Are you selling out if you put ads on your site? How do you grow your platform without sacrificing your authenticity?
EXCITING NEWS! I decided to go all-in and do two podcasts rather than just one. Because, after all, one IS the loneliest number. The other podcast I’ve been secretly recording is for Blogger2Business and is laser-focused on blogging. That podcast and the larger site is a FABULOUS resource for bloggers. Even if you consider yourself a writer who happens to blog, you should be proud of your blog and strive to have it represent you well. Head over to Blogger2Business to find great tips & tricks for growing, plus a very-familiar voice interviewing some blogging phenoms.
Now, let’s talk Ads and Authenticity!
Listen to Create If Writing – Episode 009
At a Glance: Ads
- There are two main types of ads that you can have on your blog: ads from networks (like Google Adsense, Adthrive, or Burst) and sponsored slots where bloggers or companies pay a monthly fee for that slice of your sidebar real estate.
- When you use an ad network like Blogher, there are often restrictions on how you can get IN to the network and with regards to other competing ads on your site.
[su_quote style=”modern-light”]Note: If you are on the Blogger platform and use their analytics within the dashboard to tell you how many views your posts got, they are usually WAY off. Use a more trusted source like Google Analytics. It stinks to see fewer views, but it is more accurate because analytics doesn’t count the weird spam-bots. [/su_quote]
- You can also choose to have sponsor spots that other bloggers or companies can pay for month by month.
- Many people who choose to have sponsor spots use a site like Passion Fruit to handle the details of this.
- You can also swap sponsored spaces with other bloggers.
- Keep an eye on your analytics. If people aren’t clicking through to sponsors, maybe you shouldn’t have them. And if you’re only getting like $4 from a giant ad in the sidebar, you’re giving up valuable real estate for nothing.
- If you pay for a sponsored spot on someone’s blog or do a swap, make sure your button is visually appealing and that it will be eye-catching but also fit in with the blog’s aesthetic. You also may want to choose a landing page rather than your home page for the link.
At a Glance: Authentic Growth
- You need to think about your goals when you decide whether or not to have ads or what kind of monetization to have on your blog.
- I personally don’t think ads are (in and of themselves) selling out. Even if the cost is only your time, there is a cost to blogging and ads defray that cost.
[su_quote style=”modern-light”]The Smarmy Test: Does it make you feel icky? This is NOT a question someone else can answer for you. It may change over time or be conditional. But if you want to stay authentic, ask yourself if ANY of your choices make you feel smarmy inside. If the answer is yes, then don’t do it. Make a commitment to stand by this, but give yourself the freedom to reevaluate. [/su_quote]
- If you consider your blog a business, you SHOULD have the goal of making money.
- When it comes to growing your blog or promoting yourself, there ARE bad ways to do this. Example: paying for followers. DON’T DO THIS. Giveaways can help bolster your numbers, but they may not be people who really care what you are doing. On the flip side, that might help people discover you.
- Stop thinking of your numbers. Think of those page views and followers and subscribers as people. You have value to offer and you are gathering people around to share that value with them.
- Growing your platform is nothing more than finding people who need YOUR words.
My Big Takeaway
Not to knock Michael Hyatt (because I’m honestly on his page about the idea of platform!), but the word platform has really become kind of a dirty word for many people just through overuse. IT SHOULDN’T BE. You have a platform is what connects you with the very specific people who need what only you can offer them. It may be large and it may be small, but it is uniquely yours. When you think of it that way, it sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Platform by Michael Hyatt
What I Want to Know from YOU
Do you struggle with the idea of self-promotion, growing your platform, or having ads? What are the markers for you of what feels like authentic growth or promotion?