Majority of the income or money generated from a blog usually comes via programs such as Google AdSense, private ad sales and affiliate/referral channels. The other mechanisms are content creation related activities such as writing paid reviews, writing or commenting elsewhere.
There are some blogs that generate money also via sponsorships, donations etc. When it comes to sponsorships, usually the sponsors expect additional favors such as continuously promoting their services. Also, to avoid conflict of interest, one big sponsor might usually want to ‘own’ you and your blog for a blocked period of time. (Blog) donation, on the other hand, is more like a mechanism to appreciate the work done by the blogger, content creator or the plugin-theme-site developer and the income generated via this is relatively small.
Why a ‘Donate’ or ‘Support this blog’ link is not a bad idea?
Though the income generated via donations is usually insignificant and sporadic in most cases, it can really boost the morale and motivation levels of the author(s). I do not have a ‘Donate’ button on this blog but I had one on my Contact Commenters Plugin admin panel. Two weeks ago, a good soul sprung a pleasant surprise for me by donating some money for the plugin! It is not that I make living out of this blog or plugin development, but such surprises are a major motivation factor and I have already started working on couple of other plugins. Those who do a lot of online writing and open source software development, the donation potential could be much higher and it is not necessarily a bad idea to put ‘donate or support’ links (It’s not begging!)
How to put ‘Donate’ links on your blog?
The Donate links can appear anywhere where you think you are adding value to your audience. Plugin admin pages, eBooks, software about pages, blog, newsletters etc are some places where the donate link can appear. The following are some of the mechanisms to accept donations on your blog (and otherwise)
#1 PayPal Donations Plugin
The PayPal donations plugin is a simple plugin that can be integrated to your WordPress blog pages or posts. It can also provide basic statistics on the donations received and also link back to the donors’ sites.
#2 Buy me a Beer Plugin
Ankesh’s Buy me a Beer plugin (Link removed as the site is down) is an excellent plugin for displaying the ‘Buy me a Beer’ link at the end of each post so that those who benefited from the posts could donate directly. I had tried this plugin sometime ago just to experiment with it. I really liked this concept, though I could not agree to the concept of ‘suggesting the donation amount’.
#3 Create PayPal donate button or links for yourself
If you don’t want to go for plugins, you could still create a donate button/link by logging on to your PayPal account. All that you need to do is to click the ‘Merchant Services‘ and then ‘Donations‘. You could create a button with the default settings (or change default amount, currency etc) and click the ‘Create Button’ option to get the HTML code or the simple link that you could paste on your blog or elsewhere.
What’s your take?
I would like to know if any of you have used the donate buttons, plugins or links on your blog or elsewhere. If so, have your received any donation so far? Do you think it is okay (and ethical) to display the donate buttons for the free services that you provide?