Every morning I begin my day by writing notes to myself and trying to sort out my head towards the creative process. It’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and every morning, coffee pot in hand (most of you use mugs, I skip that step.) I spend time sorting out my world. The graphics below are from a recent session.
The first question (not on the graphics) is, “Am I really going to continue writing about gardening? And if so, what does that mean?”
- If the answer is yes, then the graphics begin to make sense.
- If that answer was no, then the process is entirely different.
Let me explain. The major issue in writing for websites is the monetization model we are currently working under. We have:
- Affiliate sales
- E-book sales
- Membership websites
- Unknown, and yet to come.
In order to create a valuable page using the available technology, it’s almost mandatory now to include three of the five following content types:
- downloads of one kind or other.
At the bottom of the first graphic, the primary question for creators emerges and that is, “How to be ignore-proof?” What amount of content and how is it to be delivered in such a way that readers flock to it in large numbers?
Advertising On Websites
But then reality strikes.
A basic evaluation of current advertising rates suggests that 1000 visitors to a website might make 2 to 3 dollars in income for the creator. This may be higher on some days with some keywords and lower on others. It all depends on Google and the numbers of visitors and the advertising rates being used on that day.
As of August 2018, it appears that native traffic – the traffic sent by Google without any input from the creator – is going down for all but the largest websites (Facebook, YouTube etc.) in other words, it’s harder to get traffic without advertising than it used to be.
So spending a minimum of 3 hours (it often takes that to make just the video) for a post that likely won’t recover its costs is a losing game in the long run.
Affiliate sales also depend on traffic. If there is an Amazon link, the click-through rate per 1000 viewers is about the same as any other advertising link. (1-2%) But then, the conversion rate at Amazon (another 3-5%) is another factor. Creators only get paid when somebody buys something at Amazon, not when they just click to go there.
- This means a click on an ad could be worth a few cents, but a click on an affiliate add to Amazon could be worthless.
- But any way you evaluate it, it is still a numbers game and the more traffic you have, the more income you might make.
While links from a website to an e-book may make a few dollars, the conversion rates are the same as general advertising and affiliate sales links.
The majority of my e-book sales are independent of my websites and are driven by Amazon advertising on the Amazon website.
I don’t need to do any website work to generate income from Amazon.
Right across the Internet, publishers are discovering that people are refusing to pay for content. If you try to read any of the major newspapers now, they will give you five free articles and then their firewalls go up. If you want to read more than five articles a month, you will have to subscribe. There are other models, such as the one I’m using on DougGreensGarden.com that put all of the important articles behind a firewall for members only.
Just as gardeners prefer to get free plants, they prefer to get free information as well.
This website allows patrons to support their favorite creators with a few dollars a month. A quick evaluation of some of the better writers and creators on the Internet shows they are not making enough on a monthly basis to even post new articles on this site. There are, to be fair, some creators who are making a significant amount of money. None of those are gardening sites.
But The Economics Are…
You can quickly see the economics of writing or creating a website aren’t particularly favorable at the moment. The top box that says “If it takes me 2 to 3 hours to” is optimistic. The video alone can take that if there’s any editing involved.
And that leads me to ask, “What is my time worth?” as well as the key question, “How in hell to get 30-K visitors to each post just to break even?”
My note summary poses three questions:
- Who am I kidding? (Very likely myself)
- How to be a ignore-proof? (Got that covered but then number 3 kicks in)
- How to $ the content? (In other words, how do I make money by spending the time to write outstanding content and produce videos etc? And I confess I have no idea.)
I’m reminded of an old motivational saying: If you keep doing the same things, in the same way, you can’t expect a different outcome.
And that leads me to my last note.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
And that’s where the coffee ran out. Sigh. I’ll have to sort this out sooner than later but there are going to have to be changes made.