• Have you become too money obsessed with your blog?

    by  • January 12, 2009 • Blogging • 6 Comments

    There are definitely blogs that I have been a loyal subscriber in the past that I now turn away from with distaste. And there are other blogs that I had come across because of one excellent blog entry I discovered – usually one in the archives that I landed on either through a link from another blog or after doing a search — that was worthy of subscribing to the entire blog, but I ended up unsubscribing almost immediately because all of the recent entries on the blog had become far too obsessed with trying to make as much money off of me as possible, that it made me wonder what value I was getting out of it, since the blogger seemed determined to suck all the value out of me

    We all can probably think of one blog we used to be a fan of , but it hit that point where the making money off readers obsession hit full force with such a vengeance, that it seemed none of the blog entries were being written without having some ulterior motive to make money. And sometimes it isn’t as obvious to the writer that his or her blog has crossed the line where those ulterior motive blog posts become noticeable, not to mention irritating, to loyal subscribers. So if you think you may have crossed the line, or wonder where that line really is, here are some things to consider, because the last thing you want to do is alienate your loyal subscribers and send them subscribing elsewhere! In other words, here’s how to make sure your ads aren’t driving everyone else nuts :)

    Acceptance

    Mostly gone are the days when blog readers used to get all up in arms because someone dared to put an ad on their blog (yes, that really did happen). Fortunately now, most people realize that people need to get some payment for the labor of love that is their favorite blog to read. If you have a backlash, add one of the “donation” links and request that some readers pitch in to help cover hosting and support for the blog. Some will be willing to ante up a few bucks for their favorite blog, but secondly, the others will realize there are costs associated with the blog, and advertisements can cover those costs so you can continue to blog

    Sponsored blog posts

    How often are you doing some kind of blog post that has been sponsored by companies or products? Sure, a blog can definitely support doing sponsored blog posts, particularly once you get RSS subscribers levels up, but you need to consider two important things. First, is that sponsored blog post you are planning to do actually relevant to the blog? Sure a company might want to pay you $200 for writing about a specific kind of hot tub, but if your blog is primarily about healthy meals for families, that blog post will stick out like a sore thumb.

    Second, how often are you doing sponsored blog posts? Doing one sponsored blog post in every ten or so entries will allow readers to be a lot more forgiving than if those same readers realize that the last seven blog posts you did have all been sponsored. And just remember, the fewer true subscribers you have, the less money you will earn if and when you do decide to do a sponsored blog post.

    So if you do decide to go the route of sponsored blog posts, ensure that the sponsors posts are actually related to what you are blogging about, and that you don’t go overboard by doing them too frequently.

    Affiliate links

    Just because you have a Commission Junction account doesn’t mean that you should link up every possible word in every one of your blog entries with something you can get money from, nor should you go out of your way to write about something just because you can slap an affiliate link in it. More often than not, they are off-topic to your blog, and you probably won’t make much money – if any – to make it worthwhile. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with blogging about something and linking to it with an affiliate link, just keep in mind that everything in moderation is good. So avoid the new blogger temptation of linking up every possible thing in each blog entry, because that will turn readers off pretty darn quick.

    There is nothing wrong with affiliate links, but just like sponsored blog posts, you don’t want to go overboard with them either.

    On topic

    Just as you want sponsored blog posts to be on-topic to your blog, the same should apply for any advertisements or links on your blog. If you have a ton of links in your blog roll on all the “high profit” areas that have absolutely no relevance to your blog (whether it is your texas holdem site or not), it will turn people off – not to mention the potential search engine repercussions as well. Keep all your ads as on-topic as possible, even if it means turning down $25 from that poker site, even though they will probably tell you how your blog about expectant mothers of twins is perfect for it!

    Overboard – Ads Ahoy!

    Just as you want to make sure your ads are all on-topic, you want to make sure you don’t go overboard by adding too many advertisements either. Start off small, such as an ad unit in the footer, or a 125×125 ad in the sidebar, and then gradually add one more placement a few weeks at a time until you are where you want to be. Your readers will be much more accepting with a gradual advertisement increase than they would be if you suddenly added all 8 ad placements overnight. And the same applies to brand new blogs versus proven successful blogs too, readers are much more tolerant of those well known successful blogs too!

    Hit the Monkey

    You know how annoying those hit the monkey flashing animated gifs are on any website, and of course all the variations of them… so why would you want to torture your own blog visitors with them? Flashier isn’t better, and many a surfer has left a site in haste after spotting one of those uber-flashing banner ads. It is far better to have a non-animated and non-annoying ad on your site than a flashier one, even if it pays less money, because the loss of visitors could be more costly than having the extra $25 or $50 in your PayPal account.

    Just because you have multiple ads, doesn’t mean you have to use them all at once!

    Don’t forget that you can definitely use more than one network or stream of revenue on your blog… but you don’t have to use all of them at once! Perhaps one offer from one network would work well as it is targeted perfectly to your readers this month, but the following month a rival network has a better offer for something else that is also perfectly targeted. You might find Adsense works very well for you on the whole, and you supplement it with one 125×125 image ad in the sidebar from Pepperjam. Some bloggers might even drill it down to the blog entry level and pick and chose specific ads for each entry, to tailor the ads perfectly to each topic within the blog’s theme. Or you might decide to use just a single ad placement but use a third party service such as ScribeFire Quick Ads to automatically optimize it for you. There are many ways to add multiple streams of revenue without turning your readers off.

    ROI

    And if you are placing affiliate ads on your site, especially a bunch of different ones, make sure you get on board with a decent analytics program and track your ROI. True, you aren’t spending money to put that ad there, but what good is it having an ad taking up space on your blog when it has resulted in zero commission sales for you in the past three months? As many new affiliate marketers with a brand new affiliate company account, if you are tempted to place a bunch of different ads on your blog to see what sinks and what swims, you are better off to just use one or two ad placements and use an ad management program to rotate them. It will be far easier to see what is working well for you and what isn’t, and then remove the ones that aren’t working so you can give the ones that are resulting in sales more pageviews.

    Life Beyond AdSense

    Believe it or not, there is money to be made beyond AdSense 😉 Many bloggers are tempted to slap AdSense on their blog and forget about doing anything else to increase the revenue, especially if they are content with what they are currently earning with AdSense. If you have fallen into the comfort of AdSense (and trust me, many people have), take a look at Supplementing AdSense with Affiliate Ads.

    Don’t use just one ad revenue source

    If you are planning to purchase a brand new car, you wouldn’t just go into the first dealership you find and buy your new car there on the spot without checking out any other dealerships. The same thing goes for advertising too. Avoid the mistake of just using Google AdSense or just using Commission Junction, unless it has proven itself to be the most successful for you. While both Google AdSense and Commission Junction attract many new bloggers simply because of name recognition, don’t forget there are many other networks out there. I have done a few reviews on JenSense of different ad networks that supplement AdSense well, read the reviews on the Pepperjam Network and on ClickBooth.

    Rule of thumb

    When all else fails and you are wondering if maybe you have gone overboard with the advertising on your blog… you probably have! It is better to err on the side of caution than turn off potential or current subscribers because you thought all eight of those ads above the fold were golden.

    Whenever people start to think about how they can offset some of the costs associated with blogging they can quickly jump that line and start alienating readers, usually brought on by the first big affiliate sale or the first person that wants to pay three figures for a link or sponsored blog post. So when the euphoria comes of “I can make a ton of money doing this!” make sure you are doing it slowly and carefully because the last thing you want to do is lose some of those longtime subscribers or prevent new ones from subscribing in your overzealousness.

    About

    Jennifer Slegg is a longtime member of the SEO community and is an expert on social media, content marketing, Google AdSense and search engines.

    6 Responses to Have you become too money obsessed with your blog?

    1. Chris M.
      January 12, 2009 at 2:28 am

      Nice post Jenstar, this is one I am tempted to send anonymously to a few bloggers I used to read!

    2. January 13, 2009 at 3:04 am

      These days we are obsessed with everything materialistic or which help us get monetary gains.

    3. January 14, 2009 at 6:52 am

      Thanks for the great article. Now I know not to be too ambitious with my adsense.

      Cheers!

    4. February 24, 2009 at 2:41 am

      I remember when having ads on your blog was considered a most heinous offense by most of the internet.

      How dare anyone want to make money online! LOL Nowadays you’re probably hard pressed to find those without at least one ad someplace, even if it’s discreetly tucked away in a corner.

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