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Although bloggers may not use advertisements on their sites, donate links or widgets are something you might see. free to use image for buy me a coffee plugin or widget

I include a donate page on some of my blogs and am always grateful for those who have used it (you know who you are. :)), but…I don’t expect my visitors to make a contribution.

Unless I’m hired to design a custom header or ADvatar, the information I offer is free.

Today’s Lesson

I don’t mind seeing donate buttons considering how blog, plugin and theme authors are providing valuable information, for free. I see it as a way for them to be compensated for their knowledge, talent or services.

But the question is, do they work?

Or, do they make the blog, plugin or theme author seem greedy or needy? Or, make it look like they’re panhandling?

Based on what I’ve seen, I believe donate badges or pages can work, however unless we put the donate link in front of our readers, chances are they won’t see it, nor will a reader realize donating is an option.

I used a plugin named “Buy Me A Beer” which also had an option for “Buy Me A Coffee”. A click on the button would take you to the blog author’s PayPal account where you could enter the amount you’d like to give. (The plugin appears to be retired.)

I liked the plugin, but when I cleaned up my blog, I removed it and opted for a “Donate” page.

If donating is something you’d like to add to your blog, setting up a donate widget would be easy. Just find an image of a glass of beer, cup of coffee, tip jar, or…, add your own copy, code it to link to your PayPal account and voilĂ , there it is.

Or, set up a “Donate” page and include the link and button PayPal provides.

Today’s Assignment

Do you use a donate page or widget on your blog? If so, are readers using it?

Do you, or would you donate to a blog, plugin or theme author?

Or do you view a donate button/badge as a form of panhandling and ignore them?

Care to share?

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P.S. The coffee cup image in this post is free for you to use. Just right-click on it and hit “save as”.

When I look at the hobby of blogging, I realize it has taught me a lot about writing, coding and social networking, but it’s more than that.

Today’s LessonWhat blogging teaches us post graphic

When we start blogging, we usually have some sort of agenda. Maybe it’s to make some extra cash, practice our writing skills, share what we’ve learned in the real world or to promote our business.

In some cases a blog can work real well to accomplish those goals, but in the process we can also learn unexpected lessons.

For example, I learned people aren’t all that different online than they are in the real world. Kindness knows no boundaries. In fact, online it’s almost like others give us more time, more consideration and really listen to what we’re saying.

Online we’re not labeled because of our personality traits or habits. Our race. age or educational history don’t matter, nor does our appearance or financial status.

We learn friendship happens without physically meeting each other, and moral support means more than a literal pat on the back.

If we read blogs written by those who have “been there”, we can learn from their mistakes and make better choices in our own life.

If we’re undecided or need help making a major decision, we can throw it “out there” and get dozens of unbiased opinions to aid in our decision process; opinions from people who don’t have a hidden agenda.

Blogging can also help us to become more open-minded and see the bigger picture by reading the comments of those with opposing views.

Although having a blog can bring us closer to the goals we intended for it, what we learn in the process is priceless.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

What has having a blog and being online taught you?

Have you had a life changing or memorable experience that wouldn’t have happened had you never blogged or spent time online?

Care to share?

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Do you remember when you first started blogging? Wordpress publish button image

Although I don’t think about it often, I still do.

I was scared to hit “publish” the first few times, and I worried because I kept switching my theme.

I didn’t know any of the blogging terms either.

Being self taught, I spent most of my non-writing time searching for help, but even when I found help, I usually didn’t understand what to do with it.

I was pretty naive.

Today’s Lesson

When I think back to when I first started blogging, I didn’t have too many expectations except for thinking I could make lots of some money by having a blog.

  • I wasted a lot of time signing up for affiliate networks and tweaking my Google AdSense ads.

  • I didn’t know that without thousands of visitors a day, making a decent income from a blog was out of the question. When I figured it out (that I needed traffic to make money), I wasted time trying to get more traffic, too. Instead, I should have been learning more about SEO (search engine optimization) and spending less time looking for an “easy way”.

  • I wanted comments. Little did I know I should have kicked the “If I build it, they will come” attitude and should have spent time visiting and commenting on other blogs.

  • Although I worried about changing my theme so often, I should have realized without a steady stream of visitors, it really didn’t matter.

  • I love numbers, so for me checking my statistics became a daily obsession. Instead of wasting time watching the numbers rise and fall, I should have spent time either writing and publishing or learning techniques which would take me closer to my goals.

  • Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be fun, but they can also be addicting. Before signing up, I should have asked myself if the benefits of participating in social networking will outweigh the investment of my time.

Truth be told, I wasted a lot of time on blogging activities I should have postponed until later or maybe not even got involved in, but that’s in the past.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

Looking back, if you had to do it all over again, where would you have spent more time?

Where would you have spent less time?

Care to share?

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