I read an article on Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic, written by Sarah Peterson, on why Blog ads are silly blog monetization strategies. After reading through, I wanted to leave my opinion on the blog but found out comment has been closed on that particular post.
I didn’t want the thought to die inside of me, so I decide to write about it and share my opinion on the subject here so others who are confused about this issues might as well learn one or two from reading both articles.
Note – when we speak of contextual advertising, Google AdSense always comes to mind first, so am going to use it as an example where appropriate throughout this post.
As you might have discovered, lots of authority blogs in the industry are earning significant income from such thing as Google AdSense.
There are many popular blogs like Huffington Post, Digital Photography School, About.com, TechCrunch, Smashing Magazine, Search engine land, the richest etc…running Google ads as one of the major blog monetization strategies and making a fortune from it.
In the same vein, many horror stories about AdSense publishers losing thousands of $$$ overnight too to Google due to some flimsy excuses such as violation of AdSense program policies
A reasons why many expert bloggers will tell you don’t go the AdSense route if you want to build a long-lasting business online – because AdSense is a time-bomb that can explode at any time.
You might wake up one morning only to discover that Ads has stopped showing on your blog, and no one is there to give reasons to why this happen – all outstanding earnings lost!
And there are other well-known established bloggers telling you not to rely on revenue from contextual advertising if you really want to build a business with your blog.
In fact, many of these so-called “experts bloggers” will say blatantly that you should ignore blog ads completely if you want to transform from a novice to a better blogger.
There are reasons for their judgment, read on to find out below.
Before I set out straight to present my argument, let’s quickly run a break down on how “blogs” earn money from their blogging activities along with the top 20 earners.
On the very top of the list is Huffington Post owned by Arianna Huffington with an estimated $2,330,000 per month in revenue. The blog earns money from pay-per-click advertising.
One thing that is very common about most of the blogs earning the highest money on the net is – they either do so with banner ads, pay-per-clicks or private ads selling.
If you watch closely in the video above, you’ll notice a large percentage (about 75%) of blogs in the top 20 makes more money from banner ads, pay-per-click than bloggers who makes money from affiliate marketing, products and service sales, etc.
Pat Flynn, John Chow, Timothy Sykes, ShoeMoney, these are “bloggers” usually on the top earners list but not so close to come anything above the first 7 on the list, there are usually about 8 or so blogs above these bloggers on the top earner list.
In fact, the $$$ gap between blogs that run banner ads, pay-per-click and the ones that earn money from other means not related to display advertising is way too wide.
Though, the Men behind sites like Huffington Post, Mashable, TechCrunch, Search engine Land, Smashing Magazine are not classified as bloggers, rather they are entrepreneurs who run blogs in the real business way.
They invest heavily in paid advertising and writers, these blogs usually have in-house dozens of professionals authors, have enough money to spend on content writing and distribution channels.
Unlike bloggers who are with a minimal advertising budget, some had to bootstrap their blog completely and in most cases, run by solo entrepreneurs.
So, if all statistics prove blogs that earn money through display ads are making the most money, what’s the problem then?
There are no straight or absolute answers to this question, it depends on who is giving advice and the meaning of the word “better blogger” to you. This is one of the reasons why I said in the past that you should be careful of who, where and when you take advice from authority bloggers.
The word “better blogger” is relative and would certainly mean different thing to different people. It depends on your definition of who is classified as a better blogger.
To someone looking at it from revenue angle, better blogger would certainly mean the blogger who earns the most money annually.
But if you’re like me, better blogger would mean someone who over the course of time had discovered and apply positives solutions to many of the great challenges that come along with growing a popular blog that makes money and teaches others to do so.
That would be my definition of a better blogger.
Many of the advice giving on authority blogs are certainly valid, useful and with sincerity from the author, but these advises might not fit into your current situation, objectives and blogging goals due to your current blogging/marketing experience and resources available at your disposal.
If you do apply these advices at your current status, it might backfire seriously.
There is nothing wrong in running a blog solely dependent on making money from display ads, third-party advertisement, sponsored ads etc…
You just have to be sure and conscious of what you’re doing. And know exactly why you’re into this things called “blogging”. Not knowing what you’re doing or why you’re into it is what makes everything look stupid or disastrous.
Here are some of the reasons giving in the said article why blog ads is a silly thing for monetization tactics:
- Blog Ads Risk Your Reputation.
- Blog Ads Put Your Blog in the Slow Lane
- Blog Ads Make Your Blog Ugly.
- Blog Ads Sell Your Readers For Cents.
- Blog Ads Force You to Give Up Control of Your Content.
- Blog Ads Pay You Peanuts.
- Blog Ads Are a Conversion Killer.
- Blog Ads Make You Look Like an Amateur.
- Blog Ads Undermine Your Blog’s Goals.
- Blog Ads Make You Look Sleazy.
- Blog Ads Force You to Work for “The Man”
While all these points seem valid, I stand on the point that it all depend on your blogging goals and objectives. If your blog goal is to make money quietly off your blog and don’t bother about what blogger you become in the future – I see nothing wrong in that.
There are thousands of bloggers silently making money even more than some of the top earners in the list above that you and I never heard of or come across online.
Does these makes them a bad blogger? No, I guess – is their choice to be whom they want to be.
One other point the so-called experts bloggers are missing when telling you not run contextual ads on your blog is, everyone are not the same, some bloggers are skilled and comfortable in creating products and services that convert, while many others can’t just get that angle right.
Every known blogger can’t create information products or render services, but almost everyone blogging wants to make money from it, at least about 99.9 percent of us want to.
And industries varies from each others, what works best in your industry might just be a waste of time and resources in another. Entertainments industry is quite different from other internet marketing niches like blogging tips and tutorials, SEO, website development etc.
Banners ads and any other display ads for that matter can pretty work well in niches like entertainments, news and events, gossip, finance, cars, apps install, tech news, politics, comedy, games, etc.
So, calling blog ads silly monetization strategy is just an absolute “blanket statement”.
Allow me to go through some of the point listed in the above-mentioned article on Jon Morrow’s blog written by Sarah Peterson.
Blog ads make your blog look ugly. Blog ads (by placement alone) doesn’t make a blog looks ugly, it is too many ads placement on a single page that lead to painting a blog ugly. If you do things right, blog ads can even bring beauty to your blog look.
Two ads placement on a single page is enough and that won’t make you look an amateur blogger (one ad above the fold or header section and one ad in the sidebar).
Blog Ads sell your readers for cent – Here I would like to quote one of Brian Clark words of wisdom,
Whatever is useful for your readers or target market, please do it. If serving banner ads on your blog is what makes your readers return back to visit your site and good for your target market, please slap up your blog with lots of useful banner ads – simple!
You disagree with this?
Think of coupon and discount sites – what does the market/visitors want from these sites?
Information on where they could get discount prices on products and services. Readers/visitors of such sites as coupon don’t bother much about the quality of contents, rather, the availability of authentic discount or coupon codes.
And one of the best way to quickly present this information is banner ads display.
Banner ads work well for such sites.
Blog ads pay you peanut. In reality, blog ads pay too low (Unless your traffic is from a country like the USA and massive, your cost-per-click might not be up to a dollar) so you need a massive amount of traffic to make good money from it.
But when we take into consideration the list of top earners, one will begin to wonder if this stats is true? or how did some blogs manage to earn thousands of $$$ monthly from Google AdSense?
Instead of going with public opinion and stats, learn how blog ads work and how others are getting it right.
Blogs Ads undermine your blogging goal. What if my blogging goal is to make money online from selling ads space on my blog?
Blog ads force you to work for the man. Let’s face it, we all are working for the man. Whoever is paying you for your services or products sale is your boss – take it or leave it!
Affiliate marketers are working for the merchant, products and service creators are working for the consumers – if the consumers are not paying, you’re definitely out of business.
Blog ads are a conversion killer. Well, that depend on what your conversion goal is and the meaning of that to you. If my conversion goal is to make my readers click on any ads on my blog, and they did – they’ve convert. Period.
Blog ads force you to give up on your content. I don’t believe this. Every piece of content you write should serve a purpose, and if the purpose of that content is to make readers click on the next ads below the post….well, that’s it! I win.
Blog Ads put your blog in Slow lane. Yes, I do agree with that and that’s why there are lots of tools online to help you take care of things like page speed. Once you discover a certain ad is putting extra loads on your server, you can delete it and find alternatives.
Blog ads risk your reputation. I understand the point made here, and do agree with it, but thanks to advanced filtering technology – now you can tell Google (especially) not to include certain ads on your blog.
And since ads are served onto your pages base on your content keywords, there is likely 95% chances that serving ads are relevant to your blog topics.
With that out…..let’s proceed to see where Blog Ads fit in.
There are two types of bloggers and blogs, and I will explain both in details below.
As far I am concern and from all I see around on the blogosphere, blogs (noun) or bloggers (pronoun) can be classified into two – The Experts blogs/bloggers and the Advertising Blogs/bloggers.
Either way you choose to go is up to you to decide how you’re going to approach it and earn your living from it. But this how they work in practical terms.
The Blog Advertising Model
The Advertising Blogs works pretty well, and by their nature, they are the default monetization method for every blogger during the early days of blogging and as at when getting Google AdSense approval is easier.
The success of this type of blog heavily dependent on both volume of content publishing and traffic. The quality of content is not of more significant importance than that of the traffic.
The quality of your traffic (traffic demographics) plays an important role to how much money you can earn from this type of blogs. Example – cost-per-click on ads from US traffic is higher than that of traffic from Nigeria.
It is normal to publish 20 times per day on blogs like this. Most of the content are time-sensitive, between 300 – 1000 words, the quicker you get the word out there, the better your chances of attracting the audience before your competitors beat you to it.
Since most of the contents are time-sensitive, this put less need for search engines optimization or waiting for Google to rank your web pages and send you organic traffic.
Hence, it lay more emphasis on content marketing through paid channels like Facebook ads, Taboola, Outbrain, Google Adwords etc.
The Expert Model.
Expert blogs by nature, serve the traditional function of a blog well – most are used to detailed the journey, skills, experiences, knowledge etc….of a solo entrepreneur.
When you think of bloggers like Jon Morrow, Pat Flynn, John Chow, Brian Clark, Brian Dean, Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel – you’re thinking of experts in their respective internet marketing fields.
These are experts that leverage their blogging technical skills to build a blog business that makes millions of dollar yearly. They depend not on third-party advertising, sponsored posts, or private advertising programs.
One of the major BIG differences between expert and advertising bloggers is that expert bloggers are the go-to-guy when it comes to getting blogging help or beginner looking to learn how to blog.
Think about it, when you need to learn one or two things about content marketing, you probably be thinking of Neil Patel, and when you’re certain that your website needs more quality incoming links to improve its search visibility – Moz or backlinko will surely top your list of go-to website, right?
This is because these bloggers have over time established themselves as experts, build loyal followings around their blog and practice what they write about. They’ve used their blog as a medium to teach others their vast experiences, trials and failures, success stories, case studies, income tactics, etc.
These are things you’re not likely to see or experience with advertising blogs – advertising blogs are mostly journalism styles, print magazines models, and author personalities are mostly missing out on advertising blog model.
Characteristics of Advertising Blog Model.
- Articles length are short – so it gives an opportunity to publish more.
- Contents are published daily and in some cases, minutes to minutes publications.
- You don’t need to be an expert in creative writing – just tell the story as it is.
- It is a race of quantity.
- Authors personalities are mostly missing from published contents.
- Organic traffic is of less importance, paid content marketing is giving higher priority.
- Make Money through banner ads display – Google AdSense, InfoLinks, Adbrite, Bidvertiser etc.
- Same contents circulate around advertising blogs.
Characteristics of Expert Blog Model.
- Authors personalities are visible on the blog.
- Run by solo blogger and in most case with few exemptions.
- Make money through services and products creations – e-book sales, affiliate commissions, membership sites, courses, webinars, consultants, etc.
- The blogger behind the blog grows in experience along with his blog.
- Beginners bloggers look up them for advises.
- Quality of contents matters most – frequency is of less importance.
- Loyal blog readers or community presence.
Whatever you’re doing, do it right and make sure you’re 100% conscious of it. Know why you’re into blogging and what goals you’re aiming to achieve. Without goals, there is no passion for surviving in this jungle.
Blog Ads or no Blog ads, you can be who you want to be only if you’re ready to burn bridges. Don’t let a few people’s stands or views deprive you of your online dream, go get it!