But then, a few years ago the entire monetization game changed. Blogs everywhere started finding ways to sell advertising on their posts, around their posts, above their posts, beside their posts, within their posts, and ______ their posts (choose any preposition). Big bloggers. Small bloggers. Bloggers in-between. Ads started showing up everywhere.
I also threw some ads up on Single Dad Laughing when I first started it. I mean, Google just made it so darn easy, how could I not? And guess what, I made a few cents. It was great.
But then, I realized something. The reason people pay to put ads on other people’s blogs is because it works. It brings them leads. It builds their brand. It gives them more business. So… if it worked for them, was I ultimately shooting myself in the foot by giving away my best and most visual blog real estate in exchange for a few pennies here and there? What if I advertised myself and my blog in the same places?
I made one big decision to take all the ads off of my site and instead install graphics that would tout my blog, ask people to follow, etc. I decided that I wasn’t going to monetize my blog at all until it was big enough that putting ads up wouldn’t hurt me.
It was a gamble. I mean, twenty bucks a month could buy me a nice meal. Was it worth giving that up?
I’ll tell you one thousand times over it was. No, make that ten thousand times over.
I experimented with different pictures and graphics. I changed my header up. I did everything I could to make my blog look like it had been around for a long time and that everybody was following it, and I did it without ever lying or being dishonest. All it took was good old fashioned creativity and a lot of trial and error.
Frankly, I’d encourage you to do the same. Those side columns on your blog, your footer, and your header… those need to be utilized by you, for you. You should forget about ads, you should forget about monetization, and instead focus on making your blog stand out among the 50 million other blogs that are out there.
Even now that I have started putting affiliate links on my blog (we’ll talk about that later), I still save my best real estate for myself. My number one advertising spot pushes people to follow my blog. My #2 shows my Facebook follower count which currently is knocking on the door of 60,000 after only nine months of doing this. You see, I want anybody who comes to first see that the blog is followable in any number of different ways, and second see that the blog is popular. I believe it makes a lot of people stick around a little longer than they otherwise would have.
If you want to make a few bucks from your blog right now, I suggest putting in-text links into your site via infolinks (click here, it takes about 3 minutes and is super simple. Infolinks is by far the best paying, and most popular.). In-text links are more or less non-intrusive (nothing is as non-intrusive as no ads), and they don’t hog the valuable parts of the screen.
But do yourself a favor and keep the other ads off of your blog for a long time to come. Wait until your traffic automatically pushes more traffic. Wait until your success automatically breeds more success for you (I’ll be writing more about that in the future). Get creative, and use your space for yourself. Your blog will grow much faster if you do, and wouldn’t you trade a few dollars a month for a lifetime of opportunity and perks that can only come from having a bigger blog?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What are your thoughts on monetization? Do you buy into what I’m saying in today’s post? What are your hesitations either way?