Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Ponderings

Over the weekend, I did a little cleaning up around the blog. I condensed my labels (those were completely out of hand!), updated my blog lists, and started a new section with key posts. I'd still like to add a couple more, so if there are any posts you especially liked, or feel would be helpful for a new reader to review, please let me know. I'm not asking you to search through my 220+ posts, but please share if something comes to mind, even if it's along the lines of "that post where you talked about the fish."

More importantly, I'd like your opinion on blog ads. I've heard various things about how much money you can make from them, but every little bit helps. I try not to discuss our finances here, but let's just say we're spending more than we take in from Ibis's job as a hotel receptionist. My freelance work helps, but it's not consistent, so $3 here and there will help.

But - and here's my hangup - will ads scare away my readers? I like how this blog looks: uncluttered and organized. I don't think I'll have control over ads, in terms of placement or content, and that makes me hesitant.

Do you have ads on your blog? Do you have a strong opinion about them? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Janna Qualman said...

I do have ads on my, per AdSense, though I've not earned even a tenth of a cent from them. Which is fine. They're placed out of the way, both a good thing and a bad thing, and are themed for writing. It can be tastefully done, so I think it's your call.

Melanie Avila said...

Can you have both AdSense and GoogleAds?

Anonymous said...

Melanie, let me start with saying I like the cleaned up format. The site looks good.

AdSense and Google Ads are the same thing. I've heard conflicting reports as to how much people make, but I think that if you put them in a strategic location, they should fit in okay.

Good luck!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Aaron.

Stephen Parrish said...

Ads in general don't bother me; make all the spare change you can. But unfortunately the ads placed on writer sites always seem to promote the underbelly of the industry. If your blog advertises (say) agents that charge fees, you will indeed turn readers off.

Melanie Avila said...

And that's my biggest concern (besides them being ugly, of course). I read one blog where she put a disclaimer above the ads telling people the advertisers are scammers, but that seems like a waste of time. Why advertise then, right?

Nadine said...

I say go for it. Ads don't bother me.

Will you get paid by how many hits you get on your blog? Or does the reader have to click on the ad in order for you to get paid? Also, can you filter what type of ads you have? It would be great to filter out the ones that might turn readers off.

Melanie Avila said...

I have no idea. I'm hoping someone with more experience can shed some light on those issues.

K Trainor said...

I've never used ads, so I'm no help. I just wanted to say I hope your financial situation improves. I know how stressful that can be.

Melanie Avila said...

Welcome K! Thanks for commiserating. :) The good thing is when I do freelance, I'm paid in dollars, which go much further here.

Jen said...

I just applied to have ads put on mine (we could use a little extra cash, too, but I don't expect to see much, if anything)

I haven't even really looked to see if they've shown up yet. Most of the time, ads on blogs don't bother me at all.

And I like the digs! :)

Melanie Avila said...

Cranky? Is that you?

Thanks for your input.

Zoe Winters said...

I have an amazon associates account, so whenever I mention something and there's a link to amazon, if someone clicks on it and buys it, or even if they buy something else on amazon in the next 24 hours, I get a commission, and that's nice. That's really unobstrusive because you can build text links and they are literally just links, nothing "ad-like" about them or not. I can't use adsense cause wordpress doesn't allow it and I'm not on my own host currently, but google adsense is part of the google empire like blogger, so obviously blogger allows it.

You can get "in context text link ads" which are unobtrusive as well.

For either though, you really need a LOT of traffic to be making anything. I'm not sure if it was too soon for me to ad amazon associates or not.

Stephen makes a really good point about how adsense can advertise things you don't personally agree with on your site. If you stick with affiliate programs (and there are more than just amazon of course) then you have full control over what gets advertised on your site and can almost always do it tastefully and unobtrusively with text links.)

Zoe Winters said...

There are also other creative ways of making money. You can offer a free ebook, with a "donations welcome" button. So people can take it for free, but, if they like it and can spare a little they might give you a tiny bit, like a dollar or so through paypal. Enough people do that and it definitely adds up.

Melanie Avila said...

My views have jumped in the past couple weeks, but I don't think it's enough to bring in much money. Eh, doesn't hurt though.

I really like the idea of the Amazon link - do you have to buy things in order to do that? When I say money's tight, I'm not kidding. No purchasing allowed.

Melanie Avila said...

Ebooks? Hmm. From other people, or my own? That might be premature right now.

Jeez, how many questions can Melanie ask in a single blog post?

Zoe Winters said...

hehe Melanie, thanks for linking me btw.

No amazon doesn't cost anything to become an associate. I'm unemployed so I get the whole "it's gotta be free" concept. Just go to amazon.com and click on the link that says amazon associates and you can get signed up.

Ebooks, something of yours.

Melanie Avila said...

Cool, I'll look into the Amazon links.

I figured the ebook would have to be mine and had a comment that said I better get on with my editing, but then I started to wonder.

Thank you for being so helpful. (and you're welcome!)

WendyCinNYC said...

Ads don't bother me, either. I'll still read your blog

spyscribbler said...

I second Amazon Associates. Really easy. If you go to my spythrillers.org site, you'll see two of their widgets: on the bottom the "most popular" and the side the "latest." (I need to update those.)

I also use amazon associates for all books listen in both sites. All the covers are linked to Amazon through the associates program.

Over the past three years, I've earned $7. But, you know. They don't cut you a check until $20, I think. I'm hoping, once the spy thriller site is more, to make enough money to start buying books again.

Money has been so tight here. I had a total breakdown today. :-(

Melanie Avila said...

Spy! Oh no! I'm sorry. ((hugs))

I was going to give you a ROFL at the $20 bit, but that's just depressing. Is there a lot of upkeep? Not that I don't have time, mind you, just wondering.

spyscribbler said...

Signing up is quick, just like any other random registration: email and a few bits of info.

Playing with it is only about an hour, max, and if you use a carousel or widget in your sidebar, you never have to do anything again, unless you want to change the books or whatever.

If you want to include a link to a book when you mention a book in a post, then you have to go to amazon, sign in, and get the link. That takes an extra three minutes, but a few blog editors will do it for you.

(Do you know what blog editors are? They're like a word processing program that will automatically publish to your blog so you don't have to sign in to blogger and work in their interface. I use Windows Live Writer because it's pretty, but Post2Blog is better, LOL.)

The ones that will make Amazon-linking easy: Post2Blog (I used for awhile and it's good), Zoundry I think, and xfy Blog Editor (haven't tried, looks promising).

spyscribbler said...

And remember, you can also link to pots, pans, whatever. They say that you need about 1,000 hits a day to start generating some real income, and the more you write about a niche (like a blog about photograph with links to camera equipment), the more you make.

You should be dooce, though. Your life is just as fascinating, even more! Although she cracks me up, too. We just have to get other people to know you exist. ;-)

Btw, if you want to learn more about such things, problogger.net can't be beat. If you go through his archives, it's a complete education.

Melanie Avila said...

Wow, Spy! Thank you! I won't be home today but the Amazon links sound like a good plan for me.

I think I'll also do GoogleAds and if it turns out I'm getting offensive ads, I'll disable it.

BTW, I LOVE dooce! She kills me. That's such a compliment that you even compare us. I can't get over the pictures of her little girl she's beautiful and every shot looks professional.

Jen said...

Yup, it's me, Mel.


Weird that I have such a boring real name, isn't it? It's like the '70's version of Jane Smith. No offense to any Janes out there.


Looks like you're getting some pretty darn good advice, btw.

Melanie Avila said...

LOL. All my "Jen" friends have fun user names. :D Yes, very good advice!