Not too long ago, I read an article on Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic, written by Sarah Peterson. The report is titled 13 Reasons Why Blog Ads Suck for Monetizing Your Site, why you shouldn’t leverage ads on blog to make money from your blog.
The author, Sarah, gave her reasons why you shouldn’t monetize your blog with contextual advertising such as Google AdSense.
She gave some important reasons you should not make money with banner ads on your blog.
After reading through, I want to comment on the blog, but my response would only be to Jon Morrow’s audience. So I decide to talk about it here.
And freely share my views on why making money with banner ads isn’t totally the wrong way to monetize a blog.
I want to share my views with my blog community and, mostly, beginners bloggers worldwide.
When we speak of contextual advertising, Google AdSense always comes to mind first, so that I will use it as an appropriate example throughout this post.
As you might have discovered, many authority blogs in the industry earn significant income from such things as Google AdSense.
Many popular blogs, such as The Huffington Post, Digital Photography School, About.com, TechCrunch, Smashing Magazine, Search engine land, the richest, etc., all run Google ads on blogs to make money and earn a fortune.
These companies make money with banner ads, especially.
Also, many horror stories about AdSense publishers losing thousands of $$$ overnight to Google due to AdSense program policy violations.
Some “expert bloggers” will tell you not to go the AdSense route if you want to build a long-lasting business online. This is because Google AdSense is a time bomb that can explode anytime without prior notification.
You may wake up one morning only to discover that Ad serving has stopped on your blog. And no one is there to explain why this happens – all outstanding earnings are lost!
And there are other well-known, established bloggers telling you not to rely on revenue from contextual advertising if you want to build a business with your blog.
Many of these so-called “expert bloggers” will say blatantly that you should ignore blog ads to make money if you want to transform from a novice to a better blogger.
There are reasons for their judgment, positive ones too, but read on to find out why my argument/disagreements.
Top 8 Income Blogs of 2019.
Before I set out straight to present my argument, let’s quickly run a breakdown of how “top blogs” earn money from their blogging activities along with the top 20 earners.
The below image displays the top 8 blog earners of 2019.
According to Target Internet, The Huffington Post earns $41.6 million per month.
In case you’re in doubt about this fact. In 2017, Forbes published an article on the top 10 highest-earning blogs estimating Huffingpost’s monthly revenue to be $14,000,000 per month.
One thing that is very common about most of the blogs earning the highest money on the two lists is that they either do so with banner ads, pay-per-click or private ads selling.
In one word – Advertising.
If you go through the list on the Forbes website, you’ll notice a large percentage (about 90%) of blogs in the top 10 make more money with banner ads selling ad space than bloggers who make money from affiliate marketing, products, service sales, etc.
Pat Flynn, John Chow, Timothy Sykes, Neil Patel, Moz, etc. These are “bloggers” usually on the top earner’s list but not so close to the first ten on the list. There are generally about eight or so blogs above these bloggers on the complete earner list.
Though the Men behind sites like Huffington Post, Mashable, TechCrunch, Search engine Land, and Smashing Magazine are not regular bloggers like you and I. Rather, they are entrepreneurs who run blogs in a more practical business way.
They invest heavily in paid advertising and writers.
These blogs usually have dozens of professional authors in-house, with enough money to spend on content writing and marketing distribution channels.
Unlike bloggers who are with a minimal advertising budget. Some had to bootstrap their blog entirely and, in most cases, run by solo entrepreneurs.
So, if all statistics prove blogs that earn money through blog ads make money are the top income earner, 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.”
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 undoubtedly mean different things to different people. It depends on your definition of who is classified as a better blogger.
To someone looking at it from a revenue angle, a better blogger would undoubtedly mean the blogger who earns the most money annually.
But if you’re like me, a better blogger would be someone who, over time, had discovered and applied positive solutions to many of the significant challenges that come along with growing a popular blog that makes money and teaches others how to replicate his success.
That would be my definition of a better blogger.
Many of the author’s advice-giving on authority blogs are valid, helpful, and sincere.
But this advice might not fit your current situation, objectives, and blogging goals due to your current blogging/marketing experience and available resources.
If you do apply these bits of advice at your current status, it might backfire seriously.
There is nothing wrong with running a blog solely on making money from display ads, third-party ads, sponsored ads, etc.
You have to be sure and conscious of what you’re doing.
And know exactly why you’re into “blogging for money.” Not knowing what you’re doing or why you’re into it makes everything look stupid or disastrous.
Why Blog Ads are Silly – Argument.
Here are some of the reasons giving in the said article why blog ads are 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 agree that it depends on your blogging goals and objectives.
If your blogging goal is to make money with banner ads quietly off your blog and don’t bother about what blogger you become in the future – I see nothing wrong with 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 have never heard of or come across online.
Does this make them bad bloggers?
No, I guess – It is their choice to be who they want to be.
One other point the so-called expert bloggers are missing when telling you not to run contextual ads on your blog is that everyone is different.
Some bloggers are skilled and comfortable creating convertible products and services, while others can’t get that angle right.
Not every blogger would be able to 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 vary from each other.
What works best in your industry might be a waste of time and resources in another. The entertainment industry differs 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 work well in niches like entertainment, news, events, gossip, finance, cars, apps install, tech news, politics, comedy, games, etc.
So, making make-money banner ads a silly monetization strategy is an absolute “blanket statement.”
Let me go through some of the points listed in the above-mentioned article on Jon Morrow’s blog by Sarah Peterson.
Blog Ads Make Your Blog Look Ugly.
Blog ads (by placement alone) don’t make a blog looks ugly.
Too “many ads placement” on a single page leads to painting a blog ugly. If you do things right, blog ads can even bring beauty to your blog’s look.
Take a look at the web page below; that’s a great example of too many ads placed on a single page:
Surprisingly, that page also ranks top for the competitive search term “best SEO tools.”
Well, this post is not about Google organic search quality guidelines or control, so let’s leave that till another day.
Two ads placement on a single page is enough, and that won’t make you look like an amateur blogger (one ad above the fold or header section and one ad in the sidebar).
Blog Ads sell Your Readers For a Cent.
I want to quote one of Brian Clark’s words of wisdom here.
Don’t Focus on Having a Great Blog, Focus on Having a Blog That’s Great for your Readers” – Brian Clark.
Whatever is helpful for your readers or target market, please do it.
If serving banner ads on your blog makes readers return to the site and is suitable for your target market, please slap up your blog with lots of helpful banner ads – simple!
Do you disagree with this?
Think of coupon and discount sites. What do the market/visitors want from these sites?
Visitors to these sites want information on where they could get discount prices on products and services.
Readers of such sites as coupon blogs don’t bother much about the quality of content but rather the availability of discounts or coupon codes.
And one of the best ways to quickly present this information is through banner ads.
Make money banner ads work well for such sites.
Blog ads Pay you Peanuts.
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 money with banner ads.
But when we consider the list of top earners, it makes sense to learn how to get it right with ads for blogs to earn money from display advertising.
Besides, no internet business model could survive or make significant income without heavy website traffic.
Even affiliate marketing needs massive website traffic to earn consistent income from the business model. Otherwise, it will be $500 this month and nothing next Month.
Instead of going with public opinion and stats, learn how to make money with banner ads.
Blogs Ads Undermine Your Blogging Goal.
What if my blogging goal is to make money online from selling ad space on my blog?
I see nothing wrong with that.
I have met with many blogging buddies who make earning from advertising their top priority online, and they’re doing just fine with make-money banner ads.
Blog ads force you to work for the man.
Let’s face it, we all are working for the man.
Whoever pays you for your services or product 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 depends 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 converted. Period.
Besides, blogs that run ads know how to get readers on their email lists. Things are done separately on different pages on blogs like this.
Blog ads force you to give up control of your content.
I don’t believe this.
Your content topic determines what ad copy to display on a page. Your page content controls what ad type Google serves on your page.
And with modern advanced filtering options, you can tell Google not to display certain ad types on your page. You can block ad types from displaying on your blog. You can now do lots with the ad serving to your pages.
How to blog ads make money with banners works is now different from the past decade. Publishers now have a certain control level over what pop-up on their blogs.
Blog Ads Put Your Blog in The Slow Lane.
Yes, I agree with that, and that’s why there are many online tools to help you take care of things like page speed. Once you discover a particular ad is putting extra loads on your server, you can deactivate it and find alternatives.
Ads putting extra loads on your blog page speed is not enough reason to say, “don’t run ads on your blog.”
It is like saying WordPress plugins add extra loads on a blog loading time, so completely get rid of all plugins. No. You’ll never do that. You can’t throw away a baby because the water is terrible.
You must find a way to speed up your blog page while maintaining the critically needed plugins.
Come to think of it, one of Google’s ranking factors is page speed.
If ads code from Google Adsense puts an extra load on your website page speed, Google has killed its ads program.
From personal experience using Google Adsense on this blog, Adsense codes significantly slow down the page speed.
If page speed matters to your business, and you MUST use Adsense for monetization, you have to find the balance between achieving maximum page speed and serving Adsense ads.
Blog Ads Risk Your Reputation.
I understand the point made here and 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 website pages based on your content keywords, there is likely a 95% chance that was serving ads are relevant to your blog topics.
Let’s take this further.
Facebook and Google make billions of dollars annually from ad serving.
These ads are submitted by thousands of merchants across the globe.
Do you think Facebook and Google know all these merchants and can vouch for their credibility and service/product quality?
Advertisers must follow guidelines regarding what ad type is accepted and not accepted. Once the advertiser ad copy meets the criteria, Google or Facebook’s reputation is not at risk.
So also, your blog reputation is not at risk if you set your guidelines according to your website content mission.
With That Out, Let’s see Where Blog Ads Fit in.
There are two types of bloggers and blogs; I will explain both in detail below.
From personal experience and from what I see around 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 will approach it and earn your living. But this is how they work in practical terms.
The Blog Advertising Model.
The Advertising Blogs model works pretty well. And by their nature, they are the default monetization method for every blogger during the early days of blogging, and getting Google AdSense approval is more effortless.
This type of blog’s success heavily depends on the 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 essential role in how much money you can earn from this type of blog. For example – the 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 is time-sensitive, between 500 – 1000 words count.
The quicker you get the word out there, the better your chances of attracting the audience before your competitors beat you.
Since most of the content is time-sensitive, this puts less need for search engine optimization or waiting for Google to rank your web pages and send you organic traffic.
Hence, it emphasized content marketing through paid channels like Facebook ads, Taboola, Outbrain, Google Adwords, etc.
The Expert Blog Model.
Expert blogs, by nature, serve the traditional function of a blog well.
Most are used to detail 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, and Neil Patel – you’re thinking of experts in their respective internet marketing fields.
These experts leverage their technical blogging skills to build a business that makes millions of dollars yearly. They depend not on third-party advertising, sponsored posts, make-money banner ads, or private advertising programs to make money online.
One of the significant BIG differences between expert and advertising bloggers is that expert bloggers are the go-to guy for getting technical blogging help.
Think about it, when you need to learn one or two things about content marketing, you probably be thinking of Neil Patel.
This is because these bloggers have established themselves as experts, built loyal followings around their blogs, and practiced 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 magazine models, and author personalities mostly miss out on the advertising blog model.
Characteristics of Advertising Blog Model.
- The article’s length is short – so it allows publishing more.
- Contents are published daily and, in some cases, minute to minutes publications.
- You don’t need to be an expert in creative writing – tell the story as it is.
- It is a race of quantity.
- The author’s personality is mostly missing from the published content.
- Organic traffic is less critical; paid content marketing is given higher priority.
- Make Money through banner ads display – Google AdSense, Infolinks, Adbrite, Bidvertiser, etc.
- The exact contents circulate advertising blogs.
Characteristics of Expert Blog Model.
- The author’s personalities are visible on the blog.
- Run by solo bloggers and, in most cases, with few exemptions.
- Make money through services and product 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 to them for advice.
- 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 make money or no Blog ads; you can only be who you want to be if you’re ready to burn bridges. Don’t let a few people’s stands, opinions, or views deprive you of your online dream; get it!