Why You Might Want to Reconsider Using Ads on Your Blog

121 amazing comments

ads on blogThe last week or so we’ve been talking a lot about making money from your blog and all the various issues that can arise.

One aspect of this topic is the idea of putting ads on your blog.

Is it a good idea? Well, sometimes.

And sometimes it is a really, really bad idea.

In today’s post I’m going to talk a little bit about the decision to stick adverts on your blog and whether or not it’s the right fit for your website.

The different ways people use ads on blogs

Okay so lets start by taking a look at the various ways in which people put ads on their blog.

  • The sidebar 90×90
    Probably the most common form of ad you see on a blog is the old sidebar square image. Ironically, they are also the least effective.
  • The blog network
    This is where you join a blogging network and then everyone in that network places an advert on their blog which alternately promotes other blogs in that network. This is pretty common in fashion blogs and similar niches.
  • The EPC advert
    This stands for earnings per click is an ad you place on your blog where you earn money every time someone clicks on a link. Adsense is the most common and successful example.
  • Sponsorship banner ads
    Someone pays you a fee and in exchange you rent out space on your blog. It might take the form of a 90×90 square or a banner at the top or bottom of each post.
  • In-text links
    This is a very risky SEO practice where people pay you to put a text link within blog posts. I discourage both bloggers and advertisers from doing this.

There are a few other advanced forms (like in-video pop ups, etc.) but these are the main things you are likely to spot on a blog. Unfortunately a lot of bloggers don’t consider the potential downsides of whacking one of these up on your website.

Why I don’t think ads are a good idea for bloggers

For a long time now I have been somewhat “anti-ads”.

This is not because I am inherently opposed to advertising itself, I just think there is often a much better way to do things if you are running an online business.

So why don’t I think ads are a good idea?

  • They often dilute your brand equity
    When you build a business you work very hard to make it look and feel a certain way. You want people to associate your brand with certain feelings and emotions. But when you put random ads on your blog you dilute those associations. For example, I would never want some ads for spammy Twitter software to appear here on Blog Tyrant.
  • They take up valuable space
    I’ve never really understood why you’d give the most valuable, above the fold, real estate on your blog to some company that you have nothing to do with. Unless they are paying you extraordinary money, it’s much wiser to safe that space for something else. I’ll talk about what that is later.
  • They impact on your blog’s load time
    A lot of networks require you to put some code on your blog so that they can serve ads. Unfortunately these often have big impacts on how fast your blog loads which is a massive problem for both user experience and your SEO ambitions.

Obviously these don’t strictly apply to every blog all the time, and a lot of those comments are generalizations, but you will find many situations where these negative things are occurring.

Here’s one example I found at the very popular political blog:

(Note: I blanked out the URL just to be on the safe side.)

speed test political blog

I noticed that their site was loading kind of slow for me and that it had a lot of ads so I ran a speed test on the homepage and an inner post using Pingdom Tools and the homepage returned a load time of over six seconds from Europe and slightly less in the USA. Remember, we want our blogs to load in around one second.

load time

There were over 300 requests (more on inner posts) and a lot of them come from advertising placements. If you scroll down the list of file/paths you will see literally dozens of them. It seems that some of the load time for Adsense can be improved but I wonder if that and the other ads are causing speed issues?

I can’t say for certain, but online marketing wisdom tells us that this will have a negative impact on things like bounce rate and potentially even how well a blog ranks on Google which is a shame for a quality site like this.

I see this time and time again on sites that use advertising – the blog crawls.

I suspect that a lot of this blog’s revenue comes from these ads, however, which places them in a difficult position. Quality news sources in particular are really struggling to find cash in the new digital environment.

One other news site in Australia even had to resort to this advertising blanket:

news ads

So, what’s our alternative?

What can we try instead of ads?

Now we have to move on to the idea of what alternatives are available to us. Of course, it’s going to be different for every blog but for me this whole thing is mostly about this:

A blog should never let income streams negatively impact reader flow. Click To Tweet

Going back to the idea of brand equity, if you have built an amazing blog with super-helpful content, then you want to also make sure that the advertising aspect of your blog is also high quality.

That means the ads you display need to match your brand, and the products that they promote need to have similar quality to your own blog.

With general advertising you can’t always do that.

So what’s the alternative?

  1. Develop your own product/service and take back the space
    The best option is to take back that space that would be otherwise devoted to advertising and start growing your own mailing list for the long term. Internet marketers regularly say that 10,000 subscribers are worth around $100,000 to your business every year. And, as we know, when you have someone on your mailing list you can promote new content and future products to them. This means you’re helping solve new problems, keeping them engaged with your brand and not losing them for a few advertising cents.
  2. Find an affiliate partner that matches your brand’s goals
    The second option is to switch to a long term mindset on your blog. What this means is that you use a blogging strategy like this to build targeted traffic to your blog in order to promote your mailing list and then, eventually, an affiliate partner. These affiliate promotions often earn large amounts per sale/unit and you don’t lose the reader. You maintain control over the entire process. This is especially true if you have criteria for your affiliate partners such as money-back-guarantees, quality support staff, etc.

As I’ve already said, there are some situations where advertising is fine. You can find some good partners and install their assets on your blog in a way that is clean and fast loading. And maybe news blogs and some other niches don’t have much choice.

For the most part, however, we’ll want to switch to this other type of advertising where we get them to subscribe to our blog first, and then do promotions in a secondary way that still allows us to provide relevant and useful content.

It just works better.

Do you use ads on your blog?

What do you think of random ads on websites and blogs? Do you ever find them annoying or offensive? I’d be really interested to know whether anyone has successfully used ads on their blog and wouldn’t ever consider changing.

Got any questions or comments? Please drop a note below.

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121 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Zimbrul

    The code that blocks the loading of my site and how to fix it is one of my unresolved blogging problems.


    1. Ramsay

      What happens? Which site?


  • Maria St Michael

    An interesting article. There is also a certain aversion factor created by too much/overly intrusive advertising. I find myself intentionally quiting sites that load too many ads or have them in an intrusive way that obstructs reading of the site.


    1. Ramsay

      I agree. That’s part of the problem. They are just too intrusive a lot of the time.


  • David Boozer

    For the last year I have had advertisements running at the bottom of each blog post. Yes, it earns me a nice little side income, but I think you are on to something here Ramsay. What if I used that space for my own services I currently provide, maybe that could increase and build upon the success I’ve already had….

    I am going to give this a try for the rest of the year and see what happens! Thanks Ramsay….


    1. Ramsay

      I think it’s definitely worth a split test. As I said above, each blog is different. But, for me, the ads have never been worth it.

      Please let us know how you go.


      1. David Boozer

        Sure will, and thanks again Ramsay for the post…it really hit home. =)


    2. Maria St Michael

      Would be interested to see what you find at the end of the year.


  • Aiva the Flutist

    I put some ads on my blog, but I am actually considering taking them out. As you told already, the problem is I don’t want to see ads of train tickets or cheap clothes in the blog about music. It sucks.
    Should find a better way to earn money.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah that is a really annoying part about ads – they often are contextual.


  • Sam

    You’ve said this a few times and I’ve wondered about it. But how are 10,000 subscribers worth $100,000?


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Sam.

      As I touch on above, the idea is that you get email subscribers and then use those subscribers to grow your reach and keep expanding. As the blog grows you promote helpful products to your mailing list.


      1. Sam - Depression For Teens

        What if you have no products? Would you be able to do a post on coming up with products etc? Some niches have loads while some not so lucky?

        Also, what plugin do you use for comment replies? I can’t seem to get mine working 🙁


        1. Ramsay

          Every niche has product possibilities for sure. Not a bad idea for a post – I’ll have a think.

          As for the comments I use: Send email only on Reply to My Comment.


          1. Sam - Depression For Teens

            Thanks – got it working now!


  • Shelly-Ann Smalling

    Hi Ramsay,

    Thanks for your suggestions on better ways to monetize my site.

    My blogs are one-month old and receives at least 30 views per day.
    I started Google AdSense on Monday and is waiting to see how well – or not – it will work out.

    I’m thinking to join the affiliate program for products I use, and then write articles about how I use these products and how they benefit me.

    So, in essence, I’ll be doing a test, and will stick to the one that works best. That is, the one that is more useful and helpful to my readers.

    Do you think this is a sound strategy and how else can I improve my monetization goals?


    1. Ramsay

      The only thing I’d add to that mix is focusing on email subscribers first. You can always introduce them to affiliates once you’ve provided them with a lot of value.


      1. Shelly-Ann Smalling

        I’ve been trying that for the past week with Sumome and Aweber.

        Thanks Ramsay.

        Cheers!


  • Kris

    I think it’s just so tempting to take some cash for an ad, that it blinds us from the greater good, especially for blogs that aren’t earning much. But even promoting an affiliate program takes people away from your site, so you need to be sure it converts well.


    1. Ramsay

      True. But the thing about the method above is that you have the safety net of the email list first.


  • Rinkesh

    Well I don’t think couple of ads here and there on your website would annoy your readers. After all these ads are a source of income to most of the publishers unless you are in a niche where you can promote huge list of products that earn you good amount of income every month.

    Even big sites like Mashable too run ads on their website. In my view, as long as you provide awesome content to your readers, they won’t mind seeing few ads on your website.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Rinkesh.


  • Jason Moore

    Ramsay,

    Though ads are quite prevalent, I use them too, I think you are quite right about this. Ads have generated a lot less for me lately even though traffic is steadily growing. They are also intrusive and many times not relevant to my blog.

    As far as your options for an alternative, I think you just have to be creative .

    @Sam– If nothing else use Amazon to promote books about whatever your blog talks about. I think there are always options.

    Great post as usual . I currently use both affiliate and ads for income but may just go affiliate only. 1 sale is about 3 months of ads ensemble revenue for anyone wondering.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for weighing in, Jason.


  • Kevin H

    The impact of ads on page load times is overstated. The document interactive time is more important than the total page load time. Many of these scripts load asynchronously, which does not affect when users can begin interacting with your content.

    The sites loading the ads into the header and other areas above the primary content are most annoying – the content jumps around as the ads load, making for a miserable user experience.

    Proper ads placement can really help revenues without hurting user experience. They are a good fit for sites appealing to temporary needs, or on more general topics. Email lists do not have the same value for every niche.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Kevin. Do you have any experimental information on whether asynchronously loaded ads pass the SEO test?


  • Ryann

    This is a great post, thank you! I signed up for an affiliate a few months ago and have posted some small banners at the bottom so it doesn’t over saturate my blog. I haven’t made any money from them, but after reading this post, I’m thinking of taking them down. I may need to get an email list going and think of another way of making money from my blog. I have a health and fitness niche, and not sure what kind of my own products I can sell to people. On a side note-I’m not a personal trainer or nutritionist, I just write about my workout reviews, healthy meals I’ve made, my opinion about something going on in the health fitness world etc. Thanks again for the great post!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Ryann. Check out NerdFitness for how it’s done!


      1. Ryann

        Thanks Ramsay!


  • Margaret

    Thanks, helpful as always. I completely agree with your observations based on my own behavior when ads start showing up too obtrusively. If they are incongruent with the topic, it plants a seed of doubt. How much of what they say is to make money not share knowledge. Not so bad if I am reading about a topic I am knowledgeable about, but if it is a newbie area for me it can scare me away completely.
    I too (like Sam above) would like to see your thoughts about products and my brand.
    Thank you Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      That’s a really good point about the integrity. I think that’s the problem a lot of people are having these days with political donations, for example. Thanks for the comment.


  • Alexis

    I’ve never used advertising although I have more than enough traffic to make decent income from it. My reasoning is:
    – I hate ads on other sites and use adblocker. Why would I subject others to the same?
    – Most ads are for things I wouldn’t promote if I was choosing products to promote.
    – If they work, I lose traffic.

    Now I don’t have a lucrative site although I theoretically have the traffic to make money. So you could argue that my stance on ads is financially unfortunate. But I also have a book coming out in a few months. Am hoping that reader loyalty (established through providing a good experience on the site) will translate into strong sales. Time will tell.


    1. Ramsay

      Alexis, I think if your site is getting traffic you could be sitting on an absolute gold mine. Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to discuss it with me. I’d be happy to help.


    2. Hammo

      Hi Alexis

      I checked out your site and wow, you’ve got a lot of great information on there and rank well for some great search terms.

      Having children I can appreciate the urgency parents have for resolving sleep problems.

      It seems as though your book has been a long time coming, and will only help your new visitors rather than the ones that already solved the problems.

      I also know writing a book and getting the book published takes a tremendous amount of work.

      However, can I suggest it would be worth your time to write a few 5,000-word guides/eBooks and sell them for a few dollars each.

      I feel people visiting your website are looking for immediate solutions and would be happy to pay $5-$10 to get the sleep they need.

      Sure the official book will make you an authority in this space, but selling a few guides along the way will help you to pay the bills for sure.

      Oh and a reader feedback suggestion for your blog would be to increase the font size to about 18-20 pixels.

      Why? Because I’m imagining people reading your site are sleep deprived and a larger font will be easier for then to read.


  • Jeff Stephens

    Hi Ramsay

    Great post. I agree with you and keep most ads off my blog. I feel they clutter up your page and can ruin the user experience. And that is what we are all after…to gain AND RETAIN visitors.

    Your content should be the star of your blog, not hidden amongst the distractions. Especially if you are only earning a small amount of money – which most bloggers experience.

    Thanks again for bringing this up to the community so hopefully more bloggers reduce their ad footprint.

    – Jeff


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Jeff. I just hope it leads to more effective uses of the space.


  • Tracy

    Thanks for addressing this topic!

    I’m part of a blog network for ad space. Not happy with it and that’s on me. I need to work harder to figure out better ways to monetize my blog. (By which I mean at least pay for itself and pay me a little something for my time.) Reaching out to brands for affiliate relationships sounds daunting, but I’m sure in the long-run it’s MUCH preferable.

    Pros to blog network advertising:
    – Regular income based on your traffic
    – They do all the legwork to find advertisers and fill the space
    – They provide the code/widget/sidebar thingy.

    Cons to blog network advertising:
    — You get 40 % of the CPM. If you get over a million CPM per month (as I have done some months) it goes to 48%. If you are so good at this blogging thing that you’re getting a million CPM per month, WTF are you doing accepting less than HALF the ad revenue? (I’m yelling at myself here.)
    — They annoy your readers, who love you enough to tolerate the ads, but the more savvy ones are loading ad blocking software. They don’t love you THAT much and hey, free content is free content.
    — They annoy your readers Part B. Prepare for mail that begins with “Why am I getting DATING SITE ads on your site?” or Viagra or key loggers or anything else that fundamentally doesn’t really jive with my blog’s message (leave cheaters, gain a life). Oh, that’s because some algorithm of your corporate overseer’s ad isn’t very discerning when someone googles “cheater.”
    — They slow the load time.
    — They clutter the design.
    — You could be selling your book in that space, which is prominent real estate. (And paying off your advance to that Big 5 publishing corporate overseer.)

    In short, I’ve got 6 more months of a contract with these guys and I’m looking for alternatives.

    What do you think about pitching advertisers and offering them a package? Like, I’ll run an ad (no video), I’ll write lovingly about your product, and I’ll draw a cartoon about it. (I’m a published cartoonist and do the cartoons for the site.) Weird?

    And finally — where can I find what I should be charging for CPM? What’s reasonable based on traffic? Is there a chart somewhere?


    1. Ramsay

      A blog like yours that has such huge engagement, I think, should really be looking at other methods – like affiliates. I just think there is so much scope to maximize revenue based on that loyalty.


      1. Tracy

        Thanks! I just found this link, which was helpful in determining CPM prices. http://monetizepros.com/display-advertising/average-cpm-rates/

        I agree, affiliates is the way to go. Thanks for the encouragement.


  • Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] Oh, I don’t use advertisements on my blog.

    However, I would recommend that a blogger creates a page that highlights his or her services; which I believe is a much better way to bring in the additional income.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah that can be a really nice method.


  • Marie Smith

    Hey, thanks for the info.
    I have just started a blog about tinnitus and I want to build a wealth of information for my eventual followers. I was on the fence about putting ads up. Now thanks to you, I will not bother.
    In fact, ads really annoy me.
    I have a long-term plan and I genuinely want to help others so I feel no need to do this.
    Cheers!
    Marie 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      I think if you have a long term plan then you can do really well without them. Sometimes there is no other option, but if you have other options it’s best to start with them usually.


  • Maria Gagnon

    Great article. I had considered ads, but I agree with you and some of the others that it is just too intrusive and takes away from what you want your brand to look like and feel like.

    I personally have chosen and will continue to choose affiliate programs that have to do with my niche and what I want my brand to say.

    Thanks for another informative post Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


  • Robin Khokhar

    hi Ramsay,
    It’s true that the ads are not good for the websites, it spoils the user experience and moreover lower the speed.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Robin.


  • Asaad Khattab

    I totally agree with your advice! I just can’t help not adding Adsense to my website.


    1. Ramsay

      Has it been working well for you?


  • Rai Zapata

    I do have ad’s on my blog and never really thought about a few of your points.

    Creating a mailing list is interesting but intimating. I should try it out.


    1. Sam - Depression For Teens

      I didn’t have a mailing list straight Way but after reading Ramsays post on it on this blog I got started straight away. It definitely is worth it because if you can get people who share your content it will really boost traffic.


  • ibraheem

    Hi, Ramsay

    What product can a medical blog promote as affiliate?


    1. Ramsay

      The medical industry is tricky because there are lots of laws around what you can and cannot promote, and then ethical considerations to make. I recommend reading more into these issues first and maybe getting advice from someone in the industry who knows.


  • Ginny

    Great article Ramsay. As a reader, one of the quickest ways to lose my return traffic is with annoying pop-up ads. I also have never once clicked on a pop-up “subscribe” box. If I don’t want to miss a post, I prefer to find that box on the homepage. Email lists have some pitfalls too. Send me more than one email (maybe two) per week and I will instantly unsubscribe. I appreciate that you don’t do that, and that your content is always worth my time. When bloggers start to infringe on my personal and family time, clogging up my inbox with requests for engagement, it’s an instant unsubscribe for me. As a new blogger I want to follow the golden rule, but how I am going to create a return on my investment remains to be seen.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Ginny.

      Yeah, it’s a tricky balance to strike. Especially so because those multiple promotions work really well for most blogs. It’s a bit of a trade off.


  • Fiona

    I have adverts on the side of my site and a sponsor’s banner across the top and always have done. They provide 50% of my income. However I hand pick my advertiser’s, quality check their artwork and only allow static adverts as flashing ones are so annoying. I think if you keep full control, and decide what can and can’t go onto your site then you can make advertising work for you. I have a lot more demand than I have advertising space, but I won’t add lots more adverts on as I think it would ruin the site. I have a waiting list for adverts instead, some people have to wait around 2 years but they are happy to wait.

    I think the trick is striking the balance to make sure the adverts don’t overshadow the content. I do hate the blogs/sites that load really slowly because of the adverts, or crash because of them (so many American craft blogs do that to me). Anything that flashes, moves or pops up annoys me because it distracts me from the content. But I don’t mind a bit of subtle advertising because I know other bloggers are just trying to earn a living like the rest of us.


    1. Ramsay

      It sounds like you’re doing it the right way, Fiona. Congrats!


  • Deborah Harper

    There is nothing better than reading a post like yours. I love the clean lines, advert free, sure you can earn an income from ads but it does not serve your customer or your site. Anything that takes your customer away from your site is not good. Affiliates are great, they enhance your authority, provide awesome financial return and expand the customer experience on your site.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Deborah. I’m glad you enjoy the experience on this blog.


  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Ramsay,

    I completely agree with you, and I love how well you put these concepts. While ads seemed to be a good thing back in the day, readers have become blind to it. Also, we all work so hard to get readers on our blogs, what’s the point of posting ads that will just direct them to other sites?

    Your first alternative solution is my favorite, building your own product or service. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Thanks,
    Sue


    1. Ramsay

      Nice to see you around here Sue! Hope your stuff is all going well.


  • surinderleen

    I am not using ads at all as I am a new blogger but when I go to my dashboard, an ad comes and comes and is very irritating.
    I don’t know how to get rid of it. Please if you know or anyone who read this comment, help me to trash that ad permanently.
    Thanks!


    1. Ramsay

      What Dashboard do you mean?


      1. surinderleen

        My website home page where I write and edit my posts.
        Thanks!


        1. Ramsay

          That is very odd. If it’s free WordPress that might be normal, but if not you may have a virus on your computer.


          1. surinderleen

            Thanks! Website is paid. Now I will tackle this problem.
            If you know a simple remedy for virus, please must suggest.
            Thanks again.


  • Rowena

    Adds drive me insane and will steer me away from the person’s website /blog. I find them too intrusive.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, I think a lot of people feel the same.


  • Lessie Gallien

    As always you hit it on target. Thanks for the advice. The few ads on my site are not doing my site justice. I will certainly make changes.


  • Trish

    I swore off ads completely after using a free website hosting service for a few months. The entire site was always swamped with ads and I had no control over theses sponsors. They interrupted the load time and it was just a horrible experience.


    1. Ramsay

      Oh that sounds terrible.


  • Paul

    Hi Ramsay

    I have ads on my month old site and they convert well at 3% (3% is good for my niche), though it did take quite a bit of testing to find what size/shape/location works best.

    With my testing I discovered the following advertising ‘formula’ that I now use…

    1. Ads at the top of the page (just before the article) and ads in the sidebar are usually ignored as people (naturally) are more interested in reading the content on your blog/site than the ads; thus I place my ads at the bottom of the page, this way when the reader is done reading the article there’s nothing to distract them from the ads, and as the ads are ‘right there’ they’re hard to miss.

    2. As a person who reads many blogs one thing I REALLY don’t like is when my reading is interrupted by ads IN BETWEEN the paragraphs of the article — to me this is a very big NO NO! I do not do this.

    3. I agree with you 100% on the loading time factor. Again, as one who reads blogs I have come across many that take WAY to long to load because they have way too many ads in their sidebar, ie. theartofdoingstuff.com (good site, but way too many ads – takes about 10 seconds to load). I keep my ads limited to two small ads per page.

    4. I actually appreciate ads on blogs/sites that ACTUALLY PERTAIN to the subject matter of the blog itself. One of my favorite blogs/sites is engadget.com, I like seeing ads about new gizmos and gadgets but ads about car insurance or Rogaine or weight loss, would not catch my attention as I’m not there for any of those reasons. The ads on my site all pertain to my niche.

    So with my testing I have found that ads CAN work on a blog/site as long as they are (A) not intrusive, (B) actually pertain to the subject of the blog/site itself, and (C) don’t make your site take forever to load!

    My two cents,

    Paul


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Paul.

      Thanks for that summary. It sounds like you’re doing it in a really user-friendly way, which I think can work well.

      Congrats and I hope they keep working for you!


  • Jessica

    I definitely agree with what you are saying but I just wanted to mention that the preference for lots of ads and stuff on a page can be cultural aesthetically. Over here in Korea, Naver has been the number 1 search engine. There is so much stuff going on on a Naver page that it looks like a 16 year old’s Myspace page from 2005! Google has on the other hand been slow to catch on here. Though there are multiple reasons, one is that to Korean users, Google without all its ads and whistles looks empty. As a Westerner though I get overwhelmed with Naver.


    1. Ramsay

      Wow that is really interesting! So are Korean websites normally covered in ads too?


      1. Jessica

        Yes and no. Korean news sites and shopping sites tend to be full of ads even on the English sites but I think there is a shift to a cleaner look for independent pages as the design aesthetic changes. I think Korean readers are sometimes impatient readers and so they’re looking for multiple things on a page all at once.


        1. Ramsay

          Fascinating. Thank you for sharing!


  • Sergey

    Hi Ramsay,

    Thanks for your post! I experimented with EPC ads and from my experience they work much worse than niche related affiliate programs.

    For me the best ways to promote affiliate products are:
    1. Product review (and then link to it in other posts).
    2. Email marketing. For instance, when an affiliate partner has a special offer, discount etc I can promote it to my subscribers.

    Banners is the easiest but worst way to promote affiliate products. People are just banner blind there days.

    I’d probably use EPC if I had a website on many topics (about nothing specific) with lots of traffic. But my blog has around 1000 visitors per day and I don’t want to put some banners just for 5-10 cheap clicks a day.

    By the way, thank you for your blog. I learned a lot from it and it helped me to start mine about a year and a half ago.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for weighing in, Sergey.


  • sarfraz khan

    Yeah but you know my own products and affiliate banners don’t convert well. Therefore I have to use advertisement. I don’t know what am I doing wrong?


    1. Ramsay

      Instead of using banners you might want to incorporate link into posts that are relevant to those products.


  • Matthias Haltenhof

    Another great article with many useful tipps, thanks for sharing!


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


  • Lisa Sicard

    HI Ramsay,
    I hate seeing a bunch of ads or popups (more than one) when I arrive at a place that I want to read content. I do understand people and businesses need to make money.
    I think more of the sponsored content type of ads work better and are not so intrusive.
    I used to use some at my blog but when I noticed they slowed down the site I got rid of them, it wasn’t worth the little money I got from having them.
    Great topic as always Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      Have you found a good replacement?


  • sneha pa

    Excellent tips..Hey..i have a doubt, How Contextual ads lowers our click rate??


    1. Ramsay

      Not sure what you mean, sorry.


  • Brad

    I totally agree, it’s amazing that google wants site to load quick, but their products are sometimes the worst offenders…adsense, analytics, etc…


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah it’s a really weird double standard on their part.


  • Chris Hufnagel

    Great tips about ads. Nothing makes me think a blog is “low class” like ads.

    You are so right that more money can be made with your own products. Would you rather that $0.27 from an adsense click or get someone on your email list that could potentially be worth a couple hundred dollars over a lifetime.

    I also don’t get why you would want to send all those hard earned visitors away from your site. You work so hard to get traffic and then you are going to send them away with an ad….

    Seems backwards to me!

    Great read, sharing!

    Chris


    1. Ramsay

      Perfect summary!


  • laura routh

    Ramsay, I so appreciate all of your helpful information. I have to get my Saturday newsletter out, but after that, I’m taking the weekend to comb your site. I’ve been at this for seven months now, and I do have four companies that I use for affiliate marketing. I work the links right into my blog posts. I haven’t made a dime, but I wasn’t expecting to, yet. I thought that I might as well put the links in, so I didn’t have to go back and do it later. Everything relates to my blog and to my posts. But if I could do things over, I would not have linked to the bigger companies that place a time limit on making a sale. I might have to remove the links, which is going to be a lot trouble. There are also disclosure laws, and they change. I find that part awkward. I sort of look at how other bloggers handle this along with reading about how to do this. Surprisingly, some well known bloggers don’t appear to be completely following the rules. I seldom use images for affiliate links, except for when I’m reviewing a book. I separate the image from the text link so that it doesn’t look like an ad. The visual ads for one company are quite attractive, though, and I have used one of their banners. I should move it to the bottom after reading the above comments. Currently, it does interrupt the reading flow. I don’t think I’ll ever place ads on my blog; maybe I could make a separate resource page with “stores that support my blog.” I already have a resource page with a mix of affiliate links and links to companies that I don’t make a dime from. I like to be thought of as providing a service- a place for my followers to come for information on products that are safe for them and the environment. Most bloggers in my niche do use affiliate marketing along with writing and selling their books. I plan to do the same after I get things going-aka-get more followers. Thanks again for all of your input and thank you to all of those above who left comments. They were quite helpful.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for your comment, Laura! Sounds like you’re considering the issues really carefully. Best of luck for your blog.


      1. laura routh

        Your posts really help. I’ve been working hard the last few days taking your suggestions to heart. I’m publishing a post tomorrow with a link to your article on getting google to send you more traffic. I hope that’s OK. I put in a good word for Blog Tyrant.


  • Jane

    Too true Ramsay. Lots of ‘in your face’ advertising generally has me scarpering from a site, unless there really is something I am determined to read.


  • Colette

    I didn’t start my blog right. I am passionate about a subject (big data) and I blog about it. now I’m trying to monetize it. I’ve got a small but steady trail of visitors but a virtually nonexistent email list.
    Should I start over?


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Colette. Why do you feel it’s necessary to start over?


      1. Colette

        I’m not making any money! Although I’m getting traffic, I’m not connecting with anyone.


  • jill brock

    I agree. Ads that are personal to the blogger work way better than those block ads. It allows the reader to feel more connected to the blogger. The ones that really annoy me are the blinking ones. If they’re blinking on both side of the blog I have to collapse the window so I don’t see the one on my right and then move the whole window over so I can’t see the one on my left. That’s the only way I can concentrate on what the blogger is writing about. It annoys me so much I would never, ever buy anything from an ad like that.


    1. Ramsay

      I wonder how successful they are for the advertisers sometimes.


  • Elliott

    Hi Ramsey,

    Nice article as always! I am thinking of using affiliate links for products to monetise once my site is a little more established, just wonder if you (or anyone else) has any tips or ways of managing all the different affiliates because once you have more than a few it must be quite hard to keep on top of this?


    1. Elliott

      Sorry about the name typo…


  • Garyn Phillips

    Is there merit in using endorcements/featured posts with brands in order to etablish yourself and monetise your blog?


    1. Ramsay

      I’m not a big fan of being paid to endorse a product. I think it takes away from the credibility of the blog. Often it leads to random products that don’t fit the feel of the site being promoted.


  • Hammo

    Yeah, this is a really interesting discussion and I have mixed feeling on it.

    Ads are a part of the Internet. Period

    Sure if you’re an Internet Marketer, you’ve got other ways to use your space, but not everyone who creates a website is into Marketing.

    Therefore, Ads do have their place on some sites.

    Of course, they work best with high traffic sites due to click through rates. But even Adwords are reporting a downturn, lately.

    If you’ve got a niche in a competitive space such as finance or Investment, some of those advertisers are paying $10, $20, $30 per click, so switching on ads for those blogs is worth it for sure. Similarly you might find some well-paying affiliate products you could promote. But you have choices.

    However, if people aren’t buying ads in your niche you’d do better to switch to affiliate marketing or create your own products, IMHO.


  • Joshua Nyamache

    For me, I have selected just a few pages where I place ads.

    I won’t recommend a blog that is still new or receiving inadequate traffic to use ads.

    There is a better way to make money blogging other than ads.

    Ads can be annoying especially if they don’t relate with the content of the blog post.


    1. Ramsay

      Nice work Joshua.


  • Alethea Fournier

    Ramsey,

    This article came at the perfect time for me so I thank you for writing it. You are the only person I read regularly and whose opinion I value. I started my blog for fun and an outlet but eventually hoped it could provide some income. As I hate irrelevant ads on blogs, or heaven forbid, pop-ups. I have to SERIOUSLY desire the content in order to overlook all the advertising BS.

    However, there are a few sites where I actually value their promotion of new products. This is what I hope to accomplish. If my readers begin to value my opinion (the same way I value yours) I hope to expose them to programs/products that I personally support. This helps everyone concerned; my readers have exposure to new things that are (hopefully) relevant to them; I feel good about supporting the businesses I care about; and I avoid annoying my potential readers by not cluttering my site with ads. I also get to feel like I’m providing a service rather than feeling like I sold my soul for a few ad dollars.

    Again, thank you for providing such relevant content and exposing me to other programs/products that can help me improve my blog.

    In my humble opinion, you are leading by example.

    Alethea J.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Alethea. Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and it sounds like yours is going to be a great success.


  • Stéphane

    As usual Ramsay, I love the pertinence of your articles.

    I have no ads on my blog and I’m really happy with that. I have tried in the first 2 months but it was useless. Furthermore, it was crowding and polluting my blog. I think it is the best way to dillute and lose your goal.

    I totally agree when you say “Find an affiliate partner that matches your brand’s goals”. I have worked with different partners, to finally realise that Amazon has got everything I need.

    So, after your councels in a previous article, I have decided to focus on this partner, and it works! Thanks to your help!


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Please let us know how it goes.


  • Deji

    My thoughts exactly Ramsay, especially where you said “Develop your own product/service and take back the space”


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you liked it.


  • Elena

    I have to disagree on this one, Ramsay. I used to be a purist–a total anti-ad blogger. I worked hard to have my blog as clear and free as possible–that way everyone knew I endorsed only what I wrote about. However, I quickly learned there was a lot of revenue I was losing and was making myself work three times as hard and getting paid less because of it.

    In our day and age everyone knows what ads are and that most sites run them to survive and to make money. We are educated enough to understand they don’t dilute the brand.

    So, I got smarter. At first I only added Adsense to my site. It was nice to make some additional money to offset blogging expenses. Then I got even smarter and found an ad network to work with. My ad revenue more than tripled (monthly), and now I can take a deep breath and concentrate on creating more content that people would love.

    When I added ads to the site, I emailed my subscribers to let them know. They did not leave me :). The subscription rate did not go down, and I keep making more money with less effort.

    I think it all depends on what you are trying to achieve with your blog, and what your niche is. Most food/recipe sites make most of their money from ads. Some make a VERY good living off that.

    I would be cautious to tell people that ads would hurt their blogs. There are too many variables to claim for that to be the truth. I think more education on the topic on how to do it right is more important.

    🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Really great comment. I understand your viewpoint and appreciate the disagreement. Always love hearing your stories here, Elena.


  • Bhupendra Sharma

    Hi,
    I was reading another post of yours in which you shared how you started blogging and then went through all the struggles. Trust me we all have same stories with a little change here & there. For a moment I thought you wrote my story. Anyways. About this post: Awesome. Ads are annoying. I still feel that if one wants to promote affiliate products, he should avoid Adsense or any other ad networks. Though there’s nothing wrong in putting ads on a blog, but they should serve a purpose. Why not build a separate blog and try to monetize it with Adsense rather than spoiling your main blog. Great post. Would like to read more such stories in the future.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for the feedback mate!


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