy and I post less, other weeks are slow and I post more. I feel I know what my priorities are and although blogging is important to me, knowing I am not counting on it for a paycheck helps me prioritize other parts of my life that are frankly more important to me.

There are many many benefits to earning money from blogging, but it is not the only way to blog and the only reason to blog. That said, just because you’re giving it up for free doesn’t mean just anything goes. But the rules of Blogging Responsibily and of English grammar still apply — even if your blog is small and free, it can be great.

What do you think? Do you give it up for free or do you blog for pay? What are the pros and cons of each?

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