Should You Monetize Your New Blog Now Or Wait?

A question I get asked a lot is when should I monetize my blog and how should I go about doing it. There are two schools of thought on this. The first says to monetize from the get go because if you wait, it could cause a reader revolt because they will perceive you as a sell out. The second school of thought says you should wait until you have a readership before monetize it.

There is no right or wrong answer. The right answer for you depends on what your goals for the blog are. If you’re goal is just to make a few extra bucks, then you can use Google Ads from the get go. If you’re looking to build a solid and lasting blogging business that will allow you to live the Dot Com Lifestyle, then my recommendation is to wait before putting on the ads. John Chow dot Com made no money for the first eight months of its life. There were zero ads on it and no affiliate promotion of any kind. Here are my reasons why you should wait before putting advertising on your blog.

Advertising and Readership Building Are Counter Productive

When you’re starting out, your goal should be to build a readership by getting readers to subscribe to your blog. Advertising takes people away from your blog. If most of your traffic comes from search engines, then this becomes really bad. Chances are, the searcher will be new and doesn’t know who you are. If he clicks on the ad and leaves, he’ll forget you within 30 seconds.

Because AdSense ads are based on clicks, everyone tries to optimize them to increase the click rate and therefore, increase the number of people leaving. And for what? So you can make 25 cents? For a new blog, this is very short-sighted thinking. You want to build a relationship with your readers by getting them to opt into your mailing list. You don’t want to send them away by clicking on a Google Ad.

Maximizing blog income is all about maximizing the lifetime revenue per reader. By building a relationship with a new reader instead of trying to get him to click on a Google Ad (and never seeing him again), you’ll grow your blog readership and will make far more money than a Google Ad can ever pay you.

If you look at all the really big sites on the Net (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you’ll see that they had zero advertising when they started. They put all their efforts into building the user base. It’s extremely hard to build a big user base when there are ads sending users away.

You Need a Readership Base Before You Can Make Money

You will be able to build that blog readership base a lot faster if there’s no advertising on it. Instead of spending your time optimizing the Google ads, you should be working on building a readership.

Without a readership base, there’s really no reason to monetize a blog since a readership base is the main requirement for a money-making site. No readers equals no money. This means you’ll need to fund your blog until the time comes to monetize it. Luckily, the operating costs of running a blog is so much less than a normal business that this shouldn’t be a problem for most.

My blog cost just under $1,200 a month to run, but it was started for the cost of a $10 domain name. The cost of running a new blog is so low that trying to earn money to cover the expenses shouldn’t even enter the equation.

Advertising Should Be The Last Monetization Method

When it finally comes time to make money off the blog, advertisings (like Google AdSense), should be the last method you use. Remember, ads take readers away so they should be used sparingly.

My favorite way to monetize a blog is with a mailing list and backend sales funnel. The beauty of this system is you can keep the blog ad free while making more money. The direct advertising you see on this blog accounts for less 1/3 of the total income. The rest comes from the backend system.

A backend system can help with readership building as well as monetizing. The original reason for setting up the blog mailing list was to build the readership base. But that mailing list is also the reason the blog makes over $40,000 a month.

The backend system will allow you to make money from your blog from day one. Because it has captured the readers’ email, you’ll have no fear of them leaving your blog and forgetting about you since you have a method to contact them again. If you want to monetize your blog from the get go, do it with a backend sales system. You’ll be building your readership and making money at the same time.

The Backend Sales Funnel Starts with Aweber

You should set up your backend system at the same time you set up your new blog. At first, it will be used to help build your readership by capturing the readers’ email addresses. Those emails will be worth a lot of money later.

My backend system is built on Aweber. Their list building features makes it extremely easy to set up an auto responder sales funnel, and their customer support is the best I’ve ever experienced. Aweber offers a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account so it’s a great way to test drive Aweber to see what it can do for your blog. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you’re not happy for any reason, contact Aweber within 30 days and they’ll give you the $1 back.
$1 Aweber Offer


43 thoughts on “Should You Monetize Your New Blog Now Or Wait?”

  1. khairulzamri14 says:

    yeah i agree with these…tqvm 🙂

  2. Mickey says:

    That’s the problem, many people see dollar signs and then clutter up their blog with crap. No one wants to see all that junk when they visit a web page.

  3. Uzair says:

    A very useful suggestion for beginners!

  4. Another excellent post, John. I’m just getting my blog running now and even wonder if I have too many Amazon ads, other than the one for my book, of course.

  5. Yaisa Hagood says:

    John this article makes things so clear. Most people are just focused on making money which I understand because it is mostly out of need. But when you build relationships with people first they money will come. But as you mentioned it is all about the individlua’s goals. It you want a few dollars coming in each month than go ahead and advertise without building a relationship but if you want long term income than you will wait until you’ve built your brand and estalished credibility with your readers.

  6. sriramraj says:

    Nice article. It is very important to build relation before starting advertising. very much true

  7. Mercer says:

    Simple… Basic… and best of all… ACTIONABLE! Thanks for continuing to publish such great content John! I’m a fan of the back-end sales funnel myself!

  8. CraigWhite says:

    John,

    Nice post. I have never used adsense at all and as you say the money is in the list and the backend system. What advice would you give a newbie blogger as to the best method in driving traffic to your blog?

  9. fas says:

    Very well said, but its not that easy always.

  10. Harshad says:

    If you are not collecting names and emails of people visting your blog then you are leaving money on the table. Aweber is the simplest and best service to build an email list. A must have for people wanting to make money online.

  11. thaisold says:

    I disagree on one point, you should be monotizing your blog from day one otherwise your just creating a backlog of work for yourself later. Think about it, imagine going through 8 months of posts to create affiliate links in, is that what you did john after 8 months, curious…

  12. Simple, right to the point. Great examples of Google and Facebook were mentioned in the post which is true. Any new website who focus on being successful will first focus on delivering value and increasing subscriber base. One that phase is over then they start rolling out different monetization methods. In this way the subscriber base keeps increasing and the money keeps rolling as well. Couldn’t agree with you more John. Nice post.

  13. John

    I agree. I started my blog, which is not a stand alone but as part of my business, and had ads on it. They didn’t generate anything of significance. I pulled them down. Now I have incestuous ads in my sidebar that go to my own service pages where it makes sense, but nothing taking them away from me. They can find that on their own.

  14. I really think you should wait for some time before starting to monetize your content. Especially if you want to run AdSense advertising and other advertising programs on your blogs. Affiliate marketing is good from start but be sure to post content first and think about money later.

    BTW, I really like the new template of this blog 🙂

  15. I really enjoy visiting your blog! your interesting system to see things is what keeps me interested. Thanks so much!!!!

  16. Angler Gang says:

    i just want to make 1/10 what you make from blogging, id be pretty happy with that lol

  17. I agree that it is better to wait until you build a base of regular readers and start getting decent traffic until you monetize your site. However, only having one or two ads in the sidebar will hardly deter your readers. Its all about providing a good user experience and too many ads can destroy it.

  18. Bob says:

    This is really great post John. I am now thinking of removing the ads in my new site. Lol! Thank you so much for this tip John.

  19. Bob says:

    The big mistake I have done was monetizing my blog at the beginning.

  20. Robscottage says:

    While I agree that not monetizing in the beginning is the way to go, it is very hard to do when you are starting out as a newbie blogger. The temptation is just too great, particularly if one of the reasons for blogging is to make some money. I’ve tried it both ways and to be honest, don’t think it matters a damm, just depends on the niche and the blog. I suggest a new blog writer might as well monetize from the beginning if that is their intention for their site. But…I would also suggest a new blogger not add too many advertisements, perhaps a small adsense block or two, or whatever other ad server they use. Just don’t overwhelm the blog with more ads than content.

    As for promoting products, such as Amazon or Clickbank, new blog writers should probably stay away from testimonials and such until they have built up a bit of a readership, reputation etc. At that point their testimonials will hold more weight with readers.

    That’s my two cents.

    Always enjoy your blog John.

    Thanks

    Robert (www.thecottagechronicles.com)

  21. BobRoberto says:

    @Robscottage Your comment is very informative most especially for the newbies as well as to those who have already built their blog for a while. Monetizing a blog may only turn into frustration if the expectation is not met. That may end up quitting from what has been started.

  22. Lily says:

    I love John’s idea but when it comes to starters AdSense seems to be the most sensible thing to do. As a small or individual blogger I too began using them and maybe I am the lucky one, I get most from AdSense…Maybe it’s because of my woman nature that I have a different view. One of my latest venture is doing quite well..just two months and going on. I’m still learning your ways. Nice reading.

  23. Samuel Ho says:

    Great post, John!! Most of the newbie blogger, just like me, don’t know how to set up a new blog. They don’t know what is the good time for monetize it. I was really enjoy of your blog post. It was so impressed. Thanks so much.

  24. Thanks for this post John! Although I am new to blogging, my blog just hit its two month mark and because I’ve been applying what I’ve been reading on your blog, I now have a growing base of over 900 Facebook Fans, 125 Twitter followers, 70 newsletter subscribers and I’m now averaging over 500 visits to my blog a day and thanks to a simple tweak I did two days ago that I read about on your blog, I’m now capturing up to10-20 email subscribers daily compared to 1-5 a day. I remember watching one of your videos on your blog a month and half ago on your blogging philosophy, and it didn’t click at the time especially about the importance of an email list, but now I see its value. I wasn’t sure at first about spending $19 a month on Aweber but it’s proven to me to be a great tool for conversions with my daily newsletters, and weekly auto responders that I have set up.

    1. @MoneySavingLisa That’s pretty impressive! I think I’m sold enough on this that I at least have to try it out. What was the tweak he mentioned regarding email subscribers?

      1. @My Awesome Blog There was a few tweaks in general I made from write ups made.. Example, adding the Aweber wordpress plugin, adding in a light box for subscribers, etc.

  25. Oh I forgot to mention.. I’ve actually made around $105 so far this month without even trying.

  26. VALERIE says:

    HI JOHN……I AM REALLY ENJOYING YOUR BLOG SO MUCH…LOTS OF GREAT INFORMATION ! I SAW YOU AT THE MARKETING MASTERY SUMMIT AND THOUGHT YOU WERE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING SPEAKERS….I HAVEN’T STARTED A BLOG YET SO AM ABSORBING ALL THIS INFO….IT SEEMS SO EXCITING…CAN’T WAIT TO START THE PROCESS….

  27. Awesome article… I’ve read an article or two where Shoemoney talks about this, but it didn’t click until you mentioned “maximizing the lifetime revenue per reader”.

    For the skeptical, perhaps a good idea is to do a split test – set up one blog using this system and another with ads from the get-go.

  28. Well put. I have tried optimizing my first blogs with Google Ads in it. However, my bounce rate increases each month showing that my readership is decreasing. People walks away once they click something on the ads and will say bye bye to my blogs.

    I really like your suggestion and would like to try it on the blog that I’m setting up now. Thanks~

  29. hypnodude says:

    Very interesting post. I’m using adsense on my blog, plus infolinks and a referral link, the last one is just one week old so I don’t have hints yet about it. Adsense gives pennies as usual even if some times it has also happened that a click has given more than 1 Euro, which is good. Adsense is good because even at the beginning it let’s you earn some spare money but to be effective you need at least around 1000 visitors a day. At that time you can probably earn more selling by yourself your ad space, or other people’s products. Like you said for the backend funnel if I’ve understood it right. I must admit though that I don’t have a list yet, and I know it’s wrong John, so probably it’s time to rethink well how my blog should be organized.

    Thanks for the always good advices. 🙂

  30. chandra salami says:

    Interesting post. I was thinking what to do with the ad. I think I should try both the methods. With and without ad.

  31. Great post.

    For me the best way to monetize my blogs or sites are affiliate programs like clickbank or cpa networks.I like adsense too.

  32. I own uspropertyadvertiser.com which has helped people sell property for almost 10 years online. The single most important mistake I made is not building an email list. More than likely my list would have a million subscribers by now if I had known this in the beginning. It has been monetized from the start by selling ads to for sale by owners and later on I added adsense which used to make a considerable amount of money.

    I will look at aweber and use your link to get there since I am sure you are an affiliate :). If you view my site, any advice would also be greatly appreciated.

  33. Dale Grove says:

    Hey John…tried to put my email in but your form said my email address was not valid. How do I register for your mailings?

  34. chafik says:

    John, this to me is the perfect illustration of what a great post should be. Concrete, practical advice, geared toward action. For newbies bloggers like me, this is extremely valuable. Thanks so much for keeping it so relevant.

  35. Abhik says:

    Excellent post John. I also think the same way.

    You better start with no ads at all and use mailing list generation from the day one.

  36. Enzo Testa says:

    I find many newbies will setup their site and quickly throw up adsense with zero traffic only to find out in a short time google has disabled their account. Like many have said. “starting a blog is a long term process”. “There is no shortcuts or get-rich-quick methods”

  37. John what a super point you have raised in this article. We all giving our precious customers to Google in only few cents. May be this visitor can become a customer in future who knows.

  38. Some good points I had not thought of.

  39. devinelines says:

    Thanks for the tip on Aweber. I have heard the same point from other prominent bloggers regarding the drawback of having ads too early, which essentially lead people away from your blog. Appreciate your insights.

  40. Most Wanted says:

    From my case of study, on blogs where i dont have quality content with bookmarkers, that will come back to read new reviews, stories and articles i put ads from the 1st moment. On second hand, if i plan to get people coming back to my blog, i dont put ads at the first, i build my base, and then i target them with best ads.

  41. MissTramTran says:

    awesome post

    btw, I think there is error with your subscribe button, it doesnt work, you may wana check that=)

    come say hi sometimes

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