Cathy argues the reasons why ads aren’t an improvement in the evolution of blogging.
Why do you blog? For hits, for comments, for notoriety, for a steady stream of virtual pats on the back? If so, then bring on the ads. Itâ€™s a win-win: Youâ€™re even more motivated to bring in visitors, because they bring dollars with them. And your advertisers are happy, because youâ€™re the ideal vehicle for their messages. They donâ€™t care whether youâ€™ve connected with your readers, whether youâ€™ve helped someone by sharing your experiences, whether youâ€™re a damn good writer. Just bring in the eyeballs, thatâ€™s all they ask.
But if youâ€™re like most of usâ€”if you blog out of a need to process whatâ€™s happening around you, or hone your writing skills, or keep some kind of a grip on your memories of what your children or pets or coworkers do all dayâ€”then whatâ€™s with the â€œbuy-it-nowâ€ business? Yeah, I get that itâ€™s nice to pick up a few bucks for doing something that youâ€™ve been doing for free. I get the whole â€œIf youâ€™re paid to do what you love, youâ€™ll never work a day in your life.â€ But who are we kidding here? If you calculate the hourly rate, wouldnâ€™t you be better off flipping burgers? Are blog ads any more of a moneymaker than those â€œmake millions stuffing envelopes from homeâ€ scams?
Generating enough traffic to attract ads means blogging often, and well enough to convert at least some curious clickers into faithful visitors. And thereâ€™s no way I can argue against that. And sure, whatâ€™s the harm in a few extra text links, or a promo in your sidebar? Ads are everywhere these days, from eggs to airport luggage carousels; most of us are pretty savvy at tuning them out. No oneâ€™s forcing your readers to click. (Although you will have to find extra time to manage your advertising, lest you let slip an ad that you or your readers find insulting or offensive; make sure you factor that in to your net profit.)
But letâ€™s forget the reader and focus on the writer. Because once youâ€™ve taken that step, once youâ€™ve crossed that line into commercialism, what you post is going to change. You will never again write without thinking â€œI wonder if this will be a popular entryâ€¦ Is this going to turn off any of my readers? Maybe I should change the title or delete this paragraph orâ€¦â€
And also: â€œI havenâ€™t posted yet today. Gotta get something up or my stats will drop. Thereâ€™s nothing I feel like writing aboutâ€¦ I have to come up with somethingâ€¦ What am I going to do?â€ And suddenly your fun hobby, your therapeutic outlet, your means of connecting with like and unlike minds around the worldâ€”suddenly itâ€™s just another job.
Guest blogger Mayberry Mom lives, writes, and works from the wholesome Midwest. Sheâ€™s â€œjust jelussâ€ of blogs that actually have enough traffic to run ads.
It’s Blog Exchange day! While Cathy hangs out on my blog today, I’m taking up residence over at hers, so be sure to drop by Mayberry Mom to see what my stance is on blog advertisements (go on, guess!), and while you’re there be sure to stay awhile and read what else is on Cathy’s mind! When you’re done, check out all the other participants in the Blog Exchange, then email Kristen if you’re interested in taking part next month – you never know what topic will pop up from one month to the next!