Is your Blog a Shop or a Billboard?

Is your blog whoring out for 5 cent clicks? When it come to making money from blogs, the easiest option seems to be to put advertising on it. AdSense, TLA, Chitika, paid reviews and other advertising gimmicks go a long way towards feeding the bloggers’ need to make money.

It isn’t the only way to make money though – and as a fellow blogger recently commented, there are serious advantages in considering your blog to be a shop rather than a billboard.

This is NOT a rant against blog advertising. Unlike some purists who feel that blogs should not have any advertising (the reasons behind that are food for a whole different discussion), I believe that advertising revenue is convenient for a blogger who is short on resources and wants to make money from his hobby (or passion).

However, if advertising is all you’re focusing on for revenues as a blogger, you’re missing out on a significant amount of income.

Selling Advertising vs Selling Products

What does it mean for a blog to be a shop rather than a billboard?

As a rule of thumb, the ‘billboard’ approach means that you are driving leads to someone else’s business and you get paid a commission for doing so. In other words, you get paid for sending people away from your website.

The ‘shop’ approach allows you to make money from your visitors directly, and as such requires a different approach in design and blogging (your blog design would now be optimized to highlight the product you are selling and if you shun advertising revenue completely, then you have plenty of space on your blog for not only promoting your products but also promoting your site’s content in prominent locations on your blog.

There are pros and cons for each approach:

Advertising is easy to start off with but if you want to make serious money from it you’ll have to work hard to increase traffic and to attract the big advertisers. There’s also the trade-off between space for content and space for ads.

Selling products requires a lot of work in the beginning (getting the product and sales text and graphics ready – although if you outsource everything and you have the money for it (through advertising, maybe?) then it’s easier) and setting up the sales process takes some level of knowledge / expertise. On the other hand, once you get going and automate the whole process (from bringing in leads to converting them to pitching the back-end products to them, selling products will make you far more money than just advertising.

It’s been said here on Performancing before – if you make your ads the content – if everything you write promotes and sells your products (implicitly), then you’ve got an almost perfect business model.