How NOT To Monetize Your Blog!

I understand that people want to make money blogging – I really do – but some ways of monetizing are just VERY bad ideas.

Every day I see a beautiful blog post that I would love to link to or share –  but I am stopped cold because the blog features one of the methods mentioned below.


Giant AdSense Flashing You Win

Example of the WORST PLACE to put ADSENSE ads.

I know that many bloggers are following the advice of others [bad advice IMHO] or do not know any better so I want to warn you: 

How these specific, most annoying monetization methods
affect whether your posts are linked to or shared.

  1. Flashing, talking YOU HAVE WON banner ads are the worst. I was surprised to find that the one that blasted me today appeared to be a Google Ad – but wasn’t.  These just scream amateur, scam or desperate – or all three!
  2. Ads that open pop-ups.
  3. Giant AdSense blocks positioned between the blog post title and the post text. Yes, I know there are many who recommend positioning AdSense in that manner to maximize your income, but I am going to disagree with them for multiple reasons:
      • They make your blog look like a MFA (Made for AdSense site) only created to make money and not a real blog. Very bad for first impressions!
      • If I will not link to or share your posts I bet there are other bloggers who feel the same way. You can not measure the loss of traffic (and therefore income) because other bloggers avoid sharing or linking to your posts.
      • Why would you want to send visitors away BEFORE they read your blog posts?
      • I am not saying never use AdSense; I am suggesting that if you want others to take your blog seriously, position smaller ad blocks somewhere we might actually want to click on them such as in the flow of the post or my personal favorite at the bottom of the post. AFTER I read what I came for then – and only then – will I click on a related ad.
      • Your readers are highly unlikely to remember to scroll back up to the top to click on an ad they may have noticed before they started reading your post.
      1. Text link ads littered all over your post – and if they are totally unrelated links – especially text links to BAD NEIGHBORHOODS like these there is NO WAY most legitimate or influential bloggers will share them and they will be prohibited on JustRetweet:
      Example Bad Neighborhood Text Links in Blog Post Content

      Example Bad Neighborhood Text Links in Blog Content

      For a better way to locate AdSense on your blog posts check out how WordPress expert Justin Germino of DragonBlogger uses a smaller block of two AdSense ads between the title and post and a large block at the bottom of the post.

      I was moved to write this blog post when someone shared this unique house architecture post with beautiful photos that would be perfect to link to and share with followers of the Good Millwork architecture blog – except for those ads.

      That blogger gave credit to another source so there was still a chance I could share these ski house photos – until I saw that blog also has that giant AdSense block at the top of the post.

      At least it doesn’t have those awful flashing “you won” ads or the talking one that I missed capturing but I’m sure you’ve heard before. Maybe they’ll see the trackbacks, decide to remove those detractions and let me know.

      I would love to link to and share their
      content and photos but not those ads!

      I know I am not the only blogger who feels these are bad ways to monetize. I was chatting with Kim from Just Ask Kim tonight and asked what she thought:

      “The big AdSense block between title and content just screams desperate…There are some really great blogs that if they’d just start building an aweber list, and look a little closer at affiliate products rather than depending on Google AdSense, they’d be making cash easy.”

      Kim is blogging coach and mentor and is starting a Tribal Syndicating Blog Alliance Team that is very similar to plans I have for our Secret Blog Club blogging collaboration.

      Knowing whose advice to heed is key to becoming a more successful blogger and is especially essential when it comes to making money online.

      The best way to find out who teaches ethical methods that work is to take the shortcut – ask experienced blogging mentors who are already successful.

      NEW Related Post: How to Monetize Your Blog

      The following two tabs change content below.

      Gail Gardner

      Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
      Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


      1. I don’t want to earn money on my personal site..

      2. iPhone App Development says:

        Many of us are to be hurried in the race of making money and they are very curious with Google Adsense. But unknowingly they harm their own site by putting so many ads and recently Google announced that too many ads before the fold are the sign of risk. Anyway very educating share and really show me a fact of blogging. Thanks for sharing guy.

      3. I certainly strongly agree, Gail – and now that Google made “excessive advertisements” a part of their measure of the quality of a website, I hope it makes many think twice!
        Ana would love you to read ..How to Get More Followers on Twitter FastMy Profile

      4. Instinctis says:

        For a simple adsense earnings valuation one could just use this free tool from which will roughly show what one’s website earning potential is, there are also other data in there but they are more seo related.
        Instinctis would love you to read ..Website statistics for backupschijf.nlMy Profile

      5. Yep, sometimes people spend so much time trying to squeeze out every bit of money out of adsense that they lose the long-term perspective.
        JohnD would love you to read ..Choosing a Domain NameMy Profile

      6. Agree! I really hate the pop up ads.
        John would love you to read ..Make a Website – Step by Step TutorialMy Profile

      7. Well I can say this is a very interesting post. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I actually find myself guilty of doing two of the things mentioned in the past but I don’t do it anymore like the adsense underneath the title. While I did make more money that way, I thought it took away from my blog so I stopped doing it. In any case, I am going to read some of your other posts to see what all I can do to better my blog.
        Meka would love you to read ..Making Money with Amazon’s Mechanical TurkMy Profile

      8. I completely disagree because I think it is up to the blogger on how they want to promote, I personally dislike promoting affiliate products, I hate sales pitches and trying to convince people to part with their hard earned money is just not something I enjoy doing. That being said I will occasionally promote a product I like and think will do well for others, but I must have used the product first myself.

        For people who don’t want to directly sell or try to “convince” people to buy pitched stuff or they have no product to sell themselves, AdSense and other CPA like Amazon Affiliate banners…etc are good ways for passive income. The other thing is remember than many people arrive to your blog via search engines and some may not find the article they were looking for, those tend to click on a banner between post content and body because they likely didn’t find what they were looking for in the article to read it to bottom anyway.

        Since adding a top banner on my site I did double my AdSense earnings over the last few months. Could I make more promoting an affiliate product (probably) but I just would prefer the passive click to catch passerby’s. Ideally I wish I could get some sort of contextual Amazon banner that changes products based on keywords in articles like AdSense, I think this could convert better than AdSense but there is nothing that I know of to accomplish this.
        Justin Germino would love you to read ..3 Ways Having a High Speed Internet Will Make You a Better BloggerMy Profile

        • I should have clarified that I disagree only with the part about affiliate marketing instead, I do agree that flashing banner ads and popups are revolting. I think a relatively unobtrusive banner however is acceptable.
          Justin Germino would love you to read ..3 Ways Having a High Speed Internet Will Make You a Better BloggerMy Profile

          • Hi Justin,

            Thank you for taking the time to comment. I believe Affiliate Marketing has a bad reputation because so many affiliates have been promoting whatever makes the most money instead of what they actually use. As more bloggers like Kristi and I post about the importance of ethical recommendations I hope that reputation will change.

            The narrower box of AdSense ads that you are using on your site is not what I meant. Your content is visible above the fold so it is obvious there IS a blog post on the page. It is the ad box between the title and post that fills most of the space above the fold that I feel is too much.

            For those who want to use AdSense ads, those large ad blocks are ok positioned elsewhere the way you have them on your posts. I like the narrower line of AdSense ads even better than the two ad box you use and think more ads will fit. That might increase your AdSense income further.

            It has become clear to me that we must focus on promoting small business and stop handing everything to huge companies so I am not going to use AdSense. I did earn about $400 a month from it on a static site I built years ago but am going in another direction now.

            Bloggers could use these types of monetization techniques while they are getting established and then replace it with more lucrative advertising later.
            growmap would love you to read ..Support Small BusinessesMy Profile

            • Based on how much Amazon Affiliate I am converting, I would ditch AdSense in a second if I could find a way to make a scripted Amazon banner show targeted products related to what I write about, SEO books when writing SEO articles, movies when writing movie reviews….etc the affiliate earnings would be worth 5x what AdSense earns because of the cookie and cross product referrals.

              As I have a wide skyscraper I can’t put more than 2 banners in post, I originally had banner at bottom (468×90) but it didn’t convert nearly as well as the 350×250 I have now which is still the largest earning block. One note, I increased my AdSense earnings by using Google DoubleClick for publishers to display AdSense instead of just AdSense alone. I know you aren’t a big fan of Google, but so far I have been happy with AdSense, if I got banned which may happen at any point and without any reason I will have to find something else if I don’t find something sooner.
              Justin Germino would love you to read ..3 Ways Having a High Speed Internet Will Make You a Better BloggerMy Profile

              • I am not a fan of Google because they are intentionally putting small businesses out of business and not patronizing small businesses instead of multi-national corporations is what is destroying our economy.

                If something makes us money in the short term but drives the majority of people into poverty in the long term we are as much to blame as they are for what happens to us all.

                Good to know the 350×250 ad block converts best because the redesign Derek and I are working on for this blog is to add a 300×250 banner rotation in the right sidebar. I will only put products and services in it that I personally recommend and the ads will be generate affiliate commissions.

                I wrote about that in my newer post How to Monetize Your Blogs.
                growmap would love you to read ..How to Monetize Your BlogsMy Profile

        • Explain to me more why you don’t like affiliate marketing for monetization. I’m always confused when I hear bloggers say this (and I hear it a lot). Why not promote things like books and movies or even Aweber or Thesis or other tools that you use on your blog? All of those would be affiliate marketing.

          I am not trying to be argumentative. I really do want to understand why bloggers prefer the random Adsense banners over specific merchant banners. In either case you are wanting people to spend money. If people don’t spend money sometimes when they click on the Adsense banners, companies will stop advertising through Adsense because there would be no ROI.
          Tricia Meyer would love you to read ..My Depression That Wasn’t DepressionMy Profile

          • Okay, I should clarify: Some affiliate marketing I actually do think is good, Aweber, Mailchimp, Amazon Affiliate stuff…etc. I mean that most affiliate marketing where the landing page is a single revolting sales pitch with a “I got rich so you can too”, or this plugin helped my site get 1000% traffic increase are the types of affiliate marketing I refer to and dislike.

            An example is I truly believe in the Roku XDS device, I got one for Christmas and love the Netflix streaming, features and channels. So I created a special Amazon affiliate banner ad for it on my homepage, I sold 3 Roku’s via my affiliate last month (only $12 commission) but still I think its a great product and didn’t mind advertising it.

            I know some affiliate bloggers who pitched an SEO guide and thought they were going to make big bugs until most of the people who purchased had returned and got refund, so sales converted into no income due to returns, which is why I stress believing in a product if you are to promote it.

            Also, I don’t consider putting a banner ad up on a page (affiliate per se), in my mind affiliate is where you write a post specifically promoting the sale or attempt to convince your buyer to purchase a product. Affiliate promoting is the building a mailing list only to offer them products at great rates that will expire in 14 days if they don’t purchase it.

            In my blogging journey, I care more about having fun, keeping a decent reputation and conversing with my readers rather than trying to pitch anything for a buck. I don’t make nearly as much as I could, but I take pride in that.

            With that being said, for those who blogging is their primary and only source of income, business is business and kids gotta eat and you have to have a roof over your head so I don’t particularly badmouth anybody, I just don’t have to do the same thing.
            Justin Germino would love you to read ..3 Ways Having a High Speed Internet Will Make You a Better BloggerMy Profile

            • Gotcha! It sounds like it comes down to the definition of “affiliate marketing.” At Affiliate Summit and the other affiliate conferences that I attend, there is VERY little talk about just putting up splash pages and building lists to sell download products or things like that. It is a part of it, but not really what most of us focus on. It’s a lot more about banner ads, monetizing blogs, product reviews, etc. In fact, I would say that most of my friends in affiliate marketing are promoting through blog sites, coupon sites, and datafeed driven product sites rather than the method that you don’t like (and I don’t care much for either).

              And as for the Roku…we have one and I just gave my husband a second one for his birthday today! Great product to promote especially in light of the new Amazon Prime free streaming membership benefit.
              Tricia Meyer would love you to read ..My Depression That Wasn’t DepressionMy Profile

      9. I totally agree. If a blog, website or any page has tons of ads/popups I do not promote or comment on the page. I do not visit a page to get bombarded by ads & popups.
        Jay Philips would love you to read ..The Ultimate Roundup of RSS Directories to Promote Your RSS Feeds To For FreeMy Profile


        I find the flashing you have won ads very annoying. I know there are some who fall for it, but c’mon how stupid am I really?

      11. The worst thing to do when trying to monetize your blog is to use pop-ups. They absolutely annoy the heck out of me which isn’t a good thing.

        You should be doing the opposite.

        Nab would love you to read ..Symptom när man drabbats av förstoppningMy Profile

        • Hi Nab,

          I regularly visit some blogs that use popups to build their mailing list. I close them as fast as they come up and couldn’t even tell you what they say. While they probably DO work they are extremely annoying.

          If a bloggers wants to use these they at least need to be setting a cookie so that we don’t see it every time we visit the page. Ideally only those who are NOT already subscribers should see those popups.
          growmap would love you to read ..Kikolani Blog Post Promotion Ultimate Guide EbookMy Profile

      12. It’s unnerving to try to read a blog littered with ads. I understand the desire to monetize your blog, but as you said Gail, you don’t want people turned off before they even read a post. Subtlety is key when using advertising on your blog.
        ConnieFoggles would love you to read ..Fiberscom Review and GiveawayMy Profile

      13. I hate ads that open pop-ups, or even if its newsletters subscription, its like a bit desperate, especially if it says “are you sure you want to leave this site”, erm..yes I am.

        • Welcome Livia,

          I love your comment and even shared it on Twitter. That is exactly how those “are you sure you want to leave” pop-ups affect me too. Yes, let me out of your ‘pop-up hell’ and confusing “which button do I click to get away you” options the fastest.

          I checked out your Twitter account and the only reason I didn’t follow you is that I can’t speak Swedish. The link to your blog in your Twitter profile doesn’t work because it is trying to go to .com instead of .se so you’ll want to fix that.

          You may want to read the post I’ve put in CommentLuv in this reply because it explains how to use KeywordLuv to build incoming links to your blog. Also read How CommentLuv Grows Businesses and Blogs.

          If some bloggers will not approve your comments or unlink your site it is because they can not read Swedish, don’t know how to translate it or don’t have time to do that and are concerned about what it may say. Please do not take it personally. I can tell it is a real blog and will approve your comments and links here and in the other blogs I manage.
          Gail Gardner would love you to read ..DoFollow CommentLuv KeywordLuv CommunityMy Profile

      14. Hi Gail,
        Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Very nice of you.
        I myself am guilty of having ad sense block between title and post. And the truth is I am a newbie (started the blog last year with no knowledge of html, blogging or hoe to even install wp. So, I like most people followed the advice of other so called gurus.
        And a while back, I actually came to that point, I was like, people aren’t gonna scroll backup after reading the post and click on an ad, so why do they say its best to have it there?…
        As of now, I am trying different positions to find the best spot. Thank you.
        satrap would love you to read ..53 Ways to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

        • Hi Satrap,

          Check out the update I just made in this post about how Justin Germino @dragonblogger positions his AdSense. If you’re going to use it what he is doing is good example of best practices.

          Also check out my new post on How TO Monetize Blogs
          growmap would love you to read ..How to Monetize Your BlogsMy Profile


        I think making money is wonderful, but if it ruins your blog, then what is the point. People will leave the site, and it will be a while before they return, that is if they do return. The blinking you have won ads are some of the most irritating. It is right in your face, and you cannot get rid of it.

      16. Looks like I missed this post when it was originally written but just saw it come across on Twitter. I think that people that that Adsense is “unobtrusive” and therefore doesn’t turn people off. But your example is a great one! Too much and too obvious Adsense might make you some quick money but won’t lead to long-term visitors and people sharing your work.
        Tricia Meyer would love you to read ..Is Ancestrycom Worth It My Ancestrycom ReviewMy Profile

        • I want to thank you for your other comment about affiliate programs. While affiliate marketing may die a slow death over the tax nexus laws, done ethically affiliate marketing could benefit many people.

          I once loved AdWords (but find it too dangerous to mess with now as a single-consultant person) and AdSense when well targeted could work and definitely works for those being paid for the clicks.

          What we really need is a social media site that is highly ethical. There is a new one about to launch that I sincerely hope may be what I’ve been waiting on.

          IMHO, the best way to make money for blogs is by reaching a specific geo-targeted audience. I explain that in the post I’ll put in CommentLuv in this reply.
          Gail Gardner would love you to read ..Why We Need Group Geo-Targeted Niche BlogsMy Profile

      17. Yossi Barazani says:

        I blogged about it before: Make money without manipulating your readers to click on ads

      18. I think it’s a shame that many bloggers don’t differentiate their monetization techniques to suit different sites. Having a big Adsense unit at the top of the page is oK for limited types of sites only. Most sites should make the content, not the advertising their main focus.
        James would love you to read ..Drink Green TeaMy Profile

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