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Is Advertising Revenue Dead as a Blogging Income Stream?

Earlier in the week I observed a conversation between two Internet marketing bloggers on Twitter which grabbed my attention.

The topic of conversation? Monetizing blogs by selling advertising directly to advertisers.

Their conclusion on the topic? It’s a dead and obsolete method of making money.

It was a fascinating conversation to observe. They gave some solid-sounding reasons for their conclusions, including:

  1. There’s been a decrease in the budgets that companies are putting into marketing (due to the economy).
  2. There’s much more money to be made in selling your own products and services.
  3. Advertising, by its very nature, sends people away from your blog, to advertisers’ sites.
  4. Online banner ads don’t convert and just distract people from what you are on about.
  5. Selling ads directly to advertisers takes too much time and administration.

As I watched the conversation unfold I found myself agreeing with some of these points, however I also wondered if they might also be writing off an income stream that need not be mutually exclusive to other forms of income.

In my own experience of making money online, advertising has always been a part of my income mix. In the early days, it made up 95% of that mix (too much, to my mind), but even today it remains an important element for me. (Advertising made up around 24% of my income in December if you include direct ad sales and ad network income.)

Let me explain the reasons why I think it’s worthwhile to keep advertising in your mix.

The economy: rebounding more strongly for online advertising?

In talking to a number of bloggers who rely heavily upon advertising revenue, I would agree with the assessment that in many niches there seems to have been a contraction in the amounts companies are spending on their advertising. However I do know of bloggers who have seen an increase in spending in some niches.

Also, as we see the economy improve, I suspect we’ll see money return to advertising budgets—particularly in the online space. Companies are realizing the potential of online media to reach target audiences and get conversions. I suspect we’ll see online advertising bounce back bigger than it was before the Global Financial Crisis.

Your own products and services

I completely agree that bloggers should be looking at ways of developing their own products and services. I’ve written about how I’ve done this myself on numerous occasions over the couple of years, however I do think it’s possible to do this in conjunction with running advertisements on your blog.

In my own experience of blogging—particularly on Digital Photography School—I’ve found there’s a limit to how many of your own product/s you can promote on your blog.

While we sometimes talk about the “ad blindness” of readers to the advertising we run, I suspect the same can be said about blindness to your own products. If all you ever do is promote your own products, readers can switch off from those messages. Mixing things up with other people’s messages (whether they’re advertising or affiliate promotions) can actually keep things fresh (to some point).

Get creative with what you offer advertisers

I also think there’s a variety of other creative ways to weave advertising into what you do as a blogger—without just slapping banner ads everywhere. For example, a couple of things we’ve experimented with offering advertisers on dPS include:

  • Sponsored competitions: here, an advertiser sponsors a competition on your blog. They provide a prize, you highlight their products, and you earn income for giving them that publicity
  • Newsletter advertising: one of the surprises to me in the last year is that we’ve found advertisers willing to pay more for ads in our newsletters than for banner ads
  • Sponsored content: by this I don’t mean that we sell space on our blog for companies to actually write their own content—or even for us to review their posts. Rather what we’re exploring with companies is to have them sponsor particular posts. For example, a company might sponsor a series of posts on a topic related to its industry. They’d have no influence on the actual content—they’d simply be mentioned in the intro to the post as the sponsor of that post.

The above options just scratch the surface of what can be offered to an advertiser—particularly as part of a bundle of sponsorship opportunities.

What I’ve found is that when an advertiser buys multiple points of presence on a blog, rather than just a CPM banner ad, they’re much more likely to get conversions, and renew as an ongoing advertiser.

Is advertising revenue still in your income mix?

I’d be interested to hear if ad revenue is a focus for you. Whether you’re using an ad network like AdSense, or you directly sell ads or sponsorships, do you focus upon 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 and LinkedIn.
  1. Hi Darren,

    I get a slight twitch every time I hear that something is “dead”. Nothing ever dies, it just evolves. Like you said, get creative…change your offer…beat the streets. There are tons of ways to monetize and you just have to try them to see what works.

    • Terrific topic, Darren, and one that has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

      Brian, your words “Tons of ways to monetize” really sparked my attention. Please, tell me, what are they?! I say that with genuine interest–it’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for some time. I want to start generating money from my blog but I don’t want to muddy up the design or mess with the great relationship I have with my loyal readers. Plus, as a small blog, can you make enough from ads to justify the amount of administrative work it takes?

      Some of the alternatives seem like a slippery slope–Sponsored Content, especially. If an advertiser sponsors a post, isn’t that an advertorial? Plus, as a reader it’s one thing to have all the ads in a sidebar where you can ignore them if you wish, but if they are integrated in the content doesn’t it change the whole tone of the blog?

      In any case, it’s wonderful to have this discussion and get some new ideas. Thanks, Darren.

      • Hi Doreen,

        You have a very nice looking blog! Well done. I understand your concerns about harming your relationship with your readers and “muddying” up the design of your blog but life is all about trade-offs. If you truly want to make money from your blog, you might need to make a few trade-offs. While a solid relationship with your readers is essential, you also need to realize that selling on your blog is o.k.

        You put in a ton of effort to produce content your readers will enjoy and value. It is o.k. to have an ad or an affiliate link on your blog. I agree that sponsored content can be a slippery slope, I think the main rule to keep in mind is to think to yourself – “Will my readers get value and enjoy this product?” If you genuinely believe they will, there is nothing wrong will writing a post to promote the product or having an ad in your sidebar.

        As far as justifying administrative work vs. ad income, that is totally up to you. Approach some companies that you like and that will be a fit for your readers. Ask if they would like to advertise on your blog. Then weigh the pros and cons. Most of the work is in acquiring new advertisers but once you have them there really isn’t a ton of admin work to do.

        When you are first looking to monetize your blog it can be a scary situation b/c it is new and sometimes it is hard to see the value you provide – the curse of knowledge, so to speak. I checked out your blog, you provide great value!

        You may want to consider moving to a self hosted blog though.While your blogspot blog looks great, it is limited in what it can do and you don’t own the asset, Blogspot does! If you were to build your own WordPress blog on your own domain, you would then own the asset and could sell it down the road if you wanted to. Even if you would never consider seling it, you shouldn’t monetize your blog until you have your own self-hosted one.You do not want to have to answer to blogspot after you have committed to advertisers or any form of monetization – you need complete control. I can help you with that if you like. Contact me via my blog (click on my name in this reply)

        I hope this reply has been helpful. We can chat more if you like, just contact me.

        Thanks again Darren, this is a great community! Nice to meet you Doreen!

  2. Funny that this appears today, because just yesterday on twitter I was talking about the number game.
    As a small blog ( under the 1000 hits a day)- I dont see a use for advertisers in the traditional sense.

    I have worked with companies and brands though, and have been paid to include, review, and host contests for me these little ways have helped me pay for the cost of my blog ( for me blogging is very much a hobby at this point).

    As I think of taking my lil blog to the next level though advertising is on my mind as one income source. I am thinking though it also depends on the niche and what you are trying to get across and if you want them leaving or reading.

  3. Banners are still the center of my income mix – Banners mean a good separation of content from advertising, making the site more clean to readers. Yes, they can become blind to some ads, and the income may be lower, but the writer’s integrity is higher.

  4. I offer my own services just for this reason..a service to a company never dies because they always need..they don’t need to advertise on your site..just don’t..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  5. For any niche web property, I think advertising is alive and well (and it’s doing just fine for me). I’m not sure how that is reflected on the ad market as a whole, however. But I think advertising is a viable income stream for many sites if you’re tapping into the right clients and vertical networks (and have good traffic, of course). That said, you’re right – the outside the box options are definitely where the real money is at.

  6. I think that AdSense is still one of the best methods to monetize your blog. Second place goes to affiliate marketing and the third place would go to sponsors. But you have to have a blog that is quite popular and get a lot of traffic in order to attract good advertisers, so for small bloggers, I think that Adsense is still the best choice for monetization.

    And I’m very into these Sponsored competitions. This can be a great way to make some money but you can also gain more subscribers and increase your traffic. I always love to participate in competitions on blogs, so I guess this is a great move :)

  7. I work with small, offline businesses and I disagree that selling advertising is dead. I do agree that it should be part of a mix and not mutually exclusive of other forms of income on your blog.

    If you have the traffic to substantiate selling advertising, it’s still a great way to generate revenue and there are a few WordPress plugins that make the administrative part of it a breeze.

    While budgets are tight, more companies offline are realizing that by simply transferring a portion of their offline marketing budget (i.e. yellow page or newspaper ads) to the web, they can have far more reach for the same dollar.

  8. Hi Darren,

    In my case I just got tired of making 3 dollars a day with AdSense so I decided to start my own products.

    They went well but not as well as I’d expected. That made me realize that my niche is not willing to spend much money (my niche is a “save for later niche”) So I turned to private selling of advertising spots. And it seems to be working.

    Niche related services and products can be interesting because, at some point, they can be the objective of those $$$ saved by my readership. They may not need my ebook now, but they will need a bank, or a telephone company or some other thing…

    I’m working on it and I think a mix of all of the above may be the right thing to do.

  9. I may be completely wrong about this, but I think the answer to is “it depends on the size of the site.” For a larger site, it will be easier to attract advertisers and therefore less time will be spent to acquire them.

    For smaller sites, and bloggers who still have a fulltime job, I don’t think that focusing on getting ads on your site is the right place to spend your time.

    I’d love to hear others’ takes on this.

    • I agree 100%. Someone with a small blog needs to throw google adsense up and mainly focus on making their blog bigger and better.

    • I think it depends on your niche, not the size of the site.

      I know small blogs in the photography niche that are generating some interesting income with their own products and do not care about AdSense and advertisement. And it’s not a large blog, eh? A 300/500 visitors a day PR4 blog. But… this person has a readership of people willing to spend some money on their hobby once in a while.

      I have a blog in Spanish for 2500 subscribers, and 3 times the visitors this person above has and it’s terribly hard to sell a decent product to my readers if it’s over the 10 dollars mark. And that’s because they are not willing to spend at this time because they feel they must keep that money for their immigration process. So where is the money? In advertising and strategic alliances with them. because they are the ones that will make the profit at some point with their products and services. once all this people come to Canada.

      Just my experience.

      • I think both niche and size can be a factor. Size brings you credibility and the larger clients often. But certain niches may have a tighter community and lower barrier to entry, or higher paying products worth advertsising (more money in the niche in general).

  10. Every day it seems like we get more and more things dying on the internet. Blogs are dead, no wait, it’s article marketing, or was it email lists . . . I forget :-)

    I totally agree that with economic cut backs many companies just aren’t buying ads and “bootstrapping” is THE term of the last few years – but they’ll come back. I also totally agree that bloggers should be exploring new services and products so they can own their own income stream instead of just owning a billboard — a billboard you have to work really hard at. But to me that’s less about sustainability for the blogger and more about value to the reader. Writing for you own brand and products drives you to excellence. Writing to drive traffic to advertisments, affiliate links or simply to boost your pageviews and sell more ads puts the focus on numbers over people.

  11. This is a great summary of the things we’re seeing — tighter budgets, wanting more integrated content, etc.

    I don’t think advertising is dead, but I think it’s changing, and we have to be ready to accommodate those changes. I also think that smaller blogs actually have an advantage here when working with small businesses since they can charge for $25 at a $4 CPM and companies don’t blink but when a larger blog charges $500 at a $1 CPM, companies start to think twice.

    • Awesome points and a great topic! I run a small blog and am also the co-owner of AdBean and we have been trying to break into the blogging world as an alternative to AdSense. As a blogger I “eat my own dog food” by running ads on my blog. I find that when I as the blogger control the advertising, I can create an experience and bring in sponsors who value the advertising much more than an AdNetwork or AdExchange. The world is changing and the more control you have over your advertising “experience” as a blogger, the distraction factor can be easily managed.

  12. By advertise others in my blog, i think i drive traffic away.
    In a small blog this is disaster. In a big blog the revenue is very ephemeral.

    Nice topic

  13. It’s a conversation I’ve seen and heard many times, Darren. I also disagree – around a third of our income is from advertising on our sites, and it increases every month. Most of that advertising income is from our travel blog, and I find businesses are more than happy to switch some of their conventional advertising spend in magazines and newspapers whose circulation is dying, to on line adverts with us.

    The key is to have a balance in your business – in our case, income is from advertising, a membership program, own products and affiliate products. No one area is dominant.

  14. Banners are really good for advertising but for smaller blogs it is very hard to find

  15. Darren,

    I am sure there are some companies that have cut down their advertising budgets. At the same time advertising on the Web seems like the best way to spend the budget dollars that are there.

    After seeing the amount of money that was spent for Superbowl ads. I think there is plenty of advertising money to be found. It is a matter of being creative….like offering ads in your news letters like you suggest.

    Thank you for sharing the fact that your readers have a threshold for your own ads. I had found this to be true in purchasing also. I had a craft business for years. I noticed as a general rule, that there seemed to be a limit on how much a person would spend with you. It was almost as if you could not be rewarded that much.

  16. Yes Darren, Income from advertising plays a major role in revenue from my blogs.

  17. This is still too big of a part of my revenue mix. I am working on some products of my own to shift the balance. While advertising spending on a whole is down, it’s not dead. I’ve actually contacted a few potential sponsors and asked them to sponsor a series of posts about their industry. So far they haven’t said not, but they haven’t said yes either.

    We just have to be creative in what we offer. Sometimes though, it pays to give a long term advertiser something for free! It builds feelings of goodwill with them.

  18. I am not using direct ads on my blog because my audience is still too low, but i think it’s worth a try.

    Apart from the blog I am working on portals where sponsorship is the main revenue. The economic downturn has been proven to be an accelerator to increase online sponsoring activities (+30% year-to-year). It surely depends on your industry, but most of our sponsors are tradicionally working with an imbalanced marketing mix (90% offline – 10% online).

    Budget restrictions make online activties much more sexy (cheaper, 24*7*365, wider reach, adjustable, flexible). Run numbers and compare:

    * organizing an event in an hotel and inviting 100 persons or
    * broadcast the event online – recorded at your office – for anyone willing to assist and publish the recording of the webinar afterwards on the web (made available for your readers & google).

    You can cut cost by 70%+.

    Sure it’s not the same type of activities, nor you can expect the same experience or results, but when your boss is telling you to cut off your budget 50%, offline lose, and online wins.

    The point is doing anything online or doing nothing…

    This is why I actually think advertising is still a huge revenue maker.

  19. I agree 100% that the more traditional methods of online advertising (banners, etc.) are no longer relevant, especially on individual blogs. I think once online advertising has been rethought, advertising will blow back up and become financially beneficial to bloggers and equally beneficial (in terms of discovering new and relevant things) for visitors to your blog.

    If advertising is retooled as less of a traditional “I pay you, you run an ad… whether I’m relevant or you like my product or not!” model… and transitioned into more of a “Hi, I have a blog that is relevant to your product, and I have personally enjoyed your product… let’s do some business together so I can share your wonderful product with my audience.” It sounds all hippy-dippy and peace-love-and-cupcakes… but this way of doing things will be better for all of us as online entrepreneurs and better for our audiences as online consumers.

  20. I’ve seen an emergence of bloggers who are opting for no advertising at all, instead focusing on selling their own products (especially e-books and online courses). On the one hand, I can see the point that if you’ve got customers there, why send them somewhere else to buy?
    But on the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to me to create a product or service from scratch and then try to build an audience around a potential product. I’d much rather have advertising in the mix from the get-go, then see what products and services might organically arise from my blog.
    I don’t want to put all of my eggs in my e-book basket, without knowing whether there is an actual market for it or not. That being the case, I am going to work on developing my own products, but not at the expense of getting rid of ads all together.

  21. Been blogging for a while, and of course, as most bloggers, was hoping to see banners generate the big $$$$ ….
    Never happened …. But ! Something else did, direct coaching, worth miuch more than banners :)
    (Am a financial blogger)
    If I had to start over again, I would focus on cooking (focusing on weight loss) ; Blog and Videos (no banners)
    With a simple offer ; You can hire me :)

    I can think of many other sectors …. I guess you need to focus on something you tuly enjoy.
    Have fun teaching people, then the rest by some magic just takes place :)

  22. Banner adverts have always converted poorly. For me, advertising on blogs certainly isn’t dead, but its time to get a bit smarter. The clever ad programmes are offering far more targeting/re-targeting and are engaging users in different ways (hyperlinks, enaging widgets).

    I dont think AdSense works anymore because i think users have trained themselves to ignore it. Its overly prevelent and often isn;t relevant enough. Ideas like sponsored content and offering sponsorship to certain polls is a clever way to diversify your income. Essentially though advertising needs to remain the core earner for any blog. If you can directly get the advertisers on board, then thats a great way to go obviously!

    • David Nordburg says: 03/31/2011 at 7:49 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Mike. Advertising makes up 43% of my blogs income yet I have seen a downturn in AdSense clicks. HyperLinks sounds interesting, where can i get those?

  23. I am working on a deal now with my first advertiser. I would love to supplement my income with the use of advertisers. I have seen many popular blogs that are earning a serious income from direct ads alone.

  24. A great way to advertise in your blog is by doing reviews in your blog and letting people know about the website link if they would like to know more. People love reviews and trust them more than banners. I decided to take most of my banners off of my page and focus more on content. I don’t always add links to my blog posts, but I do here and there. I think it’s good to not over do it and use links in moderation.

  25. Advertising is still what drives our revenue. We have a mix of Adsense and ads we sell directly. We don’t seek out advertisers – so that saves us time and energy – they come to us.

    I would like to make more money advertising – but we have most of our ad inventory filled so there’s not much more we can squeeze out of the turnip other than to raise prices.

    We tried a product last year – but it didn’t really take off. We make no money from affiliate marketing despite repeatedly trying, so we’ve given that up.

    We will try again those options again soon when our audience is bigger.

    The biggest takeaway we get are the opportunities and doors the blog opens – be it free trips, free stuff, etc. So, it’s more than just making money.

  26. Some people seem to live for proclaiming things to dead, whether it’s e-mail, RSS, or…advertising. My media company runs five different blogs and the mix of revenue from advertising—counting affiliate ads—is anywhere from 40 percent to 100 percent. We’re up significantly in revenue from this time last year and have almost no prime home page inventory left. Budgets are increasing and business is good.

    The key is having ads/products that are a good match. I spend a lot of time on tweaking and testing, not just throwing up CPM banner ads, which indeed are pretty much a waste unless you’re with a really good network.

    If all you do is sell your own products, you sound like a shill. I usually get sick of that and stop reading.

  27. Can’t go against the fact that advertising revenue around the blogosphere is decreasing day by day. It’s very true. But people like me don’t have time to think of more revenue mixes. Yes, I am giving it a thought to provide some services like SEO, Blogger to WordPress migration, but I need to spend a lot of time for it.

    Money from adversting still remains my favorite.

  28. As a new blogger, it is hard to say how I feel about this. It is certainly an interesting conversation, though. I am curious to see how revenue for bloggers changes and develops in coming years.

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. I would like to know when these folks commenting got to a point with traffic that they saw adsense and affiliates start to produce. I’m new to this blogger business model. I started my blog in oct of 2010 and I now get 2000 visits 1300 unique views, and over 6000 page views. With the research I’ve done I feel like I would need to have 500,000 page views to make money with adsense or affiliates. As far as direct advertising goes I feel like that would be something I could sell to a company if I could show them a very targeted audience with my blog.

    I’d love to hear some feed back on traffic and how much is “good”. I know there is no magic number and I realize that less of an audience can be leveraged in effective ways. However, what are some standard traffic stats for a popular blog?

    Thanks for the great post as always.

    Wells Rawls

  30. For people who believe this is a temporary economic slur, it might be worth considering the alternative – maybe advertising on small to medium sized publications is on the fall. While it may be comforting to blame lower ad revenue on a poor economy, that could present a big problem for growth should revenues not return to numbers you’re accustomed to.

    I have no idea if this is an economic issue or not, only throwing out the idea that it might be useful to explore different forms of monetizing your online business, if only for times like this when ad revenues are down.

  31. The whole ‘monetize’ blogs idea has been a bit of a mess. The model seemed to be either content or $..where before content rich sites could make good coin and not be vilified.

    A good content rich site should be able to make good coin from good quality advertising….but that seems harder to achieve these days as so much metrics and page views are involved.

  32. I’m 100% an affiliate marketer, so I don’t use advertising as a means of producing income, even though I can and it would bring some results maybe. :)

  33. I’m a fairly new blogger. I’ve thought of taking my google adsense down multiple times. I’ve only a little over $4 in 5 months of consistent blogging. I really don’t understand how people make a living off their blogs.

  34. Advertising is always going to be a part of creating a source of income and getting your product/name recognized. Although I believe that advertising prices will continue to change, online advertising seems to be the cheapest and most effective. Especially with Facebook advertising that is offered. It is an affordable way to gain readers and customers.

  35. As a food blog, we have been running a FoodBuzz banner ad on our site for a long time. It doesn’t matter that people get “ad blind” as FoodBuzz pays by domestic impression and not clickthrough. That banner ad is the largest piece of the revenue pie for us. We also do Amazon Affiliate sales, but not as aggressively as we could. We have considered selling e-cookbooks but simply don’t have the time to do it within our busy lives. So the income is mostly passive, and for now that’s fine with us.

    I think you have to know your audience to know what kind of monetization will work best on your site. Some people are motivated (or can be motivated) to make purchases on your site, but you have to research what is the maximum they’ll be willing to spend.

  36. Banner advertising has never been a major part of my online income though it has been a significant slice of it. I use it with text link ads, sponsored posts and contests.

    Once the recession is over, online advertising will pick up soon. And with online advertising, banner ads has been a staple of it since the beginning.

  37. I’ve played around with a variety of different channels for advertising revenue, but always end up going back to Adsense.

  38. Advertising is still consider an effective way of earning money,but not an easy job it required a alot of effort and time to bring traffic to your blog.

  39. I still find adsense to be a good income source. I’ve tried selling advertising space on my websites with limited success.

    Are there any good websites to advertise that you have advertising space available on your website?

  40. Selling advertising directly is not something that I have particularly sought to do, but in fact I am regularly being approached by advertisers and is now making up a large proportion of income from my blog.

  41. I only dabbled in paid ads briefly. It always felt wrong for my community. I’m much happier affiliate selling products I hand-pick. I only sell things I personally use and love, and that’s worked well for me — the ‘selling with integrity’ approach.

    I might explore advertising on my email newsletter though, as my audience grows. And I was just approached by a sponsor who wanted to give away a product during one of my webinars. I agree that there’s more opportunity coming up in these sort of creative twists on sponsorship.

  42. Joseph says: 03/25/2011 at 6:03 am

    These are very good tips, Darren. I’m curious, though, about how you get companies to sponsor competitions and content on your blog. Are you approaching companies directly asking them to sponsor you?

  43. My blogs focus in the fashion industry, and while we might be behind on some level, I feel like companies are spending more on social media these in the last year than ever before. They seem to be in a mad rush to get an online presence.

    One thing I do notice is that they aren’t interested in banner ads.. the larger companies anyway, they do their media buys through large sites and large ad networks, but they rarely work with blogs that even get in the 2M impressions per month. When the larger companies do want to work with independent bloggers, it’s more on a content focused basis… and even then the payment amounts are still being worked out… I think Coach did this huge handbag campagin where they got bloggers to design their hand bags and model them the brand manager admitted they made millions of dollars from the campaign at the Lucky Blogger Conference, yet the bloggers only recieved a handbag and a link on the Coach website.

    Yet, I think as bloggers gain influence, that’s all changing! But I don’t see brands wanting to invest in banners to gain online influence in the future. It’s just one component of a whole strategy.

    As far as the future of banner ads… I do see small businesses do work a lot with independent bloggers, only because rarely have the budgets to do anything beyond banner ads and giveaways.

    • sorry for double dipping… but i just wanted to say that i LOVED the idea of doing sponsored posts as a series of a type of posts rather than the actual content. just realized that we’ve been doing that for months with a retailer and it’s worked wonderfully. much better than the sales pitchy sponsored post…

  44. Harrison says: 03/25/2011 at 1:06 pm

    Hey you guys,
    I am writing an ebook and bought how to launch the **** out of your ebook, its great. However i need to know if its ok to put affiliate links in your ebook?


  45. I do have Adsense in some of my niche websites and they are making around $600-$1,000 a month. But I find that compare to the affiliate products I’m promoting or my own products that I’m selling, advertising revenue is only 5-10% of the entire chunk of revenues.

    I’m putting the Adsense up more for the sake of convenience to earn additional revenues when I don’t have the time to think about it. Just wondering, is it easy to approach companies to do advertising on your site?

  46. I think this discussion assumes that you’re a individual blogger, just making your way out there in the world. Most larger outlets (which are still considered blogs, e.g. Mashable, Techcrunch, ICanHazCheezburger, etc.) still make the vast majority of their income through advertising revenue (and events).

    Doesn’t that difference play into this discussion?

  47. Advertising is absolutely fine but it is essential to keep the line clear between advertising and editorial.

    The sponsored post idea is a bad one as it blurs this important line. Even if everything is completely above board, i.e. the sponsor has no say in what the content will be the writer will still be aware of the deal. If, say the writer wants to rip into Nikon but knows that Nikon will sponsor the post will they still do so? Even if the answer is no the reader could reasonably assume this to be the case and the trust relationship between reader and writer is, at that point, gone.

    This is not a new discussion and the discussion is coming down on the no side of the sponsored post argument and for good reason. IANAL but I am pretty certain that there are legal ramifications to this approach in some countries.

  48. I agree with you to a point Darren, but I think it depends on your niche as well. Mine is solely service related. I find the public service ads of adsense get more attention that my ads for Amazon. I am in the process of creating a product to sell but because of my niche, I’m not too sure about that either.

  49. Hey, great article, making your web site optimized for the search engines is so important nowadays to even get on top with your specific keywords.

    It took us about 6 months when we first started out to get a grasp on what we were doing. Now everything is smooth and we are doing so good! Keep at it and making your websites better and they give you an awesome return in the future!

    Thanks, The Hell Brothers

  50. This has given me some food for thought – I do have one direct advertiser that pays for a few coffees every month but that took a personal introduction to establish it and was hard work to negotiate at the beginning. The other ads that I carry (adsense and burstmedia) probably won’t provide me with a payout in the next 12 months – my readers just *don’t* click on ads… so I’m thinking about abandoning them altogether. I’m sure that the vast majority of bloggers who have good, well-written content but moderate visitor numbers are in exactly the same boat as me.

    I just wish there was a directory somewhere where you could actively seek direct advertising opportunities – as it stands at the moment I have no idea where to start to find another relationship :/

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…