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The Business Aspect of Running a Blog

 

business-side-blogging
 

This is a bit of a deviation from our typical DIY, recipes and decor type of posts, but it’s something we thought some of you might find interesting. Especially those of you who may be considering starting your own blog someday, or even maybe for those of you who already have. Also be sure to read down, there is some important information at the end of this post!

This blog did not start out as a business in itself, rather it started as a marketing site for an event business Terry and I were discussing starting together. From there, Christy joined us, the site grew and changed and grew some more, and here we are almost four years later. Our little hobby of a website has become a small business in addition to being a fun and creative endeavor.  You can read our whole “how we began” story HERE if you haven’t already.

 black and gold logo
 

After going again to The Haven Conference, which is a 2-day fun-filled, information-overload of DIY “Bloggy-iness,” our heads are still spinning with the possibilities this website brings.  This is an exciting time to be a blogger, as advertisers continue to shift funds from traditional media such as TV and radio and embrace social media, blogs and websites.

 

I spent my ‘previous’ life working in advertising and can tell you {though surely you know} that women make the majority of “home” purchasing decisions and women are notoriously hard to reach.  Pinterest has been a game-changer for that—even the busiest woman/mom still finds a few minutes to scroll through Pinterest for a new recipe or a rainy-day children’s activity.  And, advertisers know that you, our dear reader, as well as I, are more likely to buy a product if it is recommended to them by a friend. Advertisers are realizing they can reach this {busy!!} female niche through sites like ours and the other blogs out there.

 

steam machine in use
 

So we typically show you our DIY projects, recipes, some of our events and even–strangely– things like the inside of our pantries or closets {blogging is a weird business I tell you!} but today here is a bit about how we handle everything that goes on in the background at 11 Magnolia Lane.

I will talk a bit more at the end about how we divide our tasks and keep things organized, but we’ll start with the income side for those of you who may be interested in the business part.

We utilize four main business or income “avenues” on our site:

~ADVERTISING~

This is probably obvious—as you can clearly see we have advertisements running on our {right} sidebar. These ads are provided by several ad networks. The networks handle everything with the ads, we don’t control what goes/when/where, so it’s fairly effortless for us. We do have a certain selection of things we “opt” out of—certain political advertisements, and ‘junkier’ ads like belly-fat loss products—we don’t want to see that and know you don’t either.

Our main affiliation, and has been for almost three years now, is with the BlogHer network.  We joined them when we first decided to “monetize” the site and they have been a fabulous organization to work with. They specialize in female-oriented blogs and we enjoy being a partner with them.

Without getting too complicated, our ads are run through a Google Ad server—it ensures that we run the best ad available and it gives Google the right to “beat” out a lesser ad. That is a very simple explanation, and we’re thinking about putting together a class on what we’ve learned about ad income in the future, we’ll see. Anyway, this explains why you sometimes see an abundance of your own search-related ads on our site. Blame it on the ever-growing Google!

So, you may be curious to know exactly what we do with our advertising income.  No, it doesn’t pay for new shoes {though that would be really nice!}, we actually reinvest our advertising income back into our site. It pays our web hosting fees, for a variety of technical support, our travel and expenses to conferences like Haven, our charitable “causes” and sometimes for advertising on other websites. At some point, this may be something that changes, but for now our ad income keeps our site running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

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