I got quite a shock recently when a friend, who knows that I write a garden blog, asked me "how much money is your blog making?" Money? It is to laugh.
If you, yourself, blog, then you are well aware that almost all of the 1000's of gardening blogs out there on the web have no more reason or reward than whatever the inner motivations of that gardener are; whether altruistic, educational, or egotistic in nature, or if the blog is purely a mode of relaxation for the individual gardener. There are only a few gardening blogs in the Netosphere that I suspect provide any monetary gain at all; those that have paid advertisers (few and far between) and those that have a blog that are associated with a business, for instance a nursery or a gardening magazine. And the latter commercial group may only see a return on their investment in time and resources if they see an increase in sales coming via the blog, a very iffy proposition and hard to measure.
I, myself, have seen only one instance so far of a direct tangible benefit from garden blogging. A few months after beginning this blog, I received a random email from a CobraHead representative, a marketing genius obviously well on top of the social media trends, asking me if I'd like to try a sample of their product. Lo and behold after my reply of "yes," I received one in the mail within a week or so. Now, I've got to give this astute individual a lot of credit. There was no quid pro quo requested. They did not ask me to promote the product on my blog, they did not ask for the placement of an advertisement, they simply probably saw that my readership had gone over a few thousand individual views and likely thought that a subtle product placement might be worth sending me a free one. In fact, it was a perfect hidden ego stroke; "hey buddy, we like your blog and think you might gain enough readers that you might help us promote our product." There, my friends is confidence in your product. The CobraHead folks don't know if I'm going to like it or what I might write about it, but they have faith. It's been in my hands now for several months, unfortunately coming too late to try it out last year, but this spring I will give it a workout in good faith and report back here.
If you don't write a blog yourself, then you should know that the writers of your favorite blogs covet every little crumb of positive reinforcement over a well-written piece, and that many measure success or failure by readership comments. Many of us, in fact, are sitting on the other end of an invisible Internet fiber, starving for feedback and friendship. So please, visit your favorite garden blogs regularly and support them by occasionally commenting on a blog or passing the link on to a friend who might like it. And if, by chance, you can help me increase my readership and other manufacturers are listening (hint, hint), I'd love to report on how a nice portable garden debris shredder has improved my compost pile.