The construction of this web site was originally funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with a major rebuild in 2009 funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils via their Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Many other grant-giving bodies have assisted in creation of the contents, and we are especially grateful to the Frederick Soddy Trust who have made a multi-year commitment.
However, the running costs of the web site are another matter, and they are substantial: over £9,000 for hosting in 2011-12, and we also have to pay for a new server. The original site was funded for three years by the British Library, and then by the JISC grant that was extending the system, but since 2009 we have had to pay our own way. Originally our main source of income was licensing data for commercial use, mainly to assist in establishing chancel repair liability. Changes to that rather obscure law mean this income is uncertain after 2013.
Fortunately, our income from advertising on the site has been growing, and I have just created this graph for a report I am writing. Using monthly data on user numbers and Google Ads income from April 2009 to October 2012, it shows that income is very closely related to the numbers of visitors to the site — and the highest figures for both are those for last month. Touch wood, so long as we continue to provide compelling content, we will continue to generate the income needed to make that content available. A virtuous circle.