I have had advertising on my blog for as long as I can remember. Except for the period of time when I hosted the site at WordPress.com, I have always had AdSense, Chitika, or some other ad services content being contextually presented to my visitors.
Frankly, I found having ads up on my site extremely hypocritical, as I do everything in my power to avoid seeing ads of any kind during my day-to-day Web use. My browsers have ad-blocking plugins, or pass through ad-blocking proxies to eliminate the content I see as intrusive and unwanted.
Still, I spent a long time thinking about ad-placement on my own blog, and what I could do to drive traffic to get revenue, from something I didn’t believe in myself.
Yes, my blog doesn’t get huge amounts of traffic. And yes, I have been paid out exactly four times by AdSense in the 5 years I have been blogging. In four years, I have made $400 from the ads on my site.
I find ads intrusive, invasive, repulsive, and, in many cases, extremely ugly. So why should visitors to my site have to suffer with them?
Effective Sunday, August 9 2009, the ad code, in all its various forms, has been eliminated from my site. My blog is now officially ad-free. And it will stay that way.
For me, ad-revenue is ineffective. It takes away from the true reason I started writing this blog: I have something to say. If I am always thinking “How will this play with the contextual ad providers?”, then I am not writing in my own voice. I am writing to meet the criteria of an algorithm that triggers on certain words and will provide advertising that might make me money.
By presenting ads to visitors, the same ads that I despise.
When you step back and think about your blog, consider the following.
- Do you think about every word in your posts, considering its effect on your SEO?
- Do you change your site design often to try and discover the optimal ad layout?
- Is ad revenue more important than your reputation as a blogger?
- Do you always think about branding in terms of dollars instead of in terms of authority and reputation?
Blogging is not about the money. And while I read Darren Rowse and other pro-blogging advocates, I also realize that they’re focus is on quality content for an appreciative audience.
I feel that ad revenues can lead to the loss of your blogging voice. And my voice and reputation are what are most vital to me, not dollars from ugly ads.