so this is what pro blogging is all about

arcane palette just got our first affiliate commission. this is really exciting for us, because this is essentially like getting free money. and suddenly, i get it. i get how upstartblogger and probably countless other pro-bloggers make their living. it’s not through adsense, on which you make pennies unless you get thousands and thousands of hits a day (and even then it may not be enough revenue to support the effort), it’s through affiliate links.

segway for the lost: affiliate links are any link you get that goes to another site (generally something that sells stuff) that gives you a kickback or commission or discount or some kind of reward if they buy stuff. so, threadless has “street team” points which are redeemable for discounts on tshirts. jinx has a similar thing. with our webhost1and1 (and probably a lot of other webhosts and  businesses), we get cash back incentives. with me so far?

the theory is, if you can get enough traffic to your site, a thousand clicks a day, and you have something that gives a significant kickback reward — say $50 for a new account setup — and maybe 1% of your visitors decide “hey, that’s a good deal“, that’s 100 clicks on your affiliate link for 1000 hits to your site, which for $50 is $500. a day. the key is to get the traffic, and there’s a variety of schools and methods of how to do this and some are more sketchy than others and that’s a whole ‘nother deal.

this gets me thinking — this is a real, viable thing. something that could work. something that, for a lot of people, does work. every day. so i’m left with a quandry: do i want to sell my soul for a high traffic blog that needs constant attention, regular blog posts, and (ideally, and mostly because i am fairly strongly opposed to syndicating everything) legitimate content on a specific subject for a potentially lucrative income? i don’t know. i keep thinking that i don’t want to be writing all the time — i like writing, but i could give a million reasons why i’m not that guy, the pro-blogger guy. and i do like making art and making websites and making artful websites and if i was blogging for income that would take away from that.

on the other hand, we’re not at the point yet where we’re making buckets of cash doing web design, and probably we’ll never be making buckets. so it really comes down to whether i sell my soul or keep my soul. and yes, before i get the blogerati peanut gallery yelling at me, i know, making a living as a pro blogger does not necessarily mean selling your soul, however, it would feel like selling my soul to be doing something that’s okay for money rather than and as opposed to doing something that i love for money (no more so than any other job, but still…).

/sigh

so that takes me right back to the beginning.

the thing is no matter what you do in this industry (or any for that matter), you need to sell yourself.  we sell ourselves every day when we bid on design jobs.  we sell ourselves on our website.  by going on at lenght about arcane palette, i’m selling us again right now, and as i type this, i’m selling myself again.  and every day i’m thinking of ways to get traffic to arcanepalette.com that doesn’t go against my principles of getting hits that mean something from people who are interested in our work as artists — i’m trying to selectively bump our page ranking while not resorting to black hat methods to cheat our way to the top.  everything you do in the digital world that’s public is selling your online identity.  i have a lifestream page, so that sells quite a lot of my identity for anyone to see.  so i guess it really comes down to what do you want to be doing.  thing is, if i could make a living just ranting off on this blog about whatever i felt like, i’d be pretty happy — i just don’t see that ever happening.

but then, maybe that’s what’s holding me back.