Last week I was sitting at this computer, again. I was working on this blog or a review. Or something. I don’t remember exactly.
Me: “I’m working!”
Peter (after a pause): “Mama, Daddy makes enough money. Stop working all the time.”
In case you are wondering, Homeschooling Hearts & Minds is not a money-making blog. I don’t get a paycheck. I don’t sell ads. I’m not a brand ambassador. I don’t post paid for reviews. I very rarely get a payment for a purchase through affiliate links. I don’t even sell the products I receive for review---I either use them or pass them along to someone in need when I’m done with them.
The content I provide here is for you. That includes the 1000+ word rambles, reviews, free printables, links to deals, and so on. No strings. I have always considered it a gift and a ministry. I get my therapy by laying out what’s on my heart, and you get some good stuff for letting me do that.
But lately I have been trying to cash in a bit. Because I’m going to be totally upfront with you---providing quality content truly is hard work. It costs time and energy. While I do enjoy doing it (ok, some of the technical stuff I could do without), it really is a big investment of my time. Let’s take a “for instance.”
Suppose I create a printable for my kids, like the free preschool butterfly printables I posted last month. It took a few hours to create those printables. I was ok with that, because I was creating it for my own child (first) and for you.
But then I had to create screenshots for “views” of the product, upload the files to Google Drive, create a post, put in the hyperlinks, create a pinnable image, and then link that post to linky parties and on social media so that people would actually find it (because after you’ve already spent several hours creating a printable and getting it online it feels like you’ve wasted several hours of your time if only your best friend downloads it ;).
The point being that the actual creation of the product only accounted for a part of the time spent on it. You only see a small glimpse of what I’m doing behind the scenes.
I invest too much of my time. Those hours I spend fixing something nice up for you are hours I spend away from my family. I started to think that some added income to compensate me for my time would be welcome and might help me to justify the time spent, so I started incorporating more affiliate links.
I’ve also been saying “yes” to more review/giveaway opportunities, which aren’t moneymakers for me, but they do bring traffic to my site, which may in turn lead to more affiliate sales…well, you get the picture.
But the truth is, it feels like a rat race. Between all the “rules” that need to be followed and the fact that I couldn’t take my family out to dinner on the amount I’ve made in affiliate sales (yeah, I must be a bad at sales), it hasn’t been worth it.
Sadly, it may also not be worth it to continue to provide freebies. That butterfly printable pack I mentioned? It got over 700 visits. And 2 “thank you” comments. 2.
That’s not a complaint. Merely an observation. So many are surfing on mobile devices these days that comments are not always user friendly. Plus the internet is flooded with quality, free content---there’s really no reason for anyone to become a loyal follower of this blog based on 1, 10 or even 100 great printables. Or even to say thank you.
There will always be something else to download or pin elsewhere. I don’t need to provide it. I can do a 10 minute search, download it, and save myself a lot of aggravation.
On Sunday I was sitting there witnessing the Mass. Emma was sitting sweetly in my lap. For a split second, anyway.
I kissed her little head and thought to myself, “I miss this. I am missing this.”
Because for every moment I’m feverishly typing away on my keyboard, no matter how many readers I might bless or inspire, I’m missing something.
My husband and I had a heart to heart last night and I’ve decided a few things:
I’m going to be taking a week long blogging break shortly. I’ll schedule a couple of “best of” posts with links to some of my favorite older content during that time (enjoy!), but otherwise I’ll be silent.
I don’t like ads, disclosures, “nofollow” tags and all that jazz. I am strongly leaning towards dumping all affiliate links. How do you feel about affiliate links? Would you like to see an ad-free blog? This is your chance to let me know.
I’m re-evaluating everything that I offer here, including freebies and reviews. I do have some reviews coming up that I’ve already committed to, but I may be cutting way back in the review department. How do you feel about reviews?
How do you feel about things like printables and other freebies?
How do you feel about links to homeschool deals and giveaways I find on the web?
How do you feel about my rambles? You know what? It actually doesn’t matter, because I suspect the rambles aren’t going away.
I’m looking for honest (but polite, please!) feedback. So, lay it on me.