When I first started blogging on Brave Journal close to four years ago the only ads that you saw were the (sometimes blinking) ads that were placed there by Brave Journal themselves– on the top of the blog. They were irritating, and they did nothing for the blog itself, and so when I first moved off Brave Journal to a friend’s family site, I bragged about my new blog not having ads at all!
At the time I thought it was just nice not to have to have the things blinking at me, and I figured that it was better for my readers– at that time only two really followed me to my new home.
A friend of mine suggested I try a new service– Google AdSense– figuring that I could make a buck or two on the content I was already writing. I wouldn’t have to do anything to select the ads, and they had bunch of formats.
Since that time, I’ve experimented with a lot of different ad formats, to many different degrees of success:
Google AdSense is the first service I tried on my blogs, and is the one that I still run on them all. This is the one that I’ve had the most experience with, and I’ve had mixed results.
How it Works
Basically, Google has a companion service called AdWords where advertisers can sign up and purchase ads based on keywords. These keywords are matched up to keywords in the content of your site and the ad is displayed. You’re paid a percentage of the amount the advertiser paid for the keywords– shared with Google. The more popular the keywords, the more money that you make when someone clicks. They also have some ads that are paid by impressions (but I haven’t seen many of these on my blogs) and there are some referral programs that I am not involved in.
There is very little control over these ads– and what gets displayed on your site. This especially a problem for sites that have a religious, political, or moral topic– because the ad server is not smart enough to know your point of view. This means that pro-homosexual ads have been served here in the past. We’ve seen ads for Pro-Choice sites when I talk about Pro-Life causes.
I can ban domains. If I know the url (the one under the ad) I can tell Google to not serve me ads from that site. In the past, I’ve had people tell me about inappropriate ads and I’ve banned them. But that means that we need to see the ad before we can ban it– and there’s over 1000 posts on this site. That’s a lot to manage.
Why Have Them?
Right now, they’re the easiest way to put ads on a blog. Google does the work of finding the advertiser, they take care of payment, etc. For the most part, you set it up and you’re making money on posts from years ago that your regular readers aren’t even seeing. (Which is part of the reason that I was making it so that regular readers didn’t see ads, which is something I should get back to…)
Philosophically, even the ads I don’t want to display can help those that want to find those things and that come here looking for something that I don’t have– so I would be aiding the reader in keeping it. But I agree with the position that says that ads on my site should be to things that I support. So I will ban the ones that do not– when I find them.
Just to Note
Some of you, after reading this, may want to go all over the site and start clicking on ads to make me money. I thank you for the sentiment, but that would only succeed in banning me from AdSense, getting it so that no click from your computer gives me anything, or just generating a bunch of bad clicks.
If you find something on my site that you truly wish to check out, then click, but please do not click in an effort to give me money.
In the next post, I’ll talk about other ways I make money on my blogs, and some of these you can feel free to get involved with!