Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Chchchch-Changes

At the beginning of next month I am going to have to move this website over to a new hosting provider because the current company hosting this website charges a lot of money for the amount of bandwidth I need every month. I have tried to negotiate some give and take with these guys but I can’t get anyone to return my emails.

So I’ve been talking with Jon — that’s what married people do sometimes, talk. More often than not we finish each other’s sentences and have an amazing ability to understand what the other is talking about when asked about the thing that goes with the thing over there on the thing. I’ve come to the decision that I want to do a redesign of this site in conjunction with the hosting provider move. I want to make a lot of improvements, add more features, and make this website an even better waste of your time.

Some of the things I’d like to see here include:

1. Search functionality
2. Better/more categorization of posts
3. A daily photograph
4. A monthly round-up of hate mail, love mail, and could take me or leave me mail, and my commentary on all of it
5. Adding back to the archives all the older posts that I have deleted
6. Lengthier descriptions of music, books and websites I’m enjoying
7. A site FAQ section, including an explanation on the tools I use to build this site

Now here’s where I talk about the possibly controversial part: I want to try and make money with this website (Gasp. Sigh. Please alert the sell-out police.) This may seem too ambitious, and it may very well be too ambitious as this is a personal website that talks a whole lot about poop. But Jon and I have given this a lot of thought, and generating any sort of revenue from the site, however meager or paltry it may be, would help relieve at least a little bit of the burden Jon carries in supporting this family financially.

I’ve considered taking a job outside the home, but that would mean that I would probably have to give up this website. I don’t possess the juggling skills to raise a baby and work a full or part-time job and maintain the amount of writing I have done here. This website brings me much happiness and joy, and it has been the most therapeutic part of my treatment for postpartum depression. Why not try to make a living out of it?

I’ve thought about getting a job writing a column for a magazine or newspaper, but I would inevitably be subjected to an editor in those circumstances, and editors always seem to suck the life out of whatever I’ve written (no offense to editors out there, you’re good people, except for the one I dated in Los Angeles who used to proofread Honda brochures, my god, did he need to chill it on the correct usage of apostrophes, plus there was that one time he LOST IT when he couldn’t watch a Notre Dame game, and I had to witness the near-choking of the bartender at an Irish bar on Fairfax because THE IRISH BAR WASN’T SHOWING THE NOTRE DAME GAME, OH MY GOD HOW COULD THEY CALL THEMSELVES IRISH?)

Unfortunately I’m not quite sure how to make money doing this. I applied for Google AdSense and they rejected me because of “Inappropriate language.” Yes, that’s right. Google wants nothing to do with me and my motherfucking fucker fucks, my poops and penile diseases, my nursing bras and engorged, cabbage-wrapped torpedo boobs. Here’s what they actually said:

“We’ve found that your website contains content that isn’t in compliance with our program policies. We don’t allow websites with excessive profanity or potentially offensive content to participate in Google AdSense.”

Somehow I feel rather proud.

I don’t want to be edited or censored, and I would never alter the content of this site to qualify for an advertising program. My stance on this may leave me moneyless, but at least I’ll have my dignity and you’ll have my cabbage boobs.

Here’s where I ask for your feedback on the idea of a redesign. I want your input. What would you like to see here?

(NOTE: NUDE PICTURES OF ME ARE NOT AN OPTION. DON’T EVEN ASK. Nude pictures of Chuck, however, coming soon!)

Have you got any ideas?

(comments now closed)

  • I know I don’t want you to change the what your thinking, feeling guilty about, what your amused and annoyed at. I LOVE those. More photos of Chuck and baby are always welcome. Both are incredibly beautiful (and not only because she shares my bd, I swear it!!)

  • Kathleen

    I, for one, look forward to all the ideas you mentioned.

    As for the $$, you could have a Premium users section that would have all the extras and goodies for a certain fee per year or month.

    The Usual users (or whatever) would get the ‘edited’ version. 😉

  • louisegyrl

    you should solicit small businesses to advertise on your site. say $20/month for a 125×125 pixel ad that links to their web site. gather up your site stats and send that info to some small buinesses – sure some may think that the profanity is not a good thing, but if you target the right businesses it would work. I mean, seriously, how many visitors do you get in a month, hell in a DAY even? and they would all be tempted to click those little links. more traffic for the businesses, meaning more potential customers, and money for dooce. 🙂

  • paris

    I think that what you listed above sounds perfect. More pictrues of Leta would be nice, she is soooo damn cute and I love seeing her online. And I would LOVE to see your feedback to your hate mail. Your hilarious on this website, I can only imagine how funny you are to those being nasty!!

  • Hey Heather! I’m a big fan of your site, and would probably pay to read your hillariousness! 🙂 Hmmmm…Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking Dooce.com t-shirt 😉 Or better yet, how about founding partners – those that are seriously interested in your success, each put up $500 and then receive a small percent of your financial windfall, that is sure to come your/our way!

    As indicated – that was off of the cuff, after a longass week, so please keep me posted on what you decide and other ideas that come your way!

    All the best, write on!

    Taira

  • DeeGee

    I would imagine that in your readership, there are businessfolks that would like to run ads for their wares… Perhaps you could advertise for these folks. Cool people want cool shit, and where do they go for their ideas? The pick the brains of their cool “friends”, of course… That’s where you come in! Tell us what we need to buy! 😉

  • heather

    All of those things you suggested are great! As far as making money, I don’t know…. everyone seems to have a cafepress shop where they sell t-shirts and stuff. Perhaps stuffed animal versions of Chuck and Leta? Complete with little sound makers that bark or scream accordingly when squeezed?

  • Alana

    You have a lot of visitors and I’m willing to bet a good percentage have their own blogs. Lots of lonely bloggers feel popular and loved when they get visitors.

    You could take donations and post links to those who contributed on a donation page of sorts. You could charge extra to add a description/bold type/top of the list, etc.

    Sell stuff. Get shirts printed or creep yourself out by how much people are willing to pay for things like: the shirt you wore yesterday, the glass you drank out of, the Q-tip you may or may not have used…

  • rebecca

    Heather,

    I’ve been reading you for months and haven’t commented before. I totally support your ambition to make money off this site. You are an extremely talented writer.
    I have been concerned with your depression and anxiety as I have experienced both myself (yes, enough for major meds as well. currently on Celexa and OK)
    I digress. I admire your humor even while dealing with awful feelings. I would love to see more pics on the site and some of the
    off the wall comments from readers. I think you have the talent to publish…submit a collection of your childrearing stories and your battle with pp depression…to the New Yorker no less…(minus profanity) :=)
    Yes I know about editors but you WOULD make money.
    Take care,
    Rebecca in Denver

  • Cassie

    Heather, Go for it, whatever you decide. I’d pay to read your stories about Leta & Chuck & am guessing quite a few other mamas would too? You always touch on great subjects & for me, at least, remind me to smile & take it easy with this whole motherhood thing.

    Best of Luck!
    Cassie

  • Sara

    I really like this website. As a mother of an almost 6 month old (2/14/04)daughter, I can totally relate to your descriptions of how you want to put Leta’s entire head in your mouth and other ways you want to eat her up. You are a very talented writer. You crack me the fuck up! I love reading your stories. I would like to see a picture a day and your feedback emails. Keep up the good work. I would miss you if you quit this!

  • Alana

    Love Kathleen’s idea!

    The hate/love-mail + responses idea is awesome – I’d totally pay to see extra features like that.

  • Chloe

    I would love to see more of dooce.com… that would be cool. I like the addons that you have planned. The moneymaking idea I am not sure. Maybe banners from some of the sites that sort of go towards your beliefs? You know one of those… click here and you get 10 cents or whatever for each click. But those just never look classy! I will keep thinking!

  • heather d

    Cafepress.com maybe? You have great masthead designs, maybe you could turn them into t-shirts or something. (And just wanted to say I’ve been reading dooce since before Leta was born and I thoroughly enjoy your writing. And Leta is a doll! Maybe you could write a book on heathen infidel mommy-ing.)

  • Cassie

    Heather, sorry to post 2x, but I’d also buy a shirt that says “Cabbage Boobs-so what?”…lol.

  • leandra

    I would love the searchability, I was recently looking for a specific post and i wound up rereading half your archives (not a bad waste of time – mind you). More photos would be great and I personally would not object to contributing a small subscription fee to get more of your musings. I always look forward to new posts… thanks for opening up to all of us ‘webfolk’. 🙂

  • christine

    Ever since I somehow fell into your tractor beam (says Mrs. Kennedy) I have been unable to resist the urge to just check to see if you’ve added a new “column” I have to say, “Go for it”. I’ll just have to come up with a way to explain to my husband my NEED to read this woman’s blog. I consider you the goddess of blog and aspire to someday grow up (even though I am much older!) to be like you. I’ll never have your graphics and sharp wit though.

    Please do not get yourself into a situation where you must edit yourself to make someone else happy. We love you because of your pure unadulterated honesty and occasional cuss word. And Jon and Leta and Chuck and…..

  • HG

    Heather – Have you tried shopping your blog to any literary agents? Your web presence is rather large (I can’t think of any blogs of the top of my head that I visit that don’t link to you) and I think in a non-censored medium like a print version of Dooce, you’d do great. I’d buy it.

  • steph

    How about some dooce shirts via CafePress? You could make a little money with that, and I’ll pledge to buy a shirt – if you carry the women’s babydoll T’s with a dooce logo on the front. 😉

    I know it’s hard to balance all this motherhood and LIFE stuff and make money at the same time. Good luck.

  • I second what Kathleen said. I’d totally pay to be a premium member. Hell… I’ll sign up now!

    🙂

  • freshbabe

    Why not start an online community with message boards for lonley moms who are stuck at home with their kids all day (like me)? You could start a seperate blog for it with no profanity and then use Adwords to suck Google dry. There are a lot of young women out there who have webblogs, cabbage boobs *and* brains. I’m sure they would love to participate at cabbageboobs.com.

    Good luck!

  • steph

    Oh, and you could ebay the cabbage you were wearing in your bra a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure some pervert would pay top dollar from rotten cabbage worn by dooce’s boobies. 😛

  • Personally, I’d like to see a permanent comments section. I can’t say for sure why you haven’t opted for this yet, but I think that the potential for open dialogue would give your site an extra edge.

  • Jenn

    I wanted to second the cafepress/masthead t-shirt idea. I’d buy “the t-shirt with the doocing”.

  • A dooce t-shirt! Please! I want one!
    I have no great ideas, just supporting whatever ch-ch-changes come around. I think the idea of a daily photograph is a dandy one, and I would pay MONEY to waste time on your site. I definitely want to read responses to the hate and love mail. Even if you make fun of us who send you love mail!

  • Hey, I love your website and didn’t think it needs more to it, but props to you for thinking of those features! I’m borrowing some of your ideas for my new site redesign as well 🙂

    As for making money, you can try a subscription for the site. $20/year x a plenty of readers will bring you a pretty penny. Also try using the Amazon Associates program when linking to books. You can always open a Cafe Press store, or, if you want to be more hands on learn how to screen print and start selling TShirts (through paypal, because its cheap and easy) or you can even try offering website design services out of your home.

    Also, see if you can get your entries published. You can do it over CafePress, just format all your entries as [ insert image formate here ] and upload them to their server and have them print/bind/ship a book for you and you’ll make [ insert overcharge here ] on each book. I’d buy 3. You could even throw in random pictures of Leta to sell more copies.

    I wish you luck, and don’t stop writing because you help keep me sane. And the hate mail would be a great addition to your site.

  • annakay

    i am another one who would pay cash money to hear what you have to say and would buy a whole wardrobe if you went into the t-shirt business. if you do, be sure to include baby & child sizes. and dog gear!

  • danielle

    Heather, my son was born just after Leta (02/09/04). I relate to, want, love and need this site. I would pay a small subscription fee to continue receiving it. I love the idea of selling stuff. I would buy a DOOCE t-shirt. Sell cool DOOCE Baby stuff… Coffee mugs and bottles!

    I hope you keep writing!

  • Heather-

    Really who needs a t-shirt.. I am all over the stuffed animal versions of Chuck and Leta. Try the pay for extras- love/hate emails, I am sure you can think up many witty bonus items for us all. Make money… oh and you really do rock by the way.

  • Michelle

    I love your website! I am proud to say that I have only been getting about 5% of my shit done at work since I discovered dooce.com. I would be happy to pay for some juicy extras. And banner advertisments would help. Like those crazy ass cross stitches – things like that I would have never found (and purchased) had I not come across them on your site. I know I’m not the only one.

  • Anne

    You get so much positive feedback on your photographs that I’m sure some people would be interested in buying them. You could consider selling prints … I don’t know if this is more aggravation than it’s worth, but it’s a thought. Good luck!

  • Katy

    Heather,
    I am a new mom too and I LOVE reading about your adventures with Leta, cabbage and just life in general. I think new moms would definitely pay for a little “real world” advice. There’s so much to being a new mom that people dont talk about – PPD included.

    More pics of you, Jon, Leta and Chuck would be icing on the cake!!!

    If anyone can make this work, you can. Good luck!

  • Dawn

    I can’t believe I’m offering this up—charge us. Just a nominal fee($5/year?). Of course then you get into the “secure web site” thing, and I really don’t know how much trouble that is.

  • I would totally buy a dooce T-shirt, and what about just putting up a Paypal button? Lesser sites than yours are doing it!

  • Cece

    I’m a creature of habit but the following would be cool with me (as if I count). Definitely Numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5.
    Hey…I agree with some of the others about Marketing. Shirts, mugs, keychains, mousepads…I would buy that stuff up. Sell it on eBay too and you could make a killing!
    Hell, I’m cool just cuz I read you. If I were walking around with a dooce shirt, I would be 10x’s cooler.

  • Ever since I happened upon your blog, when I was looking up information on remodeling kitchens, I’ve been addicted. You have a wonderful way with words, and talking out problems we all come across, so that we know we are not alone.
    I would feel proud to be the owner of a dooce.com shirt, maybe with a picture of chuck ala noodles on his nose.
    Also, with your wit and take on life, you could do a syndicated column, of course on a non censored site, cause what’s the fun of that.

  • 1). You could have readers register and pay a monthly fee. I know this is probably pretty hard to set up. If that’s the case, perhaps you could use the PayPal option for Merchants. I am pretty sure you’ll accomplish two things this way.

    a). You’re bound to have subscribers and in turn make money.

    b). You’ll probably get rid of the negative crap that comes your way because when people are forced to give up a full name and/or a VALID email, they’re not as quick to call you a “Stupid Mother Fucker”.

    It’s a thought.

    2) If you don’t like the idea of not having the Web site entirely public, perhaps you can leave comments on, but only allow paid members to comment maybe even read them.

    3). You could add an area where people can start threads, leave comments about threads, and so on and make only that section a subscription base.

    4). You might charge other writers/bloggers money to advertise they’re personal sites on here–month to month?

    Either way, I’m pretty sure people will sign up and pay to read your site.

  • The Former Inmate

    Well, this site has provided entertainment (and more than a modicum of insight) for over two years now. I say you’ve got some pretty darn interesting content here. Why not compile it into a book? Something you could read as “The Journal of Dooce”.

    Yes, you would be subject to editors, but I would say it’s still worth a shot. I’m sure more excessively profane and potentially offensive stuff has been published before.

    I think you could do a heck of a job designing it, what with mastheads and musical recommendations and pictures of Chuck and what not. Best of all, it would be portable.

    Just my idea.

  • You could try Blog Ads advertising. I don’t know much about them, but I’m sure that people would love to advertise their blogs on your site – because you’re awesome and you get a lot of traffic.

    Or you could try the Amazon Associates thing. (bloggers link (either via text, images or actual advertisements) to Amazon products or pages. If people purchase after following these links they take a small comission from Amazon, either for cash or gift vouchers.)

  • I would subscribe too. Maybe subscription for everything except the current post?

  • I must say, I’m not a big fan of pay content on the web, but I doubt you’re considering that option much. I think you’re an incredibly talented writer. I know nothing about writing as a profession, but aren’t there publications out there you could get a stay-at-home job with? I wouldn’t mind visiting a commercial site with advertisements to read your articles, so I’d love to see you get published.

    I’d love to see you writing for a major print or web publication and be compensated for your talents. Whatever you do, keep up the writing and don’t lose your core fan base.

  • Jo

    I, for one, check in here daily – sometimes bi-daily incase you ever post twice, LOL – and I think I’d pay to read. You’re an excellent writer and photographer, seriously. I would love to see you write every day if you can, as sometimes you go every-other, and seeing that it’s your personal business to write whenever you dang-well (in the interest of not contributing smut to your site, ha!) please, if you could make this a “job” for yourself and write even more often, heck, I’d be loggin’ on every morning with my coffee. Go for it; people subscribe to newspapers for their favorite columnists. I’d say you have quite a following – best o’ luck.

    Waiting on the nudes of Chuck – waiting….

  • Since Google Ads are out, would BlogAds work for you? With the amount of traffic you get, I’m sure that advertisers would be interested.

  • Rachel

    Two words:
    Book Deal.

    I would be the first on line at my local Barnes and Noble to purchase my very own in print copy chock full of Leta, cabbage, and anti-Mormon jokes.

    On the website issue, I would love to read some of the old posts that you deleted off the archives and I would also love to see you make fun of people who send you nasty emails.

    On a side note: I showed my mom your website yesterday (I’ve been reading since March and adore it) and the first words out of her mouth were “This woman should have a column on the New York Times op-ed page.” Though I know you and the Times are not the best of pals, maybe you should consider the column thing, though I would never want to see you compromise your wit.

  • giddy

    I actually like that you only open up comments selectively. It’s fun to read what your readers grew up calling their private parts, for example, but most of the time comments aren’t particularly fascinating.

    I also like the idea of selling T-shirts, etc. You DO have an incredible web presence, not to mention mentions off the web (I saw your site mentioned in the Indianapolis Star just 2 weeks ago in an article about blogging about your workplace….)

    As far as charging for viewing content, I’m not so sure. I mean, I know I’m cheapskate and just don’t want to lose you, but if you charged for any access at all I’m sure you’d lose a lot of readers (including aforementioned cheapskate), and they’d miss you. (Not that they wouldn’t understand, mind you.) But maybe it would work to charge for certain “better” features. I also think you could probably get some this stuff sold in book form. Or what about a dooce.com calendar combining your photography with great quotes from the site? You could even do several calendars–the “work-theme” calendar for people to put up at work (with work-friendly photos and themes), a stay-at-home mom calendar, etc., to satisfy all your various readers (and by diversifying, sell more calendars!)

    Good luck. And BTW, since comments ARE open, let me express my jealousy of your new delicate-strapped bras. Even non-pregnant and non-nursing, I have to wear the 6-lane highways. At the moment, I am pregnant, so it’s more like 12-lane highways wrapped around enormous cement trucks…..

  • Start a home daycare, hire someone else to look after the kids while you spend the day updating your site with pictures and footage of the kids during the day. Parents can see what the kids are up to at the sitters and amuse then with funny stories to read while they waste the day away at work!

  • steph

    Hi Heather,
    I thoroughly second the emotions of everyone else’s posts! This website absolutely lights up my day and I would be really disappointed if dooce went away. As far as $$ making: dooce.com/cabbage boobs t-shirts I really think would be a huge seller. Also, why not self publish some writing? I guarantee you could sell volumes of your writing online and at alternative bookstores. I’m thinking of Ayun Halliday of “East Village Inky” fame…

  • Joy

    Unfortunately I wouldn’t pay to read your site though I do love it! If you want to charge for extra goodies, that’s fine, just please don’t make us pay to read your hilarious posts!

  • Weasel

    PLEASE do not resort to working for The Man, censoring yourself, or giving “us” up. It’s not about YOU anymore – it’s about your loyal fans!!! =)

    I have been wondering why there weren’t DOOCE products available – I for one would buy several, and I would feel instant affinity for anyone I saw wearing a DOOCE shirt or sporting a DOOCE bumper sticker. I hereby reserve the right to the first officially sanctioned Idaho personalized license plate that says DOOCE. If you were to require special permission ($$$) to have said license plates (one in each state), and go after copyright infringers (nonpayers) with a vengeance, I would SO pay for that privilege.

    Meantime, definitely consider Cafe Press, and please don’t resort to the cluttered and “cheap” looking wee adds that people can click so you get 10c a link or whatever. You are so much better than that. You are QUALITY.

    By the way I fixed the antivirus / no pictures issue about which I previously emailed you. All is well in my world now. Thanks for rockin’ my world.

  • v

    I would totally become a “premium member.” Going on three years now and your posts are like my first cup of coffee in the morning. Good luck!