I've been meaning to write this post for a while because I'm in the process of compiling a new Page for this blog about my policy regarding advertising and links. Some of you may have noticed a new Sponsors section on the right, which shows I'm now taking some paid advertising.
I've resisted going down this route for 3 years because I appreciate the blogging community and it's been very easy to do so previously because it's clear that most of the many companies who do get in touch haven't read my blog at all. However, I was shocked late last year when I reviewed NAH's and my accounts to find just how much my blogging is costing me in terms of travel, entrance fees, arrangements for Meet at Malvern, postage for giveaways etc etc. Of course I would have done quite a lot of these things anyway as they're so enjoyable, but it's also true that blogging has intensified these activities: probably doubled them at least.
So after a great deal of thought I've decided not to go down the Affiliate or Adsense routes as I have little or no control over what happens with these potential income earners. Nor will I be accepting paid blog posts or commercial 'guest' posts. Instead I will be accepting paid advertisements for a limited number of 'slots' on my blog, which will reflect Veg Plotting's main content i.e. gardening, allotments, seasonal food, greener living and life in Wiltshire.
Some of you may be wondering what this has to do with the clothing company currently on display on the right, but they sponsored a new garden at Barnsdale last year. If my available slot had been larger, I would be displaying their Plant Finder application instead of their outerwear logo. It was also clear when they approached me they'd actually bothered to read my blog and understand what I'm writing about :o
As far as links are concerned, I won't be accepting link exchanges from organisations seeking to improve their SEO, or to simply point you in the direction of websites or blogs dedicated to gaining income from advertising.
I do accept items for review - mainly books so far - and these will be appearing on Sundays in future. Note that my reviews are honest and unbiased, plus I'll always tell you when I've received something for review purposes. I do also accept items for giveaways and competitions as these add some fun to my blog.
It's not my intention to earn pots of money from Veg Plotting (I believe a gardening blog isn't the route to do that anyway) but to try and cover my costs to bring you three posts a week - excluding reviews - of the kind of content that keeps you coming back for more and keeps me sane. At the moment NAH and I are living off our savings in order to care for aging relatives in 3 places over a distance of 250 miles, so anything which helps to eke those out a little further is most helpful.
My placing the Blog with Integrity badge at the top of this post is to assure you I will endeavour to continue to comply with the voluntary code this badge embodies, even though I haven't been displaying it on here previously.
Do feel free to leave your comments below, or you can email me at vegplotting at gmail dot com. And if you ever think I haven't disclosed something that I should, then do please get in touch :)
Update December 2011: Since I wrote this post I've discovered UK bloggers are now obliged to disclose any relationship they have with a company. This covers products received and reviewed, competitions and advertising. This does not affect the way I run Veg Plotting as operating under the Blog With Integrity code ensures this happens. Unfortunately this change in the law (December 2010) does not seem to have been widely publicised, so many bloggers are unaware of their new obligations. I will be posting about this more fully soon.