Blogging

Blogiversary 6: You Asked, We Answered

Get ready to cringe! It’s time for our annual (and always amazingly awkward) Q&A video. Just like in past blogiversary weeks, we invited you guys to ask us some personal (i.e. non-decorating) questions over on our Facebook page last week. And after over 150 questions came rolling in, we sat down and answered as many as we could while Clara napped one afternoon – and then culled it down into this 20 minute video. Among all of our mind-blowing, no-holds-barred revelations (note the sensationalism) you’ll learn:

So now that you’re most likely on the edge of your seat (… or not) here goes nothing:

Clara (and Burger apparently) were napping, hence their non-appearances, but last year we did a little bonus Q&A video with them. So we thought it’d be a fun traditional to put them in the hot seat again. And by hot seat, we mean hurdling hard-hitting questions like “what’s your favorite letter?” Let the cross examination begin:

So there you have it, another year of us blathering on about personal stuff and mythical horse sized ducks and mysterious mammals in our crawl space. Did anything surprise you? Or spark another question in your brain? We can’t promise we can answer every one of them in the comments here, but feel free to ask away as potential future fodder for next year…

Psst- Want more awkward? Here are the Q&A posts for 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009: Part 1 + Part 2.

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Oh but before we go, let’s talk about you guys for a second. Each year we love finding out who the heck you guys are, and then on Friday John can make a nerd-tastic infographic all about it (last year’s had Beyonce in it, so it might be hard to top that).

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Blogiversary 6: How We Make Money Blogging

Consider the next part of this post as an update to this one from two years ago where we first broke out a few pie-charts to generally illustrate how we spend our time and how we make money as bloggers (because even our parents get confused about that sometimes). Things have changed over the last couple of years – not dramatically – but enough that we felt it was time for an update. So let’s kick this charty goodness off. Behold, a very simplified / approximated breakdown (all the pie charts in this post are very general guesses, btw)…

First, we should point out that this is not a complete representation of our waking hours – it’s just our “work” time. So you can see yesterday’s “Day In The Life” post for a better sense of how things like parenting, cooking, and running errands fit into the mix. That being said, the interesting thing to note here is that the majority of our work time is spent running a website (blogging, interacting, and managing a business) not doing DIY projects, as some might assume.

We always describe our job as a mostly-desk job. We might get to paint or build something while Clara’s in bed for the night (which is when we used to do projects when we both had day-jobs anyway), but between the hours of 8am and 6pm we’re most likely found on the computer sizing photos, writing posts, organizing giveaways, emailing about our book or the showhouse, answering comments, doing our expenses, or coding something. But let’s dive in a bit deeper to get a closer look.

When we look at how some of these areas break out, there are two changes that are most notable to us:

Obviously this isn’t a perfect model of time management or how to run a blog. We’re constantly trying to improve our processes so that we can put the most time into activities that invigorate us, help and entertain you, and – let’s be honest – put money in Clara’s college fund. One thing some people suggest is “why don’t you spend less time responding to comments?” or set them to auto approve for repeat commenters, but the reason we keep comments in moderation is so we don’t miss questions. If we auto approve some or all of them, questions will slip through (they not only roll in on current posts, but old ones as well). And since we believe connecting with you guys and offering additional info is a big part of what got us here, we’d never want to phase that out.

Speaking of which, I think it’s time for our next chart:

Unlike last time we did this chart, we’ve now collapsed all of our advertising – private sponsors, ad networks, and Google – into one chunk. That’s partially because those slices of the pie are rapidly shifting while we’re in this sponsor program transition (you may notice over 25 fewer ads on our sidebar by the time it’s done). But it’s also to make it crystal clear that the majority of our income comes straight from sidebar ads. Much like how magazines or newspapers keep their doors open thanks to advertisers, blogging seems to follow that model as well, at least for us – especially since we don’t do other things like sponsored posts to make additional income. Although that red affiliate slice of the pie is from sharing some things we love on the sidebar (clearly marked as affiliates, under the “We’re Digging” header). Generally we like to keep all of the money-making stuff relegated to the sidebar, so our content is clearly just us talking about what we like/use/buy with no other reason than we genuinely like it.

Another interesting distinction is that as much as things like writing a book and having a lighting line might sound like cash-cows, they’re not things that we have experienced as high earners, as demonstrated by our chart above. But they’re a really big deal for us personally and professionally, so they’re well worth the effort and the experience. For those wondering, we still haven’t reached our royalty point on the book (more on that here) but we did hear from a publisher in China who bought the book rights from our American publisher for a nominal fee and is re-publishing it there in Chinese (which is really exciting to see – the cover’s going to be different and everything). So since we get a small percent of that fee for being the authors, that’s what that sliver represents. Admittedly the proportions represented above are a bit rough, since the goal was just to generally illustrate the point. So as long as we’re talking non-specifics, let’s move on to our third graphic.

After a couple of attempts to make a useful pie-chart, I gave up (these fluctuate so much that trying to quantify them just wasn’t working). But the point we wanted to illustrate was that some people think that blogging is a “zero overhead” profession, but if your readership grows, your business costs definitely rise with them. Here are some of the notable places that our earnings go:

And now let’s lighten up this numberfest a bit, shall we? Like previous years we thought we’d throw some random stats and facts your way, but this year I’ve spiced things up a bit visually. You know I love a good infographic…

 

P.S. – You can check out our original pie charts from 2011 here, and look back at our past by-the-numbers posts for our last five blogiversaries here: 2012 2011, 20102009 and 2008.

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