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Monetizing Your Blog: Pros and Cons

written by: Nacie•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 1/29/2009

There are always stories circulating about webmasters who make their living off of the ads placed on their blog, and the temptation to follow suit is hard to resist. However, there are impacts, good and bad, associated with monetizing your blog that should be carefully considered before doing it.

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    Positive Aspects of Monetizing Your Blog

    The most obvious positive impact of placing advertisements on your blog is it provides a residual income channel that has the potential to make money 24/7 with minimal effort. Many webmasters place ads on their blog to pay for the web hosting and maintenance fees associated with the website, however many simply see their blogs as an income vehicle that is a part of their business. Depending on ad placement and the traffic the blog receives, it isn’t unreasonable to see between $50 and $100 revenue from advertising per month. Some sites, albeit the extremely popular ones, claim to earn over $1,000 in advertising income per month, but such examples are few and far between.

    Monetizing your blog is also a way to maintain motivation. When you are blogging for free, it is much easier to make writing posts a secondary or tertiary priority after other work is done. However, if you are earning money from your blog you have an incentive to keep it updated and keep visitors returning by adding new posts.

    Bottom Line: Monetizing your blog can keep you motivated to write and help you earn extra income.

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    Negative Aspects of Monetizing Your Blog

    If ads aren’t placed correctly they can demolish a blog’s readership. In the quest to make good money from their blog, some webmasters go overboard on ads and end up with more billboards on their site than content, or worse, utilize the hated pop-up ad. Let’s be honest, nothing makes a reader leave a site faster than a pop-up ad that won’t go away.

    Readers don’t visit your blog for the nice template you use – they visit it for the content of the posts and the discussions that follow. If your reader can’t find the content amidst the ads, or can’t focus on the content because of the ads then they will leave and find another site they like.

    Another thing to consider is that some of your readers may really appreciate your current lack of ads, and may be turned off by any type of ads you utilize, no matter how tactfully integrated. Before you consider placing any type of advertisement on your website, take a minute to reflect on the tone of your site and the tone of your readers. If you have a close personal bond with your readers you may even want to consider asking them their opinion. The truth about the internet is that if you aren’t giving your readers what they want they can easily find another site that does – so before monetizing your site think about what they want, or find yourself posting to empty space.

    Bottom Line: excessive ad units and placing ads on a site where readers will be offended by them is the quickest way to see your traffic decrease.

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    Guiding Questions

    Every site and every readership group is different, and therefore there is no blanket answer for the question of monetizing blogs. It comes down to the nature of your blog, the temperament of your readers, and also your own goals and comfort level. Your blog, no matter what its focus, is your space, and you have your own vision for what you want it to be and stand for. Furthermore, you may not feel comfortable placing ads on your blog for whatever reason, and that sentiment is perfectly reasonable in and of itself. As you consider the idea further, here are some questions to keep in mind to help you make your decision:

    - Do I want to make money from my blog?

    - What type of advertisements would I use, in-text links, billboards, or pop-ups?

    - How will my readership react to the addition of advertisements on the site?

    - Will including advertisement compromise my blog’s aesthetics, or can they be included seamlessly?

    - Do I feel like advertisements will take away from the purpose of my blog?

    - Am I comfortable placing advertisements on my blog?