The Recession Effect on Bloggers’ Business


Last week I posed the question, How had the recession affected your blog? While I anticipated a wide variety of responses, I was quite intrigued to hear from the bloggers who make a living with their blogs and to hear how it's impacted them. With all the doom and gloom we hear about in the news, it's really great to hear less dramatic and more realistic affects on the business side of blogging. Here are three comments out of the discussion from bloggers telling about how the recession has affected their blogs, their businesses and their own shopping habits.

Bigger Orders Less Often

Grechen of Grechen's Closet, Green Grechen and Free!Grechen

Since my blogs are my business, I’ve been really keeping a close eye on my affiliate sales this year, trying to see if they’re affected much by the recession – i.e. people aren’t buying as much – and you know what I’ve found? first, according to my forecast (based on YTD) I’m on track to sell about 16% more through my sites this year than last year, but also:

Average order sizes are going UP, which in my mind indicates that maybe people are spending more $$ less often; they may be buying quality over quantity (which is great & what I’ve been “preaching” for years!).

Seems to me the latest frenzy over the Alexander Wang coco duffel selling out in hours & days indicates that people are still willing to spend the big bucks on things they love…thankfully i was lucky enough to be able to trade with an advertiser for mine.

As for me, personally, I stopped buying a lot quite some time ago. I’m not making a lot less money, I’m just trying not to spend it as soon as it comes in anymore…but until I saw some of the new James Perse items, I’ve not been really tempted by anything either.

Diversifying Monetisation Strategies

Sophie of

Great topic. I think the recession has made an impact on my blog in a few different ways.

1. I’ve noticed that people that are purchasing (through affiliate links) are spending less per purchase. For example instead of spending $300 or $400 from Zappos, Steve Madden, Bebe or whatever the shopping site is…now women are spending less per transaction. Probably $70-150, in that range as opposed to several hundred dollars at one time. So ultimately my affiliate income from my blogs has dropped about 30%. I think women are still shopping online (that will not stop) but they are spending less and buying fewer items than before the recession slammed everyone.

2. The topics I choose to write about now have changed somewhat. Every week I look for at least 2-3 posts that focus on fashion on a budget, get this look for less and so on. Right now those topics seem to be most popular and I think I’m providing more value to my readers by giving information that is more relevant based on the current conditions. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to get in my ultra fab posts where I talk about designer and high end stuff as well. I just don’t do it as often now.

3. Since affiliate income has been down somewhat I’ve looked for alternative monetization strategies. I’ve found that Chitika has been working great for SE traffic. I had a friend tell me about it and I’m really glad I started using it as it has more than made up the gap in the decline in affiliate revenue over the last 2 months. I’ve also recently started using ShopStyle’s “ShopSense” program and have been very pleased with that so far although I’ve only been using it for about 4-5 weeks now. I love their widgets and how easy it is to implement my looks that I put together into my blog posts.

I knew that I loved blogging about fashion since the first week my blog went live. My passion has only continued to grow and so I’ve come to the realization that I needed to develop more blogs so that I was diversified and gave myself multiple ways to make money from blogging. That’s why I found my partner to help me and we should have 5-6 blogs before the end of the year. Niche blogs are the way to go!!

For me personally the recession has made me spend less online as well. I realize I don’t need as many things and probably only buy 2-3 items a month. Recently I bought from and got like 90% off the original price and has had some amazing deals as well. Now is a great time for bargains but I still only get 1 item that I feel I will truly love and that will be a long term piece to my wardrobe. Since the recession I monitor my spending much more and evaluate each purchase as to whether or not I really need or want something prior to buying.

Setting Up Shop

Retro Chick of Retro Chick , she runs a vintage shop on eBay along with her blog.

When I was a student I had a major shopping habit, and the debts I ran up doing that caught up with me well before the recession meaning I was permanently broke and whilst I still loved fashion and clothes I had to seriously change the way I shopped and thought about my wardrobe.

Indirectly this is what lead into me becoming a blogger and selling clothing, so almost the opposite of Jennine! When I shopped a lot I saw myself as a consumer, but as I realised that it was possible to be fashionable and stylish without massively consuming resources or spending a fortune I felt more like it was something I wanted to share to stop other people ending up in my situation.

In a way the recession has been good for me as more people are starting to realise that disposable fashion isn’t the way forward and are looking more at second hand and vintage shopping as a way of saving money.

image by kalandrakas

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22 Responses

  1. grechen

    thanks for reposting my comment here jennine! it’s interesting to see how hipgirlie and i seem to be having different experiences with affiliate sales… recently i’ve seen some very big sales go through (lots of alexander wang bags…), but i’m sticking to what i said before: numbers of orders are going down, and order amounts are going up…

    i do have to say though, that while my affiliate sales are increasing this year, advertising sales aren’t doing as well…i have had to decrease my advertising costs overall, and have lost some boutiques that have been with me for 4 years. it’s a shame, because in a recession, it’s even more important to invest in advertising – and make an effort to keep yourself out there, in front of potential customers. what they’re doing by stopping advertising all together is really making people think that they’re going out of business…which a lot of boutiques have this year…
    .-= grechen´s last blog ..On Sale: Alexander Wang Brenda Bag =-.

  2. Ashe Mischief

    I’m surprised to hear that you’re losing advertisers, Grechen. You think especially during a recession, that larger companies would be looking for ways to cut their budgets– I think advertising with more, smaller blogs at a lower cost would be just as good as taking out excessively large spreads in magazines (which I ignored anyhow).

    Or maybe that’s just my thought process…
    .-= Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..ArtFire Handmade Marketplace – Interview with the Founder! =-.

  3. maria

    I always learn so much from your articles! Thank you for finding such savvy bloggers to share their experiences.

    I seem to have a lot in common with Retro Chick!! In college I racked up a debt from my frivolous shopping habit, over the years I’ve widdled my debt down and now have more healthy shopping habits. I buy mostly through ebay and esty and almost always on sale. I actually now love the thrill of bargain shopping. It makes me feel like I’m being both responsible and smart!
    .-= maria´s last blog ..Pretty Good Things GIVEAWAY! =-.

  4. Sophie

    Hi Jenine and all IFB gals,

    Thanks for listing my comments from the previous post into your new post today. I think it is really interesting to see the different experiences that bloggers are having right now. Grechen’s illustrates that people will still spend a lot in a single transaction. My more recent experience is that larger transactions have slowed down somewhat. Really love your site by the way Grechen!

    There are so many variables that influence what type of performance we could all potentially see. From the type of traffic we bring in (SE, targeted, Facebook, StumbleUpon, referrral, etc), to the type of products we feature. From the merchants we work with and to the niche that our blogs are all about. Demographics are huge and disposable income plays into those demographics. The popularity of a product or products that we discuss could also determine how well it converts into sales. For example, if Lauren Conrad or Kate Moss has been seen wearing something that may help translate into sales.

    For I’ve tried to make adjustments for a relative drop in affiliate income by mixing things up with Adsense placement, looking for private ad placement, & utilizing more tools that collectively will make up or some cases exceed the affiliate income. My main measurement is that the total revenue continues to grow and that my traffic base continues to grow as well. Finally, providing blogs filled with content that women want to see and read about. That is really first and foremost what this all about and the best way to secure long term followers and readership.

    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Lace Up This Fall & Winter =-.

  5. Retro Chick

    Ooh, thanks for re posting my comment.

    Like Maria I do think the thrill of bargain shopping becomes addictive once you start, and I love that I can use my blog to share that with people who may be turning to that way of shopping out of necessity during a recession.

    My blog is so new really that I can’t really comment on advertising and affiliate sales, but I agree with Ashe, I personally would have thought that companies would be looking to leverage their smaller advertising budgets into a wider audience, rather than putting all their eggs in one basket. But I also suppose that blogs are a little more risky to spend your money on during a recession rather than tried and tested magazine advertising.
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Devidoll- Mociun Pop Up Sale =-.

  6. Ambar

    WOW! I just started blogging 2 months ago, so I would have never thought [excuse the ignorance] that the recession would also have an impact on bloggers. I think that this post encourages me, instead of doing the opposite to keep going no matter what!
    .-= Ambar´s last blog ..What’s on my purse? =-.

  7. grechen

    @ashe mischief – it’s funny, because i have been getting new advertisers lately – small boutiques/designers who have vision & understand that now’s the time to really get their name out there. as i mentioned before, i have lost some of my oldest advertisers because i think they’re scared. quite a few medium-sized online boutiques have gone out of business recently, and the remaining ones are trying to cut costs however they can, which includes advertising. it’s the worst place to cut costs, in my opinion, but it’s always the first to go…

    thanks for the compliment @sophie 🙂 i’m enjoying your blog too!
    .-= grechen´s last blog ..On Sale: Alexander Wang Brenda Bag =-.

  8. Lauren

    Lovelry article, it is great to hear how specific blogs have been affected and how they have dealt with the recession induced changes.

    I am currently developing the concept for a self-hosted blog/website and am trying to decide if it is worth carrying on/launching or whether is isn’t!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Inspirations =-.

  9. The Style PA

    It would be hard to say if the recession has had an impact as I have been steadily growing my blogs by dedicating more time to them. I did have a period of redundancy and this was good for blog traffic but it only made a small improvement on the advertising sale side. I have now got a job which has a focus on blogging, web content and social media, so in many ways blogging and the recession helped me start a new career.
    .-= The Style PA´s last blog ..TRENDS – Miami Swimwear Looks =-.

  10. melatonintablets

    the Economic Recession has been pretty hard on us. some of my friends lost their job because of the massive job cuts. i just hope that our economy becomes better in the following years.

  11. | body detox

    the economic recession has been pretty hard on us. there is some good progress on the economy this year. i just hope that the economy will continue to recover in the following months and years.

  12. Hannah

    i live in New Zealand and we haven’t really been hit as badly as places in the US and the UK, it is interesting to hear first hand some of the effects. I wanted to do a working holiday in California or New York at the end of the year and it is really hard to discern what the job situation is actually like!
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Crush =-.

  13. Jacee

    i am hoping that the global economy would recover from this economic recession. life has been very hard with these massive job cuts.

  14. michael

    the economic recession made a lot of workers jobless. my best friend and me lost our jobs because of job cuts. i hope that our economy would recover soon.

  15. Jenna Lee

    the Economic recession made a lot of jobless people in my own country. We could only hope that our economy becomes strong again —

  16. | Acneguy

    I think we are also seeing some signs of recovery from the Economic Recession. Of course, we have no idea of how long it will take to completely recover, but some say it’s going to be longer than for the other recessions in decades. I also scanned an article yesterday that said business owners need a new set of tactics to do well during recovery.

  17. ddgdaily

    Even in Australia it definitely made an impact, I had my whole year planned out and was even hiring freelancers, had an event planned etc.. and have had to push it all back. It all seems to be picking up now though, hurray! 🙂

    Great post by the way, has anyone else used the Chikita? It looks really interesting from an advertiser perspective as well xx
    .-= ddgdaily´s last blog ..Channelling: Queens of Glunge =-.

  18. Bedamat

    Hey Everyone,

    this is a very interesting discussion and I thought it might be good to add my personal recession Impact as for me it is a somewhat ambivalent thing that changed a lot. I still can’t really decide if it’s really that negative… Maybe in a longer time view the recession is
    1. not as huge as everyone in the mass media stated it to be.
    2. Something that had to happen, just like fever and a flu… In the end you spend a couple of days at home, recover and start again with a better view on things..

    For me personally as a Freelancer in the Movies (Gaffer/DoP) with more than 12 Years spent working on German and International Productions, High Budget Hollywood as well as low Budget, trashy Music Video stuff, the Media blast about recession was just another Hype when it startet about 1 1/2 Years ago.. In the beginning I didn’t at all believe that it was real.. In that time I was shooting some Television stuff that is as slow as the main stations work quite unaffected by momentary economic ups and downs. When I finished that Production the Winter hole was about to come.. Which is quite usual. Nobody want’s to shoot outside, at night, in winter.. Well last Spring the winter hole just didn’t want to end… No Commercials to shoot, the TV Budgets decreased by 50%, and worst of all ALL of last years Hollywood Productions that were going to be shot in Germnay were stopped and some of them completely canceled. After many years of a career in the Biz I suddenly had a lot of time to think what else I could do.
    As I was not too worried about that business might start again soon I didn’t really think about long time projects but only about what to do in the moment. I started concentrating more and more on photography, which was lost a bit during the previous years of Hollywood-24/7…
    I spent a lot of time reading stuff on the Internet, experimenting with wordpress, Ironing, Cooking, photography, and a couple of badly paied but huge fun low Budget Flicks that were mostly shot by Friends that needed my help… Jobs I wouldn’t have done without the recession, ’cause these Productions wouldn’t have been able to afford my old Day Rates..
    I became some kind of a drifting wood in Berlins shore tides of broke folks.. Until… ell until my Girlfriends Blog started to grow and grow and she started to ask more and more questions about what and how and now and hurry…
    The result can be seen at
    Now we have a long term business plan which is not becoming rich by blogging but which started with discussions about Content, Concepts, Reasons and Motivations. the Blog is somehow the reason to get active in Times of aimless day to day string at the phone. The first effect will be that I will have to find someone whos willing to borrow us some Money, ’cause I just don’t have any time to got back to work in the Movies.. This thing has completely changed everything. I found something I can put all my passions and interests into, 20 hours a day. Monetarizing this work would be fine, and will be possible somewhen. But This is definately NOT the motivation for our work on the Blog.

    Final Words: Blogging is a fantastic way to live and experience freedom. Thanks to the Recession. What happened in my life and led to blogging could be called a return to the real core of what is important in life. The recession is just a natural phenomenon: A gas-explosion stops as soon as all the gas has burnt. The 00’s Capitalistic overkill has stopped as soon as all the CashCashCashCredits were spent.
    Let’s listen to the silence after the blast, there might be some birds singing….

    Enjoy Life, everyone, and greetings from Berlin.

  19. Aidan Webb

    Our home business was really affected by the Economic recession, we have to cut jobs just to cover up our losses. fortunately, we have already recovered. :