A blog is extraordinarily time and energy consuming, not to mention the cost of hosting, so it’s legitimate to seek a return on your investment, or even to earn some extra spending money. It’s a nice ambition, now you just need to make it a reality. The first lever that comes to mind is of course advertising. Just put one or two ad banners here and there, and then watch the revenue come in. Well, it’s not so simple. It can even be counterproductive. Here are some explanations…
The phenomenon of ad blockers
Let’s break down a first door: it takes absolutely huge traffic for advertising revenue to become interesting. The leading channel, Google AdSense, might pay 0.50 € per click. This varies depending on the subject of your blog but let’s say it’s a rather optimistic average (yes, it could be even less). After that, even with a click rate of 0.1%, that’s to say, one visitor in 1000 clicks on your banner, a quick calculation reveals the harsh reality. With 1000 unique visitors per day, you’ll generate one paltry click, an earning of 0.50 €. The kitty for the month is therefore €15, enough to pay for your next outing to McDonald’s (with a dessert, of course) but not much more.
You have 10,000 unique visitors a day? You’re authoritative in your field, your blog is unmissable. Advertising revenues will peak at €150. That’s not a lot but it’s actually still optimistic. Indeed, this calculation was valid a few years ago. In the mean time, ad blockers have become widespread so 30% of your audience is equipped with AdBlock Plus or an equivalent. You only monetize 70% of your traffic, reducing even further the already slim pickings.
Focus on the user experience
Well, you still have 70% of your traffic to monetize. By the way, who spoke of just one banner? There’s room for three of them, at the bottom, left, and right. And even if it only brings in 50 euros, it’s still worth taking, isn’t it? It’ll pay for hosting, the cost of which keeps increasing! Fine. You’re forgetting that nothing in this world is absolute, everything is relative. So, if a banner earns a few euros, it also changes the look of your blog. Some internet users hate advertising. Even more so when it involves retargeting. 8 in 10 French people say they “hate” ad banners. You may lose some loyal visitors in the pursuit of your financial hopes. Is it worth the risk? Only you can say, but mathematically, that further reduces the earning potential of your traffic.
By the way, have you also realized that an ad banner is an exit point from your blog ? As if a store was flashing the exit sign leading to the business next door! And in any case, it distracts the reader’s attention from your own content. What an odd strategy!
The impact on load time
Did you know that 47% of Internet users expect a web page load time of about two seconds or less. If your site doesn’t load within three seconds, 40% of users will make a U-turn (source: Akamai.com). Time is precious, and internet users, millennials in particular, are very impatient.
But, it’s been proven, an AdSense type banner slows the display of your website. The sharing widgets (to display the FB, Twitter buttons, etc.) too, but they’re not optional.
If that nasty banner means half a second more load time, who knows in the long run the effect it can have on your audience? Now, the case against that seemingly innocuous little banner is starting to mount! And it’s not finished.
Think “mobile friendly”
The degraded user experience, a slower load time: if those reasons are valid on a computer, they’re even more so on mobile! The small screen size makes an ad banner even more intrusive (and unpleasant because they’re very often unreadable), the 3G/4G connection means a lower rate and therefore any slowdown on load time can take on annoying proportions. As for advertising blockers, they’re growing massively on mobile: in France, 20% of mobile users are thought to be equipped with them.
If you’re trying to come up with a responsive design, suitable for smaller screens, don’t ruin everything with an unsightly advertising banner… especially if your audience is rather young (and therefore mostly mobile, QED).
Prioritize non-intrusive methods
Should you resign yourself to blogging for the love of it, and living on a shoestring? The answer is no. There are many much more judicious ways to monetize your audience, including:
- Selling access to your content,
- Affiliation without an intermediary
- Earning from leads for brands,
- Sponsored article platforms like getfluence.com
Want to know more? All these points are developed in depth in our dedicated article: how can you monetize a blog without spending all your time on it? Promised, we won’t mention advertising management!