Thinking About Blog Monetization

money

Photo courtesy noahwesley, via flickr, under a Creative Commons licence

Reading Caroline Middlebrook’s post asking whether one’s blog monetization “left money on the table” reminded me that I had once posted something here on the topic.I had, but longer ago than I had thought, almost two years ago. I was interested to see that my views on the topic had not changed fundamentally. In the post, Business Blogs – Show Me the Money, I wrote:

Essentially, my view on the monetizing issue is that a blog can serve a perfectly useful and even productive function in a business by helping raise awareness of the business, helping to build trust and providing other benefits, none of which need to be directly attributable to this or that sale of goods or services on or directly from the blog.

Which is not to say people shouldn’t make money directly from their blogs. Some do – and some of them do very well indeed. No problem with that. Just don’t want to see an equation being developed that “good business blog” = “directly monetized”.

I’ve never been opposed to the idea of having ads on this site generating income. But I am very clear that my blogging, which for a long time was mainly on this site, has played a significant role in generating income for me in the past few years. Just not directly from the blog. More about branding and reputation management.

But as a business owner I want to make sure I don’t get stuck in a paradigm that may be narrower than it needs to be. I’m open to ideas about generating income directly from the site, provided that does not detract from its purpose as a provider of information and promoter of thinking about “working from home in a networked world”.

So I read Caroline’s post with great interest. It includes some valuable information and commentary about:

  • Google Adsense ads
  • other ways of generating income from your site
  • the dollar value you put on ads on your site (some serious food for thought here)
  • the importance of building relationships – “building beyond the blog itself”.

For this Thinking Home Business blog, a step in the direction of being a bit more attentive to not “leaving money on the table” has been introducing the 125×125 pixel ads in the sidebar. My feeling is that they are not obtrusive and do not detract from the post content, but are hopefully evident enough to attract some clickthroughs, from that some happy customers for whatever products are being advertised and in turn some revenue directly from this site.

I’d love to hear from readers who have views about this topic, whether for or against generating income (a phrase I prefer to the dreaded “monetization”) from our blogs: comments of the undecided welcome also.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. I agree with some others have said, but I’m really very middle of the road on this topic. If you can generate income directly from a blog without your choice in monetization (be it affiliate links, flash rotators such as those from Amazon or Zazzle or Adsence ads) appearing tacky or distracting, then by all means go for it! The problem I see with most blogs is that they overdo it. I shouldn’t be able to visit your blog and automatically tell that you’re trying to monetize through ads. If you’re going to go this route, the ads or product presentations should fit so well with the overall design and color scheme of your blog that I just consider them an extension of the information. If you can avoid flashing and blinking ads, or ads that are too far off of your general color scheme, this should help some.

    Your arrangement here, by the way, is just what it should be. The ads are not so overpowering that they distract me from the content. Only one thing blinks. There is quite a bit of color, but it isn’t overdone. So keep up the good work and I hope this works out for you. Right now, I’ve chosen the more indirect method for my blogs and that works well. If I do choose to monetize any time soon, it will likely be with related books from Amazon or related Internet marketing products (haven’t decided yet, though there are fortunately several options). But I agree with you, keeping an open mind to this aspect of blogging is necessary. Good luck to you!

    -Ina
    Open Season: Choosing the RIGHT Home Business!

    Ina @ Open Seasons last blog post..How Secure Is Job Security?

  2. @Tony – yes, it’s drool-inducing pic isn’t it? 🙂

    @Peter- I believe there’s room for different approaches. I have long been a critic of the establishment of “rules” for blogs. I don’t have a personal problem with blogs that are just set up to make money, without regard to content – but I don’t read them, get feeds from them or link to them

    @Barbara – Great point. At the same time, if newspapers – or, say, television networks, allow “advertorial” content to swamp real editorial content, they will surely lose the more discerning readers/viewers in the longer haul. Bloggers, like mainstream media editors, have to work out who their desired audience is and what they need to do to attract and hold that audience – including not thoughtlessly driving them away in the search for a quick buck. Locally in Australia, we have recently had an example of journalists for a formerly respected journal of record saying “Enough!” http://standsalone.org/blog/2008/04/13/journalist-revolt-at-the-age/ As with life, it’s a matter of balance, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

    @Solo Business Marketing: Thanks Shirley – I appreciate your encouraging words, as always. You are the Great Encourager (and I know you don’t do that lightly) – take a bow!

    @Lightening – Thank you. Yes, sometimes I wonder, when I visit a site which has so many ads, Google adsense included, scattered around the site, and I can’t easily find a blog post, whether the author actually wants anyone to read his or her posts, or just click on ad and go and buy something!

  3. It would seem that a combination of the two could be the way to go. I think some sites overdo their advertising and have to question whether the return they are getting on those ads is really worth the value they detract from the blog. But, like you’ve said here, a small amount of advertising that contributes to your overall bottom line I feel doesn’t hurt.

    Lightening@Lightenings Blogworlds last blog post..Make Money Blogging

  4. Solo Business Marketing says:

    Des,

    You are a blogger with an audience that benefits from your wisdom, which is expressed within each post.

    Why not complement that content with advertising links? You are correct to mix expert advice with complementary affiliate ads, and I bet your readers appreciate it.

  5. I think Blog Monetization is a Good Thing. After all, you don’t see the newspapers or portal sites or entertainment sites angst over advertising…why should it be any different for blogs?

    Best wishes,

    Barbara

  6. I think that making money from your home business blog should be an indirect rather than a direct effort. It’s better to make money through the use of your blog in the promotion of your home business e.g. affiliate products rather than say ads placement on your blogs to make money. It’s the former that makes your blog serve a bigger community, a bigger cause.

    Peter Lee
    Work From Home Business Blog

  7. Tony Edward says:

    ooooooh What a beautiful photo.

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