Blogging about 40k and making money?


While I don't get out much these days (lots of projects to keep me busy at home), I did cruise through DakkaDakka the other day and found this thread on Tabletop Gaming News closing down/going up for sale...

While I don't know the specifics of the whole affair or the exact reasons for the closing/sale or whatever it may be, I am sad to see it go. I visited them on more than one occasion.

There are so many things that you can talk about here but I'm going to try and stick with blogging about 40k and money even though it's not something you might usually find on a hobby blog like this.

I would venture to say that most of us will never make money doing this. I would even go so far as to say that blogging actually costs most of us to do. If not in money, certainly in other ways like time and effort. I won't go into some of the perceived standards out there but it's not easy to keep a 40k blog up and running these days and feel like you're doing a good job at it.

When it comes to making money, here's what I know.

1. Placing ads on your blog through services like AdSense might bring in some pennies. Make no mistake, it's not going to put food on the table. Most of us (including me), don't get the kind of traffic to make the ad click throughs worthwhile. Another downside to these is that those agencies do their best, but may not always get "appropriate" ads placed on your blog. You would be surprised to see what they think should go on your site... even if you have good key words.

I mean really, do you enjoy looking at all those ads for things that have nothing to do with the hobby? Did you come to this blog only to have wade through a wide variety of junk and assorted links to find just a little bit of 40k related content.
If you're going buy something online, you've probably already got a place that you go because you trust buying from.

2. Paid advertising. Or having companies pay you to have their ad show up on your blog. Again, it's a traffic issue and companies these days are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Why pay to have an ad on a blog when you can just "share links" with them.
If you can get another company to pay for advertising on your site AND it helps your readers too, then I say go for it.

3. Other sources of revenue. Using your blog to get your stuff out there. Whether it's videos, articles, painting services, whatever it is... you can use your blog to advertise for yourself. I do this to some extent. Most of my personal posts are about my commissions, but I know that readers come to FTW for 2 main reasons.
First is the tutorials section (to see what other 40k bloggers have done that might help them with their work) and second is the FTW Blogroll (to see what other 40k bloggers are posting about).
While my commission stuff brings me extra money, it's not the number one reason people visit, so it has it's place here... in the left column, not the center.

So how do you make money? That's a good question.
I don't know is the answer. Everyone's got to look at their own blog and figure out what they're trying to do with it.
Be honest with yourself, I've got some thoughts on this too.

I know that I've been able to have a tremendous impact with my blog... just not on my wallet. While I'm not losing money, I do spend a good amount of time and effort just like the rest of you when it comes to keeping my blog up and running.

So here's what I'm going to do:
1. Keep my day job, it pays the bills.
2. Keep doing commissions, it's extra money.
3. Share 40k links and promote those who help others (you can adverstize here if you want)
4. Enjoy the the hobby and blogging even though I won't get rich off it
... at least right now.

Additional related articles:
I struggle with my blog
From The Warp, the first year in review


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

13 comments:

  1. AdSence is just tacky - and its not as if any of us (experienced gamers) are going to click thru. These have no place on a gamer blog.

    Paid Ads have a place because they are very targeted to our nitch. But you need a huge traffic volume to make it work, like a TMP or (formerly) TGN.

    Selling products/services with the blog makes the most since. Painting, sculpting, casting, old figures... these are all things we gamers like and need.

    A forth option would be affiliate links (for example) to Amazon for book reviews. I would not mind seeing these if the blog author acknowledges the paid referral.

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  2. I've been running an experiment on my blog with adsense, and it just hasn't impressed. I don't get click throughs and my page views are far too low. I was hoping to get enough to cover some costs, but it's just not happening.

    I could run the blog on a free hosting like Wordpress, but I like the freedom of having my own domain and hosting.

    I'm not really in this to make money. If I could paint better/faster, I would love to do commission work, but right now I'm just doing this to share my work, experiences and knowledge with the world at large.

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  3. I dislike ads and I will never subject my readers to them.

    I have picture links to other sites that I personally like as a sort of voluntary promo, but these are small, unintrusive, but most importantly pertinent to the hobby.

    I don't blog for $ and have no intent to ever do so. I feel that when $ is involved it becomes less of a personal blog and more of a commercial site. BoLS is a perfect example of this. I like BoLS, but I've watched as the more popular it became the more commercialized of a feel it took on.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I inquired with Zac about purchasing TGN but it looks like he'll be able to pull off getting it rehosted and up and running again (so don't write him off just yet).

    I would say that if your blog is popular targeted advertising is probably one of the best things from all angles. Readers see something they could likely be interested in, advertisers know their advertisements are relevant, and the owner obviously benefits. I know a fair number of miniature manufacturers got my business and the store's business because of TGN - and let's face it, TGN's purpose was announcements which really were another form of advertisement.

    If FtW had enough traffic to warrant relevant targeted advertisements I would not complain. Trying to find new and cool things to sell in the store is easier when a trusted source shows them to me.

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  6. Good points guys, it's been a struggle for me since I started.
    I see the ads on other sites, I've tried them on mine...
    I see it as a responsibility to try and watch what I promote here, there are readers who value the things we (as bloggers) write and say, and in some respect, by promoting certain sites/actions/products, we lend credibility to them.

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  7. Just left a comment on 25mm's blog. I've always avoided adverts because they are, frankly, horrid.

    But it struck me that 25mm's ad is pretty unobtrusive, and he made two bucks from it yesterday. A pittance, for sure, but if we all were to have such small ads (maybe right at the bottom) and click when we visited each others (just before we were going to close the window anyway, maybe) than could that help all of us out a bit?

    I don't know. I do know that I'm short of cash at the mo, and the hobby (sadly, but quite rightly) is bottom of the priority list.

    Any thoughts? I'm not mercenary really, so much as curious.
    (and - apparently - communist!)

    - Comrade-Admiral Drax.

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  8. Drax: Interesting concept, I'm sure Google has a provision for those kinds of activities but... it takes everyone's participation to make it work.

    Charles Feduke: Interesting side note, I dug up the old ad banner I had for Game Vault and reposted it in the left column. I try to support those who support us (me and the hobby).

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  9. If you are looking at banner ads you might look at Project Wonderful. Instead of being pay per click, people bid on the banner space at how much they will pay per day. They have several add sizes all the way down to buttons.

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  10. I don't really have a problem with ads, unless it makes navigating a site difficult. Like many said, it won't pay the bills, but any extra money that can be put towards the hobby is always a bonus. Ads can be a good thing, especially when they are for hobby related products. I've been playing around with Amazon lately and I've had good experiences so far. I think it's important to keep objective and remember that not all ads are bad.

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  11. To be honest, I tend to just gloss over the ads.

    I don't think it's reasonable to expect a lot of money off the ads. If you get money? Good. I just don't think you're going to make a LOT doing it.

    Most of us keeping a blog like this are doing it for a sense of community, or learning from others or teaching. It's also a good personal history to look at.

    Is it an income? ...probably not.

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