Back in the day, the way to roll with whole blog thing was to write your butt off and monetize with Adsense. It was like a game to see who could get their ads to look the most like their regular blog text.
Over time, I think we’ve finally learned that the key here is user experience.
Provide your readers with the best possible content possible, and the rest will take care of itself.
I’m not against self-promotion on my own blog. Just the intrusive kind.
Even some of my favorite blogs use ads or some kind of intrusive and annoying pop-up, pop-under, or lightbox crap that interrupts my reading.
I’m annoyed by it, and that’s why I don’t use any of that crap on my sites. I’ve seen only a few of these that were tastefully done that I would even consider:
- Harsh, over at Shout Me Loud, uses this little window that swings in from the side in the lower corners to prompt visitors to Like his Facebook Page. That one’s alright
- Jasper, over at Opportunity Building, talked about Thrive Leads in a recent post on Matthew Woodward’s blog. He uses an exit-intent pop-up that only shows to each visitor once. I’d consider that as well
Other than those, and my Hello Bar across the top of my blog here, I don’t really like pop-ups and outs and unders and all that jazz.
Why would I want to distract you from reading these blog posts that I slave over? 😛
Why I Don’t Use Adsense and Other Ads for Monetization
All that set-up and maintenance is really a waste of time. To take that a step further, anything beyond writing and promoting your content is sort of a waste of time. Anyway…
I used Adsense for a good number of years over at ProWebWriter.com until I finally stopped. I made about $100 a year…yeah, YEAR. It wasn’t worth the pittance.
These days, even if it paid 1000 times that, I wouldn’t do it.
I have moved to a different level of marketer now. I’m not an Adsense blogger. I’m an expert that advises other aspiring experts that that kinda stuff is child’s play.
Let’s do a run down of more why…
1. Ads are a distraction for your content.
Think about that for a minute. You place these ads on your blog to monetize it for a few cents a click, and it takes YOUR visitors away, never to return.
You just lost a potential loyal reader and/or customer for a few cents.
Basically, those leads you pay good money for, Google is taking from other sites like yours for pennies on the dollar.
You’re still sitting here at your blog with no readers.
2. Too many calls-to-action.
As a blogger, you probably have a few calls-to-action hanging around on each post, right? Every link, opt-in, and ADVERTISEMENT is a call-to-action.
Except those ads aren’t promoting anything of yours like your other calls-to-action.
That’s not cool.
3. Ads provide no value to your audience.
That’s why most of us blog: to provide value to our readers. We want to solve their problems and answer their questions.
Only we can do that, not some ugly advertisement hawking the latest guru garbage.
Ads are self-serving, and they’re really bad at it.
4. Blog ads are kinda sleazy.
It’s like you can’t make money any other way, or you don’t know that blog ads are so 2003.
It’s like you’re a pimp, and these ads are your girls.
No one wants to get caught clicking one.
It’s like, *flings open trenchcoat* “Hey kid, wanna buy a watch? No? How about one of these lovely ladies?” *brandishes advertisement*
5. Blog ads can ruin your reputation.
Consider this scenario: reader clicks on ad for product, buys it, and the product is bunk.
That is a direct reflection on your reputation even though it’s not even your product. You were advertising it proudly on your blog for the 3 cents you probably made off of it.
You have no control over what is being displayed. That by itself should be a deal-breaker.
6. They look like trash.
As much blood, sweat, and tears as I put into my blogs, I could not imagine at this point, messing all that up with ugly ads.
The whole point of a self-hosted WordPress blog is to have full control.
You have no control over what these ads look like either, and they almost always look like rubbish.
7. You look like an amateur with dumb ads all over the place.
I was researching an article for a client the other day, and I found some great blogs, but they were plastered with stupid Adsense.
I can’t link to that from a client. Come on!
Face it, it’s unprofessional.
How To Monetize When Monetization Isn’t Good Monetization Anymore
So you’re thinking, “Crap, now what?”
Take heart! There are better, and better paying, ways!
While a few of the blogs I follow use ads or those intrusive pop-everywheres, many of them do not and most of them are making a killing!
Why else would I be following them?
Let’s churn out some ideas.
Idea 1. Provide a service.
I made my first dollar online in the service realm, and I’m still doing it that way. Even writing blog posts is a service. If I want to land new clients, I show them my blogs, and I’m usually in without a hitch.
The majority of service providers out there, don’t have a decent portfolio of their work to show. I went to work for a fairly high-profile marketer, and his best writers didn’t even know how to post to WordPress or upload metadata for SEO.
If you’ve got skills, you can get paid. If you don’t have skills, learn.
Stick around here, and subscribe. I have some courses coming out that you could benefit from.
You can offer services through a third party or directly on your blog. It can get the monetization ball rolling faster than any ad ever could.
Idea 2. Advertise and/or sell someone else’s product.
Also known as affiliate marketing, this applies to newbies and seasoned bloggers alike.
If you’re a newbie, you can sign up at Clickbank and start promoting those products right away.
If you’ve been blogging a while, you can do that, and/or you can network with other bloggers and promote their products.
The keyword here is “network”.
Also, it helps if you use the product. In fact, I don’t suggest promoting it if you haven’t used it. Be authentic!
A few great ways to do this are:
- Including a Resource page on your blog that promotes the products and services you use
- Linking to products on Amazon like books, pens, computer, etc. that help you build a better blog
- Including links in your content both on your blog and in products you create
Idea 3. Monetize what you’re good at.
Sure, we already talked about providing a service, but have you ever thought about using your blog to promote your service?
I mean the way Allie Brosh did over at Hyperbole and a Half.
She used her blog to promote her hilarious comics which are really about depression.
That takes sheer talent.
Her blog also skyrocketed her book to New York Times #1 Bestseller. Just wow.
Maybe you don’t draw comics, but you do something. If you want to monetize that particular thing, blog about it.
Idea 4. Create and promote your own products.
This is next level stuff right here. If you want to trade just regular ol’ affiliate marketing for authoritative marketing, this is what you do.
If you can’t create anything except an idea, you can still create products. It will be a little harder, and it will cost you a little money, but you can do this.
- Ebooks – As a writer, it is nothing for me to throw together a simple ebook. I can do it in short order ranging from a couple hours to a day. If you’re not necessarily a writer (why are you blogging?), you can hire someone to create an ebook for you for less than or right at $100.
- Courses – If you’re not a writer, jump in front of the camera and teach us something. If you’re camera shy, screen capture is also popular.
- Memberships – This didn’t work very well for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t for you. If you can truly offer good value to your members, go for it, but you need a solid following first.
- Software – I’ve seen several bloggers who offer their own apps, WordPress plugins, browser bars, and Chrome extensions. These are great as freebies and as a monetization strategy.
- Physical products – You know, like t-shirts, books, or maybe even some pens or stress balls! A lot of YouTubers do shirts, so it must be pretty easy and fairly lucrative.
If you can’t write, code, teach, or make stuff, hire someone who can. Upwork allows you to procure some pretty cheap labor overseas.
Choose the Better Monetization Method
We are serious about blogging around here, right? Yeah, so look and act like it! Don’t use those tacky ads.
Monetizing your blog like an amateur makes you one, so monetize like a pro instead!
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