Last week I featured 6 blogs about simplicity and minimalism I thought might interest you. One of the criteria in choosing was that the blog was ad-free. This ruffled a few feathers and I got some feedback via comments and email that I thought deserved a response. Not all ruffled feathers deserve a response, but these were smart, thoughtful and provided great feedback.
This is not a defense of my decision not to feature blogs with advertising, or not to feature advertising on my site, but I thought you might be interested in how I really feel about advertising.
On Web Advertising …
Advertising is a disservice to people who write blogs.
People are distracted enough. With every additional widget, text ad, video or flashing box you add to your website, you send people away from your content. You send them away, usually for pennies or less.
Advertising is a disservice to people who read blogs.
When people read blogs, they want to be informed, entertained or inspired. They want helpful information. That is not the purpose of advertising. Give people what they want.
Advertising is a disservice to most businesses that purchase advertising.
When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad? Hubspot reports that The average banner ad has a 0.1% clickthrough rate (CTR), and the standard 468×60 banner has a 0.04% CTR. I’m not that good at math, but do know that those are teeny-tiny numbers. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any? Your best readers/clients/people come from your best readers/clients/people. I’d rather be connected with one new person because you shared my work than 1000 new people from a banner ad.
Advertising is a conflict of interest for simple living blogs.
If you write about shopping less and then plaster Black Friday ads on your home page, you confuse people and appear confused yourself. If you write about simplicity, practice what you preach. You won’t be losing much in terms of revenue, and will be gaining so much more trust and confidence from people reading your work.
Advertising is not the best way to earn money with a blog.
I understand that blogging takes time and energy and think that people deserve to earn money from those efforts. Blogging is a great way to support or develop a business. That said, why not create better ways to support your work? I write ebooks and courses, and recommend great work from my friends. I work with people to help them launch great ideas, start a microbusiness or be more creative.
Advertising on your site doesn’t make me mad.
If you want to feature advertising on your site, go for it. I still love you. Even though I think it can be a waste of time and energy, and a distraction from what matters most on your site, I can’t be mad about what you think is best for your blog or business. My friend Heidi sells advertising on her blog foodiecrush and I love her and her work.
I recognize that blogging is part of my business and I want to earn money for my work. That said, I know that if I don’t put you first, it will never happen. Every word and function on this site started with you in mind. I’ve made mistakes and changed things as I learn, but I won’t share something with you unless I think it will help. I value your time and attention too much to squander it with things that don’t matter.
The future of advertising is up to us. If more blogs and businesses focused on what they do best and featured less advertising, perhaps we’d pay better attention to what they have to say.
What do you think? Do you like advertising on blogs? Pop-ups? Lots of stuff going on in the sidebar?