The following post has been kindly submitted by a reader of ProBlogger – Bruce Allen. I’ll let him introduce himself – but I asked him to share a little about how he brings an income to his blog Boston Sports Media – you see made a comment on my blog a while back talking about how he raises and income on that blog via fundraising. I thought it’d make an interesting post – so here it is. Thanks Bruce:
My name is Bruce Allen, and I run several different blogs. The biggest one that I have is a niche site located at http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com. On the site, I examine the coverage by the local media of the professional sports teams in the city of Boston. The city is like no other in its passion for its teams and thirst for coverage. Because of this, there is a cut throat media atmosphere in the city, and my site breaks down the coverage, encapsulates all the local papers into one place, and offers commentary and opinion on the coverage. The site has gotten me some attention in the area, as I have made a few TV and radio appearances as a result of it.
I’ve had it up and running for three years now. It’s not really something I can sell products from, so I was stumped as to how I could make money from it. I decided in the end, one of the best ways to make money from the page was to do it the old fashioned way.
I asked for it.
The site provides a niche service that many people take advantage of. Many media types themselves use the site to keep current with all their competition. There’s a lot of research involved in keeping up the site and people are appreciative of it. In the beginning I would get random donations here and there from people, but I decided to make it a concentrated effort. I used to work at a PBS TV station, (Public Television in the US is supported in large part by donations from viewers) so I know a little about running a fund raiser. I decided to use similar principles and run two fund raisers a year for my site. A major one in the fall, and a smaller one in the spring. Two years ago, I had my first organized fall drive, set a goal of $3500 and made it. Last May I set a goal of $1500 and made it. Last November, the goal was $5000, again it was made, and last month in May, I again set a goal of $1500 and reached it.
I’ll set up a special page as a “Drive central” (Here is the most recent example (http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/funddrive/ ) My point during the drive is to talk about the time and effort I put into the site. (2-3 hours each day) There are also considerable expenses involved in maintaining it. I recently had to double my bandwidth capacity with my hosting company. People are appreciative, and many drop in $10, $25, $50, some even $100. I have them send it via PayPal. Sure, PP skims a little off the top, but for ease of use it can’t be topped. I’ve got the Debit Card from them, and it’s easy to move money into my banking account. People can also donate via Amazon.com, or also have the option of mailing me a check in the snail mail. During the two week drive in the fall, for the last two years I’ve also included prizes as incentives for people to make donations. Everyone who made a donation of $25 or more, was entered into a drawing for several prizes, the most significant of which was a TiVo Series 2 Digital Video Recorder. Other prizes included a couple sports books, and some dining gift certificates. I give updates on the status of the drive, sometimes several times a day, and have a meter that measures how close we are to reaching the goal. I’ll state what the site has accomplished since the last drive, and what the goals are for the future.
There are other ways I make a little money from the site. Google Adsense, Amazon.com Affiliation, Blogads and some banner ads, but it’s nothing compared to the Fund drives I put together. These are the main source of revenue from the web for me. I use the money to pre-pay hosting and design, upgrade equipment and to justify the time I spend working on the site. I’ve been able to pay some debt down with it as well. My ultimate goal is of course to be able to make a full time living off of this site and some others. It would appear that I’m a ways away from that goal, but I’m going to keep working at it. I’ve purchased http://www.bruceallenmedia.com and hope to make that a sort of hub for my blogs as well as a consulting and media resource.