Friday, November 18, 2011

This Is Where I Talk About the Big Honking Ad on My Blog

To monetize or not to monetize the blog. That was the agonizing question.

So you might have noticed that I recently got a big shiny ad in my sidebar. Well, actually, it's a series of rotating ads, including some of a non-paid, public service nature, like Petfinder.

Yes, I have monetized the blog. I am one of many pet bloggers who are now part of the newly launched BlogPaws | BlogHer publishing network. Bloggers in the network earn a small commission per page load (or ad view), whether the ad is clicked or not. It takes lots of page loads to even earn a penny. I knew this up front.

The thing is, I never wanted ads on my blog. I dislike clutter. I need colors to match. I hate waiting for pages to load. And pop-ups getting in my way. I was okay with having a no-income blog. Then, out of the blue, I got an invitation.

An invitation - as an existing BlogPaws member - to apply for membership in the publishing network. My heart went all aflutter. Since I knew my blog met all the joining criteria, my mind was already celebrating the potential income. Something - as a stay-at-home mom - that I hadn't received in over four years. 

And yet, I still hated the idea of seeing an ad on my blog. 

So I did some research and talked it over and decided that being associated with the BlogHer organization might not be so bad. It certainly couldn't hurt to try.

Two days later my blog was approved. The next move was up to me. I'd have to accept or [politely] decline.

To monetize or not to monetize the blog. That was the agonizing question.

Thank goodness I only got 48 hours to make up my mind. I tossed a lot those nights, worrying about things. Like what if:

  • people think I'm a money-grubber
  • people get mad and stop visiting
  • the ad colors clash with my blog background
  • people think I'm a shallow money-grubber
  • people talk about me being a shallow money-grubber and stop visiting.
    (I might be a worry-wart. :)
And then I remembered that I don't have a paying job. And I accepted the offer.

I was relieved that the network permits bloggers to opt out of certain ad categories, and I promptly did so - except for candy and non-R-rated TV and films. In my mind, those were the least likely to offend anyone. :)

In the first week after I installed my ad code, I was served nothing but public service ads (PSAs). That was great. I earned nothing from them, but it would give me and my readers time to adjust to the prominent new space on my blog.

Another no-paid-ad week and a chat with the BlogHer Help Desk later, I opted back into a few things. And slowly, but surely, they arrived. Paid ads I had once vowed not to place on my site. And I was filled with regret.

Then - in a stroke of perfect timing - there appeared on my blog, a camera ad in an eye-catching sea glass-green and red design. A good, reputable camera, too. An ad like you might see on a site with WAY more readers than mine, or even in a popular ladies' magazine. And all that regret I had felt began to slip away.

What the heck was I thinking?! I thought. I might only earn $25 in a year,* but that's $25 more than I've earned in the last four! Bring it on!

You do realize you have to split that $25 three ways, right?
*To date, I've earned just over $3 (includes two weeks with nothing but PSAs). 

Since that epiphanic moment, I've grown more and more comfortable with the ads. To be honest, they've started to grow on me in unexpected ways. For instance:

  • The color schemes are harmonious interesting, mostly.
  • Every time I load my page I get a surprise. 
  • They can make me feel immature little again (Shrek, anyone?).
  • I sometimes yearn to eat cook (with butter and large kitchen appliances).
  • Or have an Irish coffee (Irish cream, please). (My favorite brand, too! How did they know?) ;)
Who knows? One day an ad might even inspire a blog post (it could happen).


And that, friends, is the story behind the ad. 
The elephant in the room made me tell it.
Thank you for listening.
Feel free to ask questions.

Have a happy weekend!


  1. What a wonderful (and humorous) way to cover "that" subject. The one we all hate to consider, feel awful about if we do, yet really - there's nothing at all wrong with earning a teensy bit for all the hard work you put into this site.

    You offer great content here, free for anyone who is smart enough to come by. That's what's important. That's what matters.

    Hope you get some good rest tonight! :)

  2. I LOVE BlogHer! And welcome! How else could I ever support my cup-o-coffee a day habit? (that would be the $1 McDonalds coffee and not the $2.55 Starbucks variety by the way).

  3. My blog is way too cluttered, takes too long to load, and I frequently do what I call shameless (it is not without shame) self-promotion for my business. I didn't join the network because I am an incredible control freak.

    I say: Good for you! Though it's a pittance, I certainly don't begrudge you receiving some kind of monetary compensation. Just wish it was more lucrative for you! Plus, the ad doesn't bother me in the least...though the day is was for Mary Kay cosmetics, it did stop me in my tracks for a moment. I had this insane pause to imagine Dewi and JF in lipstick. ;-)

  4. I did notice the ads, but just thought good for you! Coming up with a good post everyday is hard work, so why not receive a tiny bit of compensation!

  5. Good for you! You *should* be earning some money for your hard work if you can. I really don't think you will lose any followers for it, nor do I think anyone will think less of you for it.

    And I agree with Kim, you came up with a great and entertaining way to bring up a subject that was difficult for you. That "great and entertaining way" of yours is why we come here. Just keep that up and you have nothing to worry about. :)

  6. It's something I've thought about a lot, too! One blog that I LOVE recently started running pop up ads, and I hate that. But sidebar ads are sort of a take it or leave it deal, and considering how much time most of us put into our blogs, getting a little money is not a bad thing!

  7. I don't know about you but I did the math and I spend 25 hours a week, outside of working a full time job, on our blog. Yes, I do one day hope to be able to make a little extra cash from ads. Call me naive (which I am I am sure) but I don't see what the big idea is about advertising on your blog if it is done tastefully and is not for inappropriate products. I say good for you and it doesn't bother me one bit. Can you help me understand why a lot of bloggers seem to lament about this issue so much?

  8. Your ad blended in well with your background! They're both brown. Needless to say, it wasn't distracting and I just gave you maybe 1/10 of a penny for reading this post!

  9. The ad thing is very interesting! Love you eye for details! We love your blog! Funny, informative, great corgis! We're just glad you blog! Life sometimes interferes with blogging so we want to take this time to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. I really appreciate all the thought you put into this. And the humor you brought to your introduction of the ads.

    I would like to move towards raising income from my blogs but I have lots of resistance to the process--maybe the result of working for nonprofits for the past 20 years?

    I opted out of the BlogHer ads because i didn't like the idea of ads unrelated to my blog topic. But I don't have a problem with anyone deciding differently.

    It's just like television (or in my case, Hulu)--ads allow us to see great content for free.

    You deserve to be compensated for your excellent work and I'm glad you found a method that works for you.

  11. Yay for you - I don't find it distracting at all, and you should be compensated for all of the hard work you put into your blog :)

    I'm a control freak too, so I totally understand how you feel! The ad that appeared while I read your post was for Baileys - YUM!! (and the colors matched your site perfectly!)

  12. i am SO with you on this. i went through the exact same series of thoughts and debated with my husband about joining the network over various conversations.

    i was so worried that people would think i was being a jerk for having ads, like all i care about is money--especially because i'm a fairly new blogger with a fairly small following. i thought people would be like, "who does she think she is with these ads?" and they would stop reading.

    but in the end i decided to go for it, and i think it's OK. i think that earning a few pennies over the course of a year isn't all that horrible of a thing to do. i spend a lot of time on my blogging hobby, and i don't even post every day, so i feel like there are worse things i could do.

  13. by the way, i haven't checked on earnings at all. i should probably do that. :-)

  14. To Everyone - I really, really, really appreciate your feedback. This was an exhausting decision and an exhausting post to write (I rewrote it several times). I don't know why monetizing a blog has such a stigma - maybe it's because it's so personal.

    @Kim - Thanks - I hope people can find the info, if they need it.

    @Marianne - Nice to meet you, and thanks! I like BlogHer, too, and feel honored to be in the network. Incidentally, subsidized coffee is NEVER a bad thing. Also, I think McD's coffee is GOOD!

    @Kim and @Marianne - I know it's a big city, but you both are writers and parents in the Chicago area. If you don't know of each other already, let me introduce you - virtually, from Virginia. :)

    @Talking Dogs - Your blog is great! I was talking about my own virtual "house" in the post. Since I can't keep my real house uncluttered, etc., I am super picky about the blog. :) And, JF and Dewi might wear hats, but I'd never waste my lipstick on those jowls. :)

    @Jessica - It's clear that you put lots of time into your blog and I hope you make loads of cash. :) I think you hit the nail on the head with "tasteful and not inappropriate." Those words are subjective. For me, "tasteful" means cute with complementary font and colors to my blog. "Not inappropriate", ideally, would be only products related to what I write about - and ones I would use myself. So you see, it's somewhat of a compromise of ideals. Maybe my ideals are unrealistic.

    @Shanimal - I appreciate that 1/10 cent. :)

    @Becky - Thank you!

    @Pamela - Thanks. I used television and radio ad analogies when I was trying to decide. You're right, can't really begrudge too much since the services are free (well minus the cable and satellite - for me). :( I bet several people have opted out of BlogHer for the same reason as you.

    @Julie - I'm especially encouraged that you aren't distracted by the ads since you're a web designer. But, maybe it was only because it was Bailey's. Honestly, I'd be fine if the Bailey's ad stayed there permanently. Now that would be an interesting message to send to my readers! :)

    @Lauren - You are such a jerk. KIDDING! ;) Congrats to you and thanks for chiming in here. I am excited to know another pet blogger with dryer sheets and facial hair remover alongside photos of her dog. :) I hope your earnings are bigger than mine.


We love comments almost as much as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! Thank you!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...