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How Early Should You Monetize Your New Blog?

Posted By Darren Rowse 13th of April 2013 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

A common question that I get is ‘how early should I begin to monetize my blog‘.

I understand the concern behind the question – some bloggers certainly like to build their audience before they introduce monetization and you do need readers before whatever monetization model you choose will work – but have always believed that if you intend to monetize your blog one day you should probably do it in some way from early on.

I’ve never heard a shop owner ask – ‘how early should I monetize? – shops open from day #1 with products to sell.

Likewise – Newspapers generally run ads from Day #1, Businesses open with sales staff from Day #1, Gyms generally offer membership packages from Day #1… why shouldn’t a blog that intends to monetize start with that in mind.

It’s never too early in my opinion.

Monetizing from the start has a few benefits:

  • Firstly it’ll generate a little income – it won’t be much early on but a little is better than nothing and you’ll be surprised how even just earning a little can motivate and energise you!
  • Secondly – you’ll learn a lot by just trying. The first time I tried to monetize I used AdSense and Amazon’s affiliate program. In the first week of doing so I learned a lot – knowledge that I’ve utilised ever since.
  • lastly, and perhaps most importantly – monetizing from the start means your readers expectations are that your blog is one that will be monetized and you don’t have to break it to an established community that you’re suddenly going to start monetizing in some way.

A better question might be ‘HOW should I monetize early on?’

Some blogging monetization techniques will work better from Day #1 than others.

For Example

If your goal is to sell advertising directly to advertisers/sponsors – you’ll need to build your traffic before an advertiser is likely to want to advertise with you. In that case you might want to consider running ads from an Advertising Network like AdSense or Chitika (aff).

Or if your eventual goal is to sell your own products (an eBook or course perhaps) it may not be feasible for you to have a product developed from Day #1. In that case it might be worth promoting someone else’s eBook or course as an affiliate while you develop yours.

When Did You Start to Monetize?

I’d love to hear your experience – did you monetize from the start or introduce it later? Or are you still waiting for something to happen before you do it?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. This is an all time classic concern for new blogs.

    I recommend people monetize right away if they know they will be selling ads.
    As a matter of fact I recommend it even if they will be selling their own products later.

    WHY?

    Because you can learn a TON about what you’re doing by the ads that Google serves to your site.

    The types of offers that GOOGLE is making to your audience based on your content is like free consulting. There’s a lot to be learned from this if you pay attention.

    Also, Google adsense stats are a great way to track more useful information about which pages really are generating a response from your audience.

    If they’ll click an ad chances are they’ll buy a similar product too.

  2. I certainly was going for a couple of years before I tentatively put an e-book on there. I was glad I did and so I wished I did earlier.

    I another idea is to just put a PayPal Buy button on there for whatever, $50, and say for half an hour’s consulting click here to book a Skype session. It’ll take you 5 minutes. If it works great; if it doesn’t at least you know that you need to hone your message.

    • Rob,
      What happened after you put your e-book out there? I’ve been stuck in “should I do an e-book?” land for 6 months. The argument against is as a SAHM I have -0- time so writing an ebook means less content/content marketing/comment responses while I put my meager amt. of time into an e-book. The argument FOR the e-book is hopefully your response to my question. Cheer :)
      Alexis

      • Alexis, I am a work at home mom and my ebooks is how I earn my living. Do it, even if to test the waters.

  3. I think the biggest argument about monetizing early is that the nature of ads is that they send traffic away from your site. Which in the beginning when every visitor is important can severely slow the growth of your blog which would have actually generated more money had you focused more on growth early on.

  4. I’ve been running adsense and the Amazon affiliate program since I started my blog 8 months ago, the results aren’t noteworthy, but at least I learned to use them.

    Now I’m trying to get more traffic and sell my own ebook.

    Monetizing is the easy part, getting a meaningful income (and by that I mean at least 100 dollars a month) takes a lot of time/work/luck.

    Thanks for the article.

  5. I’m a newbie blogger and monetizing my blog is on my list of things I want to achieve. I guess I want to build my community and make it a loyal base before I start advertising but it makes sense to start now like a shop would with their products. Thank you for the post.

  6. I’ve started to monetize several months after starting the blog, almost since the very beginning. And you’re right, Darren, it really can teach a lot as it’s a valuable experience.

  7. Hi Darren, I don’t think the shop analogy quite works. People expect to pay for things in a shop. There is zero expectation to get anything for free. Also a shop has a lot of overheads that need covering, whereas a blog has very little.

    I think it’s a good idea not to monetise right away. You usually don’t make anything anyway as you have little traffic or reputation. I still think it’s generally a good idea to just build up traffic and reputation before worrying about making money.

    My blog is about giving free information to affiliate marketers. I gradually phased in a few affiliate products that I also personally recommend, after a few months. These were in the form of blog posts. I also took the opportunity to publicise the affiliate programs of my hypnotherapy sites.

    A few month later I added some spots for banner sales. I added some banners to some of my affiliate programs, and some of the same affiliate products.

    I am just gradually monetising my blog as my traffic improves. I have not yet bothered with Google Adsense, and my blog has been going for a year and a half now. I don’t know why, but I don’t really fancy it. I think I would rather keep the integrity of my blog and attract more banner advertising in the future.

  8. My current blog has only been up for about 6 weeks and I started to monetize from the start. I signed up for two affiliate programs from companies that I already used on a regular basis. My blog is all about sewing and I was linking to the patterns I used anyway, so I signed up for the affiliate programs. I didn’t expect to make anything for a few months at least, but I was pleasantly surprised to have already made $3.00. It’s not much but when your not expecting anything, $3.00 is pretty awesome. It’s like finding money you didn’t know you had in the pocket of an old coat.

    • How exciting! Just the idea of making online money seems quite thrilling, I guess you never forget your first $3! ;-)
      I have been blogging for 4 weeks now and have been wondering abut this. So thanks for the blog

  9. Great article, Darren. Matt’s been trying to get me onto Amazon Affiliates for a while now – it’s starting to sink in. I think it’s a really salient point about working out what your blog strategy is, then leveraging whatever monetisation you need to get you there. There’s no one size fits all solution. Thanks! K

  10. I started monetizing through cash gifting 4 years ago but I really turned it up with Adsense a few months back. I was unaware of Adsense, believe it or not, and I too had weird blocks around it.

    I see many commentors from my recent guest posts afraid to monetize. They do not want to turn off their traffic. Well, on a subconscious level, people will head for the hills if they see you are afraid to sell, or monetize. Start from Day 1. Believe in your content.

    The offline store owner analogy is perfect Darren, thanks!

    Ryan

  11. Hm, I monetize my first blog from the start, but in other blog I was waiting for traffic.

  12. Right on, Darren. Blogs should be monetized early and you need to collect emails from day one.

  13. Hello everyone, I think it’s best to build first then monetize your blogs because first of all how will you generate any income if you don’t have traffic right?

    Building an audience is one of the first things you need to do in order to make it work. I for one don’t like having tons of ads all over my blog because if you have no visitors what’s the point right?

    Thanks so much for a great read…..

  14. I made the mistake of not having ads on my site. I say it is a mistake because I had a post go kind of viral (120,000+ views and a Lifehacker republish) and at the time I didn’t have ads.

    I just switched over to WordPress recently (yeah, I know), so I am in the process of making sure I have a few ads up incase I get a lot of traffic again. You just never know when it’ll happen, and it’s good to have them up just in case. I guess it’s like insurance.

    One last thing: Google Adsense is a pain in the behind to set up on WordPress for me, so I went another route. I must have something setup incorrectly because the ad code from Google adsense kept showing my 404 page. I used another service, Chitika (thanks for that, and by the way, your ref link is broken), and I am all set up now.

  15. Thanks for this! My blog is less than 2 months old, but I’d like a little income from it so I’m using an agency called http://www.nuffnang.com.au/ which is for bloggers in the south pacific region. So far so great! Not earning much yet of course, but traffic is picking up slowly.

  16. Interesting. I was listening to the SiteSell people, and they say get the traffic. Well, it seems I’ve never really ‘gotten’ the traffic, and I’ve had an active blog since March 2010!

    But you know… I’m getting really tired of it. It needs to make me some money… really.

    Early on I had Amazon ads, and once in awhile would push something I made, did or was selling on eBay or Amazon. And I still do an affiliate link like for HostGator once in awhile. Because someone I thought was an expert told me not to put any ads on my site yet. Thank you, Darren,…. I’m going to go out there and start collecting the best affiliate links I can… put them on my site… until I get around to making an ebook etc. Great idea!

  17. I always thought it should of been done at the start that way they are not surprised .I was always afraid if you wait they start to think that are making money of them and not giving them content

  18. I think it should be done after 5-6 months. It doesn’t make any sense to start monetizing from the start.

  19. I actually started monetizing my first blog early on with affiliate links and AdSense. However, these days when I build a new blog, I do not monetize it until I have at least a few hundred UV a day. I guess when I had first started, I really wanted to see if I could actually make money with my blog. But now that I know its possible, I like to establish the blog first, then monetize it.

  20. I just built my first blog about 3 weeks ago and I added in Adsense few days ago. I started the blog by writing about 20 articles first before I start doing marketing to attract reader. It is only after I am seeeing some readers are coming through and reading my articles then I put up an Adsense ads banner to see how it go.

    I am still experimenting this monetization mode now and I guess it will be better to start small ads to avoid turn off the visitors.

  21. Hi Darren,

    For affiliate blogs, I monetized them from the day #1. However, I monetized my Adsense sites after they had at least 30 UV a day.

  22. I am lucky enough to been daily visitors of problogger.net and several other blogs of same level. Result is that when I start my own blog I have clear concept of how to do blogging professionally. That is why right now I don’t have any big blogging regret. I monetized my blog from the day one and managed my email subscribers list from the very beginning. That is why I just have to focus on contents quality and SEO. thanks to all blogging pros for profusely guiding the newbies most of the time without any cost

  23. If I had a chance to start a new blog, I’d start monetizing it from the first day, right after publishing some posts.

    I’d like to monetize that new blog using affliate marketing, as it would work great.

    I won’t like to use adsense or and CPC on new blog, Since it wont work well.

    Regards

  24. Hello Darren…
    I starts my first blog few months ago.Initially i was thinking,It’s too early for monetizing a blog.First thing I have to do is start getting traffic.But Now I feel its better for start monetizing my blog.It is an awesome feeling to see my own earned first dollar via adds through my blog.Ya now I realize that there is no too early for start monetizing a blog.

  25. This is a question that I have been asking for a long time! I’m so glad you addressed it here. I didn’t start my blog with the intention to monetize because I wasn’t sure if blogging would be something I would even enjoy. Now that I know how much I love blogging, I do want to monetize. I am transitioning my blog from one platform to another and will have my advertising up once the new site goes live. Thanks for addressing this question in such a simple way.

    ~ Ferly
    Gifts We Use {to grow, love and serve}

  26. I started monetizing right away and spent the first year trying out various things with my blog. I was surprised that the best thing for my blog wasn’t to copy what everyone in my niche was doing – once I found my own monetizing plan, making money became easy.

    Keep the Tail Wagging was developed during a program called The Challenge offered Fall/Winter 2011 and I was earning a small amount within the first 2 weeks of the program. I’m pretty impressed by bloggers who are making $15k a month on blogs; this is my goal – it may be unrealistic to some, but what does it hurt to dream big?

  27. I monetized from day 1. But I wish I had also collected emails from the get go.

  28. I monetize my blog using Google AdSense, although I’ve been thinking about publishing an e-book.

  29. I think the only difference I find from the examples above with blogging is that it does not matter if you monetize it at day 1 or not since blog works as an information source and what it makes it difficult having your blog monetize is that you may be out of focus when you do both blogging and monetizing at the same time. Building your traffic is way more valuable then you could start focusing monetizing right after.

  30. I agree with monetizing early and collecting emails.

    Plus, if you try out different affiliate products you can determine what fits with your audience. Then proceed with creating your own version of that product.

  31. My blog will be 4 years old in December. At first I signed up for Adsense but it really didn’t give me alot of income especially since the readership was low at the start. I now have about 4 advertisers and I do get contacted by companies for link ads and to promote events/items. Sometimes they want you to do it for free but I feel you need to stand up for yourself and advise of your rates, if they do not want to pay, move on. Someone else will see the value in what you can give them and pay your fees. I also have pretty good numbers on twitter, pinterest and facebook so also promoting on social media is good for the company as well. I am big however on making sure the ads are relative to my blog as I do receive emails from companies that I do not feel are a great fit. I want to make money with the site but I also want to be particular with whom I select to advertise on my site. I do not want to lose readers for using ad’s that seem like I am just taking the payment for them with no regard for the topics.

  32. It depends on the website actually. I believe that the webmaster must decide on monetization strategy BEFORE building the website and he must know how he will make money from particular website. This way, there is no reason not to monetize your blog upfront.

  33. This is a very good question. I think one should wait for some time before monetisation. It looks cheap to have adsense plastered all over the website with no decent traffic. I think only when you start getting 1000 visitors a day then its a good idea to start putting some ads.

  34. I started monetizing about a year into blogging with direct ads then I had a post reprinted in a textbook and then I started accepting sponsored posts only recently have I ventured into the realm of adsense and so far i am only weeks into that and am very pleased with the outcome so far
    the site was over three years before I even thought about trying adsense as i wanted to ensure quality content

  35. So I have started a new blog and opted to put some ads on it from the word go – so as not to shock people later. I am in the process of developing ideas for another website and creating an ebook or two – but it all takes time, which I wish I had more of!

  36. I started monetizing my first blog after almost one year of its creation and that was through Adsense. But I think if a blog is about selling products, then it has to get monetized right from the day it is alive.

  37. I am still a newbie who is trying to find out what and how to do these things.

  38. i had put ads from chittika and infolinks right from the day i had a reasonable traffic but i still am unable to find any earning….
    will you please suggest what can i do to earn whatever possible??

  39. I completely agree! It’s never too early to start monetizing, although one should be careful to provide great content first and foremost. I see so many newbies who are just in it for the money slapping ads and links all over their site. People can see right through that and your traffic will suffer.

  40. Darren: I remember listening to a recording of a webinar you held once about monetizing blogs. Something you said was, “I want my readers to know that this is a business as well.”

    Those words have stuck with me ever since. I’m monetizing with Google Adsense and the Amazon Affiliate program at the moment, and I’m only getting a little bit. That’s not the point, it’s just there to show my readers that I’m planning on making money! I don’t want to just surprise them one day with ads on the sidebar and all these books I’m trying to commission – I’d rather have them all there from the start.

    So I agree that it’s never too early, though I think that some people ‘rush’ into it. You may think that’s a contradiction, I’ll explain:

    A lot of people starting out blogging will focus their time on getting Adsense sorted out. Why Adsense? It’s the most common, most talked about PPC platform. They spend time on this and then complain that they’re not earning anything. I wonder why? Content is always the most important, I suppose if you’ve started your blog and know that your content has been produced to the best of your ability – then sure, monetize. Otherwise, maybe let it sit there without focusing on the logistics and conversion rate.

    Just my thoughts.

    Thanks Darren!

  41. For me, I monetize my blog from day 1, even though the income is negligible and lots of fine-tuning along the way but I find that it is worth the while and can really learn a lot just by doing it.

    Cheers!

  42. for me it all depends on what you need to achieve. I you just starting a blog to get expose and learn how to write then monetizing your blog is not that important at that moment, unless you need to make money online then start monetizing it the first day it get online. No time to waste. We don’t have to wait until it get perfect to Act, that’s what internet world is all about.

    All the best to all of you.

  43. i put Adsense after 3 months, or about 1000 pageviews per day.

  44. Whether you monitize from day one or not is a somewhat personal thing. Some people just don’t feel comfortable with it at first.

    The most important thing though is to have name capture on your site so you can start the all important list building. To have visitors to your site and not try to get their email is the waste of a prospect.

    Mel

  45. I’ve been running my SEO tips blog for about 3 years and now I earn most of my income from it. If I’ve learnt anything about monetizing it is to try many things and see what works. Then do the ones that work more.

    I now earn income from a membership paywall, ebook and paperback sales, affiliates and reselling SEO leads to agencies. The main thing is to keep going and in time it should work.

  46. I started my blog and your monetize tips is useful to me :D

  47. Good article and very refreshing too. I totally accept what you have said, either make money or dont try it. My question is why does google make us wait for 6 months before accepting or rejecting adsense application.

  48. This is may first visit here in commenting . I read all comments here on is saying that Adsense giving him 1000 page page views per day its amazing but how is possible ? can you tell me Mr. lokersumut?
    I am working with my blog past 3 years hardly i got 8000 pageviewers . and you saying that within 3 months getting 1000 pageviewer per day ….any suggestion for me ? can you share with me ?

    • Hi Kailash.

      Yes, my 3-months blog give me 1000 pageviews per day. My blog niche is jobsboard. Actually, there are tons of job seekers in my country. :)

  49. In my opinion a shop cannot be compared to a blog. A customer expects products in a shop. A reader is often searching for information.
    As a newbie blogger of course I want to monetize early- but there ‘s nothing what I hate more than new blogs cluttered with ads!
    So, I will monetize early, but very soft. Only textlinks here and there to an affiliate program or a little bit adsense, thats it.

  50. after reading the comments that followed, i think that there is no harm in placing the ads as soon as you develop your website.
    But the problem is that until you get a reasonable traffic, it is not any worth to have your ads get placed.
    nice string of comments to read indeed!