The decision to allow reader contributions and what percentage of readers become supporters

I wanted to take a minute to talk a bit more about my decision to explore using Tugboat Yards to allow Offbeat Home & Life readers to support the site financially. How does accepting money from readers change the dynamic of a site? How does it change reader expectations? Does it come off as a "gift grab"? And perhaps most importantly, how many readers are ACTUALLY willing to support the site?


Why the Offbeat Empire doesn't accept donations (and the two possible exceptions)

When we announced the relaunch of Offbeat Home as Offbeat Home & Life, there was a lot of reader discussion in the comments about how to best support the site. Ultimately, the monetization of all the Offbeat Empire sites is complicated and potentially confusing to readers, and my advice usually boils around to "share stuff you like, click things that look interesting, and buy stuff if you want."

But several readers asked me if they could make donations to support the site, something that I'm incredibly uncomfortable with for a variety of reasons…


Clicks don't lie: people gravitate toward drama (and who am I to deny them?)

I wrote yesterday about the process of realizing that a community management tool I'd established in 2008 for the Offbeat Bride Tribe was no longer relevant to my community's current needs. In a nutshell: my current community doesn't need high-drama posts filtered. But more importantly, they don't WANT them filtered out.

You know why? Because on a certain level, we all gravitate toward difficult emotions. As one Offbeat Bride Tribe member said…

What should I click?

We've been talking a lot about advertising lately, and this question came in from Jackie:

"I hope you guys can find an advertising solution that works for you, since I want you to stay supported and paid for making such an awesome space!
Maybe you could make a post explaining how the ads work to benefit you, like the actual mechanics? I've found the behind-the-scenes posts pretty interesting, and I'm sure you have some readers out there (like me) who want to help you out. I'm just not sure what helps the most (page views? actual clicks? buying something?)."

I've got answers for ya, Jackie…

People-managing: not just about getting people to do stuff for you

Last week a colleague noted "When you start working with other people, you spend a lot more time thinking about their paychecks than your own."

AMEN TO THIS. Things were tight over at the Empire this month, and at a certain point I made the decision to pay my staff instead of myself this pay period. Oddly, it was WAY easier to do that than to even consider delaying everyone else's checks.