Last summer, when I discovered that this website had reached its limit of how many patterns could be loaded onto a free WordPress site, I was shocked and discouraged. I’d grown to love this website! I had built it, together with my daughters, to be a sort of “journal” of my doll craft experiences, but it grew to be so much more!
Income from this website has been used for charity work (click there and scroll down a bit for details), and in years past, I used the basic income from the site’s ads to pay for software, fabric, and notions for the projects I post here. So the website has been more or less self-sufficient as it grew, with only a little bit of extra income beyond that which is necessary for the blog’s upkeep, and most of that extra money was donated to charitable causes.
But, in the summer of 2020, I couldn’t upload any more patterns without paying $499.00 US per year for a professional-level website. That fee alone would take up nearly half my website’s income. Without paying the fee, though, there would be no more uploads or blog posts allowed.
Without maintaining the site, Google would stop listing ChellyWood.com near the top, when people searched for free patterns. ChellyWood.com would sink into the world of lost and forgotten sites on the internet.
I paid the $499 for a professional WordPress site account, but it took a huge chunk out of the website’s earnings. I was getting more fan mail than ever, but making a fraction of the money.
So what were my options…? My husband and I narrowed it down to these possibilities:
- Quit posting patterns and tutorials, and just let the website fade into oblivion.
- Wipe out all the old patterns and start over with new ones.
- Create a dot org (a nonprofit), which would require a whole lot of paperwork.
- Pay the business-level price of $499 a year, but look for new ways to bring in additional income.
My husband said he would support me in whatever decision I made, and I decided that I enjoy the time I spend on the weekends building this site. So I began to look for new ways to bring in additional income.
In the fall of 2020 I began selling some of my dolls and other collectibles on eBay to help bring in more money. I tried to sell some of my doll clothes on Etsy as well, but neither of these options turned out to be particularly profitable.
When I had a birthday in March, my brother bought me an online class called “Affiliate Marketing.” In this class, I learned that I can link to eBay with a special type of link that tracks the person who clicks on it, affiliating the click with my website. Then, if my follower decides to purchase something on eBay, my website will get a small percentage of the sale.
I’m not sure whether affiliate marketing will help or hurt my website, but I do know this…
Because we paid $499 to create a “business level website” with WordPress, I can now continue to add more free patterns to this website.
After paying for the “business level” website fee, I earned $781 dollars in 2021. I’m also paying fees for my video-making services, Microsoft Office (for converting patterns to PDFs), fabric, and other craft supplies. So when we did our taxes, we actually found that the website cost more money than it earned in 2020.
All I can say about that is…
Good thing I love what I do! 😉
But as I get older and the website grows, I’m going to need an income, even if it’s just a slight income. I’ll be retiring from my full-time job as a school librarian in the next three or four years, and pensioners can’t afford expensive hobbies!
Therefore, I’ve decided to add affiliate marketing to my repertoire of income sources. What does that mean to you?
In 2021 I will be linking to websites like eBay, Etsy, and (maybe later) Amazon from my blog posts. If you click on those links and make a purchase, ChellyWood.com will get paid a small percentage of your purchase.
One last thing… C&T Publishing’s Creative Spark online learning platform has asked me to teach a class on some aspect of doll clothes design. It’s an honor to work with this publishing company, and they’ve suggested that if enough of my followers sign up for my class (which will be something you’d have to pay for), they will consider publishing my book, Easy Doll Clothes Design Techniques.
Publishing a book has been my heart’s desire since way back before the internet was even a thing! So please do consider signing up for my class with Creative Spark once it is offered. Doing so will benefit you and me both! You’ll benefit because…
- You’ll get to learn something beyond what this website offers.
- It will help support this website and all the free patterns you love.
- It will take your doll clothes sewing skills to the next level.
In conclusion, this website is changing. It’s going to need to generate more money, and selling my collectibles and handmade doll clothes just won’t cut it. But by adding affiliate marketing and a paid class to my website’s revenue sources, I’ll be able to continue to provide you, my followers and friends, with free printable sewing patterns (hopefully) for many years to come.
When I have more information on my class with C&T Publishing’s Creative Spark, I’ll let you know through my blog posts and YouTube tutorials.