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Buy Me a Beer Plugin and Donations Conclusions

You might have noticed my “buy me a coffee” icon has gone. I didn’t want to keep it up too long, at first I only had it on here to try it out then I thought I would leave it while I could draw some conclusions. Now it is time to write up those conclusions.

While I do not disclose my earnings out of principle, I did get a bunch of donations (thanks!). It averaged out to a few every couple of days after the initial rush of them when the plugin first was put up. Providing you wrote posts that people like to reward, I can see it competing income-wise with Adsense.

Here are my findings

  • People are willing to reward bloggers when they see value in your writing
  • There seemed to be some pent-up demand for a concrete way my readers could thank me, for this reason alone it might have been worth keeping it or finding some other outlet for gratitude
  • A lot of the notice it was given might be due to novelty, there was a big batch at the beginning but that trailed off
  • My most rewarded posts were the motivational kind. There seems to be a correlation between donations and “feeling good”, which makes sense to me. On the other hand the messages I received imply it was people who had been reading for a while who donated, so the blog as a whole matters as much as the single post they clicked through from.
  • People have judged it as “begging”, I don’t see it that way. The majority of people who sent me money were genuinely grateful for what they had read.
  • You can’t get better encouragement than someone sending you money out of their own pocket! If somebody gives you cash you know you are on the right track.
  • It’s useful to have a paypal button around, a couple of people used it to send me unrelated payments.

So why am I not leaving it up?

It’s just a matter of taste. I would encourage anyone who is interested to try it but for my own blog I don’t think it sits well. On the one hand I am advertising services such as consulting calls and blog critiques for $150, on the other hand I am promoting a paypal link where people can buy me a coffee. Bit too much of a disconnect!

Have you tried out a donation button? How did my experiences compare with yours? If you haven’t does this encourage you or put you off? Let me know in the comments …

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Comments

  1. If I had the temerity to give your blog feedback, and indeed your consulting site, it is that it isn’t straightforwardly commercial enough. You offer a service, tell people you offer a service loudly and often. I believe you are getting better though. I think the last post is one of the few posts when you have mentioned services you offer. I can think of only one other post. I bet that most of the people who read your blog are from a commercial background so they will understand/expect “adverts”.

  2. If I had the temerity to give your blog feedback, and indeed your consulting site, it is that it isn’t straightforwardly commercial enough. You offer a service, tell people you offer a service loudly and often. I believe you are getting better though. I think the last post is one of the few posts when you have mentioned services you offer. I can think of only one other post. I bet that most of the people who read your blog are from a commercial background so they will understand/expect “adverts”.

  3. Yes you are right, I am one of those people who struggles to take their own good advice :)

  4. Yes you are right, I am one of those people who struggles to take their own good advice :)

  5. Well I for one hate seeing ads on peoples site. We’ve all learned to basically ignore it (except when it’s inserted in the middle of a post – How Rude!), but it’s still there. If you’re offering very useful information and this is your only way of gaining income unless you go to some sort of membership and fee (which is much worse, because you never know what you’re getting) than ads on your site are acceptable, because after all you have to make a living. However I think that if you offer a service, as in real estate bloggers, and the purpose of the site is to convince people to use your service, than why are you try to make a couple bucks by advertising also, because you are losing potential clients like me. I kind of like the idea of a the “Buy me a coffee” add-on, because I’ve just launched a very local forum and rather than cover it in ads that detract from it, maybe a little “begging” for donations wouldn’t hurt if people appreciate the service. Of course I would be breaking my cardinal rule though, because technically it’s on my real estate website domain.

  6. Well I for one hate seeing ads on peoples site. We’ve all learned to basically ignore it (except when it’s inserted in the middle of a post – How Rude!), but it’s still there. If you’re offering very useful information and this is your only way of gaining income unless you go to some sort of membership and fee (which is much worse, because you never know what you’re getting) than ads on your site are acceptable, because after all you have to make a living. However I think that if you offer a service, as in real estate bloggers, and the purpose of the site is to convince people to use your service, than why are you try to make a couple bucks by advertising also, because you are losing potential clients like me. I kind of like the idea of a the “Buy me a coffee” add-on, because I’ve just launched a very local forum and rather than cover it in ads that detract from it, maybe a little “begging” for donations wouldn’t hurt if people appreciate the service. Of course I would be breaking my cardinal rule though, because technically it’s on my real estate website domain.

  7. I actually didn’t like it at the end of every post. I agree with your assessment – a dollar store gimick, when what you offer is a Lexus. I wouldn’t object to once a week though :)

    My own blog/website is medical info about chronic pain. Your experiment made me consider having a plug-in, not for coffee for me, but to be able to donate to a national pain charity.

    Perhaps a favorite charity might work for your site? Giving people an opportunity to express thanks is nice.

  8. I actually didn’t like it at the end of every post. I agree with your assessment – a dollar store gimick, when what you offer is a Lexus. I wouldn’t object to once a week though :)

    My own blog/website is medical info about chronic pain. Your experiment made me consider having a plug-in, not for coffee for me, but to be able to donate to a national pain charity.

    Perhaps a favorite charity might work for your site? Giving people an opportunity to express thanks is nice.

  9. Chris, after I saw it on your blog I put it on mine. Not that I expect lot of donations but once in a while a coffee can help. I can work for more hours and finish my Ph.D. Thanks for the find.

  10. Chris, after I saw it on your blog I put it on mine. Not that I expect lot of donations but once in a while a coffee can help. I can work for more hours and finish my Ph.D. Thanks for the find.

  11. I don’t think there’s as much of a disconnect as you think. Buying lunch and coffee and even drinks is all part of networking in the business world. I think the plugin goes quite well with your site!

  12. I don’t think there’s as much of a disconnect as you think. Buying lunch and coffee and even drinks is all part of networking in the business world. I think the plugin goes quite well with your site!

  13. @Daniel – I don’t mind seeing ads unless they get in the way of the content or if the author seems to prioritise milking the audience over providing value.

    @HTCWP – Yes less often would actually probably work better than every post as you wouldn’t be as “banner blind”. I do like doing stuff for charity, will have to think how I could do something like that without it being too offputting for regular readers.

    @Rise – You never know until you try :)

    @Nathania – Yeah you are right but it wasn’t so much the act of buying a drink rather than the repeated “by me a coffee by me a coffee by me a coffee by me a coffee ” :)

  14. @Daniel – I don’t mind seeing ads unless they get in the way of the content or if the author seems to prioritise milking the audience over providing value.

    @HTCWP – Yes less often would actually probably work better than every post as you wouldn’t be as “banner blind”. I do like doing stuff for charity, will have to think how I could do something like that without it being too offputting for regular readers.

    @Rise – You never know until you try :)

    @Nathania – Yeah you are right but it wasn’t so much the act of buying a drink rather than the repeated “by me a coffee by me a coffee by me a coffee by me a coffee ” :)

  15. One thing I’m curious is whether or not there is a difference in the number of donations when the link reads “buy me a coffee” as opposed to the default “buy me a beer” option. Some people tend to have negative feelings toward alcohol (some people feel the same about coffee, I’m sure, but they’re fewer), and may be turned off by the idea of “buying me a beer.”

  16. One thing I’m curious is whether or not there is a difference in the number of donations when the link reads “buy me a coffee” as opposed to the default “buy me a beer” option. Some people tend to have negative feelings toward alcohol (some people feel the same about coffee, I’m sure, but they’re fewer), and may be turned off by the idea of “buying me a beer.”

  17. There could well be though I guess people know you are not *really* funding an alcohol/caffiene habit :)

  18. There could well be though I guess people know you are not *really* funding an alcohol/caffiene habit :)

  19. I enjoy reading your posts daily and I continue to learn from your experiences. I didnt mind the “by me a coffee” thing but I think your energies are worth a little more than the cost of a coffee. I do like the donate to a charity idea and if anyone finds out any info on that I would be grateful to hear it. I have not included any advertising on my blog mainly because I promote my product site from it. Every one has to eat.

  20. I enjoy reading your posts daily and I continue to learn from your experiences. I didnt mind the “by me a coffee” thing but I think your energies are worth a little more than the cost of a coffee. I do like the donate to a charity idea and if anyone finds out any info on that I would be grateful to hear it. I have not included any advertising on my blog mainly because I promote my product site from it. Every one has to eat.

  21. Chris,

    I actually liked it and didn’t find it to conflict with your services. If you had it, and adsense, and kontera, and text link ads, then it would have been overkill. I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. You can’t please all the people all the time.

    Like Jack said, it’s been kind of hard to tell that you offer services. I just noticed the big consulting ad in your sidebar. That’s a good start.

    Don’t you also offer a blog theme design service? I would think that your readers would be interested in that as well.

  22. Chris,

    I actually liked it and didn’t find it to conflict with your services. If you had it, and adsense, and kontera, and text link ads, then it would have been overkill. I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. You can’t please all the people all the time.

    Like Jack said, it’s been kind of hard to tell that you offer services. I just noticed the big consulting ad in your sidebar. That’s a good start.

    Don’t you also offer a blog theme design service? I would think that your readers would be interested in that as well.

  23. Chris,

    Sorry about the mixup, actually I think it’s a different Chris Garrett that owns a blod design company, my bad.

    Crazy coincidence…

  24. Chris,

    Sorry about the mixup, actually I think it’s a different Chris Garrett that owns a blod design company, my bad.

    Crazy coincidence…

  25. Personally I would never purchase any product/service from a site that needs google/yahoo adverts. If I am selling a service or a product on a website I will never place advertising of any kind on it as I believe it makes your site look like it is struggling to make money and you have to resort to pennies instead of pounds. If the site isn’t selling anything other than information then I can’t see why you can’t monetize it any way you feel comfortable with.

  26. Personally I would never purchase any product/service from a site that needs google/yahoo adverts. If I am selling a service or a product on a website I will never place advertising of any kind on it as I believe it makes your site look like it is struggling to make money and you have to resort to pennies instead of pounds. If the site isn’t selling anything other than information then I can’t see why you can’t monetize it any way you feel comfortable with.

  27. That’s true. Most people probably realize that the money isn’t necessarily going toward beverages, so it probably doesn’t make much difference.

  28. That’s true. Most people probably realize that the money isn’t necessarily going toward beverages, so it probably doesn’t make much difference.

  29. I didn’t have any problem with it being there. I like it better than having Google ads all over the site.

    I might have put it on the side bar instead of every post and had a link saying “support this blog”. But your way wasn’t an issue for me. I see the “buy me a coffee” button as similar to going to a bookstore and buying a book for 30 bucks. You like the author, his voice and his style so you buy his product. This is very much like that to me because you are giving the author something of value for the value you recieved.

    Because my blog is new and my traffic is still growing I may not get much from it now, but I would use it before I would use affiliate ads.

    Am I making money if I donate to my own blog?????

  30. I didn’t have any problem with it being there. I like it better than having Google ads all over the site.

    I might have put it on the side bar instead of every post and had a link saying “support this blog”. But your way wasn’t an issue for me. I see the “buy me a coffee” button as similar to going to a bookstore and buying a book for 30 bucks. You like the author, his voice and his style so you buy his product. This is very much like that to me because you are giving the author something of value for the value you recieved.

    Because my blog is new and my traffic is still growing I may not get much from it now, but I would use it before I would use affiliate ads.

    Am I making money if I donate to my own blog?????

  31. Thanks Chris for the coffee :) you are the first and the only one yet. But it is enough to keep me motivated to finish this year.

  32. Thanks Chris for the coffee :) you are the first and the only one yet. But it is enough to keep me motivated to finish this year.

  33. I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusion but for different reasons, Chris.

    I have a full time salaried position where I get paid to think, write and talk about the music business. Sure, New Music Strategies is a personal ‘above the call of duty’ extension of that role, but I kind of feel bad begging for drinks from an industry where most people are operating with a budget you could stick under a glass.

    The music businesses I consult with pay me (at least, the ones I ask for money do), the university pays me, I get money for speaking engagements and workshops… and while I’m far from rolling in it, I do all right for coffee.

    As a result, my un-monetised blog, the free e-book and the odd bit of free guest lecturing and speaking are strategies that pay me in different ways. Asking for a coffee or a beer just felt a bit gauche on top of that.

    And while I’m here, Chris, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the blog. It’s been a real source of clear thinking and good advice. Cheers.

  34. I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusion but for different reasons, Chris.

    I have a full time salaried position where I get paid to think, write and talk about the music business. Sure, New Music Strategies is a personal ‘above the call of duty’ extension of that role, but I kind of feel bad begging for drinks from an industry where most people are operating with a budget you could stick under a glass.

    The music businesses I consult with pay me (at least, the ones I ask for money do), the university pays me, I get money for speaking engagements and workshops… and while I’m far from rolling in it, I do all right for coffee.

    As a result, my un-monetised blog, the free e-book and the odd bit of free guest lecturing and speaking are strategies that pay me in different ways. Asking for a coffee or a beer just felt a bit gauche on top of that.

    And while I’m here, Chris, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the blog. It’s been a real source of clear thinking and good advice. Cheers.

  35. @Colbs – “Every one has to eat” yes I think it is good that we all remember that from time to time. Reminds me of this “What The Duck” cartoon

    @George – Heh, people are always mixing us up. If it is any consolation it is an easy mistake to make although the “other” Chris Garrett is younger and better looking :)

    @Tony – Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. I think I understand your point but Brian does very well both with advertising and consulting. I think providing it is done with a light touch and not in a grasping way it is ok. It’s hard for people to leave money on the table too …

    @Steve – why would you donate to your own blog? I think that would be called an investment ;)

    @Rise – you are welcome :)

    @Dubber – Yes at the end of the day you have to feel comfortable with what you are doing.

  36. @Colbs – “Every one has to eat” yes I think it is good that we all remember that from time to time. Reminds me of this “What The Duck” cartoon

    @George – Heh, people are always mixing us up. If it is any consolation it is an easy mistake to make although the “other” Chris Garrett is younger and better looking :)

    @Tony – Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. I think I understand your point but Brian does very well both with advertising and consulting. I think providing it is done with a light touch and not in a grasping way it is ok. It’s hard for people to leave money on the table too …

    @Steve – why would you donate to your own blog? I think that would be called an investment ;)

    @Rise – you are welcome :)

    @Dubber – Yes at the end of the day you have to feel comfortable with what you are doing.

  37. Chris:

    Hi there…very interesting post you wrote. I once wrote to you about whether you knew of “Buy me a cup of coffee” icons out there instead of “beer.”

    Anyway, your post struck a chord with me. I’ve had the Paypal donation button for a while and have gotten a few donations ranging from $10 to $50. I agree that people tend to send in a donation to express genuine gratitude, especially when they are feeling “good.” Good point.

    Steve Pavlina has a little thing at the end of each post with a link to a donation page. Apparently this works well for him and doesn’t seem to bother his readers. While my level of hits a month is no where near his, I’ve been contemplating this as a way to increase my efforts to make money online.

    But aside from the desire to make money, one thing that will always be important, as you pointed out, is providing quality content. Always think about what’s in it for the reader, not yourself.

    Thanks for your post.

  38. Chris:

    Hi there…very interesting post you wrote. I once wrote to you about whether you knew of “Buy me a cup of coffee” icons out there instead of “beer.”

    Anyway, your post struck a chord with me. I’ve had the Paypal donation button for a while and have gotten a few donations ranging from $10 to $50. I agree that people tend to send in a donation to express genuine gratitude, especially when they are feeling “good.” Good point.

    Steve Pavlina has a little thing at the end of each post with a link to a donation page. Apparently this works well for him and doesn’t seem to bother his readers. While my level of hits a month is no where near his, I’ve been contemplating this as a way to increase my efforts to make money online.

    But aside from the desire to make money, one thing that will always be important, as you pointed out, is providing quality content. Always think about what’s in it for the reader, not yourself.

    Thanks for your post.

  39. Hey Chris,

    I too tried it on my blog, and then removed it after a few days. I was not personally comfortable with the presentation and the notion of my assigning the ‘value’ of a cup of coffee to my posts.

    For the record, I’m not doing this as a full-time blogger/consultant — I may have a different perspective if I did :-)

    Good experiment though, thanks for stimulating it.

  40. Hey Chris,

    I too tried it on my blog, and then removed it after a few days. I was not personally comfortable with the presentation and the notion of my assigning the ‘value’ of a cup of coffee to my posts.

    For the record, I’m not doing this as a full-time blogger/consultant — I may have a different perspective if I did :-)

    Good experiment though, thanks for stimulating it.

  41. It’s so tempting to stick Adsense in every available space on every site. But I had to put my foot down with myself when it came to my company sites (I co-own two companies) – there is no way I can allow myself to “sell” ad space on my own company’s site, especially as the ads would all be competing with my company’s services!

    My business vision and goals have to be crystal clear – I want all my visitors to become my high-value customers, not to go “clicking off” somewhere for a few cents profit to me.

    When you see Adsense on a site that ostensibly belongs to a business, as someone pointed out, you can’t take them seriously, it looks tacky and almost MFA-ish…

  42. It’s so tempting to stick Adsense in every available space on every site. But I had to put my foot down with myself when it came to my company sites (I co-own two companies) – there is no way I can allow myself to “sell” ad space on my own company’s site, especially as the ads would all be competing with my company’s services!

    My business vision and goals have to be crystal clear – I want all my visitors to become my high-value customers, not to go “clicking off” somewhere for a few cents profit to me.

    When you see Adsense on a site that ostensibly belongs to a business, as someone pointed out, you can’t take them seriously, it looks tacky and almost MFA-ish…

  43. I added a paypal donation icon on my blog, but felt like I was begging for money, but I’ve realised since that I am providing advice to people so that must be worth something.

  44. I added a paypal donation icon on my blog, but felt like I was begging for money, but I’ve realised since that I am providing advice to people so that must be worth something.

  45. May i know what is the name for the bookmarking and send friend plugin? i have been searching for long time, but can’t find a nice 1.

  46. May i know what is the name for the bookmarking and send friend plugin? i have been searching for long time, but can’t find a nice 1.

  47. @Stephen – Yes I think particularly with Steves blog people feel good when they give a tip or donation, it is all about the customer experience ;)

    @Brad – It’s always going to be tricky, it will work well for some and not at all for others :)

    @markowe – Yes I think so. People say “aren’t you leaving money on the table”, I disagree, by putting up adsense you are chasing *real* money away by grasping at pennies ;)

    @DarrenC – It’s a shame that everyone sees content as something that should be free, but there is real value there (when it is good), I don’t think we value our own contributions enough

    @daklen – sociable?

  48. @Stephen – Yes I think particularly with Steves blog people feel good when they give a tip or donation, it is all about the customer experience ;)

    @Brad – It’s always going to be tricky, it will work well for some and not at all for others :)

    @markowe – Yes I think so. People say “aren’t you leaving money on the table”, I disagree, by putting up adsense you are chasing *real* money away by grasping at pennies ;)

    @DarrenC – It’s a shame that everyone sees content as something that should be free, but there is real value there (when it is good), I don’t think we value our own contributions enough

    @daklen – sociable?