I read yesterday that Emily of Under $1000 Per Month actually made over $1000 in January from ad referrals and the like. She made over her monthly budget by blogging.
In reading through the comments that announcement made, it got me thinking about the ethics and philosophy behind making money by blogging.
The way I see it, there are two real distinctions. There's blogging for money, and making money by blogging. I actually see them as two very different things.
To me, blogging for money is blogging with the express purpose of making money. Sponsored product reviews, SEO optimized posts every time, only saying things that you know will get some financial gain, or partnering with companies and getting financial compensation for flogging their products.
Making money by blogging I see more as a compensation for doing work. Although blogging is a hobby for the majority of bloggers, the upkeep of a blog, the advertising to get readership, maintaining a community in the comments, it all takes time and effort. And I don't see a problem in placing a few ads here and there to get a little compensation for that.
Particularly when it comes to the blogs of writers, I've noticed that they seem to be the ones that mind making a little ad money the least. Why? Because in blogging, they're writing, and writing is their profession. It makes sense to me. They aren't writing to make money, but they are making money by writing.
If that money happens to be the entirety of your income, then that just means you're one of the lucky ones, since that won't happen for everybody. I wish it would happen to me, to be honest. Having no outside job and no source of regular income would be made a lot easier by having some money come in from blogging, since I tend up update this blog on a regular basis. But that will take a lot of work. Not only will I have to keep updating regularly, I'll have to make interesting posts that people want to read. I'll have to advertise my blog on community sites. I'll have to comment a lot on other blogs so that people see my name and click back here and read through a few things. It's not like I just expect to sit back and watch the money roll in. I have to work for it.
The fact that I enjoy working for it makes it all easier to do. I enjoy reading blogs, I enjoy writing blog posts.
Making a little money from blogging is one of the ways I'd like to simplify my life. If truth be told, I'd much rather stay at home and work on making handmade items for sale or barter than go out 5 days a week and work for somebody else. If I can make a little trickle income by blogging about my experiences, then that just gets me one step closer to my dream.