To Advertise or not to Advertise

…That is the Question.

So how do you feel about advertising on blogs?

…and in particular on craft related blogs.

Advertise on Scraps of MindFor many people this is a topic that can generate some strong feelings.

From a ‘purist’ point of view you might say that if you are writing about the topic that you love then there should be no need to contaminate it with commercialism. That advertising on blogs is crass and annoying.

And from another perspective you might feel that as a person who puts a lot of effort into creating and maintaining your blog for the pleasure of other people it is not unreasonable that you should be able to generate an income stream from it.

I can certainly see the validity of both points of view.

However, if you are reading this article you can see the advertisements in my side bar so you will know that I belong in the second camp.

So how much Advertising is too much?

I do feel though that many blogs don’t appear to give much thought to the advertising that they carry.

Frankly, I think that advertising can be of benefit to your readers, if handled properly. It can provide a useful service by offering them opportunities to view products and services of interest to them that they may never have had the opportunity to know about otherwise.

But there is definitely a line between providing a useful service and beating your readers over the head with the advertising stick.

Oh, and don’t forget, hosting blinkies and banners for friends is also advertising. Just because you don’t get any payment from them doesn’t mean they are not ads.

So with all that in mind, and because there are very few craft related blogs that do not carry advertising of some sort, even if it is for non-moneymaking purposes, I thought it would be good to take a look at the different types of advertising that is available and how you might integrate it into your blog.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll look at some of the advertising options that you might like to consider if you are a blog owner.

Please remember that less is often more. Too much advertising on your blog will create ‘ad blindness’ in your readers and they will simply switch off and not look at any of your advertising options, much less click on them.

If you are going to have advertising on your blog I think you should be conscious of the need for balance. After all your readers come to your blog for it’s content, not for the ads. So make sure that your advertising doesn’t overshadow your content. It’s important to make their visit worthwhile

Direct Advertising

First and foremost let’s take a look at Direct Advertising.

This is where you have a direct business relationship with your advertisers rather than with a broker or an ad network (we’ll take a look at those next week). Financially it benefits both parties as you have cut out the middle-man. But it’s more difficult to establish.

The first thing you should do is let people know that you are happy to take ads on your blog. Let them know what sort of ads you will host and what the cost and arrangements are and make it easy for them to place an ad.

You can see what I mean by looking at my Advertise Page in the navigation bar at the top of the screen, where all the different packages that I offer on Scraps of Mind are set out as well as the terms of purchase.

I also have a button or link for each advertising option that will take an interested advertiser directly to PayPal where they can easily and securely purchase. I find using PayPal also makes it easy for advertisers to stop their advertising campaign whenever they want to by stopping the subscription in PayPal.

Sounds ideal doesn’t it?

The hard part of direct advertising is to get out there and sell your blog to advertisers as a place for them to spend their advertising dollar. I have to admit that I am not at all good at this. And I know that it is something that I should do more of.

Affiliate Advertising

Many on-line stores and products offer affiliate programs to their members. In fact my Step by Step Digital Scrapbook Program offers an affiliate program.

This is where you are assigned a special link that identifies your account to the product owner. You can then promote the product or site on your blog using this link, and if your readers click through to the product site and choose to make a purchase, you will be given a commission. Commissions can vary from as low as 2-3% to as high as 70+% depending on the product or the program.

Scrap Girls: Making it SIMPLE for YOU to become a great digital scrapbooker
Typically speaking, most bloggers who sign up to be affiliates for a product or store  just put a banner in their side bar and forget about it. To be honest, this is very unlikely to make you any money.

If you really want to be an affiliate for a product then you need to promote it. And to my mind, you need to be a user of the product to promote it properly. For example, I am an affiliate for Scrap Girls. I really like their products and use them on many of my scrapbook layouts. This means I can show readers how good their products look by showing scrapbook layouts I have made with Scrap Girls products. I have also written articles about them which adds to the promotion.

Now in my view, sincerity pays off big time here. If you really do believe in the value of something you are promoting then it should be apparent to your readers. So don’t make the mistake of trying to hype something up when you don’t actually use it yourself. Don’t forget your reputation with your readers is your most valuable asset.

I am also an affiliate of Yaro Starak’s Blog Mastermind Program. As a graduate of the program myself I have a lot of confidence in promoting it to my readers because I know how valuable it was for me. So I know that anyone I send there won’t be disappointed.

But Wait…There’s More

When I started this article I discovered that there was far too much on this topic for me to squash into a single post so I will be completing this in a follow-up article next week. We’ll take a look at the ad brokers and the ad networks.

Meanwhile, how do you feel about ads on craft blogs?

Do you see them as part and parcel of the overall Internet experience or are you violently against them?

And where to you draw the line? Do you host banners and blinkies for friends and favourite web sites on your blog?

Over to you. What are your views on advertising?

Other Related Articles:

Get a Traffic Rush to your Blog with StumbleUpon

The Return of Blog Mastermind

4 Tips to Make your Blog Interesting

Click here to watch The Conversion Blogging Video


15 Responses to To Advertise or not to Advertise

  1. Laura Kelly March 20, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    I have never felt overwhelmed by advertising on a site. I usually give them a quick once over and sometimes I find a great link to check out. Since so many in digital scrapping are giving things away for free, I am glad to see that they have some financial help with their blogs. There is no way I can donate to everyone. Every single website I visit, not just digital, has advertising and I’ve gotten used to it. m
    Maybe I’m different than a lot of folks but I think if you can actually make some money by advertising then do so.

  2. karooch March 20, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Thanks for the support Laura

  3. Medical Records March 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    To allow advertisement to appear on our blog is definitely a good way to earn money. However, if it is done excessively, it will disrupt our visitors’ view upon our blog. They will think that we are just too greedy to make money and might pull off their interest from keep following our blog. Just my 2 cents. Cheers!

  4. Ana March 21, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    In the end it’s the blog of the blogger and just the blogger should decide how much ads he/she wants to run on the blog. I don’t care about too many ads but run an ad blocker for google ads anyway for faster loading.

  5. Hayley G March 21, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    Hello from Canada!
    Great Article. Most of the time ads don’t bother me at all, sometimes they are even helpful especially if they are content related to the blog I’m reading. The only adverts I have on my blog are by way of blinkies, and links to online shopping that I like or recommend. Other than that, I just highlight things of interest to myself that maybe my friends and readers may want to check out.

  6. karooch March 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    I absolutely agree that making your blog worthwhile for the reader is first and foremost most important Medical Records. If you don’t look after your readers you soon won’t have any.

    It’s always going to be the decision of the blogger on how many ads they want to run Ana. I just think that the blogger needs to be aware of how many ads their blog can carry before it affects how your readers feel about your blog. And it’s obviously going to be different for different blogs.

    Hi Hayley. Yes I think that a lot of bloggers don’t realise that blinkies are a form of advertizing, even though they may not get paid for them. I also think they can be useful to readers who might want to check out the sites. The challenge is to strike the right balance so that all the blinkies don’t put your readers off. Ah well, what would we be without challenges.

  7. Aldon March 23, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    Great article. I write about technology, politics, and anything else that catches my attention, but usually not about crafts.

    I run ads from several different sources on my site, and I always struggle to find the right mix of ads as well as the best ad services.

    I’ve used EntreCard for quite a while and have found it works fairly nicely, although there are some problems. I’ve started to use CMF Ads as well.

    I use both of those to advertise my site as well as running ads for others through their programs.

    Recently, I’ve started using Adgitize, which I’ve been pretty happy with, again for both advertising and accepting ads.

    I’ve also used Google Ads, Amazon Ads, BlogAds and a few others. In the end, I’ve received very little money, but a bit of good traffic, and I’m most interested in getting more traffic.

    So, I will be interested in what you and others write as followups to this about your experiences with different advertising programs.

  8. Cheryl March 25, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Great post! As time moves on, I seem to place more ads on my blogs…however, I get paid for none of them. Most ads are my own, the rest are family and friends. Some are from ‘exchanging-links’ with similar sites.

    I am very picky with whom I allow ads/buttons to be placed on our blogs.

    And for me, it doesn’t bother me to view sites/blogs that have ads….unless it’s the pop-up ones!

  9. karooch March 25, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    I have found that different ad types work on different blogs Aldon, and some that work well on one type of blog just don’t work on another. I think it’s worth experimenting with various ad types until you find the ones that actually work for you.

    I thing that one of the best things about running your own blog is that you can be as picky as you want Cheryl. Even though most of us want to please our readers, when it comes down to the final analysis, your blog is your own domain and you have final say. And I myst admit that I do find pop ups pretty irritating too. Especially the ones that stick themselves right in front of you so that you can’t read anything without closing them first.

  10. Ann REilly March 28, 2009 at 5:34 am #

    If you don’t advertise, people don’t know you exist! What good is a great site,blog,service and/or product if noone can find you! After you do the basics, like design a great site,etc., then you need to take it up a step further and trade links wiht sites you like,write article about wah you know and join he search engines. I am not saying to pay for advertising mind you! You can go on entrecard and blogupp and even Easyhits4u, and do quite nicely getting traffic in your niche! There is no guarantee, you will get customers or loyal readers definitely is a start! I would stay clear of affiliate marketing sites like Linkreferral and Traffic Swarm as they are scams that ask for money from you to trade links and collect on the referrals you bring them! The only one’s getting rich off of that are the webmasters of such horrid sies! Just my opionion and experience. Also most surveys want you to buy a product to review first then you get some $! Any place that asks you for $ to do a job is bogus! There is plenty to review FREE for FREE product on the net. Anything more, i’d say keep your day job! That is the only guaranteed legit work out there. The rest is just icing on the cake!

  11. Mike April 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Advertising is such a wonderful thing without which we can’t survive. I think we need to decide only proper place and proper blog. Moreover blogs are much much beneficial as compared to site because users on blogs are more loyal and sophisticated. I have noticed that on my own blogs and on others where I have placed my ads.

  12. Vanessa April 13, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    I have found that affiliate advertising is the best for me and for my needs as it is difficult to find direct advertisers. Anyways, If we can find direct advertisers then there is nothing better than that because we can earn much better.

  13. Costello April 13, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    Different people, different views and different perspectives. I started all my internet career as blogger and to earn money via PPC campaigns but now it is changes. I am planning to start my own internet marketing company which is much much better way to earn money. Advertising is the basic thing behind all the internet and we can’t go blogging without that.

  14. karooch April 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Yes the ‘build it and they will come’ approach certainly doesn’t work on the Internet Ann. You definitely have to promote yourself to get your site known. And advertising is one way of doing that.

    I also think that blogs make better promotional sites than static web sites, Mike. The constantly changing content of blogs makes them much more attractive to readers and encourages them to return.

    Good luck with your affiliate advertising Vanessa. Some affiliate schemes can be really good for the blogger.

    Hey, best of luck in setting you your own internet marketing company Costello. I wish you very good luck with your venture.


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