Tea Writers — “Desperately Seeking Income”

So many people writing about tea. So many people turning to writing, period. Many get sucked in by pay-per-click sites, hoping that they can get enough hits to make all their time and effort worthwhile. I hope so for their sake.

Other sites pay by how many people read your work. Trust me, unless you are writing about something extremely popular, you will get at most a few dollars for each article if you are extremely lucky. The average is less than a dollar. Writing about celebrities will get you the readership you need to make the effort worth your while. Writing about tea will usually not.

So, what is the answer for those who love tea, love writing about it, and need a sufficient income to be able to continue it? There are several options that come to mind:

Affiliate Programs
By signing up for affiliate programs with various tea vendors, you get a bit of a piece of each sale that comes from someone clicking on the link on your blog site. This is far from a get-rich-quick scheme, and I have yet to see a dime in my own pocket from the affiliate program I signed up with. Too many of these on your site can make you look very unobjective to your readers about the products you write about. I wrote positively about the mug before posting the affiliate program to assure objectivity.

Advertisers
These can be hard to attract to your blog site. For advertising to be worthwhile to the advertiser, they have to get enough hits resulting in sales from the ad. One way they check that your blog will generate that kind of “click throughs” from their ad is by checking your Google Page Rank. It’s sort of like your credit score. Google guards carefully how they calculate this rank so that sites cannot manipulate it (but it still happens). Another way is through stats on your blog using such tools as Google Analytics or the ones already in WordPress. Aside from this, ads on your blog can give it a cluttered look and, if the ads are especially prominent, make your blog look like it’s the advertiser’s blog. If objectivity is important to your blog, you could lose it by having lots of ads, especially if you are reviewing products from those advertisers.

“Tip Jars”
Some people call these “begging jars.” However, they simply ask that, just like you would for any entertainer you see and stick a dollar or two in their jar, that you express appreciation for the enjoyment and/or information you get from reading the blog. It’s totally voluntary to give something and how much. Avoid PayPal. As of January 1, 2012, they will be requiring that you allow very sensitive information about yourself, such as your Social Security Number, be allowed to be e-mailed to you, thus putting you at risk of identity theft.

A word of caution about WordPress
Pay close attention to the user agreement. If you have a free blog through WordPress.org, you cannot have affiliate program links and ads. If you go to WordPress.com and pay for your site, then you may be able to have ads. Again, read the user agreement carefully.

Stuff to consider for those of you hoping to get an income from your tea writing.

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