A friend of mine asked me this morning if he should put ads on the blog he’s launching next week from the first day. There are two opposing ways of thinking about it – some people prefer to have their ads in from the first day while others tend to add them later on once they’ve built up their reader base.
Readers are usually tolerant of advertising as long as they don’t have a preconceived notion of a specific site being ad-free. We are bombarded by advertising so much in our lives that we understand and accept it even on a personal reading level when browsing online.
Showing ads from the first day helps you avoid false expectations that your readers might develop about an ad-free blog which could later prove to be a hurdle when you finally do show ads.
On the other hand, it may make sense to hold off on showing ads and instead use the ad space to highlight key areas of your blog to new readers. Later on when you’ve got a lot of traffic (especially search engine traffic) you can then consider showing AdSense or other advertising on your blog.
What do you do – show ads from day 1 or delay it until your blog has enough traffic?
Is is another way of saying “If you do add value, the rest will follow”?
I tried doing both and I think there’s pros and cons of each. On the one hand, not putting up ads shows your readers you’re not necessarily in it for the money at first, and that builds trust. In the other hand, when I started aggressively monetizing FWJ, I was accused of selling out by some.
Like Geeeek, I’m starting to believe that one has to consider ads when one designs. If they blend in and become part of the scenery they’re less “in your face” and you’ll get more clicks.
With that said, however, I also believe that one should more aggressively pursue traffic than revenue when beginning a blog. If you have the traffic, the rest will follow.
I think that if you plan to have ads on your site, their size and placement should be thought of during the design phase and built in immediately. If you spend time to get ads that complement your content, they will be part of the landscape and won’t detract from your site and content.
Gerard – first impressions count, so showing heavy ads to new visitors is just going to piss them off whether your blog is new or old.
If we go by the assumption that an authority blog will be able to withstand the backlash, why not go for a more reader-friendly layout that blends ads and content better?
Artem – exactly my approach as well.
I prefer the approach to show just a little of advertisement from the day one – not for ad dollars, but exactly to “avoid false expectations that your readers might develop about an ad-free blog”. And then to go for any real amount of ads later, after there is some traffic and community on the blog.
I’m coming to the conclusion that delaying ads is better until you’ve at least built up some authority for your site.
A little off topic, but what’s the deal with the rise in sites where there’s a huge ad block between the title and the content? That seriously pisses me off. It’s too in your face and intrusive. So tell your newbie bloggers to get the ad balance right – too many at the start can make a site look spammy.