Friday, March 25, 2011

To Advertise or Not To Advertise

I have always admired entrepreneurs. I have always admired writers. Can a person be both?

Barnes and Noble is filled with books by authors who earn money based on sales. Some churn out book after book to satisfy their need to write, and also the need to feed their ambition and competitiveness, and to support themselves.

How about bloggers? We write about every subject imaginable. We display our photography and post our recipes. We sell our creations in our Etsy shops. We showcase our home decorations, gardens, quilting, and scrapbooking talents. We journal our lives. Blogs contain such an array of creativity.

When I’m visiting blogs, I notice backgrounds, award buttons, prayer requests, blog rolls, Ads by Google, advertisement pictures, etc. I click, but rarely. I’m there to read the blog.

On one particular blog, I noticed a button that says "ad-free blog."

“Hmmm…” I thought. “I wonder would she (the blog owner) still visit my blog if I used Google Adsense?” Then I thought, “Do people with small followings actually make money? What’s wrong with a little income…capitalism…the American way?”

Anyway, I Googled the button and read, “advertising on blogs devalues the medium.”

Yes, some blogs are filled with stuff; things blink, things roll, things sing. Some are appealing, some are not. Bottom line for me is the personal content. I like it, or I don’t; or sometimes it’s so-so.

So what about the advertisement? Does it take away as says? How about the giveaways?

I love to read blogs and to actually remember who I’m communicating with. Will that become a thing of the past when I have my thousand hits per day, comments galore, and a major advertisement or two? (I can dream.) Will those of you who know me still visit and blend your comments into the rest?

Or will you say, “Oh, she’s big now and into making money.” (I’m still dreaming.)

What do you know about advertising and giveaways on blogs? What’s your opinion?


Betty W said...

I´m like you. I don´t click on those fancy buttons some people have on their blogs. I´m there for the content. I read only one blog, that get´s a few hundred comments a day and I rarely comment. I think there are already so many comments and don´t think it´s worth it to add mine. The writer almost never responds to the comments.
Actually I´m always for the "underdog", the little team. I like the feeling of friendship we have and that´s why I will stick with those blogs that feel homey and not like a SUPER store! :)

Judy Thomas said...

I don't like ads (we are exposed to then almost all the time, except when we are asleep, it seems!). One consideration I have is that on my blog I give garden advice, and I want that advice to be as impartial as possible. When I give a product or company recommendation (which I do rarely) I want it to be influenced only by my experience. In my study of human psychology, I believe it is impossible to accept advertising (or free products to review) and remain uninfluenced by it. That's why I even oppose physicians getting free samples and gifts from pharmaceutical companies, because it influences their prescribing practices.

Sheila Siler said...

I do have Google Adsense on my blog, but I don't expect anyone to click on it. I don't particularly like lots of buttons on the blogs I read, but if the content is good I don't care. I don't mind advertising as long as it doesn't overshadow the blog itself.

Arlee Bird said...

I've never clicked on an ad and from what I've heard is that very little money can be made from these ads. Google adsense is the reason I started blogging, but I was never approved and now in retrospect I'm glad. I like to focus on my personal blog content, not advertising that most people will ignore.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

RAnn said...

As long as it isn't obnoxious like pop-ups, or something totally out of character for the type of blog I read (say like porno on Christian blog), I don't care about ads unless they slow loading of the blog. I personally have ad-sense ads on my blog. I have 156 followers and average 3000 pageviews a month. I get about $30/year from adsense. I also am an Amazon affilliate (I'm a book blogger) and get about $30/year from that.

I do accept, and to some extent solict, review copies of books. Does it effect my opinions of the books, or my reviews? Maybe, to the extent that there are books I read that I wouln't have otherwise, but I don't give positive reviews to bad books, and in general, I find other book bloggers do much the same.

carol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abby said...

When I see ads on blogs, I usually ignore them. After a while, I just don't notice.

However, when a blogger purposely puts it out there that they'd like donations or whatever - yes, that does "devalue" the blog for me. I like to read blogs for the intimacy they provide, for lack of a better word. It's like going out for coffee with someone. If they've got something asking for money, then it's like I'm just talking to the coffee shop owner.

Alexandra said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful comment on my blog today.

What a nice person you are.


Well, my 2cents worth:

I don't do giveaways, or product reviews, or advertising, or tweet for money.

It doesn't bother me if anyone does or doesn't do. it.

I've just never been approached, and I've never sought out.

Buckeroomama said...

I don't often click on the ads. That said, when it's a relevant ad on a site whose content I was there for in the first place, I might pay more attention. On a few occasions, I have clicked on some ads and have gone on to sign up for a class or purchased something. But the ad will have to be something relevant or related to the content of the site that I'm visiting... then it makes sense.

Buckeroomama said...

I don't often click on the ads. That said, when it's a relevant ad on a site whose content I was there for in the first place, I might pay more attention. On a few occasions, I have clicked on some ads and have gone on to sign up for a class or purchased something. But the ad will have to be something relevant or related to the content of the site that I'm visiting... then it makes sense.

Hilary said...

I'm not keen on blog advertising and from what I understand, it make very little profit for the blogger.

I have however hosted giveaways. The company in each instance contacted me and offered me to do a review (in which case I'd earn the product) or a giveaway, in which case one of my readers gets the product. I opted for the latter each time because I wanted it to be a "thank you for reading", not a promotion to acquire new readers.

I never ask folks to follow, or pimp my giveaways on their blogs. That's not what it's about for me. It's simply a "thank you for reading."

Tracey said...

No one wants to sell stuff on my blog. I do product reviews all the time, but no one pays me. I just like to pass on a good word.

If you want to sell stuff on yours, I will not mind. And I will not abandon you when you are big.

Anonymous said...

After many years I finally made a few cents short of $100.00 required to have them send the money into my account.

I know that either the photo on a blog post or the words are what you or I post and that is the central character and is what people come for. Advertisers want you to believe you can make money and they want to ride free on your blog. It doesn't matter if somebody clicks it or not. It is free adverting to them. They make the money and you suffer the consequences of having your blog littered with spam.

Even sidebars are built-in distractions. They cause people to look there instead of at the blog post. Actually the blog template designed to feature a photo and the story about it can be found on photoblogs.

Blogger recently introduced the blogs that you can change.
And that is a good thing. They want that sidebar because it is where ads work the best. I no longer have ads as I do not want to distract the few readers I have.

Rebecca S. said...

Another great post, Anita! Blogging, in many ways, is such uncharted territory. It's like a land with no map, only somewhat vague directions.
I've been approached a couple of times by ad people, but I have not pursued the ad thing. I'm not sure if that means I overvalue or undervalue my blog. The most important thing to me at the moment is people reading my blog and the blogging community I have become a part of. I wish I had more followers, but I don't have the time to 'market' myself as some do. Blogging for me is a way to get my thoughts, my writing out there with a weekly goal. The rest is gravy.
Ads on other people's blogs don't bother me, I read plenty of blogs that contain ads. As long as the content on the blog is worth reading,(like yours) I'll read it, ads or no.

yonca said...

Hi Anita,
Actually I'm ok with both.
I make some money from my blog..adds or writing about the products/websites.Even though I don't
I'm sure I will be enjoying to share my recipes and my life with my blogger friends anyway.
I think only giveaways and adds would be boring, I think I wouldn't stop by my blog either..hehe:))

Paul C said...

You express very well, the dividing line between blogging for personal enjoyment and blogging for $$$$ I think many of the blogs I read have some vague dollar signs attached, either projected into the future or indirectly.

ethelmaepotter! said...

When I began blogging, I had no idea I could make money on it. An online friend instructed me how to go about setting up AdSense and buoyed me up to the point I thought I'd be able to quit my job and live on Easy Street in no time.

More than 2 years later, I have yet to make my first $100.

The ads CAN be a nuisance when they're blinking or jiggling or scrolling, but after a while, I don't pay attention to them at all.

Giveaways? I've never been approached by anyone wanting to do a giveaway, but I've done ONE of my own - when I reached my 100th follower, I gave a prize just out of appreciation.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I think there are some that do make money. However, huge time commitment for what it reaps. Unless you truly go for it. Personally, I don't look at the ads. I do like to look at stuff people have on their blogs, but just as my mind shuts off when the commercials show up on TV, my eye closes to the ads on blogs.

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

Unfortunately, I didn't carefully read the "fine print" when I added Google ads to my blog. Once I reach the $100 required to have them send my money, I am removing their ads. I am not against advertising on blogs and I do click on the buttons. BUT I am all about promoting small businesses who seemed to appreciate their few customers more than huge companies with several thousand customers.

Claire Gibson King said...

I give major kudos to any blogger who can make money off of blogging. Look at Heather Armstrong makes over a million dollars a year in ads and her blog turned into book deal and even a relationship with HGTV. I would love one day to make a little extra cash off of blogging but I don't really think ad sense is the way to go. I think what is most successful is having other bloggers or shops or professional or people who follow you pay you to have their logo on your site. A Cup of Jo, has a very attractive ad set up that I would love to one day try to emulate even just a little bit.

Robin said...

Hi Anita...I sure dont know what Im doing...I have add on my blog...and I have changed it many times...but after reading this I want to take them down....Lolol...! I like to have adds that have to do with great art products...because I love to see them for giveaways...I dont like them...I have been approached and always said feels to much like work...Hope all is well with you ...I think Im back to blogging more regular..Im doing a 365 starting on my bday..!

Hilary said...

When I first started blogging, I didn't have any ads. After a while, Craig convinced me to add some of those free ads. I didn't really care one way or another, and I ended up putting the ads at the bottom of my blog layout. I didn't want it to be an eyesore. I'm not a seller by any stretch. After a while, when I was cleaning up my layout, I got rid of it. I don't click on the buttons when I visit other blogs, either. I'm there for the content.

Stephanie said...

Another thoughtful post!
I do accept the odd giveaway on my blog. If it worth a certain minimum that I set and I think is something my readers might be interested in. I never do more then 1 a week.
I have also recently allowed a couple of advertisers on my site. I have to admit as a Mama at home, the little bit of extra cash to help pay for this hobby was appealing. Hoping it will help off set the costs of a conference I'm attending:) They do not pop up and can be ignored by my fabulous readers.
For writing must come first. Not the ads!

Tatum @ Tatum's Take said...

Very good post! I understand your interest and curiosity. I have a couple ads on my blog but I don't think it overshadows my posts. I also don't mind if other bloggers have ads on their blogs. If the blog seems cluttered I just move on. I personally don't click on any ads unless it really peaks my interest; and if a co-blogger gains from that click then good for them!

Some people go out of the house to work and some work from home. If you want to try to make money on your hobby then so be it! Why not? They say to do what you love and the money will come because you're passionate about it. If you chose to have ads I will still read your blog posts because you already have my interest. You can't knock a person for utilizing their resources!

Have a good one!

Arts web show said...

These ads make the blog owner money whether you click them or not.
It's all based on impressions.
Personally if i see someone with ads on their blogs or videos i really dont mind.
If someone has put a lot of work into a post then perhaps they deserve to earn a little bit for it.
I find communication is them most important thing though

SuziCate said...

Like you, I vist to read the post. I never click on any of the buttons. When I first started blogging, I was honored when I received my fisrt "award" then it began to take up too much time in passing them on. I deleted my awards page. I am all about writing and reading the friendship. I comment on almost all I read and respond to comments on mine (except I haven't done so today.)I read a couple of blogs that are sponsored with tons of giveaways...I don't do the contests, but read the blog because the authors are very good writers.

gayle said...

Don't know too much! I do enter some give aways but only those I really want. I like reading about people's lives the best!

Shalet Jimmy said...

I do read blogs. Since I am so curious to what others are reading, I would go for their blog list. Recently, I've started following my blogger buddies in twitter and face book.

Just Two Chicks said...

I've thought about adding ads myself, but honestly, I don't even know how to personalize my blog background. I've tried to figure it out several times, but can't quite get it. Oh well... as far as advertising, I don't really want to make money on my blog, I just want to know people are reading and enjoying it. As far as being an author... it's still a dream! I would read your blogs with or without ads!