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.