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Friends Don’t Let Friends See Ads

I’ve run this site for years and like all things it costs money. Hosting, domain names and even some of the WordPress plugins I use and highly recommend. These things all have costs involved, costs I happily fork out each year. I’ve tried monetizing this site in the past with little or no success, yet I’ve decided to try once more. But this time I’m thinking about it. I have come up with a plan.

Monetizing schemes

There are many ways to advertise on a blog like this, but I’ve decide on two.

  1. Advertising banners, powered by WordPress WordAds
  2. Specific product referrals

Friends don’t make friends see ads

Friends don’t click them anyway so why bother them?

I read that on another site and it rings true. If you like what I do enough to keep coming back, subscribe to my feeds or leave comments then your my friend and I want show you ads.

Since the plugin I’m using requires cookies to determine who are friends it’s not perfect, but I try.

That means if a visitor no longer wants to see ads they only have to leave a comment. So I’ll be updating the site to tell everyone this right above the comments form.

Sites like Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon are social bookmarking site. Readers coming from these sites have taken the time to bookmark my content. They may not have commented but their still as much a subscriber as anyone else and shouldn’t see ads either.

Search engine visitors tend to be just passing though. Post people have limited attention spans and unlikely to stick around long or read other content these visitors can be shown the full range of ads.

Where to place ads

Ad placement is almost as important as what you advertise. The body of the kirk is likely the best place, but WordAds isn’t good at giving you much control over placement.

I’ve done some research though and I can still do what I want with a little JQuery function

This little line of code lets me move an HTML div and place it elsewhere within the page.

Some of my pages are from my photo galleries. Since these photos push the content below the fold ad placement is less than ideal. On these pages using a sidebar widget would provide better placement.

How many ads

I don’t like sites which overload visitors. You can cram a site with more ads than content if you wish but it isn’t going to improve your click rate. In fact it’s more likely to drive readers away than keep them.

So a limit then. Each page will have no more than three banners, while some will have less.

Combining the lessons learned from the two points above I place one banner at the top of each post under the page title and two squares between the content and comments form.

Product placement

I use a lot of technology and while most of my reviews and content are related to open source products where it’s possible I can include affiliate links to Amazon products.

I publish a complete list of books I’ve read, and while I don’t write as many review as I could, I can link to these books as well.

Where it’s not practical I’ve setup product picks. Things I use and recommend. These appear in both sidebar widgets and on there may dedicated picks page.

Donations

The final method is donations. Site donations are a notoriously poor method of monitoring a blog, but if friends are unlikely to click ads their more likely to donate.

I’ll accept donations through PayPal and Bitcoin. I’ve added a buy me a beer widget. PayPal is more widely accepted by users, but Bitcoin is good for small amounts. With translation fees coming down donations as little as £0.50 are often better this way.

Conclusion

So this is my new strategy. It’s going to be a work in progress but it’s a place to start.

Stuart McCulloch Anderson

For over a decade and a half Stuart has been in love with all things science fiction or technology and for almost fourteen of those years his operating system of choice has been one breed of Linux or another and despite some brief trips back into the world of Windows Stuart has never found him self wanting anything else.

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