There’s quite a trend in the industry at the moment when it comes to making money with our blogs. And one monetising method that is usually really popular is the idea of ads.
But are they a good idea? Sometimes. For me - they’re a bad idea and I’ve never ever used them on my site.
So to help clear things up for all types of bloggers, I wanted to talk about the pros and cons for using ads on your website and also whether this is always the right fit for you. Let’s go.
How do people use ads?
I’m sure you’re familiar with what ads look like by the various different sites you visit, but I’ll quickly go through them just in case:
- On their sidebar - This is probably the type of ad you see most often - an image in someone’s sidebar.
- A blog network - Blogging networks have become even more popular recently. When you join one, you simply place an advert on your blog, which will then promote other blogs in the same network.
- Sponsorships - This is like what you see on magazine websites - someone pays you a certain amount of money to advertise on a particular part of your blog.
- EPC - This stands for earnings per click. Basically, it’s an ad you have on your blog and you earn money every time someone clicks it.
Don’t get me wrong - there are lots of other ways to use ads. But these are usually the most popular and the ones you’ll notice the most. Unfortunately, while a lot of bloggers are told using ads is a great way to start making money online, they aren’t told any of the potential negatives.
Why I don't use ads as a blogger
When I first started blogging, I did consider using ads on my blog - it’s promoting other people, right? But the more research I did, the more I realised that I wasn’t a big fan.
Why? You’d think with a job in marketing I’d be a big advocate of advertising. I mean, it’s how you get yourself noticed, right? Some of the biggest brands around today have come to be so popular through really great advertising campaigns.
But I think there are better methods out there for promoting your blog. So here’s why I, personally, don’t use them:
They can decrease the value of your brand
You build your online presence to look and feel a certain way. People come to you for a reason - because you offer them something. Everything you do relates to your brand. Your colours, your fonts, your content, your message - and your website or blog is usually the foundation of your brand.
So what happens when random ads appear on your blog that have no relation whatsoever? They decrease the value of your brand. For instance, if you’re a beauty blogger, you don’t want some ads for cheap beauty products that don’t work to appear in your sidebar, right?
They take up space that you need to use
This is especially true for banner ads. What do you want people to do when they first land on your blog? Follow you on Bloglovin’? Sign up to your mailing list? Connect with you on social media? Whatever your aim is, it needs to be above the fold - to find out what that means, read the definition here.
Take a look at when you land on my blog, and what you can see straight away.
The thing I want people to do when they land on my site? Download the eBook and sign up to the Breakthrough Bloggers community. That’s why it’s the first thing you see. This is the most valuable space on your website. You want to use it for something that’s going to benefit you!
They’ll make your blog load more slowly
The more unnecessary “things” you have on your site, the longer it’ll take to load. Simple. You might not think it matters if it looks good. But there’ll be massive impacts on user experience and your SEO too.
They take people away from your site
This is the biggie for me. Ultimately, if someone clicks on an ad that you’re hosting, they’ll leave your site. Question - why would you want them to do that? You want your readers to stay on your blog as long as possible. Ads defeat that point.
Now, obviously the things listed above won’t apply to every single blog all of the time. But I bet if you’ve ever used ads on your blog, or you know bloggers that use them, you can start to see how some of these negative things could happen.
Take a look at this analysis that I ran on my blog:
Ideally, you want your blog to load in around one second. Mine ticks that box. A big reason probably being that there are no ads.
You can say for definite, but using ads on your blog will have a big impact on your bounce rate (because people will be leaving your site), and even how well Google ranks you, which is a shame for all your SEO efforts.
After I tested my blog, I tested another that I knew used ads. Theirs took between 2-3 seconds to load.
But then you have an argument from the people who use ads - it makes them a decent amount of money. And after they find out some of these points, they’ll now feel like they’re in a pretty difficult position. Do they go for the money? Or their brand value?
Go on then, what can you use instead of ads?
Luckily for you, I read lots of blogs from entrepreneurs who started out with online advertising, then realised there were actually way better options available. And they actually make a lot more sense.
Think about it - if you want to build a fantastic blog that’s full of super high-quality content, then you want to make sure that the advertising part of your blog is of the same quality, right?
That means that the ads you display in your sidebar need to match your brand’s high quality. You can’t guarantee that with general ads.
So here’s what you do:
Create something of your own and promote it in that space
Why give decent space on your blog to others, when you can use it to promote yourself? Remember the aims we talked about earlier? This is where they come in use.
The best way for you to generate product/service ideas (and ultimately sell them) will be through a mailing list. So if you haven’t got one, you should definitely think about it. These are the people you can promote new services to and even future ideas. Why lose readers for a small amount of money through advertising, when you can gain their loyalty (and make more money) by delivering your own amazing products to them?
Try affiliate marketing
This is the only type of advertising I do on ABOH. Here’s how it works: you basically become an affiliate for someone else’s product, promote it on your blog and if someone clicks on the link you’ve shared and makes a purchase, you earn a certain amount through that sale. Plus, they’re staying on your site longer than they would if it was a direct advertisement.
This is a brilliant strategy, because you have complete control. You have control over what affiliate links you use and how you use them.
A FINAL NOTE
Of course, there are certain times and places when advertising is fine. Some bloggers can find really great partners to advertise on their blog in a way that works well and doesn’t affect their site’s loading time.
But it’s so worth having a think about switching to this other kind of advertising. Growing your mailing list, developing loyal readers, doing what you love and making money? I’d say that’s the perfect recipe.
Do you use ads on your blog? If not, what do you think of them on other websites? Do you ever find them annoying or do you not mind? I’d be really interested to know your thoughts.