This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

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)

  • Jennifer

    dooce.com greeting cards
    You could put Congressman Chuckles on front. Who wouldn’t be a sucker for that?

  • Lylah

    I like the idea of a free dooce.com and a pay-for-amazing-access dooce.com. That, and Dooce.com bourbon. Mmmmmm…..

    And maybe a dooce.com onesie for babies. I’d put one on my kiddo in an instant. Well, more than an instant — you know how squirmy babies are.

  • i will pay. i’ll def. buy dooce swag. i’ve been reading for… well, years and will do my part for the leta armstrong college fund.

  • i second the idea of having
    “small businesses to advertise on your site. say $20/month for a 125×125 pixel ad that links to their web site.”
    as long as they’re not annoying and look tidy.

    i also second the cafepress options.

    and maybe make the donate button BOLD….

  • Though you’re wearing the “Google dissed me” badge of honor, I’m actually pretty annoyed at my company. (And by “my” I of course mean that they pay my mortgage, not that I’m Larry or Sergey here.) Knowing a bit about the AdSense program, I wouldn’t classify your site as having too much profanity and hell, it’s NECESSARY. What would they like you to call your cabbage boobs – cabbage mammary organs? Anyway, that pisses me off.

    Enough about my rant & rave – there ARE other sites that offer advertising programs – hate to say it, but I know Overture offers ContentMatch but am not 100% certain you can get on it the way you could with AdWords. However, there are a few others – I know Sarah Hatter uses some (though not sure who) and there’s MarketBanker. Basically, w/your design skills, you should be able to incorporate some ads into the site w/o it looking commercialized.

    In the meantime, I’m gonna go kick some Google AdSense ass. They don’t know what they’re missing.

  • ecc

    I second (third?) the blogads.com recommendation. Sites like Gawker, Wonkette, et al use them and (besides the obnoxious banner at the top) they don’t look too bad. The ones off in the far right column don’t detract much from the content in my opinion. Plus, check out what they charge. Not sure how high your hits are in comparison, but it’s an idea…

    I would pay to read this site, too, but I dunno… “closing” the site might take something away from it.

  • Ha ha! It’s amazing you’d even have to say “no nude pics”! People are idiots!

    So…how about semi-clothed?

  • Marc

    While I can understand your resistance to working with an editor, I think you’re an incredible writer and you should think again about selling either collections of your writing in book form or as articles in a magazine. Right now, Paul Graham’s “Hackers and Painters,” a hardcover book which is available almost in its entirety on his Web site, is Amazon’s #710 bestselling book. You won’t make a killing on such a book, but I’d guess you’ll make as much as Google AdWords would have given you. If someone can be a great editor for all the far-more-cantankerous authors out there, someone can do it for you.

    Anyway — I’d hate to see ads since the visual design is part of the pleasure of your site, and your “traffic” is far less valuable than your ideas and humor and truth.

  • i think you should appeal to google and get the backing from your readers – a published online petition protesting google’s policies. as a childless person i am only guessing here, but i’m thinking the words google doesn’t like: poop/breasts/penile diseases, are fairly common in mama blogs (maybe not the last one, but still). i think we should all be greatly insulted that google has the “badsense” (terrible pun i know, but i couldn’t resist) to try to censor mothers. certainly there are enough militant mamas and non-mamas here to write to google and raise a stink worse than leta’s formula-fed diapers. once google comes around, start raking in the dought!

  • The Former Inmate

    OK, just thought of something else.

    How about sharing some of your exceptional Mormon-God-given talent with the rest of the world?

    You could write online tutorials (or, if you find a way to secure them, in a downloadable format) about what you do best: photography, writing, design, decoration, infant care….well, maybe not infant care.

    Anyway, I think I would pay to acquire some of the coveted mad Dooceskillz. You did know they are coveted, right?

  • Ok, I’m sorry. I continue to tell friends, relatives, strangers, and yes, even that one lady at the grocery store buying cabbage (because I needed to know if it was going in her bra since she was pushing a baby in her grocery cart) to come to your site and bask in everything that is dooce.com. That was me. I caused you to go over your bandwith again. But don’t think that I wasn’t feeling guilty about it, because I was. I thought about emailing you to tell you that you should cancel Leta’s college fund because this month’s bill would be a whopper, but then I was afraid. Afraid that I would never make it to the People We Should Party With list. And who knows, I may go to Utah someday and need someone to party with. People who say words that Google Adsense would never allow and who wrap pasta around their dogs nose.

    So in reading your post I started to think, “What would I do to contribute to the financial success of this site (besides sending you more bandwith)?” and I didn’t know. But after reading some replies, I’m sure that I would buy snappy DOOCE.com gear if you were to sell something that I could wear. Then you see, I wouldn’t have to tell strangers about your site, they would just see my T-Shirt or lunch bag and rush to buy their own.

    Other things I might consider doing:

    + Pay for premium membership which I think should consist of the ability to comment and get your posts via email (also reducing your bandwith)

    + Send you things you need for Leta in the way of Amazon wishlist stuff (because every baby needs a copy of Kill Bill 2 on DVD)

    + Buying prints of your photographs because I want to fill my house with pictures of you and Jon and Leta, and Chuck and tell all my friends that we are sisters – see I even cut my hair like yours. Ok, not really… But you do have some photos of like, trees and mountains and stuff. Maybe you can put something inspiring under the photo like, “Ahhh the mountains… so much better when there isn’t The Screaming”

    + And if I would ever get off of my own projects and onto developing for other people, I’d maybe, possibly, give a glimmer of a thought in the direction of putting a link to my website on here. See, rather than advertise my OWN website shamelessly, I’d wear my dooce.com t-shirt all over and people would come to your site, see my link, and Viola! I would get some action. (That’s good marketing right there…)

  • umm, I would LOVE to see the love mail, and the hate mail. great idea.

    i think if you asked for donations through paypal, you would probably be inundated with them. although that’s probably not a steady source of income, it’s definitely a beginning.

    and i would totally buy dooce.com t-shirts, stuffed toy versions of chuck and john, and most of all, a book written by you, or even just a published compilation of your posts. you have an amazing gift for writing and you should so be making money doing it.

    thanks for asking our opinions! you rock.

  • susaroo

    I, for one, would love to see some of the techie stuff you mentioned – about how you run and design the site. I have great ideas for my blog, but am stuck in typepad. I think a premium subscription is a good idea – put the extras on there, but leave the regular posts free. I also like the small business ad idea. I’d advertise my small business and my husband’s here. I love your blog, love it love it love it and hope you can find a way to make a living from it.

  • Manufacturers of baby gear, especially baby bjorn, McClaren, and Nikon, should be paying you fist fulls of money for all the referals you’re giving them. My wife is 10 weeks pregnant and we constantly refer to your site for product purchasing advise. Because if Dooce needs it, we’re going to need it. There is no other source on the internet that we would trust our baby to more than you Dooce!

  • Kim

    you should make money by compiling all your pregnancy and post-pregnancy baby-related blogs into a book.

  • Kim

    you should make money by compiling all your pregnancy and post-pregnancy baby-related blogs into a book.

  • I really don’t know how to make money off your site, but I can say that I’ve used an awsome (and cheep) web hosting company called herwebhosting.com

    I love your blog, and would like to be able to say I would pay to read it, but in truth I probably wouldn’t – only because I’m lazy and cheep.

  • p.s. i’d way rather buy dooce swag than pay for premium service. considering that blog readership turns over quite a bit, i think it would be hard to attract new readers if they don’t get access to the best/funniest stuff. i’ve been reading for a year or so, and check you obsessively, but i can’t say for sure i’d pay for premium service- might cause a bit of a backlash among faithful readers. i’m also a cheapskate and didn’t upgrade to movable type 3.0 cause that wasn’t free either. now a chuck doll? that’s another story. i’d buy one of those. and i’d check you even if there were pop-ups every 2.0 seconds.

  • xz

    gosh. that’s a lot of comments i didn’t read.

    MCFrontalot (frontalot.com) has a “valued sucker program.” basically, he just asks for money from people who like what he does. and he gets it. enough to pay for his site. he sends some little gifty things to people who give a bunch, like over $25 or something.

    he doesn’t keep stuff from the public site to entice donations or anything like that. he just asks for money and gets it.

    what could be more satisfying?

  • Jeanine

    Hey single working woman here,
    I would buy a tee shirt. I would invest. (see #5) You are a very courageous woman. You share with all of us who read your site. I’ll wager we would share back.
    I know I would. Let me know where to send the money…

  • 1. I’d buy a t-shirt.
    2. I’d probably pay $5 for a year’s subscription, or, you could hit me up for $2 a month and I wouldn’t even feel it.
    3. The Associates program has made me about .04 cents so far, but I’m sure you have triple my traffic.
    4. You could team up with Loobylu and make chuck dolls.

  • Sally D

    Having birthed my first babe in January, I relate completely to all that you write. I first enjoyed all your wit and humour during my (and your) pregnancy, and now look forward to all your comments and pictures when I can sneak you in. I quite enjoy your use of profanity! Heck, I think even my mother has gained an appreciation for your use of the F word!

    My thoughts for making $$:

    1. T-shirts – not the best idea, but yup, I’d buy one!

    2. on-line newsletter? – charge to deliver a daily dose of dooce to our email.

    3. I love the idea (freshbabe’s) of an on-line community. I’m currently on a couple that lack the ability to appreciate my momentary spurts of wit and wisdom.

    4. You NEED to write a book! Or two! Perhaps you could compile your entries from this site and put together different collections for different interests. I wish I could purchase all your thoughts during your pregnancy, and give it to my pregnant sister to read. And your version of “What to Expect the First Year” could make you tons!

    5. You can always do what I do. Scrounge the house for crap to sell on ebay. Gets me enough spare change to buy me coffee, and hopefully I can save enough for a new rocking chair in time for my next baby so I don’t have to deal with this aching back again!

    I wish you all the best. You truly are an inspiration.

  • I would continue to read dooce no matter what changes were made. Unless, of course, you lost your sense of humor. Since I don’t see that happening, I’ll just keep coming back to look into this reflection of myself: a mother, living in Utah, who spares nothing and no one when it comes to writing with humor and honesty. Okay, so maybe that last part isn’t so much a reflection of me, but…

  • actually–the idea of t-shirts (such as prints for your photos; a friend of mine does this through http://www.deviantart.com)and other merchandise is a good one…i mean, if you ask any musician, they’ll say that most of their income comes from the swag they sell at shows as opposed to their music itself. definitely worth thinking about.

  • nessa

    searchability: awesome. a forum or permanent comments: double awesome.

    i would pay for cafepress swag and/or “premium” memberships with access to more pictures because you totally kick out the jams. however, that’s a lot of hassle for a small return, which won’t even be close to the equivalent of a salary. and print work–it’s a bear.

    i think the especially brilliant and full of potential big money idea is that posted above, about a web community for parents who don’t suck. it would be a lot of work and investment, but the income stream and the creative/technical challenges would be crazy rewarding.

    shoot, i mean you all remodeled that pretty kitchen, right? armstrongs are tuff!

  • deirdre

    I’m not sure about making money off the website, but you did mention writing for editors. What about a column for a newspaper that isn’t as uptight as most. We have a couple in Philly–one is http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/ and the editors for newspapers like that don’t seem to care about expletives. Columns like Savage Love use expletives all the time. You have such a hard-core reading audience already, that any column you write would be very, very popular!

  • Have you thought of other ad services? Because you have enough readers that you probably could make decent money if we all clicked on the ads. I know I’d be more than willing!

  • bbmeatloaf

    Our local alternative-weekly taxicab-driving columnist (www.yohackie.com) just self-published a collection of his stories. He says he has already broken even, so now he’s making money, and considering a 2nd printing as well as a follow-up book. Publish the best from the archive!

  • me

    Here are my thoughts:
    Paying to be able to read stories or visit your site is a bad idea. Adding annoying banners and ads is also a bad idea. Basically please don’t do anything to annoy us regular people. As much as I love your site, I would very easily drop interest if you exploited everyone. Seems shirts and mugs and optional things are good. You’re a smart girl. Hopefully you will look at your options and know what would annoy you if you visited a site…and stay away from adding it to yours! Much luck and I love your writing.

  • I’m all for the changes, especially the daily photograph! As I read through the first part of your post I thought to myself, “you know, Heather needs to make money off this somehow.” And then I read that you wanted too. I don’t know HOW but, yeah you need to. Too many people laugh too often for it to be free. =)

  • Heather, remember last year when I emailed you because I was working for a webhosting company that was talking about “sponsoring” bloggers’ hosting costs in exchange for street cred? I ended up quitting that job, but I’m guessing that a high profile site like yours would garner you a free dedicated server somewhere. Then, any money you make from subscriptions, shwag, etc, would be money in your pocket.

  • kim

    Heather- I think it is a matter of time before some publisher wants to give you a book deal and lots of money. Try shopping your blog content to some publishers. You could totally do it.
    I would pay to be a premium member but how bout $25 a year or something instead of a monthly fee (like a totalfark memership) and hell yeah on the t-shirts. Also, what about selling prints of some of your more artistic photos?

  • Rebeka

    Your site is da bomb! I have to agree with everyone, this is a very nice way to waste time. As for charging us poor pitiful dooce addicts money to read your stuff, that would be so cruel. I am up for a funny dooce baby-t or maybe a stuffed Chuck with spaghetti around his snout. I would totally buy something like that.

    Cheers!

  • konolia

    Google turned YOU down and accepted Metafilter??? People over there use all the words you do and then some.

    My suggestion is email Matt Haughey and ask him for suggestions. He wasn’t always a Google consumer.

    Or at the very least just put a donation button on yer page.

  • Someone up there mentioned selling dooce.com merchandise. I’m TOTALLY for that. I’d love a cool-looking Dooce shirt. =)
    I know that http://www.secretagentjosephine.com makes her own shirts/designs. Ah hah. I’ts at cafe press. http://www.cafeshops.com/secret_agent_jo

  • It all sounds way wonderful and I look forward to the new and improved Dooce. However I don’t like the idea someone had of a “members only” area and those who cannot pay would get an edited version of you. 🙁 THat’ not fair to those of us who have no means to pay… On another note, that photo of Leta in the airport is my favorite Leta photo EVER! 😀

  • So many people get turned off by monthly subscriptions that I would suggest going the advertising and mechandising route before doing that. If you do want to do shirts or whatever, you may want to look further than cafepress and go for something a little more unique. Cafepress has reached a saturation level IMHO.

  • I did not have time to read all 79. So sue me if I duplicate…

    definitely a cafe press shirt…

    Check out nancies.org. They have some kind of deal where readers of the site can buy ads.. so like I could buy an ad on YOUR site to get people to come read MY blog.

    Become a product referral whore. Some of these people who blog EVERY DAMN DAY about some new product they have used at Sephora.com and they get referral $ or points.

    Look at erosblog.com to see what kind of ads he runs, maybe some of them would work? *giggles*

  • P.P.S. Fellow commentators: PROTEST GOOGLE ADSENSE HERE: https://www.google.com/adsense/contact

  • Oh Dooce! I love your site content, both in words and pictures as well as your design. I would love to see more and sign me up for a tshirt. Look what the SaveKaryn.com chick did – now she has a book deal. I support your move!

    Google Adsense told me the same thing! One little IPO and they are like NO SWEARING!

    Also, your daughter is gorgeous. Good luck – I will stay tuned!

  • Oooh who wouldn’t want a fabby stuffed version of Leta that bleasts like a goat when you squeeze it’s tummy? (Or look at it wrong) Can you say ‘Christmas Gift’? Hmmm, idea’s to make money, let’s see:
    1. Have people pay to read, even if it’s only a $1 a person per month, you’ve got lots of readers 🙂
    2. Fabby Dooce-A-Licious items would sell like mad I bet, cafepress could work.
    3. Compiling entries into a book would be quite rad.
    4. Maybe start a webzine kind of thing for stay@home moms.
    5. Charge a small fee to have people advertise on dooce.com
    6. T-Shirts w/ ‘Vote Chuck’ on them???
    Good Luck Doll! Man, just look at all these people that would pay just to read about your daily life, what a confidance booster!

  • I have to say, it would freak me out at least a little bit to know that someone was *paying* to read about my life on a blog. I’d go the banner ad way, even though many consider it a sell-out.

  • All the features you’ve suggested are wonderful, but all take even more of your valuable time.

    Not to sound like an MBA dud (which, um… I am), but if you really want to plan this out AND make money AND stay at home AND support John, you need a business model that justifies all this time. You know, spreadsheets and strategy and all that boring stuff.

    Incremental sales of coffee mugs are not your answer, and neither is direct-selling advertising to companies that may or may not want to endorse you (no offense to those who suggested those things, but I have a wife/mother-of-my-1-year-old-daughter at home as well, and her time is much more important than cold-calling companies for a 125×125 ad).

    Of course, this assumes the primary payment you want is $ and not wishlist materials.

    Because Google turned you down (and won’t likely come around now that they’ll be public soon), the BlogAds.com suggestion sounds like a good starting point. You could also try http://www.marketbanker.com/mb/, a la Gizmodo.com. The Amazon Associates program also sounds good, but again, this sounds pretty small over the long run b/c it’s based on how many people buy AFTER clicking through your links.

    If those are not up your alley, you may have to make the tough decision to see if you feel like a subscription would justify some of the lost readership you’ll definitely experience. But the pricing strategy is a tough question, as those who have tried it have sometimes been burned.

    Finally, there’s one last thought — get in with a network of new media types, like Weblogs, Inc. or Gawker. They reportedly do not pay all that well, but better than your current alternative.

    Best of luck!

  • Erin

    First time commenter, long time reader.

    1. Those cute links to “listening to” etc…have them go to a place to purchase. Might add some dollars.

    2. BOOKS!! One of your previous links to “reading” has one now. http://www.ironycentral.com/babymain.html

    3. Collectable junk. man do I want a pair of dooce boy-cut underpants!

    4. I really want to see the love/hate mail…mostly the hate mail. I want to hate those people too.

  • Valerie L.

    I would totally pay extra for the extras! 🙂

  • Shelley Noble

    The first baby/first year book is a homerun/slamdunk– any smart publishers out there?! (And if your not out there you should be, Dooce is where it all happens if your paying attention)

  • melanie

    i think there have been some great suggestions, and i’m neither very business- or web-minded (much less the two combined), so i’ve nothing to contribute along those lines. i can, however, fulfill my role as consumer. and in that capacity, i’d definitely pay to view this site, and i’d probably buy a t-shirt, too. as far as your stance on editors goes, i say stick to your guns. your writing is entertaining & heartwarming & hilarious just the way it is. are there any publishing bigwigs out there reading this? help our dooce! by the way, i love that your lovely husband is so supportive of your endeavor.

  • T-shirt: No one knows my breasts are wrapped in cabbage leaves.

    And then your url on the back.

    Also, I’d pay a modest subscription to read your site.

  • If you were to design and publish a book of all of your blog posts on CafePress, I would TOTALLY buy it! Dooce.com t-shirts would also be AWESOME! Please make t-shirts! And other dooce.com stuff! Then I could collect them all!!!!! 😀

  • i can always tell when the comments are open, b/c my scrollbar goes psycho. i say fuck what anybody thinks, sell out, jump the shark, kick the can (or..err..something) and do what the hell you want to do with it. dooce is like the kathy griffin of blogs (and i mean that in a great way). you own it, you do what you wanna do with it.