Reader buy-in: How to increase site revenue by asking for contributions on your blog
One of the major challenges that bloggers and digital journalists face is monetizing content via their readers, who have grown accustomed to free access. Quality content takes time, money and skill to produce, and its very existence may depend on whether consumers contribute financially to sustain it.
Bloggers and media sites around the world have begun experimenting with a voluntary payments model that invites readers to make investments in quality content, with promising results.
An example is that of Wait But Why, (one of Elon Musk’s favorite blogs), which makes complex topics like space travel or cryonics easy to understand through a relatively low volume of long-form articles. Wait But Why is successfully increasing revenue through reader support in the form of contributions. They have more than 4,000 supporters who contribute upwards of $12,000 each month.
Another example of the contributions model success is that of the U.S. outpost of The Guardian surpassing 300,000 supporters, which have accounted for one-third of its revenue. TheWire.in, a three-year-old digital news startup in India, follows ‘The Guardian model’ and allows its readers to contribute as little as $0.27 at the end of every story to support its independent journalism. Siddharth Varadarajan, a founding editor of TheWire.in, said in an interview that in 2017, reader revenue contributed to 20% of the website’s income and, in 2018, that number is expected to go up to 40%.
Similarly, Salon and The Pulp joined this movement with contributions programs powered by LaterPay. The LaterPay Contributions Button is a new, easy way to collect financial support from readers. Within minutes, bloggers can install a button on their websites, social media feeds and newsletters that invites contributions from readers with customized messaging and pricing.
We will see many more sites ask for reader support in the future. With the growing popularity of this model, audience attitudes are changing and more readers are willing to contribute to sustain their favorite content sources.
You can join this movement and start a contributions program on your blog today. Get the button to push quality content.