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When Should You Put Ads On Your Blog?

written by John Chow on October 12, 2007

Secure Affiliate Marketing

This is one of the most asked questions I receive and there really isn’t a right or wrong answer for it. There are basically two schools of thought.

Don’t Put Up Ads Until You Have Traffic

The logic behind this is when you’re starting out you want to work on building traffic and not on ad sales. You need traffic to make money and when you have no traffic, there’s no need for ads because it won’t make anything. At first, this seems logical. However, ad sales doesn’t have to take up any of your time. Networks like Google AdSense, TTZ Media, Kontera, Text Link Ads, etc. do all the ad sales for you so you can concentrate on building traffic.

Put Up Ads From The Get Go

The logic behind this is if having ads on your blog doesn’t really require additional efforts, then why not just put them up at the beginning? One of the advantages of ads from the get go includes better control of the look and feel of your blog. If you create your blog without any ads and then add them later, it may look tacked on instead of an integrated part of the site. By designing the blog with advertising from the beginning, you could save yourself a redesign later.

The other advantage is your readers would already be use to seeing your blog with ads on it. This helps to prevent the negative comments that always seems to come up whenever a blog without any ads starts running them.

What Should You Do?

My personal preference is start a blog with ads from the get go. While it is true that this blog didn’t have any advertising on it until eight months later it wasn’t because I was trying to build traffic. It was never my intention to place any ads on this blog. This was my personal blog to ramble, it was never designed to be a make money online blog. It only became one because of the case study to show that money can be made by blogging.

Every commercial sites that I’ve started had advertising on it from the very beginning because advertising isn’t just about placing some banner ads here and there. Advertising should be part of the site design. Those “Recommended Moneymakers” icons at the top right are integrated with the look and feel of this blog by design and not by accident.

The question isn’t when to add advertising. The question is whether to add advertising or not. John Chow dot Com started as a personal blog and as a personal blog I felt there should be no ads on it. However, if my goals for the blog when it started was to create a commercial make money online blog, there would have been advertising on it from day one.

Don’t Be Afraid of Too Much Ads

The amount of ads you can place on your blog is directly proportionate to the amount of traffic you have – the more traffic, the more ads. It is a myth that readers leave blogs because of too much advertising. If you were to list the top reasons for readers to leave, too many ads wouldn’t be in the top 10.

Look at a blog like Engadget. There are 21 ads on the front page. If it’s true that readers leave because of too many ads, Engadget wouldn’t be getting over 50 million page views per month. However, you have to keep in mind that Engadget didn’t start with 21 ads. They started with three and added more as their traffic increased.

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{ 74 comments }

Chris Jacobson October 12, 2007 at 11:48 am

I read a similar post about this topic on another blog this week. It’s an interesting debate. I personally displayed ads from the beginning so I could get a feel for what my design would look like when I added more content and widgets.

Five Dollar Wiki October 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Would that be Shoemony? hehe… this IS an interesting debate, “To advertise or not to advertise” :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

SEO Optimization October 12, 2007 at 4:45 pm

To be or not to be, i agree with John Chow, let it be since the very beginning. And I have to agree with Mr Chow even for the fact that visitors don’t leave a website because of ads, usually people that don’t like ads will simply ignore them.

Great post John, and thanks for the great read.

Five Dollar Wiki October 12, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Well…. I am really in the middle of everyone and i think it’s great that the two best guys in money making are fightin’ for some traffic and readership. Whether one guy wins over the other is not the case here, it’s really that they are working off each other…. which is evil of all… :evil: :evil: :evil:

lyricsreg October 13, 2007 at 2:05 am

There’s no debate. Just put the ads on your website. There’s absolutely nothing to lose

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:26 pm

I believe it was on Shoemoney’s site…

It’s definintly a good idea to integrate ads on your site from the get go if that is your plan for the long run, otherwise people start accusing you of beinga sell out.

Israel October 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm

yeh, i was afraid of that but i started with affiliate ads to start off. now i am adding direct sales so it shouldnt be that much different to readers.

Blog Contests October 12, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Definitely not too many from the start though

Michael October 12, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Yep, I agree. It is important to get more readers at first.

Five Dollar Wiki October 12, 2007 at 9:14 pm

definitely but if you have really really good content, i don’t think bombing your site with ads are not a bad idea.

For example, your site got digged or stumbled with some really idiotic video…. :)

lyricsreg October 13, 2007 at 3:06 am

… people would go there to watch the idiotic video, but if they see an interesting ad they will click :)

Making The Money October 13, 2007 at 4:42 am

What if it’s not a blog but a content site? Most of my websites have visitors, not readers. Return readers very very rarely click on ads anyway.

Teejay October 13, 2007 at 4:10 am

I very much agree.

McGrath Dot Ca October 12, 2007 at 12:21 pm

So I guest you added ads on your special project blog from the start :wink:

I don’t mind seeing ads on new blogs anyway. I even find it weird when I don’t see them.

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm

When will we actually get a chance to see this new special project blog. If not the actual site how about giving us an update on whats going on?

Christopher Deals October 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

This is a very interesting post. I will be launching a new blog in a few
weeks, and I will start you with ad. Most of the ad will be for Clickbank products directly related to my blog.

Wayne Liew October 13, 2007 at 12:48 am

I guess you must input all the affiliate banners later on after your pre-sales article though.

Putting up a affiliate banner without introducing it to your visitors will not bring buyers to it though.

Steve October 12, 2007 at 12:42 pm

I’m just finishing up a response on my blog to Neil’s article at ShoeMoney.com too.

Web Hosting Promo Codes October 12, 2007 at 12:45 pm

I think it’s easier to accept a blog plastered with ads, once the site has proven its worth.

Another argument not to add ads in the beginning is that they won’t make you any money before you have at least a decent level of traffic.

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm

But when you start to get traffic your core readers wont have a pronblem recomending your site or calling you a sel out.

SEO Optimization October 12, 2007 at 4:49 pm

If the blog is worth (i.e. if the blog has quality content) they won’t mind recommending your blog before and after you place ads.

The only difference is that when you add ads since the beginning your core readers (most probably) will become ad blind and won’t mind those ads (if they are the same). Personally I am almost ad blind on the ads that John Chow has on the top right sidebar, but every month I am curious (and do click them) on the new ads, there always might be something that could be useful for me and I will NOT know if I don’t click those ads.

OnlineCashFlow October 12, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I agree for the most part. The most important thing is to NOT crowd your content with advertisements. Then it becomes annoying to readers.

Five Dollar Wiki October 12, 2007 at 9:15 pm

yes, just stick with regular ads, not one of those cnet ads where you have to see the ad before going to the content, THAT is annoying and that is why I only goto CNET for downloads or whenever I want to download something there. But I do totally hate the ads on CNET… :cool:

Tibi Puiu October 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

I agree, excellent read John. I usually start monetizating my blogs, when they reach the 1000 uniques a day milestone, sometimes i wait even more.

Wayne Liew October 13, 2007 at 12:50 am

Wow, if this is so, I won’t get any chance of monetising my blog. :mrgreen:

lyricsreg October 13, 2007 at 2:07 am

Don’t wait to reach 1000 uniques. Sometimes people find the ads more interesting than your content :)

Making The Money October 13, 2007 at 2:14 am

Why? I can make more than $1000 a month without trying too hard from a webiste with less than 1,000 uniques a day. What do you gain by waiting?

Teejay October 13, 2007 at 4:12 am

Why wait that long? 1000 visitors is more than enough to monetize.

Click for NIck October 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

I would agree, putting ads on at the beginning seems to be the best way to go. Even a blog with only 150 page views like mine still makes $150 a month. Thats even better rates than you!
Click for Nick – Make Money, Save Money

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Maybe its because your drop you link in the sig of your comment??!?! Hey john when you gonna approve my comments?

Guillermo October 12, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Now that we are talking about starting weblogs… what happened to that “secret weblog” you started sometime ago, the one you were not going to say the name as you wanted it completely anonymous? I haven’t read again about it! Are you still up with it?

John Chow October 12, 2007 at 2:19 pm

It’s still going. Right now it’s building content.

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Give us an update!

Liberty and New Creation October 12, 2007 at 3:35 pm

I’ll be waiting for the launch. Are you just trying to see if you can build another one naturally?

Neil Duckett October 12, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Very intrigued to see what this is.

FiveDollarWiki October 12, 2007 at 9:59 pm

yeah, where IS the secret site? Maybe you could google it????

Neon October 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm

i agree that ads should be part of the design :D
i think that just putting a few ads doesnt really hurt for personal or commercial blogs/sites as long as it dont intrude readers.

sometimes it is the ads that makes your site looks like a site. personally i dont mind looking at ads (especially creative ones) but i prefer ads to rotate else i will be sick of looking the same ads over and over again.

Frank C October 12, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I’ve done both. You’re right, no ads from the start usually means a redesign or a hacked up look. With my new blog I went with ads from the start.

Wayne Liew October 13, 2007 at 12:43 am

Same thing here, I preferred ads at the startup so that the whines are not that loud when I start with no ads but add it in later.

CVOS man October 12, 2007 at 2:10 pm

There is no problem with placing ads on any content site, as long as the ads are relevant to users. Every quality publication from Forbes to the NYTimes has ads and these sites are beacons of the online publishing industry.

Wikillionaire October 12, 2007 at 2:29 pm

I’m try to decide whether I should put up ads on my new site. I think tho that visitors appreciate clean and ad less sites.

*another micro-investment site at http://www.wikillionaire.com, feel free to visit it. With the success of MillionDollarWiki, I just had to create my own. :)

Simon October 12, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Your advertiser: “Incomes from $200,000 to $400,000 or more are realistic results from ordinary people!”

What a joke

Zac Johnson October 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Since the redesign of John Chow, 125×125 blog ads have popped up a ton more sites. I’ve received a decent amount of emails asking me to advertise on these blogs. It’s funny to see the comparisons in price when you compare them to JohnChow.com rates/rss/traffic.

This Site Makes No MONEY! October 12, 2007 at 3:33 pm

LOL, can’t believe it your getting cold called on the internet.

The Monetizer October 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm

John I agree with you about putting ads from the start. Otherwise as you gain readers, they may leave after seeing tons of ads added all at once. Another thing of note is some of the advertising programs want you to have a decent Alexa traffic rank before even allowing you to run their ads, so those can wait.

Liberty and New Creation October 12, 2007 at 3:33 pm

I agree. The earlier you start, the earlier you get to test and see what works and what doesn’t.

For instance, I started with a big google image ad in the middle of every post. But it wasn’t performing well so I took it off, and my blog is better for it. I can make up for it and begin planning where I’ll add additional ad space in the meantime before I get too popular.

Wikillionaire October 12, 2007 at 5:13 pm

I think its perfectly acceptable to over monetize your blog if you have GREAT contents from the start.

Chris Jacobson October 12, 2007 at 6:12 pm

By ads, John means private ads right? AdSense shouldn’t count… the program itself is a joke.

Rob October 12, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Very interesting article. A great topic that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I started my blog with no monetization, but definitely am going to be placing them on there after reading this.

Thanks!

Snowboardjohn October 12, 2007 at 6:33 pm

This sounds like a case of “do as I say, not as I do”.

I fundamentally disagree with monetizing a blog in any way before it gets any traffic.

The idea that somehow people will STOP reading because you monetize in the future is ridiculous. After all, you followed the
“no ads in the beginning, monetize later”, with this blog and it worked extremely well.

From a reciprocity, social proof, viral word of mouth perspective – NON blog monetization is FAR more efficient in promoting a new blog.

Certainly other blog owners, directory owners, and anyone with an interest in LINKING or DISCUSSING a blog is going to be far more likely to link/discuss YOUR blog if it has no ads on it.

The only exception to this rule is if you are already a perceived authority in the market.

Monetizing from the get go is like dragging a 400 pound bag up a mountain – sure you may eventually get there – but why not climb up first and send for the helicopter once your on top?

Justin October 12, 2007 at 6:59 pm

I agree with including ads as well, just think your readers will like the blog better if its well placed. Not just slapped everywhere. As long as the blog is neat it will be a good thing.

Rajuthan October 12, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Nice Writeup

Ritu October 12, 2007 at 8:48 pm

If you have a loyal readership , I dont think it would halt anything. I have a very low readership currently only 24 and the visits are about 2000 views per day, I decided to go ahead and put the ads up and see how it turn out. I need to switch to Wp before I can integrate more, blogger just doesnt cut it

Five Dollar Wiki October 12, 2007 at 9:12 pm

Oh yeah, I’ve copied John’s idea of 125×125 ads everywhere in our blogs. Well, techcruch did a good job too…

Making Sales Making Money October 12, 2007 at 10:17 pm

I suppose I’m still in the building traffic mode, but I went to Ads 4 weeks in and wont look back. I’m going to add a 125×125 Block this weekend available to all . Cheap too. Stay the Course

Wayne Liew October 13, 2007 at 12:51 am

If there is no traffic and page rank, I guess 125×125 banner ads is not an option for starters though… :neutral:

Poker October 13, 2007 at 1:57 am

I think you are totally true. I think too many ads really has a down effect on your traffic..

warzone October 13, 2007 at 2:10 am

I think in reality it does some what add to the negatives of going to the blogs, it may not exactly stop the user but the unless the user has a need of going there, the user will try to avoid going to that site. I found that true with myself as well as others. When I had done something similar, it did not stop incoming traffic but the time at which someone will stay on my blog reduced dramatically compared to my friend who actually found the advertisements repelled his traffic in the other direction. Also you have to remember that the only reason other websites are buying ads from your website is for traffic reasons. So its not sometimes worth getting ads and loosing traffic at the same time. Defeats the purpose for some websites and blogs especially.

Making The Money October 13, 2007 at 2:12 am

I always found that return visitors never really bothered with adverts anyway so I put them up straight away just to get something back from the odd search referral that comes my way.

Teejay October 13, 2007 at 4:07 am

I am with the ‘put the ads in the beginning’ school

Etienne Teo October 13, 2007 at 4:18 am

It is always good to put ads at the start, otherwise you may lose readers after that… :mrgreen:

Johan Cyprich October 13, 2007 at 5:31 am

The advantage of putting ads on your web site from the very beginning is that you can see early on what works well and what doesn’t. As the web site evolves, so will the type of ads being used. For instance, I’m seeing many sites dropping AdSense because it doesn’t generate enough money.

Many businesses tell me that they don’t want advertising because it cheapens their web site and takes away their credibility. We are living in an advertising saturated world and people are used to seeing all of this. As long as the ads don’t interfere with the web site usability, they’re ok to use.

David October 13, 2007 at 5:54 am

I never thought about the idea to have ads as a part of the design but you are 100 % right.

Zbych October 13, 2007 at 8:23 am

I think if you don`t put any ads, you will make no money 100 %, so it`s logical to put them even if you have a bad traffic. You might make a few bucks, but it`s better than nothing.

Nick Sullivan October 13, 2007 at 8:29 am

Yeah, whilst I do believe it’s good to put ads on right away so that your readers will always be conscious of them and not be angry when they’re added. Shoemoney still makes a good point. He said he usually waits till about 1,000 uniques a day as shoving them up right away can give you a 1 click and gone effect, also it’s very hard to gain a lot of subscribers with ads in their face.~

I think… with a stationary or commercial site I would put ads up straight away, I always do. But with a blog… I would restrict ads for a little while as the main focus should be getting subscribers, not making money. Then you can implement them when the subscribers are there.

Valentin October 13, 2007 at 9:22 am

So .. looks we are agree on one “critical” aspect of blogging .. http://five4all.com/several-amazing-golden-rules/ (august 20)

Paula Mooney October 13, 2007 at 10:10 am

Amen to that, John!

I don’t understand the folks who criticize people who have ads up or make money vlogging or whatever.

The other day news reporters criticized a guy for selling his video of the Cleveland school shooting.

I thought, how ironic that newscasters who put food on their children’s tables by reporting about the same shooting that the i-reported citizen journalist taped are being hypocrites and talking about him!

The world of ads and blogging and reporting are changing…

Celebrities & Blog Tips October 14, 2007 at 12:21 am

If you plan to put ads on your site at any time during your blog life – they should be put on from the beginning. Start as you mean to go on. Then readers know what to expect from your site.

Ginn Wei October 14, 2007 at 12:55 am

I’m somewhere in the middle of the two school of thoughts because I think that it’s the right time to place ads in your blog once the blog is getting about 200 unique visitors daily. If it’s less than that, the time spent on advertisements is better spent on getting more traffic. Just my humble opinion.

Home Recording October 14, 2007 at 6:06 am

I have a personal blog that is just a rambling one like John says he started off with. A friend of mine suggests that I start a serious blog to which he would divert traffic! My problem is this. Who would want to advertise in a blog that does not exist, nor have traffic?

Free Backlinks for You October 14, 2007 at 6:42 pm

I totally agree. The more ads the merrier. :)

Blogging Success Journey October 16, 2007 at 3:28 am

thanks for the guide, if not i will be still waiting…and waiting…and waiting and waiting…

Mike October 20, 2007 at 2:46 am

I only recently started blogging, I put the ads in place first. At least that way people are use to your site with no ads and won’t think that you are money grabbing as much as they would if the ads just appeared when the blog is well established.

Mike

Scottsdale Web Design October 24, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I agree that adds form the get go is a really good idea when you don’t have to worry about marketing them. However I think there are a lot of sites out there that the functionality suffers due to too many ads, and I think that it actually drives down traffic, and thus revenue.