Sunday, December 19, 2010


The biggest blog mistake I ever made was monetizing my blog too early. I slapped on a whole variety of affiliate banners and ads on top of the maximum number of Adsense units. Each of these ads were strategically placed and demanded visual attention from any visitor that wandered onto my blog.
The worst part of it was that I actually set up pop-ups for another blog because I was getting 15,000 page views a day and I wanted to desperately monetize it.
The earnings were certainly nice but I’m quite sure it definitely affected my readership negatively. Needless to say, I ended my brief flirtation with aggressive advertising pretty soon.
As I’ve started blogging and reading more blogs, I gradually came to realize that monetization shouldn’t be the main factor when you are trying to build an authority blog in any specific niche. Developing trust, readership and traffic through effective branding and strong content should be of primary importance.
I finally broke up with Adsense last week as well..
I’ve been using Adsense on Reefer Ideas since Day one. We’ve shared a close relationship for four months but a week ago, I finally mustered enough bravo to dump Adsense and remove all ads on this blog.
Why? Because she was simply not earning me enough money to warrant any continued placement.
I had two options, either go all out for Adsense optimization or remove the ads and direct all focus purely to the content. Going all out meant replacing my cute little pictures with the ugly Adsense square unit at the top of each post.
I chose the latter option and gradually removed most of the ads until I only had a few Adsense units left at several weak locations. This made me a few dollars a day and I eventually decided to eliminate all of them because she was becoming an eyesore.
It was refreshing to be separated from Adsense, whom I’ve been together since forever. All my blogs have used Adsense as a monetization tool and being free of it for Reefer Ideas was really liberating. This also allowed me to more accurately test the potential of other monetization strategies like affiliate programs.
This doesn’t mean I won’t have any more randy trysts with other ad networks in the future, just that I’ll definitely be more picky when it comes to renting out advertising space on Reefer Ideas.
Benefits of not Monetizing Early
While intentionally withdrawing from monetization might lose you a few dollars a day, the advantages of doing so far outweigh the loss in monetary benefits. Not monetizing at an early stage allows you to:
  • Place stronger visual and mental emphasis on your content, which ultimately determines the size of your reader base.
  • Maximize the real estate on your blog. You can use the best spots allocated for ads to display your popular posts, social widgets or other material.
  • Develop a unique and strong design for your blog. Without the necessity of blending ads on a website, you can focus on creating a strong blog design and template that draws attention.
  • Stress the importance of visitor satisfaction and demonstrate your emphasis of adding value to a reader over profit motives. This possibly increases the objectivity or weight of your opinions.
  • Increase your potential for getting incoming links. Bloggers are less inclined to link to a website that’s plastered with ads and all types of junk.
  • Optimize your website for social networks. This is especially important when you promote linkbaits on social websites like Digg and Reddit. For example, an ad-free blog with a strong design is definitely more attractive to StumbleUpon users who are not looking for specific material.
  • Retain search engine traffic. When most search engine visitors arrive at your website looking for specific information, you have a chance to retain them as a future reader when your blog appeals to them both through your content and visual design.
Monetizing from the Beginning – A Good Idea?
Some have suggested that monetizing your blog from the onset allows your readers to be accustomed to ads right from the beginning.
By exposing the reader early on, it builds their tolerance for advertising and reduces the likelihood of creating nasty surprises that come in the form of unsightly ads.
Here is the main reason why I think this reasoning is flawed:
  • New visitors arrive at your blog everyday – As more content is developed and optimized, you’ll see more search engine visitors who have never been to your blog before. Visitors will also arrive at your blog through links on other blogs and websites. All these visitors are ‘untapped’ or not familiarized with the advertising on your blog. As we all know, first impressions are important.
This doesn’t mean however, that you shouldn’t monetize your blog. You should, but optimum results will only be achieved when you’ve built up a large reader base or developed a strong daily traffic ratio.
When should I start to Monetize my Blog?
There isn’t a definite time frame because this will depend on the level of traffic your blog receives. A good guideline would be to ask if your blog currently receives enough traffic to make putting ads up worth the effort and space.
Of course, you’ll have to define the idea of profitability. Will you be happy with making a few dollars a day? Or do you want to aim for more traffic and readership before fully monetizing?
This also depends on your blogging objectives. Is your goal to make money through blogging by any means necessary? Or do you aim to leverage the exposure that blogging brings to promote your brand/business/service?
Long term vs. Short term Monetization
Are you building a flagship blog and planning to make an authority in your niche? Or is your blog just part of many others in your arsenal? You have two options: focusing on one blog and making it the main profit generator or creating many blogs to diversify your earning options.
Branding and content is obviously two of the main things you need to emphasis over monetization, if you aim to create one strong blog that serves as a base for all your future earnings.
Long term monetization really means drawing in readers like bees to a honey comb and only after you’ve captured their attention, monetize them through gradual, targeted advertising. Don’t underestimate the power of affiliate links when your recommendation reaches thousands daily.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tip. I've only recently begun monetizing my blog, and I'm actually not sure if I'm doing it correctly.