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How quickly after starting a blog should I put ads on it?

A number of readers have asked the above question in the past few weeks and so I thought it was time I shared my own approach to the decision of when to start running ads on a blog when launching.

There are two dominant camps of opinion on this question – both of which have things going for them:

1. Run Ads from Day 1 – The basic thinking behind this approach is that if you’re thinking of running ads at some point you might as well integrate them from day one. The reasons include:

  • Reader Expectations – starting a blog with no ads and then adding them later means running the risk of disillusioning readers whose expectations are that the blog is and always will be ‘ad free’. Some readers feel very strongly about this and to change the rules mid stream can cause problems. Start with ads from the beginning and you set the expectations from the start and don’t have to manage a transition from no ads to ads later on.
  • Consistent Design – running ads from the beginning of your blog means that you design your blog (or have it designed by a blogger) with ads already integrated into it. This means that you don’t need to do a redesign later on to add ads but already have them built in.
  • Earnings – my first blogs were ad free for almost 18 months before I discovered AdSense. While in the early days I didn’t do massive traffic I was doing some and those blogs could well have earned a little money each day. Of course a little each day for 18 months can add up to a significant amount. Put ads on your blog from the start and you’ll begin to see money from the early days. it might not be a lot but you might be surprised.
  • Ad Optimisation Education - run ads on your blog from day one and you begin a process of educating yourself about how to make money from advertising earlier – you also get your blog optimised well from the start. Most of us learn best ‘on the job’ rather than by just reading ‘theory’ or experiences of others. The great thing about starting early with advertising is that you can experiment and try different techniques without too many people seeing the mistakes that you make a long the way. This means that by the time the traffic does role in you can have your ads optimised well already – something that’s sure to pay off.

2. Establish Readership and Then Run Ads – This argument is basically that if you put ads on your blog from day 1 that you potentially turn people off your blog because it will look too commercial or too much of a money grab.

The thought is that you can gradually add advertisements later once you’ve established a sizeable readership and Search Engine presence.

While I understand the reasoning behind bloggers taking this approach I don’t use it myself. For the reasons I’ve outlined in the first approach above I tend to add ads from day 1.

Having said this when I do this I tend to take a pretty subtle approach with ad placement and design in the early days. You can see this with my AdSense placement over on my newest blog Digital Photography School where I use a blended approach and limit the number of ads per page to 1, unless it’s a longer page where I have two.

This may well change as the blog establishes it’s readership (currently it’s sitting on around 1000 visitors a day). In the months ahead I plan to introduce a purpose built professional design to that blog and will use that opportunity to reposition ads in a slightly more prominent position where they are likely to perform a little better. In the mean time however they are there and readers know that they are a part of the site – they also have earned me a nice little income from day one and have taught me a thing or two about what does and doesn’t work in terms of placement and design on this blog.

Ultimately the decision to add advertising to a blog is one that can only be made by an individual as they look at their blog’s goals. My approach will not work for everyone.

When did (or when do you intend to) add ads to your blog? How did you make that decision?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Vivian says:

    This is an excellent article. I recently started a blog of my own, and was considering if I should place ads or not. Thanks for this resource and your advice!

  2. Almakos says:

    I think that reasonable at first to make at least several posts and then put ads it will look right.
    anyway first week there will be no visitors if you won’t invite them directly.
    moreover you need some experience in chosing and placing ads, no need to show your visitors your constant experiments with ads

  3. abanglong says:

    hi. the idea of putting the ads from day 1 seems bit different from what some ppl had told me before. they encourage me to built up constant hits and after reaching certain amount of hits per day then only put the ads..
    now i’m confused!

  4. Manou says:

    I have just started my swedish blog (2 weeks) and have many thoughts about whether I should put ads right from the start or wait a little. Initially I wanted to have an ad-free blog, at least wait until I have some traffic.
    Then I come across Darren’s article. After reading it carefully and the comments as well I can say that I am pretty much convince that putting the ads up from day one is the way to go (judging from the readers comments). So that’s what I am gonna do. I just have to learn how to do it in my blog. Ideas?
    Thanks Darren for a nice article

  5. Vanessa says:

    I waited about six months before running ads and warned my readers of the changes coming. I still lost traffic. Some people were adverse, I’m sure, to either the changes that included ads or advertising in general. But I had used AdSense back in 2006 and before that briefly. So I was kind of prepared for the loss of visitors and traffic.

    In my case I changed even the URL and focus of my blog so I’m glad (In this case) I didn’t have advertising until I made the changes. It’s been only four months since I started running ads and the clicks were immediate howbeit only a small number. The site will be a year old end of July. It has a PR2 and some Alexa ranking recently.

    But I agree, running advertising from day one is the best option. If you wait until later people become suspicious of your agenda. It takes awhile to build trust after that. Also running ads from day one allows time for relevant ads to begin running later. The longer you wait the longer it takes.

    A side note on the issue: AdSense is helpful to keep me focused and honing my skill as a writer which is more important.

  6. Sandy-kun says:

    Hmmm…. I just dunno how to make potential “ads” on the first day we do bloging…it seemed that a potential earning will just be made by getting many trafic and good ads…
    So, i’m a newbie… what should i do then to monetizing my blog faster????

  7. Nick says:

    Plus, if someone that comes to a website sees that there are already advertisements (ie day 1 approach) then they will associate the site with other, bigger sites.

  8. Refinance says:

    I really wonder how you could write a post like this on uickly after starting a blog should I put ads on it?. You really organized all those thing in a very fantastic manner. I really appreciate it.

  9. Vikash Kumar says:

    By the way…I am chosen the first approach for launching my own blog…

    Vikash
    http://wealth-motivation.com

  10. A good article and lots of great comments to back it up. However, my question hasn’t really been answered… What is considered a ‘decent level of traffic’? 100 unique per day? 200? 500? 1000?

  11. Mark says:

    This was a really helpful article and it was even more helpful to read the varying feedback. It seems like the way to go about advertising if you do is through AdSense. I have never used AdSense and just started blogging about 2 weeks ago. Does anyone have any tips for the best way of using AdSense – particularly when you are still developing a readers base.

  12. Your post has on internet marketing is definitely true. Internet marketing has opened new ways of attracting visitors to the website giving the webmasters a way of earning cash as well as web status. Let’s see what the future holds for internet marketing.

  13. Simon says:

    Thanks Darren for your rapid response. This post and comments answer my questions. I’m into my 6th week and haven’t started with ads yet – may have been a mistake. But, you live and learn, right? Keep up the good work.

  14. Owen says:

    I think that you may as well put adverts on your blog from day 1, mainly to keep your design consistent, and you’re right in saying that you could end up losing readers if you put them in once you get a reader base.

  15. I think designing & setting up a blog with ads placed from the beginning is best if you want to make money from your blog.

    It shows what you are about when readers check out your site. I like having a nicely designed site w/ads that look good on the site.

    Who says ads have to be ugly?

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