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)

  • myriam

    I love your site and hope you will continue!!!
    I think you should register the name ‘dooce’, get a trademark or something. Check out doteasy.com, they have cheap hosting offers.

  • Personally I would buy swag to support your site. Bring on the swag.

  • lunac718

    Well, now that you’ve been giving me the stuff for free for so long, I would definitely pay to keep the supply coming. I also would be interested in a Dooce T-shirt or coffee mug or other merchandise.
    Publishing the hate mail and your responses is an excellent idea. I would love to see what the hell these idiots are sending to you. Publishing their email addresses would be lovely as well, so we Dooce fans can share the love…

  • i’d pay for a subscription, especially with the new features and especially if there was an option to pay once yearly with visa…

    can’t rokk a t-shirt about cabbage leaves…but some of your banner sayings would work.

  • You’re not going to like my answer. At least not part of it. Here’s the part you will like: I love reading your journal. You’re really a great writer.

    Here’s the part you’ll hate: Getting money out of me is damn near impossible. First, because I don’t have a lot, and second because I never pay for the cow if I can get the milk for free.

    I will tell you the things I would give money for though: There’s a movie review site I adore http://www.screenit.com I share his taste in movies and I appreciate that he doesn’t try to tell me what movies are appropriate for my kids. He just gives the lowdown on what conservative people would find objectionable and let’s you decide if your kid can handle it. I’ve never given him any money though, because although I’d be happy to donate to the cause to get rid of the pop-ups and use the member features, I think the price he’s wants is too high. I’d give him $5, which is more than I spend on newspapers these days. I think he wants $20. Too much. I sent him an email once saying he should arrange to sell relevant merchandise on his site, like videos, dvds, movie posters, t-shirts, etc., but it didn’t appeal to him.

    So basically, I’ll buy things from someone’s site if it’s something I’d buy anyway. And I’ll donate a token amount if I just really like the person. But that’s about it.

    I suggest you tie-in your website to another business. Like t-shirts for the non-conformists, i.e., I used to be a Mormon, then I grew up.

  • Becky

    I would pay to get a “premium” type membership and maybe leaving old archives available and the current home page post free (to suck more people in and those who don’t want to pay would still get to read your newest as long as they caught it before the next one goes up). But like the MBA pointed out, what really the best business plan would be and it could take some research to figure out if you should charge, how much, would it be worth it for the potential number of readers who might be turned off.

    I love all your photos and would love to see even more. I agree with someone above who suggested tutorials–digital photography and photoshop for sure.

    Finally, as far as t-shirts and swag, go, my favorite phrase or yours that always makes me giggle: Motherfucking Festive!
    That would make a great holiday t-shirt.

  • I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but you can get around the “offensive content” guidelines from AdWords by getting approval for another website first (maybe your husband’s?), and then adding Dooce to the account after approval.

    It’s a very simple backdoor, and Google doesn’t appear to mind.

  • …..or…… You could just make little banners that say “Your Ad Here.” AND you could design the ads for the people so they match your site! YAY!

  • Ryal

    Heather, you crack me up, what with the lovely screaming Leta, the too adorable doggie and the attack of the diseased penile! I NEED my Dooce infusion of (in)sanity to spice up my otherwise painfully dull days–I can’t do without your weird family, boob stuffed cabbages and fucking fucks. I only subscribe to Salon, but to keep you around, I’d shell out to you, too.

  • yes, a Dooce book – you’re hilarious and remind me of Anne Lamott – like you could be her funkier, Mormon sister. Or cousin. Bring on the DOOCE BOOK!! I would read it while wearing my dooce t-shirt.

  • I don’t let a single day go by without checking this site. Last week was pure hell since the internet was “dooceless” while you were on vacation. I have told all of my family, friends and coworkers about this site (oh and about TiVo) and they all love it. Please don’t go! I would be willing to pay a subscription fee to read this site. Life without dooce would be life without TiVo. UGH! Oh, and I would pay double to read the hate emails that you get. 🙂

  • Lisa

    Jesus H. Christ! This has been up, what an hour? And your comments number in the hundreds? I thought you and I had an intimate relationship Heather and you seem to be getting comments from a lot of people, not just me. Makes a girl feel less than special….

    In light of the comments, make this a damn subscription and make money. We would all pay for it obviously. And I don’t pay for anything on the web, use the free day pass on Salon every day. I would pay for you.

    I love to read you so much, my only hope is that you would post every 20 minutes. Okay every day or so would be fine.
    You would be my hero if you get this to work and don’t have to get a job “out there” with clean clothes and being nice to shitty co-workers. Go for it !

  • Very stoked to see your hate and love mail.

  • Sheri

    Dooce merchandise at cafepress.com might be a start.

    You probably already have someone in mind, but if not, I adore my web site host. That’s right, adore. f5hosting.com. Been with them for years.

  • Heidi

    Go for it! Make some fat stacks of dough. I vote too for the dooce schwag ala Cafe Express. I think “Maternal Inferno” mugs & undies would sell like gangbusters.

    You should also consider contracting out your mad graphix design skillz. You make some really excellent mastheads and I think you should shop your work around. Unless of course Mr. Dooce is doing those. Then he should consider contracting out those skills. Very nice work either way.

    Best of luck!

  • I think a PayPal or Amazon Honor System tip jar would be the simplest and most effective solution. Or… OR… you could make it a college fund for Leta. People may be more inclined to donate if they knew it was going towards a worthy cause, rather than another bottle of Maker’s Mark. Not that, you know, another bottle of Maker’s Mark isn’t a worthy cause.

    “Like what you read? Donate a few bucks so my baby can get herself some fancy book learnin’ when she’s all growns up.”

  • A yearly fee sounds good to me. I would HAPPILY pay for a subscription to your site….in fact, sometimes I feel kinda guilty that I’m getting such goodness for free. REALLY!

  • You could maybe do web design….. I like you’re site’s design, and a lot of other people probably do….. so, yeah. Do web design!

  • Have you thought about selling some of your photography? I know a lot of it is personal and obviously you probably do not want to sell photos of the family but I have seen it done before and I for one would pay $25 for those shots of Chuck with the noodles wrapped around his nose! You are an amazing photographer as well as an amazing writer and I think there is potential for some revenue there.

  • Karin

    Here are a few ideas
    #1 Cafe Press
    its easy its free its pretty hassle less and you have a HUGE selection of stuff to choose from….

    Calendars
    mugs
    tshirts
    journals
    you can even selfpublish there now

    Also you can feature your photographs maybe do limited edition stuff like an image of the month and offer that image for just that month and next month do another image get some collectors started with the “dooce gear”

    Also you could find something that you can make easily and quickly in your home and integrate a shopping cart on your website where people can “buy candles”
    or “Buy Doocey advice”
    lol $1 for your troubles kinda thing hook it into paypal donate buttons or pay now buttons and voila’.

    There are a few ideas anyway…

  • PayPal seems like the best way to do it. If it became a subcription only site, you’d lose a ton of people. You could go for voluntary contributions or you could make the general site free, but the extras a subscriber part. I would pay more to read the love/hate/indifferent email part. Also, if you need a side job, you might look at this one. My best friend made $1000 her first week. I’m a skeptic too – but I saw her paystubs and signed up.

  • someone has probably suggested this (I am WAY too lazy to read all the comments before mine) but Amazon has an “associates” program. You pick what kind of ad you want, and what you want it for, and they give you the html for it. You can make money on it, as long as people click on the ad and buy whatever it is the ad is for. I have cleverly disguised this on my site under such headings as “I am reading…” or “I am listening to…”. I have yet to make a dime, but being that your readership is about 1000 times what mine is, it might actually work for you.

  • Kenneth

    Cool swag would bring in a few farthings, and might also serve as advertising to drive more potential readers/swag buyers to the site.
    A “Daily Dose of Dooce” e-mail might be worth something to me; I could more discreetly read an e-mail at work than I can your snazzy, but obviously un-work-related, website. 😉 Perhaps combine it with a batch of aforementioned “extras” on the site to woo the niggardly?

  • I want to nominate the dooce.com tee shirt and coffee mugs or dog gear! I have no kids and I would pay to keep reading your site as well. I just find your writing sheer talent, amazingly insightful and a great read….cafepress seems to be a highly nominated idea! I would also pay a small fee to have you link my site to yours. As long as you keep writing I will do what I can to help.

  • Tessa

    Modest Subscription? Yes.
    A t-shirt? Oh, yes.
    Greeting cards? Oh very yes.
    And, you’ve opened my eyes about how pregancy can really be. I do second (third, eightyth, whatever) the ‘what to expect’ pregnacy book.
    I wish you the best on your endeavors!

  • What’s the possibility of having some sponsors? Yes, advertisements. There is no doubt that most of us here are parents and if not, we have at least bought baby items for friends and family. Surely there are some more progressive companies who realize that motherhood isn’t all sugar & spice, that might be tolerant of the “doocizims” that we all know and love! You certainly have enough traffic to support some ads!

  • maddy

    I think selling advertising space on your main page would be pretty easy to do. I’m sure your site stats would impress any small-to-medium sized business! Enough dooce fans could be persuaded to ‘please click on a link!’ to make it worth their while.

  • Caroline

    Unfortunately I’ll have to agree with the few who are not keen on the idea of paying for extras. Even though I like your writing a lot and read every post. I like the accessiblity and free-ness of stuff on the web too much.

    With this model, I know you could maintain basic posts for free but in order to entice people to pay, i’d think you’d have to offer them quite a bit more and so i’m worried that most of the good shit would be hidden unless i paid. You might just lose people there.

    Cafepress T-shirts and such are a GREAT idea. Easy to implement and I would buy something. Baby and dog gear seems so fitting.

    Liking the swag idea a lot more than the subscriptions idea. Id totally get stuff for friends of mine who are having babies. Spreads the word too.

  • lisa

    i’d pay a “premium user” fee to hear about your cabbage boobs! this site brings huge chuckles to my days.

    do an rss feed for premium members or something

  • I would offer a premium edition for around $20 a year to read all the hate/funny/idiotic emails you must get. I wouldnt look at it as a “subcription” but more as helping w/ diaper money.

  • I would offer a premium edition for around $20 a year to read all the hate/funny/idiotic emails you must get. I wouldnt look at it as a “subcription” but more as helping w/ diaper money.

  • Amy

    You could put prints up for sale like most photologs tend to do. Well, not of Leta or Jon but like the landscape-y pictures and all. They’re nice.

    For a columnist job, an online newspaper would be nice so you wouldn’t have to go anywhere except your home.

  • i agree with louisegyrl (no. 3) in regards to the advertising. I would love to buy a space on your site for my little purse-making business.

    I woudn’t mind advertising on the site will all the “fucks” or “motherfuckers” or even the occasional “cunts”.

    Afterall- the name of our purse line is “Douche Bags”! how fucking appropriate.

  • Hey! I would pay for sure…and I might even buy a T-shirt or two…Have you ever thought of photography for extra money? You have a great camera, a great artistic eye and people would pay you for your talent. That’s what I do….I do mostly maternity and kids…lots of newborns, birth annoucements etc. I charge a flat rate for a CD of 36 images and and extra $25 for a DVD with music…I use a MAC, and it’s so easy. I also have the option of an iPhoto book and do stuff like a day in the life, or an entire year captured….I love kids and love taking pics of them…and moms and dads who can’t take good photos love it too. Just an idea…email me if you want more info.

    And as for your site…you could add an e-card area….charge for it or make it part of the premium service. I never send real cards and I love all your art photos, so you could probably do great with that…and you could sell prints or screen savers of your photographs….I think it’s a great idea!

    Just an idea….hope no one else has already suggested it…I didn’t have the patience to read everyone;s post….;)

    LORI

  • sherri

    Take a look at http://www.oddtodd.com. He is laid off and yet manages to have his site up an drunning as a blog of sorts. If you write him, perhaps he can tell you what kind of things he does, besides selling stuff.

  • tdneel

    Definitely book deal. I mean, if mimi smartypants acn do it, you can, too!

  • not much time to read through the comments from other readers, so sorry if someone has already come up with this. but i know i’d be first in line to get mugs, notepads, mousemat etc with a dooce masthead thingy on it. someone at work showed me some stuff she had made at cafepress.com and it looked
    very swish.

    also with the hate mail, can’t you put it up so we can throw rotten vegetables at ’em?

  • Wanted to add that I don’t do any printing with the photography, just give them the disk and they can take care of the printing…most Targets, drug stores and other photo places can make prints from a CD….

    LORI

  • leigh

    Sounds great! I’d subscribe for a premium service, I’d buy the book … hell, I might even get the t-shirt (if it didn’t feel like a lifestyle choice!)
    A column sounds great, but alot of your readers are overseas, so you’d lose a huge chunk of them … and we’d lose Dooce.

    Cafepress stuff sounds cool too.

    I’m not keen on publishing wishlists as it appears greedy, rather than business-y.

    http://daringfireball.net/
    has membership and members extras … any models there to follow? Members only rss feeds?

  • long time reader, first time commentor …

    i luv it the way it is! you’re my daily joy that i desperately missed while you were on vacation.

    i’d totally pay to see your stuff (the blog that is – sick perverts)

  • long time reader, first time commentor …

    i luv it the way it is! you’re my daily joy that i desperately missed while you were on vacation.

    i’d totally pay to see your stuff (the blog that is – sick perverts)

  • Love the banners on t-shirt idea.

    Designing the ads that appear on your site (so it matches) will get you more scratch for the ad.
    (Just remember that they get what they get, and no refunds for the designed ad.)

  • Howdy – love the cafepress idea… but I think your future is in writing. I myself am a writer and got my first “real” check for it last week. I have contacts in the publishing industry and if you like I can ‘introduce’ you to my agent or editor. Because your writing kicks the pants off mine. Email me if interested.

  • chickenHead

    Google turned you down? The same Google that interviewed with Playboy? Hypocrites.

    What advertising services do sites like the Village Voice and The Onion use? There has to be someone offering ads to sites that fall between porn and prudity.

    I agree that you need a way for people to donate money, regardless of what you decide to do to for my regular revenue.

  • Lionemom

    I love your site and love the improvement ideas you have! Definitely keep it up and keep blogging woman! I love your writing style and your open honest entries! You have a fantastic, nutty imagination and I enjoy reading the site and seeing pics of you and your family!

    Ooh, ooh, want to read the love/hate mail you get!! I am so curious about the people that criticize you so sharply! Like, just close the window and stop reading – but they can’t and then they just HAVE to write you. It’s fascinating!

    I am not experienced in the money-making aspect of a website. But I think the idea of t-shirts or hats, and stuffed versions of Chuck and Leta are FANTASTIC ideas! In my world, I am broker than broke, so if you charged $ for the ability to even view the website, I would sadly have to stop reading because I have no nickels to rub together, not even two! So I hope that is not your decision, but I would totally understand whatever revenue-generating action you have to take to make this not a money-pit.

    Hang in there and we love you!

  • reenie

    Dooce!
    My first post. I almost don’t know what to do with myself.
    I would LOVE a daily picture. I studied photography in college and your pictures of Leta (and the husband and the dog)are fantabulous, and your enjoyment of her (and him and him)is obvious. I have not yet read your comments because I was too excited about posting, so forgive me if I repeat…
    I know I would comment ALL THE TIME given the opportunity. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “ASSHAT” at the people who think you’re not the bestest mother Leta could ever hope for.
    So there – all you asshats!

  • We love all things dooce. Your redesign will be great I’m sure. I know you asked for ideas about redesign, but I would like to throw in my $.02 about profit. I think you should have a subscriber’s fee. Salon charges $35 a year, so you could charge say $8 a year. I would pay it, and we are unemployed! You might lose a few readers, but not many.

    Also I think people would buy your stuff @ Cafepress.

    PS I thought that picture of Chuck with his nose wrapped with spaghetti was so cute it’s now my desktop wallpaper

  • eco2geek

    Sigh. You’ve hooked me. Without reading all the comments above, I’ll say that I’d pay to access your blog. You are funnier than hell. Your photographs are lovely. Your baby is cute…

    I’m not sure how _much_ I’d be willing to pay.

    You could also consider doing t-shirts (like Mighty Girl does — I’d love one of her “I fuck like a girl” shirts, but where would I wear it? 🙂 and other merchandise.

    It’s odd how the Internet allows thousands of people to have an intimate portrait of your life, even though they’ve never met you. We Dooce fans are all the richer (and more entertained) because of your blog.

  • manda

    I would totally pay to read your stuff. My girl is a week younger than yours, and your writing has kept me sane. Please keep it coming!

    Have to shut down the computer now. I’m in Orlando, and my first hurricane is a-coming.

  • Shoewhore

    HOLY SHIT BATMAN! Look at the number of responses you have Heather! BOOK DEAL… SIGN A BOOK DEAL. You could work from home and support your family! I would be the first in line for a book written by you.