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Reader Q&A: Is advertising the only way to make money on your blog?

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Q: I hate how messy banner ads make a blog look, and I really don’t want them on my blog. But does this mean I won’t be able to make any money from blogging? Are there other ways to make money blogging? Help! Bannerphobe, US

A: Hi Bannerphobe,

OK firstly that is more than one question (cheeky!), so in brief my answer is A) Not at all, and B) Yes, lots!

In fact I totally agree with you, lots of banner ads (particularly those running bloody ugly ads like is often the case) can make a blog look a bit more shabby than chic.

On another note, they can also massively slow down your blog page-load wise (for example I turned off all ads on DDGDaily.com recently as a test, and it loaded the page in about 4 seconds, I turned back on the three banners on the homepage and it took nearly TWO WHOLE BLOODY MINUTES to load… yuck!).

Also banner networks really don’t pay all that well until you have a shite load of traffic, and even then it’s still surprisingly low (most bloggers get a few hundred dollars a month from these at best), and selling direct (which does pay better) can be really time consuming. And then you have the extra bonus of having to deal with clients throwing tantrums occasionally about nothing (as that is what some clients like to do).

So long story short, I do not blame you for not wanting to run banner ads on your blog. It is definitely not the easy/shiny/only way of making money (for most) that it seems like it should be.

However just because banner ads are no-go for you, that doesn’t mean there are not other ways a blogger can make money from their blog (in fact, there are lots, and my personal belief is that you want to be utilizing multiple methods of generating income all at once, because this will not only make you the most money overall, but it also future proofs your earnings too).

Just off the top of my head there are: 

  • eProducts (including eBooks, courses, printables and more)
  • Affiliates
  • Online services (such as styling, coaching, web design, social media)
  • Membership sites
  • Selling physical products, or drop shipping.
  • Creating a directory on your blog and selling listings in it.
  • Product placement in social media
  • Sponsored posts/content
  • Writing posts for brands and stores to feature on their blogs.
  • Product reviews & sampling
  • … and lots, lots, more!

You just have to know what feels right for you and your readers, and then get a little creative.

So if banner ads suck so much, why do I still use them?

Well good question! For me, with DDGDaily, I personally still use banners because we do get a shite load of traffic these days (about half a million visitors a month), and using banner ads as one way of generating income (it earns us around $2-3K a month) frees up the time we would have otherwise had to spend approaching possible new advertisers to do things like create better content, update the site, interact on social media, and you know, just generally have more of a life. 

Also with the type of content we create, and the type of blog that we are, I think that people don’t mind seeing some ads (they probably don’t even notice they are there), so I don’t think it’s that much of an issue.

But I totally understand that banners are not right for everyone, and I think the number one most important thing you can do as a blogger is stay true to yourself and to your readers, and if you don’t think banners are a good choice for you, then cheers to that lady, trust me, you can do this thing without them!

Do you use banners on your blog? Do you love them, hate them, or something else them?

COMMENTs:

  1. Nicole W.

    November 14th, 2014 at 5:16 am

    I have two blogs… on the lifestyle blog I use banner ads but I don’t think my audience minds because I bring them quality content which helps to generate relevant ads. However on my nbrand and style blog I do not use banner ads, instead I use deep linking because this is more of a business blog.

  2. Kate McKibbin

    November 14th, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I’m the same, no banners here on SBB, but on DDG it seems to work x

  3. Phoebe Hook (Soulful Warrior)

    November 20th, 2014 at 10:54 am

    No ads on my blog. I did look at it briefly purely for the income, but decided it was completely unaligned with my brand and vision. And that’s way more important to me than anything else. I recommend some products, programs and people on my tools and resources page, some I am an affiliate to, but that’s as far as I go with it.

    My main income comes through 1:1 work, and digital products I have created myself.

  4. Kate McKibbin

    November 30th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Brilliant, it’s all doing what works best for you and your blog x

4

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