…That is the Question.
So how do you feel about advertising on blogs?
…and in particular on craft related blogs.
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
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.
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.
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?