Alright, the time has come for me to get serious about monetization...
As I've posted here before, I don't solicit 'free food' in exchange for blog posts. If I can't blog without arriving unannounced/unsolicited then I'm just offering a marketing service for restaurants that are into freebies instead of creating an online repository of delicious restaurant info. That isn't the point of this!
However, this policy has meant that as my list of places I need to blog has dwindled to be in one of two categories: largely uninspiring (aka pubs, tourist traps & Chinese restaurants) or reportedly delicious but generally unaffordable for the average night out. This is irritating my obsessive-compulsive need to tick things off the list to no end!
I know I don't have that many regular readers in the grand scheme of things, but I have enough, and I want to make sure that those of you who visit regularly are rewarded for doing so rather than the other way around!
I have narrowed my options down to the following 3 ideas, which I have detailed in a list of pros and cons below the poll. I may do some combination of all three in the end, but I'm curious to get feedback before making changes.
Please vote for your preferences below. I have also enabled comments for this post to enable more in-depth discussion if necessary.
This is a vote for the status quo. They've been up pretty much since day 1, and so far no complaints?
- Pros: Easy to adblock, easy to ignore.
- Cons: in the past two years I've made less than $40 total, and at this rate I won't get my $100 payout for another 2.5 years. So... a vote for this one is a vote for the long haul!
Local direct-partnership ads
Ideally I would partner up with food-related businesses who want to advertise to my hyper-engaged, hyper-local audience. (Restaurants would be off the table for conflict of interest reasons!). I was trying to seriously explore this last year, and had a few potential conversations, but never felt quite sure how to proceed past the initial conversation!
- Pros: Probably win-win for both readers and the advertiser.
- Cons: Lots of work for me to administer & set up. Plus, an advertising saleswoman I am not...!
This is what I'm leaning towards now, but with a bit of a twist on the plain old 'donate if you love this blog' link: I'd create a 'kickstarter style' page where people could contribute various amounts (from just an appetizer to a full meal) with various perks associated with each one, such as making suggestions for which restaurant or specific dish to try & credit for the contribution in the final post. This would also potentially allow restaurants to contribute towards a meal at their restaurant without compromising my ethics (as they wouldn't know when I would visit), but would also allow curious diners to support my blog & send me food scouting on their behalf or give a public 'round of applause' to some of their favourite dishes/restaurants.
- Pros: Innovative, power to the people.
- Cons: Will probably not net that much realistically unless I stoop to lots of 'begging' which I am naturally disinclined to do.