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July 6, 2019

Making The Case For Ads on Your Blog (And is There a Better Way?)

Ads have some pretty great features.

  1. They’re easy-ish to set up.
  2. They can make you money on difficult to monetize traffic (International, mobile, info posts).
  3. They start making money the second you add them to your site (which feels incredibly motivating).
  4. They might inspire Google to send you more traffic (more on this later).

So should you run out and plaster ads all over your site as your primary monetization method? Well, it’s complicated, let’s talk about the pros and cons.

How Much Do Ads Pay Exactly?

The short answer of what well-optimized ads pay on a premium ad network is $10-$30 per 1,000 pageviews ($10-$30 RPM).

The long answer is it depends.

It depends on the ad network you use, your traffic levels, number/position of ad placements, your niche, what country your traffic is from, your ad network, whether it’s Q4, etc.

When you’re evaluating whether to put ads on your site, the RPM is important to know. Because a $1 RPM ($1 per 1,000 impressions) and $30 RPM are extremely different rates. At 100k monthly pageviews it’s the difference between making $3,000 from ads and $100. A huge delta.

What’s the Best Ad Network in 2022

This is such a difficult question and I intend to write an entire blog post about it.

But, the main thing that you need to know is that you’re under 50,000 monthly sessions I’d go with Ezoic. And if you’re over I’d go with MediaVine.

DO NOT GO WITH ADSENSE. The reason for this is that these ad networks net you dramatically more money per ad by doing something called real-time bidding. This is where they shop the traffic among various ad suppliers and they bid on the right to exist on your website.

Adsense alone doesn’t do this. And so you make a lot less money per impression because of it. Plus, Adsense doesn’t do a lot of work to optimally place your ads.

Why Wouldn’t You Want Ads on Your Site?

There are a lot of reasons why ads could be viewed as a negative thing.

ads remove potential customers from your site
  1. Selling your own products or high-priced affiliates pays a lot better.
  2. Ads hurt call to action on your products.
  3. Ads encourage visitors to leave your site.
  4. Even the best ad networks slow your site down considerably.
Calls to action get buried with ads.

Despite these drawbacks, if you’re making a $3,000 a month from ads ($36k/year), that’s a lot of money to turn down for most people. How on earth could you justify turning off ads completely?

The answer is that I have several high paying affiliate posts that easily make $1,000 per 1,000 visitors. And in that case a measly $10-$30 RPM from ads is almost irrelevant. I turn ads off completely on pages because a single user bouncing due to ads costs me more than I make from ads on these pages.

traffic needed for full time income graphic

Does Google Send Your Blog More Traffic if You’re Serving Ads?

If Google were a shady corporation acting in their own self-interest they’d send more traffic to websites that served ads. Why? Because regardless of whether you’re using Ezoic or MediaVine as your ad exchange, most of the ads came from Google.

This means Google makes money from websites that are serving ads. And they don’t make any money from websites that don’t serve ads. If you were a giant mega-corporation, wouldn’t you be tempted to put your thumb on the scale and favor the sites making you money?

I struggled to put ads on my site for a long time because I thought it would hurt user experience and limit my blogs traffic. But, my real-life experience was exactly the opposite. My traffic skyrocketed after placing ads on my website. It might be coincidence, but it also might be extremely causal.

The Benefits of Ads

Initially I was very against ads. But, it turned out ad networks like Ezoic had solutions for all of my concerns.

  • I was worried Ads would slow down my site: It did, but not THAT much. I was still passing core web vitals with them.
  • I was worried Ads would hurt my big money pages: They do, but you can turn ads off on any page you want.
  • I was worried Ads would make my site look spammy: You can limit the amount of ads per page or popup ads. That really cuts down on how intrusive they feel.
  • I was concerned ads would limit my blogs UX and growth: The opposite happened, Google appears to favor sites with ads on them for selfish reasons.

Plus, money feels so encouraging when you start blogging (even if it isn’t very much). And an ad network like Ezoic will accept brand new bloggers. You can ride with them right up until you hit 50k monthly sessions and qualify for MediaVine (or stay with Ezoic, they pay similarly).

Shaun works as a professional software developer while blogging about the creator economy (With a focus on Blogging, YouTube, and Virtual Reality).

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