When a visitor lands on your blog for the first time and sees your ads, they may feel that you are trying to sell them something. Imagine this happening in the real world. Would you trust a stranger who suddenly approaches you and tries to sell you something? Subconsciously, your visitors might trust you a little lesser if they see ad banners running on every prominent space available on your blog.
In my first year of blogging, I was quick to jump onto the monetization bandwagon and was so excited to receive my first pay cheque of USD300 plus from Google Adsense. Today, you won’t even see a single advertisement on my blog and here are the top reasons why.
1. Blog Ads Slows Your Blog down
This is true and most visitors would just leave your website if it takes too long (like 3 seconds) to load fully. Factors that slow down your blog include plugins, hosting issues and advertisements. Now, you wouldn’t want readers to bounce off your site because of this.
2. Blog Ads Pay You Peanuts
Once you start to explore monetization for your blog, you would naturally think of advertisements first. Ironically, advertising is actually a slow and painful process on your road to blog monetization, unless you have terrific traffic like 50-100K page views per month. Even when you have tons of traffic, there are much better ways to monetize your website then through ads.
3. Ads Are Distracting for your Readers
But advertising competes for that attention by drawing their eyes away from your contents (yes, the contents that you just worked so hard to craft) and distracts your readers from what you want them to see. Many times, I saw websites with beautifully styled and visually pleasing photographs but would somehow get distracted by some ad banners flickering on the screen. Advertising also affects the conversion and retention rate by giving readers an option to leave your site instead of subscribing to your email list or answering your call-to-action, for example.
4. Advertisements Disrupt the Aesthetics of your Blog
Research has shown that a bad website design and poor user experience are the top reasons why visitors do not trust certain sites. Blog ads also undermine your blogging goals because they do not provide any value to your audience at all. Many readers also feel that ads are annoying and devalue a website. No one wakes up excited to see more advertising and absolutely no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they will see tomorrow. That’s why many people install ad blockers on their web browsers.
So if the ads are successful and your readers click on it, you are encouraging them to leave your blog all in exchange for a few pennies.
5. Blog Ads Put You at the Mercy of the Ad Agency
The moment you run ads on your blog, the ad platform (e.g. Google Adsense) is your boss. Why? Because you need to abide by their rules and you cannot ask for a pay raise or asked to be paid regularly instead of reaching a certain threshold before getting paid.
My Google Adsense account was terminated because I had infringed on their terms and conditions (I do not exactly know the reason), and my entire account wallet was wiped out and returned in full to the advertisers. No explanation was given, because Google do not need to provide an explanation to anyone.
I appealed once but their decision is final, again with no further explanation given. I could have applied to other ad agencies too, but this episode has taught me certain lessons and I decided this was not how I wanted to run my website. Since then, I prefer to write quality sponsored articles and offer freelance writing services (do drop me an email!) and this is my main side hustle currently. I would not have gotten these freelance writing jobs if not for my blog. 🙂
6. Blog Ads Risk the Reputation You Painstakingly Built
You can never control the ads that would pop up on your website because the algorithm is determined by the ad agency and not you, the blog owner. Your readers might think that you are actually endorsing that brand or product, as after all, it appeared on your website right? So whether you like or do not like that ad, or where that click takes your reader to, you have absolutely no control over it.
Many successful bloggers have built a viable career through blogging without resorting to blog ads (at least not the usual ads). How do they monetize their blogs?
#1: Offer a Service To Your Audience
Services are the fastest way to earn good money because they don’t take much to get started. The easiest way is to offer coaching and consultancy services to small business owners who are running an online business and teach them how to set up and run a successful website. I know of a popular food blogger who organizes and conducts food tours for tourists who just need to sign up on her website and another blogger who conducts cooking/food styling classes at her home. Now, this is thinking out of the box! 🙂
#2: Create a Product to meet their needs
The best thing about blogging is that you run your own show on your blog. You could think of creating your own product to meet your readers’ needs such as eBooks, resources and online courses to deliver value and useful information to your audience.
You could also offer a physical product like selling a recipe book or a book on how to take beautiful food photographs especially if your blog has many mouth-watering food photos and awesome recipes! I am sure your readers would want to learn from you!
Maybe you are talented with designing things and doing craft works, you could design and sell bespoke mugs, T-shirts, calendars, accessories and costume jewelry, etc.
#3: Be An Affliliate Marketer
If you do not want to offer a service or develop your own product the hard way, there are other options available too such as being an affiliate for products and services that you genuinely believes in and uses personally. There is probably already some sort of affiliate out there for a product you love. You can check out the Etsy Affilate Program (perfect for people who shares about Etsy products on their blog) Shareasale, Commission Junction, Amazon’s Affiliate Program, and so on.
Do you have other ways to monetize your blog other than running ads? I love to hear from you! 🙂