By Christine Springer
This has been a tough year for me (Christine) for a lot of reasons. I imagine that many of you have had similar experiences -- it seems everyone I talk to has had some major challenges this year.
The changes have profoundly influenced ALL of my businesses -- some of them are going away and some are being re-tooled. CFP is coming back with some changes now that I've had some clarity around its direction.
I love this site and helping people eat healthy while saving money. This site’s content has been free for most of its existence. This business model is common for coupon blogs, because the assumption is that you can make money from affiliate revenue and from printing coupons from the blog’s links.
This assumption fails for a niche blog like CFP. It’s been nearly impossible to make enough money to support the site from affiliate revenue and coupon links. There are a couple of structural reasons for this, plus I have some personal objections to continuing to do business based on that model.
There are plenty of coupon blogs for people on the Standard American Diet that offer deals on anything and everything. Most of them offer tons of free content, but they generate revenue through ads, referral links and other not-so-obvious ways of making money.
I’m not saying these are bad sites or that’s a bad way to make money – but honestly, I would rather just offer fantastic content and get paid for that.
I write several blogs and none of the websites I’ve built myself have ads. That’s partly because I don’t know how to install ads (yet, anyway!) and also because I don’t like them. I’ve always believed in my own ability to create a lot of value through my own talents instead of using a bunch of ads and irrelevant offers to make money.
I take my creations SERIOUSLY, like any artist, because they are expressions of me.
In grad school, I read a book about incentives. This book profoundly influenced my thinking in business. I won’t bore you with the details, but I think there are a lot of incentives for me and you, the reader, through paid content.
First off, when you pay for content, there’s no incentive for me to direct you offers that are not relevant to you just so that I can make a profit.
Second, if you want more offers that are tailored to what you want to see, paying for some content means I have more time to find those offers and share them with you.
Many offers on CFP won’t have any affiliate revenue attached to them – but if they don’t, that’s OK because I’m not worried about the expenses of keeping the blog up and running. I’d rather just bring you the deal and not have to worry about how I will get paid for sharing it.
I do read a lot of other coupon blogs – and because stores’ acceptance of coupons has changed so much (because of the TV show “Extreme Couponing”), there is significantly more content directing readers to online deals because of they generate revenue for the blog. This is one example of how coupon blogs may shift content to keep their revenue streams going.
Again -- it's not a bad thing -- it's just a different type of business model, which does not work for a coupon blog tailored to healthy food and lifestyle.
Third, paid content keeps the ads off my site. There is a HUGE discussion going on in marketing right now because so many users block ads and cookies because they make your computers run slow. The marketing industry as a whole knows it needs to up its game in reaching users. I have never liked ads on websites personally but that’s just how it is – but I’d rather NOT have them on my site.
I am personally getting away from consumption for consumption's sake -- that's another reason for these changes. I don't want to flood you with irrelevant offers that continue to feed into buying stuff you don't need or want.
BTW: I am pulling the plug on my Amazon business because I don't want to stay plugged into the relentless pressure to BUY MORE STUFF.
Finally, when you support a site like CFP, you are supporting an entrepreneurial venture who is adding value. I am a REAL person with people (cats are people too, right?) who depend on me. I think we all would prefer to support these types of businesses instead of the huge corporations.
So, when CFP re-launches (it’s looking like next week), the weekly lists of coupon matchups tailored to the paleo diet will be a paid feature. There will still be free content and other deals, and I will tell you when I receive compensation for the free deals in each post.
I haven’t settled on the weekly amount for the matchups, but it will be from $1.99 to $3.99, with the first several weeks free when you opt into my e-mail list. You will be able to purchase just the single week’s list or subscribe once I get the subscription feature set up. There may be some other changes I make if the process needs refining.
There will be more details coming on the cost and the process and opt-ins, so please check back for those.
In the future, I'd like to expand to offering a list for Target and grocery stores for the paleo diet, and perhaps even lists for gluten free, autoimmune paleo, etc.
The other cool thing about this process is that you’ll be able to download an actual list that you can print instead of making a list on paper while looking at your computer screen.
When you purchase the list, you’ll be taken to a link to download it in a PDF format, and you can just print that out. I suspect this will be much easier than taking notes from the screen.
Not having a printable list feature on the site has bothered me for awhile, and this feature will save us all time.
If you have questions, please let me know on our FB page. Please check back for more details this week on the re-launch!
Thanks for reading!