14 November 2012

In my Studio and a Survey with a Reward

Last week was my 35th birthday. Just a day before it was the 4th anniversary of my grandfather's death. It so happened that the loss of this incredibly intelligent and kind human being will forever be intertwined with my birthday. Life is sometimes way too harsh.

For 4 years now I have been having mixed feelings to the celebration of my birth. But that juxtaposition of life and death made me think about the direction I want to develop my online presence. Those thoughts, combined with a few extremely fruitful talks with close blog friends, added up to the initial push of yet another change on Kanelstrand.

I am constantly searching, researching; doing, redoing; reading and writing... My grandfather taught me that I should never be satisfied with my methods. Because there always is a better way. "Even after you think you have reached your best", he used to say, "don't stop, keep on developing and you will see how much more there is to it."

The Kanelstrand blog headers from its beginning to now

But you see, this whole journey through the land of graphics, blog-making and followers-gathering led me back to the basics of simplicity. I have a vision for the Kanelstrand blog. I see it as a place for quiet contemplation and reconnection with your creativity and subconscious abilities, yes I mean the ones you don't suspect you possess. I see it growing into a hub for simple living ideas involving not only DIYs and repurposing tutorials but also digging deeper behind everyday actions and into the psychology of it all.

One step towards achieving this dream is going totally ad-free. And this is a big step. I'll tell you why.

At the time being, I invest about 300 hours a month (yup, that's about 10 hours every day of the month, no days off) in researching, writing, editing and networking. The ads on the blog provide just a tiny fraction of my monthly financial support. To give you a better view of the situation, the amount of money I make through my generous advertisers is enough for what my family of three spends for 1 week of groceries. 

And here comes a question to you: if I offer you a simplified, less cluttered, ad-free experience that will surely not be affected by any financial partialities, would you be interested in supporting my hard work by paying a modest monthly donation of a sum of your choosing?

For example, if just 2% of all you, who daily enjoy the information on Kanelstrand award my writing efforts with a monthly sum of only $5 it will equal the amount I am now receiving through my advertisers and will set my mind free of financial dependencies and ready for even more rigorous research that will, of course result in more interesting content for you.

Edit: 
Eunique raises a great question in the comments, which I would like to address here. Here is what she says:

I wanted to comment on your survey. I actually had said no about the contributions, but wanted to explain why. It's not that I don't support and applaud you blog. You are amazing. But I also follow about 20 other amazing blogs. And read countless other blogs. If I were to donate to read them all, how would I choose? I couldn't possibly support them all. I know you work hard (300 hours!!!) and well deserve all the support you can get. 

I understand your fear, Eunique. I, myself read about 50 blogs daily and some of them ask for support. The truth is that I cannot afford supporting them all but I DO support the most amazing ones of all, those that speak to me, teach me and expand my creativity, because I really appreciate what they bring to my life. 

Take for example real life. There are so many exquisite shops, and even more are springing up, but I can't buy from them all, right? I do buy from my most favorite though, the ones that give me better service and higher quality, those that cater to human rights, or keep the environment clean, you see where I'm going.

You can answer this question, as well as a few others yourself in the survey. Yes, I compiled a short survey for you because blogging is about you and me together, and I count on your opinion. Your answers will help me determine the direction we are heading. (Hush, don't tell anyone but taking the survey will give you the chance to get a one-time 95% discount to the Kanelstrand etsy shop.)

Please, take a minute to fill out the survey here. This will help me create an even more enjoyable place for all of us. The results of the survey, as well as the winner of the 95% discount to my esty shop will be announced in a week back here.

Thank you!

24 comments:

  1. I wanted to comment on your survey. I actually had said no about the contributions, but wanted to explain why. It's not that I don't support and applaud you blog. You are amazing. But I also follow about 20 other amazing blogs. And read countless other blogs. If I were to donate to read them all, how would I choose? I couldn't possibly support them all. I know you work hard (300 hours!!!) and well deserve all the support you can get.

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    Replies
    1. I understand your fear, Eunique. I, myself read about 50 blogs daily and some of them ask for support. The truth is that I cannot afford supporting them all but I DO support the most amazing ones of all, those that speak to me, teach me and expand my creativity, because I really appreciate what they bring to my life.

      Take for example real life. There are so many exquisite shops, and even more are springing up, but I can't buy from them all, right? I do buy from my most favorite though, the ones that give me better service and higher quality, those that cater to human rights, or keep the environment clean, you see where I'm going.

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  2. I also answered "no" to contributions. Not because I don't like your blog, but because blogging and reading blogs for me is a multi-thing. You don't just follow one blog, but several. So what Eunique wrote goes for me, too: It would be quite expensive, if every blog-owner charged money from visitors - as a consequence I would stop reading these blogs.

    Therefore: I prefer the adds - and understand why they are necessary.

    But hey: Why not make lottery-give-aways, where readers buy lottery tickets in order to win stuff? Of course "give-away" is a misleading expression here - and I don't even know, if it is legal. Just a thought :)

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  3. Count me in for the chance to get 95% off (that's a sale to my liking, teehee) - and of course I filled out the survey! :-)

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  4. I love your blog and think you need to do what is best for you and yours!

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  5. Interested to see which way you head! I personally think a less cluttered site would be really nice.
    I just did the survey. Best of luck to you!

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    1. Thank you for the ideas you shared in the survey, JoAnna! I appreciate your opinion.

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  6. I think some clutter is okay, but too much is visual overload. I think you are headed in the right direction, though i wouldn't say you need to strive to be completely ad-free, maybe just less ads more strategically placed?

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  7. Sonya, I completed your survey and chose the one time contribution as a possible option. In reading previous comments, I like the idea of editing down to a more limited number of ads if it's feasible for you? Similar to others, I read multiple blogs and because I am admittedly in a less stable financial situation than I would desire to be, it would be challenging to start paying for blogs on a regular basis. I do focus my spending on local and small businesses, fellow artists and artisans and farmers markets. When all is said and done, though, I agree with Amanda's comment above, do what's best for you and your family. Follow your heart and others will surely continue to follow along with you!

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  8. I answered no as well, but not because I don't want to support you. Just because I am super poor and struggling to get started in the small business world myself. Unfortunately, even the $5 a month would be considered a luxury item in my budget. However, do whatever is best for you. That is entirely understandable. I wish you luck on your progress forward and on your struggle to figure out what works for you and your family.

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  9. First of all, happy belated birthday! (My birthday was also last week, on Saturday). I think life and death often becomes unavoidably intertwined the older we get. You can't help but lose loved ones, and it often coincides with our own events, birthdays, holidays, etc. I think it makes a lot of celebrations in life bittersweet.

    I loved seeing how your blog banner has changed. I will, of course, take your survey. As to the donations, I fully support you going ad-free. I've seen other blogs try donations, but it seems that people are willing to give at first but then tire out eventually. I also think a lot of people (myself included) are just on really tight budgets. Perhaps, as others have mentioned, you could scale back your ads, charge more and have less advertisers to make up the difference. I know in the past you have generously offered swaps and free space to teammates, and if that takes too much time to maintain, you could do away with those and have paying ads only.

    Whatever you decide, Sonya, I know the blog will continue to grow in readership. <3

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  10. Happy Birthday! I for one don't mind a few well-curated ads on blogs that I read. I have been introduced to some amazing products that way. It's when things get really cluttered and animation is flashing on and off around me that I start to feel like going elsewhere.

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  11. I think the one-time contribution is a great idea for people like me, who have very little means but would like to contribute to keep your site going.
    Thanks for such an interesting opportunity to put in my 2 cents:)

    Ashley K

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  12. Happy Birthday!
    I'm a long time reader and fan of your blog obviously! I say go with your heart and drop the ads. If it doesn't work out then you can always put them back up! Your readers understand and many of us have our own blogs and know how much work it takes to keep these things going!

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  13. I don't find your ads distracting and feel that they go along with the theme of your blog. I enjoy reading the variety of topics that are explored in your blog but I say no to the contributions. The people behind the ads are trying to make a living too.

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  14. I have followed your blog from the the first header !! I enjoy your take on the world with your photography , writing and features. Went ahead and took the survey and checked a one time donation. I have been blogging since 2008 but have curtailed my online activity because the time it takes to visit/ comment on blogs can be excessive ... and oftentimes not that satisfying...that being said I choose to visit yours when I can because it is so well done. blessings friend ~

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  15. I've been following your blog for about a year now. I use Google Reader because it's easy and I immediately see which blog has something new posted. So for me the experience would not change if you take the ads off since I rarely click through from google reader. I love your photography and the blog content. Have you thought about just raising your ad rates and decreasing the available slots? That way you'll be offering your readers and advertisers a more premium experience, decreasing the ads amount yet keeping the same income level. ?

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  16. Interesting idea! I think allowing people to give the amount they're comfortable with is the key to making it a success. Good luck!

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  17. I've been pondering the ads on my blog lately too. I actually have been focusing more on affiliate ads and adsense as a way to have an income from my blog without having to work at drumming up sponsors all the time. I'm curious to find out what you decide!

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  18. I agree that an uncluttered space would make the reading easier, and create a more welcoming feeling.
    It would support the simplicity your content promotes.

    Maybe you can do it progressively? Or try doing what other sites do: have several tiers, where the more prominent ad space costs more, etc?

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  19. I actually happen to like the ads on your blog. I know that all your sponsors are eco-friendly. If it weren't for your ads, I would have never found Artterro - eco art for kids! I would be willing to make a one-time donation, probably, if my monthly budget allows - because I would love to support you and all that you do.
    ~Kim

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