Thoughts on Timing & When You Should Start Advertising on Your Blog

[tentblogger-vimeo 16442877]

[This is a part of the “Getting Started with Blog Advertising” blog series.]

The bottom line is ultimately this: You can start advertising at any point in a new blog’s life and it is completely up to you. You can justify your reasoning all you want or you can just throw up your hands and say “Hey, that’s what I’ve decided to do, ok?“.

But there’s definitely some wisdom in taking the time to consider the two camps of thought as they are typically understood.

As I’ve summarized in the above video, here are the two mainline camps and some of the distinctives:

The very famous adsense check: $133,000!

Advertise Later:

Advertise later foo!

This strategy suggests that it is far better to advertise and put up banner advertisements later when the blog hits a certain point in terms of traffic, engagement, and overall maturity.

Here are 4 key considerations:

  1. Traffic is going to be one of the largest factors here since you believe that you’ll convert and provide more opportunity for sales with a larger community base resulting in traffic.
  2. You value earning your reader’s trust first and foremost and you intimately understand that this takes time since generating credibility, rapport, and consistency are completely dependent on a long-standing relationship. You believe that you will also be able to convert sales and provide more value for your readers who trust you.
  3. You have decided that spending more time on creating content, building the site architecture, and strategy development is a much more vested approach to the growth long-term. Spending sideways energy with advertisements and the related stress of management, expectations, is not in your best interest.
  4. You want more time to think strategically about placements, your blog design, and ultimately the user experience before throwing ads on your sidebar like everyone else. There’s wisdom in understanding your community before pitching them blind.

You ultimately believe that by spending more energy on your content, community, and strategy you’ll be in a better spot in the long run due to increased engagement, trust, and traffic.

Now, for the other perspective…

Advertise Now:

The other side of the coin is advertising immediate on your blog from day #1. In fact, you can do this before you even throw content down on the site! Of course, there are some things to consider here as well.

Here are another 4 to keep in mind:

  1. You believe that by having advertisements immediately you’ll be able to “self-sustain” and pay-off your overhead as time progresses. This appears to be a more conservative and safe approach so that you can cover your costs as you go.
  2. You believe that your community, either by default in terms of the culture, or the one that you’re going to grow, will appreciate the advertisements and “get used to them” earlier instead of shocking them when you throw down the ads later on. By having them encounter the ads early you establish a feeling of acceptability.
  3. You feel that it’ll save you time in terms of design because you know that you’re going to be advertising and want to set up the slots early to fill out your design and user experience. You may even find the blog a bit “bare” without some of those advertisements around.
  4. Finally, you may be a “seasoned” blogger who knows exactly what they are doing with a targeted niche, active community, and a strategy to boot. In fact, the sky rains digital dollar bills on your efforts all the time (or close to it). You ultimately know what you’re doing.

The bottom line here is that you may have a hard time justifying the reason to wait and are willing to jump right in.

What Do I Believe?

I choose to wait!

If isn’t all the proof I need to declare which camp I fall in then I don’t know what would be sufficient!

I personally believe in the “Advertise Later” model.

With this strategy I can concentrate all my efforts on information architecture, developing content, and cultivating the community. My efforts will ultimately pay off when I do drop advertising much later.

It also gives me time to strategize my approach since I know my audience better after having engaged with them directly, which ultimately lets me provide even more strategic value to them.

And that’s always my goal: Provide exceptional value to my readers!

Finally, by not advertising now I have more creative freedom to experiment, zero pressure to perform for my buyers, clients, and partner businesses, and flexibility with content delivery as it relates to my already-busy schedule.

I’m not giving up those freedoms that easily!

If Not Now… Then When?

A natural follow-up question might be this:

So when is the right time to advertise if not immediately?

That simply depends on traffic, growth, levels of engagement, and ultimately your ability to sustain the necessary time required to bring high value to your advertisers. Don’t be fooled, it takes work to advertise. It’s not as set-it and forget-it as you might think (especially if you want repeat buyers).

In addition, if you have some specific business and/or life goals to achieve, that can help determine your time-line as well.

Finally, if you’re new to the blogging game then you have a lot to learn about advertising in general! Better to soak up the information and make the best informed decision before shooting into the dark, right?

In terms of TentBlogger and when this blog will start advertising, you can track with me through as I walk through building out the blog (in real time!) and you’ll be sure to know when I start! (**Update, I’ve obviously have started! Read here!**)

But, don’t forget that it’s up to you and you can do whatever you’d like or feel comfortable with! You don’t have to agree with me (and I imagine many people won’t).

[This is a part of the “Getting Started with Blog Advertising” blog series.]