Helping Creative People Create

What, No Ads?

Tony the Tiger and Groucho
I get emails occasionally asking if I’d give up some “real estate” on my site for advertising.

I used to accept advertising on this site, and it was kind of nice. I’d make a few bucks each month for a banner or a few links sprinkled in the sidebar, and nobody complained.

The common arguments potential advertisers give are “it’s really not that noticeable” or “why not make some money for your writing?”. The truth is, when it comes to working really hard towards something, every little bit matters.

When I redesigned this site a year ago, I spent months poring over many different iterations, and built the theme from the ground up. (Well, almost ground up. I used the Thesis theme framework. And yes, if you click that link it *could* make me a referral commission. And yes, I understand the irony.)

Once I had the theme in place, I changed much of it by testing and optimizing the layout for subscribers. If I have one goal for new visitors on this site, it’s that I want them to subscribe in some form. I spent a lot of time changing and testing different ways to organize the information and structure. (I saw an increase in newsletter signups of about 600% after doing this. No joke.) I took it seriously, and it’s been paying off.

So when someone asks me if I want to just “give up a little screen real estate” for their company, there is a lot more involved on my end than slapping up a banner in the header and calling it a day.

Most importantly, it detracts from you. 99.8% of the readers of this site won’t click on a banner or ad, so why would I put something up that annoys you, for a few bucks?

The issue is never about money. I mean, I’d love to be paid pantloads of money to do this. I could even make a little if I accepted ads. (I do have a family, after all.) But it would be a compromise.

Compromises mostly benefit people on the outside and usually never those that receive. I’ve been watching the House and Senate try and compromise on the debt ceiling over the past few months, and the compromise between politicians is seriously damaging. It pulls attention away from the core issue–not being owned by China–and instead focuses on individuals and politicians who all want something. (I’m almost positive that whoever coined the analogy “it’s like too many cooks in the kitchen” must have been watching a government operate.)

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to compromise on this site if I don’t want to. I’m the only cook here, which means that you’re stuck with what’s served :)

So that’s how advertising works on this site: it doesn’t. At least for now.

Photo by Roadsidepictures

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  • Tom

    Wetransfer.com and nalden.net (same person / company) has a different ad strategy. Wall paper advertising but not in a distracting way. 

  • Rosannacrogacion

    This is probably a stupid question, but does this mean you don’t earn anything from this awesome blog?

    • http://lifedev.net Glen Stansberry

      Hi Rosanna,

      At the moment, not really. I make a few dollars off of referrals to friend’s products sprinkled throughout posts, but it hasn’t been much. And I’m totally OK with that. This is more of a release for me to write anyway, so it pays for itself that way ;)

      That said, someday I hope for it to make more money. But, for now I’m happy just writing without having to worry about making money from it.

      And thanks for the kind words. That’s a much better payment than money :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.eichenauer Anna Eichenauer

    I guess I would put up ads for products I really support. But this is harder, of course, than just to put up “any ads” like Google Adsense, for example.

  • Shenz

    What about a “resources” section – wherein you would have (referral) links (or a summary of those links sprinkled all over the blog). =)    Just a suggestion. Great blog though!! 

  • Skiusa

    How about ads for your newsletters or some good old affiliate marketing? Amazon store with your fav reads is a comprise for you and your readers, its a win win.

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