To Paypal or Not To Paypal?

One option for monetizing your blog that I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet is Paypal. Just at the mere mention of the word I am sure that some of you will have split into “ew, yuk” camp. But hear me out, is it as distasteful as all that?

Begging Vs. Contributing

I recall when the topic of putting a donation button up on Threadwatch was raised and Nick said

No, I’ve never wanted to do that – too much like begging, a man has to have some limits 🙂

The other side of the Paypal divide was Kottke who famously decided to live on donations with much publicity.

OK, so if your blog is an out and out charitable effort it is a no-brainer, get a paypal button already! For the rest of us it is not so easy.

Despite Nicks protestations, Threadwatch members wanted to donate.

A donate button is not begging, it’s smart. Do it

You might be suprised to learn that your readers might be so grateful they want to give something back to you too. There are many cheapskates out there, of course there are, but there are also many people who like to reward the people that provide valuable services. And your blog is a valuable service, right?

Cornwall, a Threadwatch regular, took a guess at Kottkes income

If you assume, for no good reason, that they average $50 a head it gets him to an income of $30,000 a year.

Still seem like begging?

If you do not want to have a “donate” button, John Andrews has a suggestion in the Threadwatch thread..

support, not donate. If you want, tie it to a specific improvmement and when the money ads up to enough to fund the otherwise-not-a-priority improvement, build it.

Personally, my preferred approach would be to create a “thankyou gift”. It could be a whitepaper, ebook, audio, piece of software, secret archive, members area .. something small but of reasonable value.

A good idea for some might be to charge for access to your expertise, consultancy questions via email or telephone. Might be the beginnings of a consultancy practice..

Not for everyone

Of course, this is not for everyone, otherwise there wouldn’t be a debate. I am not even recommend you do it, but do think about it for a second if only so you can give us your thoughts here.

What do you think? Contributing or Begging?