To Monetize or Not to Monetize?

NE Cruise

First off, we have no plans to monetize this blog.  We simply enjoy sharing our ideas and interacting with our readers.  Carrying on this virtual double life has been a fun way to break up the daily grind and has motivated us even more to reach our goals.  Not to mention, I don’t think we’d make much from our 9,200 all-time page views. 😉

However, later this year I’m going to have a lot more free time on my hands to let the creative juices flow and experiment with new things.  And you know that’ll probably include looking for ways to build new income streams.  Since we plan to take full advantage of living in the UK to travel extensively and see as much of that part of the world as we can, I’ve been thinking of a way to combine both interests.

A couple weeks ago, I began mentally designing a companion blog to document our travels throughout Europe over the next three years.  I’m super excited and can’t wait to start working on it!  It’ll have a very different vibe and layout from this site with lots of vibrant pictures and maybe even some tips learned throughout our travels.  We’ll still post here, but the new blog will be focused on the sights and sceneries of our European adventure.

This brings me to the topic of this post.  I’m debating on whether or not to monetize the new website.  Although we don’t really need the money, it would be nice to potentially offset some, even just a tiny bit, of the massive income drop we’ll experience when I leave my job in August.  And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by the challenge of creating something out of nothing.  We wouldn’t anticipate bringing in anything significant, though we’d want to at least cover the hosting and other associated costs.  Who knows, if we build a decent following, we could even get a portion of our travel paid for.

The reason I’m conflicted is because I don’t want to lose authenticity.  We genuinely want to post stories and photos of our travels for family and friends to follow while we’re overseas.  Any money we’d generate on the side would be an added bonus.

One thing I love about Ditching the Daily Grind is that it has given us a place to share our thoughts, learn from others, and sometimes just vent.  We write about things that happen in our daily lives, some good, some bad.  In many ways, this blog is the only place where we can be completely honest about our goals and dreams.  While at work, I often feel like a shell of my real self pretending to fit in with everyone else.  Here, I can just be me.

Since we started this blog last summer, I began reading dozens of other blogs and I’m always aware, if only subconsciously, of which ones are monetized and which are not.  Now I don’t want to take anything away from any site that is monetized.  I completely understand why someone would do it.  Maintaining a blog is a lot of work and can be extremely time consuming.  Plus, who doesn’t want to get paid?

I’ve gone back and forth on this topic over and over and I’m leaning towards monetizing.  That being said, I want to be careful about the way we go about doing it so that we stay true to ourselves.  I’d want to limit the use of ads and carefully use affiliate links, as appropriate.  I don’t know much about either of these so that’ll be a big learning process as well.

For those who have already gone the monetizing route, what was your experience like?  If we run a travel blog, can we deduct travel costs as a business expense since our content will be created directly from these travels?  For those who have chosen not to monetize, what are your thoughts?

16 thoughts on “To Monetize or Not to Monetize?

  1. MrFireStation says:

    I don’t notice which ones are monetize or not, as I read different peoples blogs. I have not monetize mind, because honestly I don’t really know how to do that. I thought at some point it might be an interesting activity to understand, but it has not been a high priority of mine.I wouldn’t worry too much however you decide…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. projectpatrol says:

    I know nothing about monetizing a blog or anything else for that matter (truth!) but, what about starting out doing reviews of things you encounter in preparing and during your travels? Maybe you could dedicate a post say, once a week or every two weeks, to a particular something and the rest of your posts will be about the activities, events themselves. From hotel stays to car rentals and restaurants to luggage, kid friendly places, etc. That way WHEN your blog becomes big, various companies will be begging you to review their items and will give you/compensate you with their products or free stays…does all of that really happen? I hope so! Good luck in figuring out what’s right for you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Encore Voyage says:

    Dang it, DTG, we’re in almost exactly the same place! I’ve had the same thoughts recently, and even have “study up on monetizing” on my To Do list. That said, I agree with Fire that you probably shouldn’t worry too much about it. From all I have read thus far, “content is king.” If you make sure your content stays excellent, all will be good. I will say that the blogs that annoy me are the ones who have way too many ads, and pop-ups that keep me from their content – yeah…don’t do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      How cool that we’re on the same page! And I agree about the pop-ups. So annoying, hope we don’t have any here. You’re right, content is king and Project Patrol listed several great ideas!

      Btw, we’ve been playing with Duolingo like crazy! Very addicting. Unfortunately, I broke my 10-day streak yesterday. 😦 Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. our next life says:

    J$ and Paula Pant’s MONEY podcast just had a great episode on blogging. They covered monetizing and which forms work best. (They are anti-ad network, for example.) I suggest checking that out for lots of good info!

    Like

  5. Maggie says:

    I monetize, though I’ve only made a couple of dollars. I doubt I’ll ever make a steady anything with it, but in a way, it gives people the option to support you. If not overbearing, I don’t think it’s a problem. I mainly do it because the whole blog is an experiment. I write it because I enjoy connecting. But putting an ad on the side is standard practice, so I have no problem doing it or seeing someone else who does. PS – I may do more yelling on the new blog. I’ll try to restrain myself. 🙂

    Like

  6. kalieb says:

    I haven’t monetized as I know it’d be a substantial time commitment & I’m trying to keep it as a fun outlet. I think if you have the time & won’t be under any pressure to make a lot or work more than you want to, why not just try & see what happens? Especially if the challenge excites you. I guess I notice more which blogs are shamelessly monetizing at the expense of quality content, but if it’s still engaging and helpful to the reader, it doesn’t matter if it’s monetized.

    Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Great points. We should be settled by October and I’ll have plenty of time to tinker and experiment. We’ll definitely focus on content. I’m getting lots of good ideas that I hope to focus in a coherent, easy to read message. I’m excited just thinking about the possibilities!

      Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      You’re on a great start with your site and you’ve mentioned an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m sure you’ll find some extra opportunities for side cash. It would be great to have a website constantly generating money, even if it’s only a relatively small amount.

      Liked by 1 person

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