Today I want to talk about a touchy subject, the topic of free knitting and crochet patterns. Often I get the following questions and want to break down how it works from the designer’s side so that you understand why we do what we do.
What I will answer:
So often I hear (or see on Social Media) people complain that not all designers have their patterns available for free. People also complain that the patterns that are free aren’t really free because there are so many ads. To that I say, YOU ARE RIGHT. No pattern is really free.
Yes, you may get the pattern for free and have to look at a few ads but it wasn’t free for the designer to design, publish, test, sample, source, advertise, support and so much for for that pattern.
Today I want to address the questions that I hear the most. I hope you will take a minute to read this post and understand all of the HARD work that goes into each pattern, blog post, email and social media post.
- Marly, why do you have ads?
- Marly, why is clicking a link so important?
- Marly, why not just give me a downloadable PDF of the pattern for free?
Before we go any farther I want to also address the fact that I am NOT complaining. I LOVE what I do and hope that I never have to work another job in my life.
I believe that you can’t understand what someone does until it is explained to you. At that point you can respect that person more because you understand.
Today I want to share with you what designers do so that you can understand where we are coming from. NOTE: the views and information that I share below are solely my opinion, my experiences and my process. Not all designers are exactly the same but overall we share many similarities.
Free Knit and Crochet Patterns, Free for who:
Let me try and explain how I am able to provide free knit and crochet patterns (and video tutorials but I’m not going to talk about those here) to you and still pay my own bills. Here is a rough explanation using round numbers for ease.
When a pattern is posted for FREE on a bloggers site you pay NOTHING! Yes, there are ads on the page but you pay NOTHING out of your pocket.
What you may not think about is that although the pattern was free for you, it wasn’t free to make. Without using exact numbers let’s talk about what goes into a pattern that designers are paying for.
8 Most Common Costs of a FREE Knit and Crochet Pattern:
- $$ of materials
- $$ for contractor to make it
- $$ for tech editor to make sure pattern is correct
- $$ for shipping
- $$ for hosting the website
- $$ for promoting the pattern on social platforms
- $$ for newsletter shoutouts
- let’s not forget about the cost of my time to do everything
Once everything is added up some patterns can cost over $1000 (and that is conservative). If we aren’t charging you for the pattern how are bloggers making money?
How I Make Money From a Free Pattern:
The easiest way for a designer to make money from a knit or crochet pattern is to post it on Ravelry (or their own site or Etsy) for a fee. This fee is what covers the costs that we just talked about. Since we are talking about FREE knit and crochet patterns let me tell you how we make money that way.
Many designers put the free pattern on their blog so that they can feature ads which is what makes them money. Get it? The ads are what allow you to have the FREE pattern. Without them, there is no more free pattern.
What you might not know is that it takes a TON of visitors on a blog to actually pay off. Let’s break this down a little bit more.
Running Ads on a Blog:
The way google adsense (or for me Adthrive is the ad agency I use) works is when a person comes to my website via a google search, another website, clicking a link, or by typing in marlybird.com they are counted as a pageview and a session.
Google adsense will pay $ per 1000 pageviews and 1000 sessions. That amount depends on the advertiser and the time of year but as of today, for every 1000 pageviews I get on my site I will make $13.08.
So think of it this way…if 1000 people go to one of my free patterns, I will make $13.00 on that free pattern. ONLY 13.00, compare that to how much work went into that patter! 👀(side note: that is why some designers only sell patterns because if I sell a pattern for $3 I only need to sell 4 to make as much as I would if I gave the same pattern away for free with ads on my site…but selling patterns is harder than it might seem).
So if I give the pattern away and only make $13 per 1000 pageviews! If we assume the pattern cost $1000 to make, I need 77,000 pageviews to breakeven!!!!! 👉🏻This is why designers ask you to please share the link to the patterns you like because we make our money back and hopefully make more money to live if you do that.
Sessions, Pageviews, now you are talking Greek:
While on my website should you decide to stay a while and surf, when you click on a link that takes you to another page on my site then you just did another pageview (yay, that adds to goal of at least 1000 to make $13) but you are still in the same session.
A pageview is each page you personally visit while on my site. A session is each individual person that visits my site. To the ad companies it is more valuable for multiple people to visit a site, vs having them visit a ton of pages.
Right now, 1000 sessions pays approximately $21.00 so the more people that come to my site the better. Hence, the need to always reach more and new people.
The Marly Bird Newsletter:
Now, bring in the cost of a newsletter. If you haven’t noticed I have been asking you to sign up for my email list ALL THE TIME. Why do I do that? Because it is one way that I can get you my free patterns (and other posts) so that you can go to my site, look at pages, share the links and I can pay for the free patterns.
I use Mailchimp and I pay $75 a month to send out a newsletter and that will be going up to $100 with just a few more subscribers (the cost is based on the size of the newsletter list; I know people who pay $1000 a month!). That is just out of pocket money that I have to spend to send out any sort of correspondence to subscribers.
My goal with the newsletter is to not only let my subscribers know about my goings on but to tell them about other things they might not have heard about or seen on the internet and to ultimately get more pageviews to my website and to my friends’ website (yes, I share links to my friends patterns because SHARING IS CARING 🥰).
‼️Remember: pageviews = money 💰
So, using the pay listed above of $13 for 1000 pageviews…I need to get at least 6000 pageviews JUST from the newsletter to breakeven (not even counting the money spent on time to do the newsletter). That means it isn’t until I get more than 6000 pageviews total that I start to make money and I only make $13 per 1000 pageviews at that.
How to Support Designers:
The first way you can support designers is to purchase their PDF patterns that they have if you don’t like the ads. If ads don’t bother you please CLICK, VISIT, SHARE your favorite designers blog posts. Don’t just copy and paste sections to share with friends, have them go to the website so that the designer can see that you love the post and that they can get a little help for what they are doing.
Next time you ask yourself…
- why a designer has ads on their site, or
- why there are links instead of pictures, or
- why a designer doesn’t just give away a pdf (making it so you never come back to their site again thus losing pageviews and sessions)…
remember, the only way these designers are able to provide you with the free content is by placing those ads on their site. I appreciate and love each and every one of you Minions. Your love and support allow me to do what I love and I want to thank you. xoxo Marly
5 FREE Crochet Patterns by Marly Bird:
- Special Shawl with Red Heart It’s A Wrap Sprinkles
- The Marly Bird Version of a Crochet Log Cabin Throw
- Super Simple Shawl-Make it in a night
- Ivy’s Poppy Blanket
- Light weight spring shawl
5 FREE Knit Patterns by Marly Bird:
- Lace Shawl
- Chic Sheep Day Dream Blanket
- Beginner Garter Stitch Shawl
- Lace Cowl
- Snowboarder Chunky Hat-a fan favorite
22 of my Designer Friends with FREE Patterns:
- American Crochet
- Beatrice Ryan Designs
- Cre8tion Crochet
- ELK Sudio
- Fiber Flux
- Good Knit Kisses
- Heart Hook Home
- Jessie at Home
- Kristen Holloway Designs
- Moogly Blog
- My Hobby is Crochet
- Oombawka Design Crochet
- Pattern Paradise
- The Purple Poncho
- See Love Share
- Snappy Tots
- Stitch 11
- Underground Crafter
- Whistle & Ivy