Putting Ads on Blogs: And Why I Can't Do It Anymore

I’ve debated over the topic of whether I should have advertisements on ol’ gathering in light since I starting using wordpress back in February. Some of you have noticed the on and off frequency of this site having ads, this was because I was trying to see if I had reactions one way or the other. The only feedback I got was negative, “why do you have advertisements on your blog?”

I also wanted to see how much money I would make by having them up, well needless to say I realized it didn’t really factor up to a hill of beans. I also realized that I will never be one of those “power-bloggers” (not to be confused with the power-team) where I make my living from writing articles on my blog and raking in revenue for google’s ad-sense. I guess even if that ever did happen I’ve decided to reserve this website as an ad-free place. I make it a point to not wear clothes that advertise, why should my internet persona be any different?

When posed with the question, “Why do you have ads on your blog?” I thought,”Now that’s a good question, so good in fact that I think I will take them off.”

My reasons for having ads on the site were:

1) Most of the really popular bloggers do it, why can’t I?

2) It makes it look more official.

3) I might be able to earn enough so that my blog pays for itself.

4) I like to try things out on my site – so why not try out ads on it?

My reasons for taking the ads off:

1) None of those top four reasons have any, or very little, to do with theological reasoning. #3 might be my only justification but I would have to reason it like this, “I shouldn’t spend money on a site, so if it earns enough to pay for itself then I am okay in spending the money.”

But let’s face it, not only is that circular reasoning, but my web host siteground (Just a heads-up, I’ve added my referral ID so if you sign-up via that link I will get a few free months) only charges $4.95 a month, I think I can cope with that. Plus I look at my having a site as “professional development” so its something worth investing in. Getting a referral to siteground every once in a while, as is the case, seems to be my one way in which I will accept a little “handout…”

2) A lot of really popular bloggers don’t have them.

3) I realized that as a Christian Quaker who tries to live out and encourage simplicity, frugality, and a middle finger to the big corporations and media conglomerates, advertising for these money hungry mongrels doesn’t really line up with anything I actually believe in(I am joking about the middle finger I don’t actually ever do that..yet).

4) My site actually looks better without ads.

5) I still can advertise for people and organizations that I do like without receiving money for it, just because I like what they are doing. Such as my little “buttons” at the bottom right corner of this page.

6) If you take the ads off, you can get a really cool non-ad ad from the ad free blog site (another embedded ad).
7) I have decided to dedicated the bottom-middle spot of my footer for ads – if you’d like to get a one or two week spot, just depends on how busy I am, contact me and tell me why I should advertise for you and most likely I will.

I Don’t Mind Ads Elsewhere

Finally, I have a number of friends who have ads on their sites, I am not in any way, shape, or form attacking your usage of advertisements. I am sure that you have your own good reasons for using them, and frankly it doesn’t matter to me whether you do or don’t, but in my case I didn’t feel that it was really consistent with everything else I do, talk about doing and wish I’d do.
I am curious to hear thoughts from people who do use them, who don’t, and even from people who have blogs whether you mind ads or not.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

14 thoughts on “Putting Ads on Blogs: And Why I Can't Do It Anymore”

  1. Those are some good arguments. I’m still not sure if I’ll keep my ads on my site. I’ve never had any feedback at all, positive or negative. The amount of money I make does indeed cover my costs of hosting each month, so that’s kinda nice. But like you said, the cost is so cheap it’s not like it’s hurting me to pay out of pocket. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.

  2. If you are earning dollars then the cost should be cheap. On the average, here in the Philippines given the dollar peso conversion rate, cost of hosting each month is already a person’s expense for the whole week (average) that is you don’t have any traffic yet and still pay for the minimum amount. 🙂

  3. You missed one, easily forgotten reason that you had ads here – they were part of the template! I actually was going to pull the ad-block stuff before I sent you the code, but forgot.

    BTW – “May Be Related” is in a great location.

  4. Chris you are absolutely correct, that was one of my reasons for trying it out. When you designed the DP theme you integrated the ads beautifully into the template. They look as great as I’ve ever seen the way you have done it.

    But — I must say that the site design I feel removing them for my purposes let’s your design stand wonderfully without any distractions. That’s what I was getting at when I wrote,

    “My site actually looks better without ads.”

    Its not that I thought it looked bad at all, but that now there are now no distractions from the design. And I was glad you told me about removing the divs. Something I hadn’t thought of but makes it work better when the ads are absent.

  5. @Ben I know, I am surprised to not hear more theorizing about this issue and wonder why you haven’t recieved feedback. I think advertisements are such a part of our day-to-day that we don’t even notice them anymore.

    @Milo it sounds like the setup is a lot different in the philippines. I wasn’t clear on what you meant by,

    “cost of hosting each month is already a person’s expense for the whole week.”

    Could you further explain?

  6. Wess,

    I never felt annoyed by your ads until I saw a “end times” novel being advertised. I think it would be great if you could contact local businesses you believe in and advertise for them. Just a thought.

  7. I decided to take the ads off my blog as well. The problem was there were ads being displayed there that I didn’t really appreciate. Oh well.

  8. @Kevin that is a wonderful idea thank you for tossing it out here, as you know we have some places we like to support and I am going to do just what you’ve suggested.

    Do you think a call to those business would be useful, and why? Or should I just do it and see what happens?

    @Ben, I know what you mean about not liking some of the ads that get put up. I got on my blog just to make sure it was running, as I like to do from time to time, and saw a big flashing banner for some automobile and was more than a bit ticked by the ad.

    I really like Kevin’s idea about local buisnesses that you really want to support, ministries and websites that you really dig. I think that this is a great way to advertise all the while maintaining control over the stuff that goes on your site.

    I guess you can always be open for a donation if people feel like they want to do that but hey a little free-ad-love is a great thing.

  9. Yeah, i totally see what you are saying with the ads, but in reality with some web presences there comes a point where survival cannot be sustained w/o pursuing that option. It is either that or hit up readership for donations, and many people (I have talked to that is) would prefer to see a relevant ad than to be asked to give money. Now if hosting costs are only $4-10 like you said, then yeah, i think it can be handled. But when hosting things like video and audio that can stack up to $50+ a month advertising can have its place if it is done tactfully. But I applaud anyone who can and do live w/o it.

  10. @Matt I see what you mean and my analysis doesn’t take into account buisness oriented blogs either.

    I am not adverse to being asked for donations but I can see why some people are. I think that in this age people our age will need to come to terms with the idea of supporting buisnesses, sites, and organizations that do stuff we believe in.

    For instance I think its better to shop at a grocery store that may cost more but gets its supplies from local farmers because its something I believe is worthwhile in supporting.

    Anyways…

  11. Wess,
    You might want to contact the place to see if you need permission…hmmm I have never thought about that. I know that LAgreengirl does that a lot on her blog, advertising fair trade and liveable wages.

  12. One blog that I frequent is kottke.org. He recently began placing ads on his sight. But, he joined an ad network called The Deck which will only accept ads from products and services that they themselves have used. It’s genuine and allows them to promote products they actually feel are worthwhile. It’d be interesting to see a similar network for fair-trade products or ministries you support.

  13. Matt I like that idea of a fair-trade advertising network, its something like a blog Kevin Lewis and I tried to do for a while were we focused on buisness that had good practices. Maybe this is something we should roll with – unless anyone knows of a network like this.

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