Before I do a final wrap-up of starting your mom blog, I think it is important to go where many bloggers eventually find themselves. Do you put ads on your blog or not? There have been some amazing discussions about this over the past week and again at BlogHer. So, let’s hit this one head on and talk about it.
Last week MetroDad started a discussion on what he felt was a “throw away post” on ads on blogs that began to take on a life of its own. He didn’t expect it to become an issue that would have other people put him up as the “anti-ad” blogger. (For the record, he is not anti-ad.) In his original post he writes about it.
But you know the omnipresence of advertising in our daily lives is getting out of hand when parents start auctioning off naming rights for their unborn babies and college girls start tattooing corporate logos on their breasts.
As usual, I’m not passing judgment on any personal bloggers who feel the need to post ads on their site. Advertising is a biological impulse found throughout the natural world. Peacocks attract the attention of a mate through a multicolored feather display. Baboons signal their sexual readiness with a pair of red, swollen buttocks.
This all came about from a post by mimi smartypants in which she stated shock at seeing a huge blinking ad on the site of one of her favorite bloggers. And did not like it.
My point is more that, through my lame, idealistic, aging-punk, Diaryland-colored glasses, I have a hard time seeing personal web pages as a business. There is something so cool about getting to read the thoughts of people I have never met, and then over there in the sidebar is this big honking ad for a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and that punctures the pleasure balloon somewhat. Ads are fucking everywhere. It would be nice to see just a sliver of handcrafted, non-commercial, free-to-all, personal-expression space in the world, even if just on the internet.
Let me be perfectly clear, though, that both of these bloggers have come out and said that it is their opinion and they don’t care what people do on their own sites, but that they do not want it on their own. MetroDad states:
Not sure how the previous throwaway post morphed into me being against people having ads on their own blogs. As befitting my long-standing philosophy of “live and let live,” I really couldn’t give a shit what other people do with their own sites.
And mimi smartypants said:
It probably doesn’t make me like the writing any less, assuming I liked it in the first place… but it somehow disappoints…I have a family to support too, by the way. And I’m not all pissed off about the ads on blogs, I clearly said that if it floats your boat, then fine. I am, however, very tired of advertising.
As I said, it can get quite heated. However, as anything, there are two sides to every story.
When Liz of Mom 101 asked about ads, she received plenty of positive feedback in her comments. (I cannot link to the authors because they led to dead links, but I encourage you to go to Liz’s site and read all of them for yourself.)
I adore blog ads. They pay us for doing what we love and it just doesn’t get any better than that. Maybe I’m a naive little capitalist, but isn’t that what the free market is all about? People who do what they do well should be rewarded for it.
It’s your blog, do what you want. If someone doesn’t want to read your blog because of ads, that’s fine too. I think this stuff has a way of working itself out.
Some great questions came up at the BlogHer session Professional Blogging Art and Commerce. Rather than try to recap, I will show you what Anne Marie Nichols of The Write Spot live blogged. It is worth reading in it’s entirety.
Questions: What should bloggers think about before joining an ad network? What other things are out there besides using ads to monetize your blog?
Liz – the authenticity of your voice – are you going to compromise it? Will you tick off your readers (ask for what they don’t like and do like.) Are you running so many ads that it looks like a billboard? How do you feel about it?
Even so, running ads give your blog a professional status especially if you’re part of an ad network, like BlogHer’s or using BlogAds.com.
Do the ads fit in with your content? Can you turn down an ad if you don’t like the advertiser – you need right of refusal.
Kelly – You’ll get a 1099 from your ad or blog network when you make more than $600. If it’s lower than that, you need to keep track of it – write it down a piece of paper. Only report money you’ve received (for example, if you haven’t met your payout threshold).
Liz – If you’re not making that much money from the ads, take them down. You’re worth more than that. Don’t give away free real estate on your blog.
You can see both sides if you go through these posts where I linked.
Have ads. Don’t have ads. It is your personal choice. That is all there is to it. No one is wrong. No one is right. Can you make money off of your blog if you join an ad network such as BlogHer Ads? Of course you can. It is YOUR choice to make. There will not be an Internet wide vote cast as to whether you personally should have ads on your site. If you have quality writing, that is what your readers will come to your site to read.
As a matter of full disclosure, I am one of the founding members of the BlogHer Ad Network’s premium parenting network and do not regret it. I have been approached by several other networks and chose the one I am with for personal reasons. As I said, personal choice. I have it. You have it.
So, decide if ads are for you and then sign up if they are. Choice.
In our final post on Mom blogs I will wrap it all up with a pretty red bow and tell you how amazing you all are and how much I love you. Oh, and may impart some wisdom. We’ll see.
~Jenn is off to fast forward through her tv ads during Big Brother on her DVR that her ads on her blog helps her pay for.~
You can also find my writing at You can find more of my writing at Mommy Needs Coffee, Mommybloggers and Work It, Mom!
Hi Jenn, I just want to thank you for all your wonderful advice about starting a blog. It has helped me tremendously! You’re a great writer and role model. Thanks for everything.
Thank you for a wonderful resource! I can’t remember how I stubled onto your page but I’ll be back! Keep up the great work!
Janelle aka Lucille
Recently, I monetized all my blogs (I have 4) and I just wanted to add one word of caution: from time to time, check the ads. Now, I shamelessly put ads on my writing blog, my mommy blog and my web dev blog, but when I found some icky culty-type ads on my God-blog, I drew a line. It was just creepy, and I felt it didn’t really jive with a blog about my search for spirituality.
But ads are great, in my opinion, long as they don’t offend the site owner. Just my thoughts, and by the way, LOVING this blog!
Thank you so much for this fantastic series. It truly helped me start my own blog, which I’m hoping you’ll check out when you get a chance. It’s been a long time since I’ve written for myself, so thank you so much for giving me the tools to do something for myself. As a working-outside-the-home mom of two little ones, I rarely take time for myself. But, I now see the value of having a little me time. Thanks again!