You did it! You started a blog, and you’re even posting on a regular schedule. You’re starting to see a little bit of traffic, but what’s next? When are you a “real” blogger?
For a lot of folks, that title comes when you finally start making a little money from your site.
I’m here to tell you that you’re a real blogger from the moment you hit publish on your first blog post. There is no reason to put ads on your site to be “official!”
A lot of people don’t know this, but we didn’t put ads on our own sites for years after they began. Food Fanatic didn’t have ads for at least two years after we launched it, and was in the hundreds of thousands sessions a month club before we put ads anywhere.
Why did we wait so long?
Because you only get one chance at a first impression.
There’s no arguing that ads can detract from user experience. That’s just a fact of life. We do everything we can to make ads suck less, but you know… they’re still ads.
So we waited. To build up that loyal audience and keep them coming back. To get them to pay attention to our newsletter signup, and engage with the content, and to keep the site running as fast as possible for search engine rankings.
When we launched ads, it was with the (back then) all new Mediavine platform. It’s exciting to say that we didn’t take nearly the user experience hit we could have.
When should I put ads on my site?
When the return income outweighs the loss in user experience.
At Mediavine, we feel that point is around 50,000 sessions a month. That’s the reason it’s where our joining threshold lies.
If you’re adding advertisements to your site, they have to be worth it. And before that point, the reliability of regular income from ads is not there, and certainly not worth any loss in user experience or site speed.
What about getting my audience “used to” ads?
I’d argue that your audience already is if they surf the web at all, and they’re not going to even blink when advertisements appear on your site.
Advertising has become ubiquitous to reading websites on phones, tablets and desktops. Just like changing themes — a few folks might notice, and one or two might even say something. But the majority of your audience won’t even realize something is different.
Taking blogging full time is a goal for a lot of people. The idea of that works itself right into our mission statement; building sustainable businesses for content creators.
We’re long term thinkers around here, and that includes choosing the right time to add display advertising to your website. Work hard to build your audience until it makes sense. It will pay off in dividends when you do add those ad units.
Until then, affiliate income is a great thing to master, and so is building relationships with brands you’d like to work with in a sponsored capacity in the future.
Focus on your content plan and finding your audience. Building traffic takes time, and trying to throw ads into the mix too soon might slow down your site (remember, we’re the only company that lazy loads ads!), cause readers to bounce away too quickly (because of that site load time), and make it an uphill battle to create the audience you want your site to keep.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t already be thinking about ways to optimize your site for ads, though! We make a lot of recommendations around here. Everything from font size to line height to paragraph length.
All of it is based on best practices gleaned from places like Google’s style guide and years of research. Making sure you’re optimized now, as you launch your site, means adding Mediavine ad placements will be seamless, and you’ll make good money out of the gate, because all your content is already optimized.
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