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Small Business Blogging Tip #23 – Ads Or Not?

AdvertisingObviously for business means, I’m not a huge fan of having ads on your blog. That doesn’t mean I’m against it or that you shouldn’t do it, it’s just a personal belief of mine. I’ve placed many ads on all my other blogs and through my years of participating in the blogosphere, I have yet to see any definitive consensus add any clarity to this issue, so it’s entirely up to you whether or not you monetize your small business blog.

Ultimately your business blog should support and tie together all your other marketing actions. There are ways that advertising on your small business blog could improve that relationship, and there are ways it can hurt. Only you will know which is best for your needs, although it may take a reasonable amount of time to make that determination. From a design perspective, it’s probably best that you make your decision during the design phase so that any advertisements you may want to have will blend in or stand out accordingly.

Why would I want to put advertising on my business blog?

  • The most obvious reason to put advertisements on your business blog is to make some extra cash from your blog’s popularity. I can actually envision a time when a business’s blog could actually make more money from advertising than the actual business pulls in
  • A great way to take advantage of advertising space is to use it to promote other businesses with which you may have created joint ventures. By promoting each other’s actions, each partner will provide and gain greater benefit to their joint venture goals
  • Using your advertising space to promote affiliate partners can also be highly beneficial. This is one of the best ways to make money with a personal blog, and will become an increasingly powerful way for business blogs to advance their marketing goals, as well

If I were to put advertising on my business blog, where should I put it?

  • One of the most popular places to place advertising on blogs is in the header area. Many blogs have made good money from featured banner advertisements in this location
  • If you use Google Adsense, the most effective positions seem to be underneath the header, as a square inside the top post or as a block in a sidebar. Professionally, I think less is more concerning these types of ads, and would advise subtle usage.
  • The hottest trend in blog advertising seems to be the use of between four and eight 250×250 ad squares along the right hand side of the blog, a style I have used for many months on my parenting blog. This setup has proved to be very effective and will likely gain even more acceptance in the coming year or two.

Why wouldn’t I want to put advertising on my business blog?

  • Advertising can very easily dilute the brand you spend so much time and money creating for your business. By incorporating other businesses messages alongside your own, yours becomes less powerful
  • Advertising can also create a perception to some readers that other company’s have a hand in the content you publish on your blog. If you decide on placing advertisements on your blog, be sure to steer clear of any possible conflicts of interest. Most blog readers are quite sophisticated in spotting such faux pas, so think through your advertising partners thoroughly
  • Another reason many business bloggers may not think of is that advertising can have the effect of making your blog appear to need advertising money to function. Depending on your business, this could help or hurt. If your business is non-profit for example, this appearance would probably help. Not so much if you are a business in a highly competitive industry

Advertising is often seen as a necessary evil, but in today’s Internet model, it can be a very positive tool for consumers and businesses. Advertising has allowed countless businesses to start up and even strike it rich, in addition to helping foster a whole new business model based on free products and services. Advertising used correctly should also help your clients find those businesses and services that can enhance their experience with your own products and services or help improve their lives in some way. If you always put your clients interests before your own when making your advertising choices, your readers may even come to appreciate the advertising you offer. Think before you count the money you can make, and you will appreciate your advertising, as well.