Update: 2nd Jan 2021 – most of the below is no longer true. I’m moving back to Google Analytics. From the Poll I ran on Twitter the smallest percentage of visitors cared about Google Analytics and I need some analytics to try some new approaches for monetisation in the future. Similarly, Kofi hasn’t proved anywhere near as effective as I had hoped either. Jesse had some interesting ideas too so I’ll think about those options too. The original post now follows:
Over the last month or so I’ve made a few ‘under the hood’ changes to this site. I wanted to trial a different way of getting some of the monthly hosting costs met.
I’ve felt uneasy about having adverts on my site since, well, having adverts on the site in the first place. My ongoing costs for benfrain.com are pretty low, just my own time and hosting fees. Until about a year ago, having adverts paid about $20 a month. That was enough to cover about 50% of the monthly hosting costs which was welcome.
I had been using Carbon (part of the BuySellAds network) to serve the ads, and whilst their ads were unobtrusive, they were still something third party on my site I didn’t control. I didn’t like that. Plus, as more and more browsers implement anti-ad software, the monthly fee I was seeing was down around $5 a month for the last 6 months.
I’d also had Google Analytics code running on my site for years. There was a certain satisfaction and intrigue in seeing which posts did well, how long people hung around, seeing in real time if a new post was proving popular. However, in time I’ve come to realise this information was never acted on; it might make me feel good/bad/indifferent but I made no actual decisions/changes based on the data it revealed.
As more and more has come to light over the years about the way corporations like Google collate peoples data, I’ve made the decision to remove that too.
The 2020 monetization approach
Instead of getting a little money from adverts, instead, principally, I have a button for ‘Ko-Fi’ (pronounced ‘Coffee’).
This allows anyone who wants to ‘tip’ me the price of a cup of coffee an easy way to do so. I can’t tell you I’ve been overcome with (only 3 donations as I write this) but I still like the honesty of it. You think the content was worth of coffee, you can sport me a cup, if you don’t, that’s fine too.
How do you feel about the blogs you visit? What would your preference be? Adverts? Patreon? Paypal? Ko-Fi? Or something else?