Barbara Swafford recently published a post about Bloggers Going Naked over at BloggingWithoutABlog. If you don’t know Barbara you may want to check out her thriving blogging community and blogging tips and follow @BSwafford on Twitter.
Barbara’s post asks:
- Are you a naked blogger (no ads on your blog), or does you blog have some bling?
- If you land on a blog which has advertisements, are they a distraction or have you become blind to them?
- If you do show ads, are they profitable?
These are questions on the minds of almost every blogger, so we should all drop on over to Barbara’s and contribute to the discussion.
Here are my insights on what I believe are the best ways to monetize blogs and my upcoming redesign plans:
What is needed is a public change in perspective. Have you ever wondered why the masses tolerate big brand advertising everywhere but scream whenever a small business or blogger displays ads? We are our own worst enemies.
Small businesses and blogs are the solution to the economic decline we are experiencing. We should encourage them to get smart about advertising and this is how I believe we do that: by <a href=”http://www.growmap.com/bloggers-position-yourself-where-the-money-is/”>geo-targeted blogs</a> that reach specific local audiences and appeal to small business advertisers.
First I want to point out How NOT To Monetize Your Blog. That post I wrote previously explains my reasons why the specific methods mentioned are bad for bloggers.
Bloggers today use a combination of these methods to monetize:
1) “Blogger Welfare” = AdSense (Ok in moderation but can seriously limit who shares and reads your blog if you put a huge block of ads between the title of your post and the text.)
2) In-Text link ads (often annoying and some can get your site dropped from the search engines)
3) Text links – these can be a good idea that is under-utilized but do not advertise them as “for sale” to avoid being penalized for selling links. If you advertise them and make them nofollow there is little point to having them. (The link with anchor text is more valuable than who sees it.)
4) Ad Blocks – these are widely used and not a bad idea. You can sell them for a specific period of time or use them to promote affiliate products you recommend
5) Rotating ads – I am redesigning my site to replace individual ad blocks and rotate ads in the two positions favored by major sites. One will be 726×90 above the header and the other a 300×250 in the right sidebar (after I move both sidebars over). I am doing that to get a sharper, cleaner look on my blog while still being able to offer advertising.
Those ads will all be creatives provided by the advertiser linked either directly to my affiliate link on their site OR eventually to a post that explains why I recommend them. I only run ads for companies and products I recommend.
What we must be very clear on is differentiating between a traditional advertising model (something you allow on your site for the money but do not necessarily recommend but at least don’t find objectionable) and my preferred model where we only run ads for what we can personally recommend.
New bloggers may not know what to recommend or may want to monetize more easily. When that is the case just make sure your disclosure policy VERY clearly indicates what are ads and what you are recommending.