Menu

Blogging for dollars?

Each of us blogs for a reason: you might write to document your life, you might write to satiate your…

Each of us blogs for a reason: you might write to document your life, you might write to satiate your inner muse — constantly clamouring for your attention just at the side of your consciousness — you might post photos to help you learn more about that awesome digital camera you just got, you might make stop-motion claymation movies because you just couldn’t get enough of Wallace and Gromit, you might write because you just can’t stop, or, you might be working on building traffic to your site so that eventually, you might be able to earn some money from all that creativity flowing through your veins. Each of our reasons for blogging is as individual as we are and that’s one of the wonderful things about the internet and the blogosphere.

So let’s say you’re blogging your heart out and all the time, attention, thought, and effort you’ve put in to your writing and photography has earned you a loyal following. You’re active in the community, and the conversation going in in your comments section is so interesting, thoughtful, and stimulating, you call it a salon. This labor of love — your blog — has some legs. It’s getting significant traffic. Did you know that you may be able to earn a bit of income from your site? Enter WordAds.

The WordAds program is an advertising program for sites on WordPress.com. As a blog owner, you can apply to have your blog considered for the program which allows you to run ads on your blog and earn revenue from those ads. Got your interest piqued? There are some questions you may want to consider before applying to the WordAds program to place ads on your site:

  • What effect might ads have on your readers’ thoughts about your site?
  • What effect would ads have on your approach to your blog?
  • Would your site still be your labor of love if it becomes a vehicle for income?

For those of you who may already have WordAds on your site, what factors did you think about when you considered ads?

In general, do you view monetized blogs any differently than blogs that don’t have ads? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Tomorrow on Daily Post, we’re featuring Ten Questions with Jon Burke, the man behind the WordAds program. If you’d like to learn more in the meantime, check out WordAds.

Show Comments

86 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. I’m new to WordPress but I view it as a good thing and plan on looking into it for myself. I consider myself an Artist but I also enjoy the business side of things. I have no desire to be a “starving” artist as the say, so I am greatful for the information. Great post, nice writing chops ;-).

  2. I added WordAds to my blog about a month ago. I don’t find it had any negative effect on my readership. In my mind, when I see ads on other blogs, I consider it a good thing. In my mind it can give a blog a dash of credibility. I think it says -hey, I have been around the block with this blogging thing- when I see a blog that has ads.

    Now, too many ads and the wrong kind of ads are another story.

      1. I am at an astounding $0.19. I am not interested in donating to charities at this moment in time, so don’t even waste your breath ;)

        All joking aside though, I don’t believe my earnings for the month of January are showing up yet, and I only had it for a few days in December (which I am assuming is where the 19 cents came from). I also understand that you can not redeem any money until you have made over $100 in earnings.

  3. Say we don’t go for word ads. Does this mean that the ads will still appear but we won’t get paid. I know currently my readers do occasionally see an ad but I would be a bit concerned if my blog was being swamped with them, especially if I really didn’t want to go with wordads

    1. Hi Mike, WordPress.com does occasionally show ads to site visitors who are not logged in to WordPress.com. We do this so that we can pay the bills and keep WordPress.com free. We do offer a “No Ads” upgrade which costs $30 per year — this prevents any ads from appearing on your site for a full year.

      If you chose to apply to WordAds, and were accepted, then you could place ads on your blog, and earn the income from them.

  4. Why does everything have to be monetized? Personally, I have a heafty following and I would not insult their intelligence by tossing in drones who advertise. I have no issue with promoting a friend or small business that I have a relationship with but to lower my standards with pop up ads is not for me under any circumstances.

  5. I don’t have a problem with a few ads showing up on sites I hit, but I detest pop ups right in the middle of my reading, or info wedged in between paragraphs or things of a personal nature, like dating sites and viagra If a blog looks cluttered, I move on fast. I would not want them on most of my blogs, because I post so many of my own visuals it would impact my presentation negatively. But, I would be interested in knowing how much money is involved and how it is calculated.

    1. I agree, I hate pop-up ads and ads that interfere with my ability to read the article. Before participating in WordAds, I would need to know how invasive they are.

  6. I have ads on my blog. I don’t feel like it hurts my blog, but sometimes I wish I had options to limit which companies could advertise on my blog. Sometimes the ‘ad’ on my blog, or someone else’s blog, is blocked out in red and white lines with a warning that says clicking it will take you to an unsafe site… those are the only times I wish ads were not on my blog because it looks ugly and unsecure

      1. Cool. I don’t think I have been offended yet by an ad that I have seen on my blog. But I don’t know what ads others see when they come to my blog. If it uses a program to monitor a specific viewers preferences… then one person might get an ad for running shoes, and another person might get an ad for Trojan condoms, and a third might get an ad for Disney World.

        If I wrote a blog post about how most Disney cartoons stereotype women as needing rescued, I may not want Disney ads appearing on my blog. It’s not necessarily offensive, just awkward ad placement. Does that make sense?

  7. You pose the question – “In general, do you view monetized blogs any differently than blogs that don’t have ads?” I don’t distinguish because (I am guessing) you cannot tell the difference between a blog subscribing to the WordAds programme and a non-Pro site where ads are occasionally automatically inserted by the ‘system’. Have a missed something – more than likely :-)

  8. I activated Wordads on my blog last summer and it’s been a pleasant surprise. I was hesitant at first, but I’m glad I did. The ads aren’t too intrusive. And, honestly, ads are so a part of the internet now, that most people hardly notice them unless they are just obnoxious, like the ones that take over the screen or start playing videos automatically. Unless you’re getting a crazy amount of traffic, you aren’t going to make a living off the income, but it is a nice to make a little on the side while doing something you’re passionate about.

  9. Personally I find that as a reader, ads can be distracting, especially from content that is serious. It also matters how well the ad content fits the theme and subjects in the blog.

  10. I don’t view others differently if they choose to monetize their blogs. It is obvious when they are choosing to do it since you can see the ads even if logged in. The one downside is when someone posts featuring photos and an ad shows up directly next to or below them, which I find can be distracting in taking the focus away from the photos.

  11. I do not blog to make money. I blog to share my writing with those who enjoy my personal stories and poems. I find ads distracting in my blog and others. I don’t want to sound like a purist, but why do we have to be bombarded with others wanting us to buy EVERYWHERE ?!

  12. I’d love to get paid for my blog; blogging the first time I’ve ever given it away for free. I don’t change my opinion of blogs with ads; if anything they look slightly more legitimate. Without it mine looks like something dreamed up by any old schmuck. Which I’m not. Truly. Not.

  13. Very few writers make a full income off ad revenue alone, so I have no issue with ads on blog pages. So long as sponsores dont affect the writing! :)

  14. IT COMES RIGHT DOWN TO MONEY IT DOESN’T IT? I LIKE MONEY FOR WHAT IT CAN DO, BUT IF I HAVE TO GO BACK TO WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK WITH CHALK TO EXPRESS MY THOUGHT TO THE WORLD, THEN I AM HEADED TO WAL-MART AND GETTING NEW KNEE PADS IF IT WILL KEEP MY BLOG FROM BEING OVERRUN WITH ADS!

    1. Hi @Volcanosunset — you’re welcome to comment here, but please don’t shout. (Writing in all capital letters is considered to be shouting or yelling on the internet.) Thank you!

  15. Ads don’t seem to be a bad idea at all. In my opinion, they include their own attractions.
    It is beautiful to view both regular content and see some of the interesting ads that could be available on a blog.
    It is so good to know that an able team has been putting thoughts together about issues like these.
    Keep up the good work.
    Lovely post!

    1. Agree. I dont know anyone who does not use stuff like adblock plus and noscript. For myself, I can´t remember when I saw the last ad in the internet. It must be years ago. I think I did forget that the internet is full of ads since I use firefox and such stuff. Just some weeks ago when I talked about it on our teamspeak voice sever with real life friends and online game friends… My impression is that adblock is very famous and heavily spread. They all know it and use it.

  16. I am a little confused about the difference in what is considered family-friendly and what I am seeing on some of the sites that state they have ads. Can one have profane language on their blog and still have ads.

  17. This question doesn’t really apply to me since my blog’s always all over the place, but for people with more focused and niche blogs, is there a way for them to let WordPress know the specific types of ads they believe their readership may actually be interested in? It also seems like it’d reduce the times a blogger would have to report an ad they might find offensive, as mentioned earlier in comments.

  18. I can’t figure out a way to see any ads that are appearing on my blog??? I try to keep my blog clean and beautiful, and a lot is devoted to God, so how can I find out what ads are popping up for those who aren’t wordpress bloggers visiting??? I would be horrified if a viagra add or some such other items are showing next to my poems about God??? Can I get a list or something, that shows what ads are being placed on my blog?? and can I refuse some ads, if they are NOT copicetic???

    1. Shards of Dubois, If you want to see if ads are on your blog, visit your blog without logging in. You can enter your blog URL in Google and then click on it/follow it like a visitor to your site would. If there’s an ad, you’d see it; usually at the end of a post. They are not intrusive and the ones I see on my blog are not offensive. :-)
      Eliz

      1. thank you Eliz, but I’ve tried that and have never seen any ad’s pop up at all….hopefully that means that not too many are showing, which is good, and I’m glad to know there aren’t any too offensive…lol…not like I don’t like a good joke, or even a dirty joke, but it hadn’t occurred to me there might be condem or viagra ads showing up next to my poems…lol thanks again for your response.

      1. I can’t see them Krista…I’ve tried being logged out and googling it, but I still don’t see any….so maybe they just aren’t showing yet??? don’t tell wordpress…hehe maybe they forgot me… lol thanks, and I will if I do.

  19. I would definitely be interested if I had some control over the ads that would appear on my site. I wonder if WordPress has a list of criteria that ads must meet; i.e. no profanity, suitable for ‘family’ viewing, etc. When I see ads on sites, I assume that the blog owner supports the advertising, therefore it is important to me that the ads support the message being conveyed on my blog.

  20. Maybe this will be covered in the Ten Questions post tomorrow, but when you say “This labor of love — your blog — has some legs. It’s getting significant traffic,” what does “significant” mean? 1,000 views a month? 10,000? 100,000?

    “Significant” for me and my blog is likely peanuts for somebody else.

  21. I am not on WP.com as I have a self hosted WP (org) site. In my experience over the last two years, I have found that ads are not a good way to monetize a web-property. But it’s fine for beginners and people who want some sponsor themselves a couple of coffee’s every month.

    Also, I feel that a niche blog does much better than a personal blog (monetarily).

    Destination Infinity

  22. Great post, Krista!
    I submitted my blog – Everything Wrong with Today’s Youth – for approval into the WordAds program around March-April of last year. I feel my feedback could actually be somewhat helpful to those working on WordAds because I know ewwty must have been among the first blogs accepted into the program given I applied within days of the application process being opened.
    I had never really considered the prospect of monetizing my blog until WordAds was announced, and didn’t think I was capable as a writer of attracting a monetizable level of traffic. I really only applied because my blog met all the basic requirements, but I didn’t think it was generating nearly enough traffic at the time to be accepted. To give my fellow Daily Post readers an idea of what level of traffic is considered sufficient for acceptance into WordAds, here are ewwty’s stats for the months leading up to its acceptance (these are, of course, from before WordPress.com tracked unique viewers as well):

    January 2012 – 3,296 views
    February – 5,438 views
    March – 4,526 views
    April – 4,016 views
    May – 5,038 views

    I’d be interested to know if anyone out there was accepted with less monthly traffic. I certainly didn’t think an average of less than 5,000 would suffice. But it did.
    The first month of displaying WordAds on ewwty.com, which was May 2012, garnered a grand total of $3.09. The fact that my blog generated even three dollars astounded me. It also had the residual effect of motivating me to produce higher quality content and to take blogging more seriously. It motivated me to learn a lot of useful stuff that every blogger should know; for instance, in the months that followed, I taught myself everything there is to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which in and of itself is a valuable skill to have in the world of online publishing.
    I did not consider the effect WordAds might have on my motivation as a blogger. Nevertheless, here is the effect that increase in motivation had on ewwty.com. The following is the monthly page view data from the first full month of displaying WordAds on:

    June 2012 – 6,937 views
    July – 10,919 views
    August – 11,172 views
    September – 13,780 views
    October – 23,580 views
    November – 30,948 views
    December – 34,418 views
    January 2013 – 52,387 views

    Mind you, this is obviously not a direct result of participating in WordAds, but rather the effect WordAds had on me as a blogger, and on the quality of my blogging efforts.
    I put some thought into how WordAds might affect the way viewers perceive my blog before applying, and came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t change anything. Not when the ads are so unobtrusive. If WordAds involved sleazy methods of online advertising such as pop-ups/unders or pages that force you to watch ten seconds of an ad before continuing to the next page, I would not have even considered participating. The way I see it – and I think this is how most consumers of online content see it as well – as long as the advertisements are presented such that they don’t get in the way of the viewer’s ability to access and navigate the website as they normally would, it’s unlikely your blog will be judged negatively for having them.
    I would definitely encourage every WordPress.com blogger out there to apply to WordAds, regardless of your level of traffic. You never know what you’ll wind up accomplishing as a blogger.

  23. Great information….my blog right now is totally random…just like I am and i enjoy being a yapper on the interwebs….but i’ll be starting a new one that will have a specific focus…so ads might be worth looking into…

    Happy Bloggin’ Everyone!!!

  24. I’m not sure I’m comfortable have a reflections site with advertisements sprinkled around. It kind of takes the seriousness out from the blog. I Don’t have much of a following, but the people I do follow are very precious to me and the one thing I strictly avoid following is a person whose blog is overflowing with advertisements or paid links. Till now that has been my way of differentiating the genuine bloggers from the others.

  25. Consider this:

    Do the companies who have ads on the blogs get much more value than the blogger? If the blogger is only making a few bucks a month, but the ads generate hundreds of views, then who’s getting the better deal?

    Let’s say that the bloggers that want to monetize their blogs are hoping that they’ll generate enough interest/money that they can make a living off of it, so they’ll include ads hoping for that outcome. But are they being exploited with the hopes that they’ll look more legit, make good money, draw more viewers? Placing an ad on television is far more expensive than using the internet, and blogs specifically.

    Who’s benefiting more? The ones with the ads, or the bloggers? Or is it equal?

    Any thoughts?

    1. Getting paid is nice. I would just keep doing what I do and let the advertisers do what they do. The wind will blow whether you have the sails on your boat unfurled or not. Each artists is the Captain of his destiny!

    2. I love to think around corners. So let me start…

      I would say the winner here is wordpress.com due to the fact that now a lot of people think about renting a domain name because they dream of making a living from ads.. But at the end people will now pay for a domain unless they dont have already one, because you need this domain to apply to the ads program, but those will notice very earlie that you cant generate that much money with it to make a “living” of it.

      So the winner is clearly wordpress.com but also the companys who run the ad campaigns as you mentioned. It is simply cheaper for them than tv ads.

      But there comes another problem. Most of the experienced internet users today block ads with addons for firefox. So, the only thing happens hear is that wordpress.com sells domain names and that the ad companys get a “chance” to display their stuff. I think this is nice marketing for wordpress to sell domains and not much more.

      If you truly want to make money with a blog, then I bet it would be better to pay a host and setup your own wordpress so that you can do with it what ever you want to do. This will give you the chance to earn money not only with ads but also on other ways. And then it is your decision and your rules. It will also cost but the thing is you can then write your own rules and create your own campaing and strategy how you want to generate money.

      Dont see this as negative critism. It´s nice that wordpress.com gives the chance to make dollars with the blog, but I believe the winner is not the average blogger or user who joins in that program.

      When I see here that someone makes just 3 dollars with an average trafic of 7k… then I think there are way better ways to generate money from the traffic. But this would mean selfhosting to have no houserules.

      Greetings.

  26. Great post! But I’ve always wondered why .wordpress.com bloggers can’t sign up to WordAds? Is it unfair for us to do so? Just wondering (my blog’s thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com by the way)…

  27. I would like to eventually blog for dollars. I haven’t seen or come across any ads that I find bothersome on WordPress. This is some great info, post and comments. Thanks everyone for the input!

  28. That’s a valid insight! Very provocative – In all honesty, I do not see any difference between monetized blogging and blogging without ads. Nevertheless, I think that it’s a bonus to blog for dollars! Cheers

  29. I am slowly building my “fan” base, but in the meantime, would love it if I could see a small amount of revenue to help offset the costs of my domain name, video software, etc… Maybe a small token each month I’m over 2,000 views?

  30. I feel really uneasy about ‘selling’ my life via my blog, I have done nothing interesting, I have done nothing brave, I just write, if people like then they can come and read it for free. I also don’t wish people coming to view my normal life and be distracted by advertisements. Now here is the crucial question How much does advertiser A. pay WordPress to put adverts on your blog and how much does WordPress pay you for people clicking on it?

    I know on my photography site the company who host my domain pay me £12.50 for ever person who take hosting with them. Its not advertising its a link and the word ‘Need Hosting’ that is it.

    So to make £100 from WordPress by people clicking on adverts would take a long time and really is it worth it?

  31. It is a good idea if you can choose which vendors you use and offer for sale items which would collate with your blog – i.e., I do education so I would want to offer books and other items that relate to education, history, founding fathers.

    Ads of other bloggers do not bother me unless I get to a page and the ads take on a vulgar or liberal/progressive tone.

    Maybe I will check it out and no it would not affect how and what I blog – I dislike Obummer, Jeb Bush and political parties in general so any ads I see do not necessarily affect me – it is like a radio or tv – you don’t like what you see or hear – don’t go back!