Money and Blogging

When I opened my blog today, the first thing I saw was a bright pink Planned Parenthood banner ad.

I did some frantic googling. Is there any way to choose what ads go on your WordPress blog? No, it turns out, there really isn’t. So I spontaneously pulled all ads off my blog.

I’ve never really had problems with WordPress ads before. I never saw any half-naked women, or any “a mom in Arizona cured cancer with this one weird trick,” or anything that led to spammy websites. The ads were few enough that they didn’t make my website run slowly. A week or so ago I did have a problem with a video advertisement playing automatically, with sound, which I found really annoying, but that has not been a consistent problem. (At least for me. If you’ve had bad experiences with ads on my blog I’d like to hear about them.)

But I don’t want to promote Planned Parenthood. No way. That is where I draw the line.

To be clear, I only ever earned about $100 a year or so from advertising. I mostly did the advertising thing so that my blog would be self-sufficient–so that it would earn enough money to pay for its own domain name and fund things like an occasional giveaway, or a new point-and-shoot camera if I needed one.

I’ve always felt torn when it comes to earning money from blogging. I want people who read my blog to feel like they’re getting a gift, not like I’m trying to sell them something.

…at the same time…

As I discussed in my blog post How To Write an Opinion That People Will Listen To, posting on my blog takes effort and revision. Blogging isn’t the fun casual social media platform it was back in Xanga days. I usually enjoy blogging, but if I’m not earning anything from it I have little motivation to post consistent quality content.

…at the same time…

Would people rather get free, sporadic rough drafts or see some advertising, suffer through a few sponsored posts, and/or pay a little to get thoughtful polished blog posts on a regular basis?

I realize that this is not a unique struggle. All creatives face a tension between art for art’s sake and art for money.

Anyway. At this point I am fine with freely writing this blog as I always have. However, my hasty decision to pull advertising this afternoon just got me thinking about such matters. And I REALLY WANT YOUR OPINION on the topic, whether you’re a blogger yourself who has struggled with this question, or whether you’re a blog reader who cringes through sponsored posts.


10 responses to “Money and Blogging

  1. I’m a blogger who struggles with this, too. I don’t make money off my blog, but as you said, a good blog takes huge amounts of time. My motivation for writing is simply to express what is on my heart and mind, and to polish my writing skills in the process. Yet as our family scrimps to make ends meet, I wonder if it would be wrong to earn a little cash in exchange for my skills. Add to that, WordPress still runs ads on the free plan, I just don’t get paid for them. I’m interested in hearing your conclusions!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I identify with and approve of the reason for your decision to pull the ads. I may not be a typical blog reader but I generally ignore the ads that accompany blogs. — LRM

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I would keep the advertising. Advertising is the bane of my existence, but more important than my visual comfort, I think, is the reward of hard work like yours.


  4. I’ve made it a habit to ignore ads on blogs or any other website, questionable or not. It’s not the ad I came for; why make it a big deal? Also, I’d love to read a post about your views on planned parenthood.


  5. I rarely pay attention to the ads. I use the free version of WordPress, but have wanted to try out some of the paid versions, but didn’t want to spend the money to get them! May with paid advertising I might purchase a nicer theme. I guess the question would be whether we mind having advertising for something we can not support!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I’d rather read rough thoughts without ads, simply because I feel like the old blogging style was more interesting, unique, and ‘real’. I’ve seen many blogs go from pleasantly chatty to all sounding the same. Like 10 years ago bloggers didn’t need to do those repetitive “some people might think that my life is perfect, but here’s a shot of my sink of dishes to prove otherwise” posts because they weren’t giving a curated impression to begin with.

    But if I was a writer, I think I’d much rather have ads and be producing polished art I could be proud of.


  7. carolynschnuppmiller

    When I see an add I don’t really see it (often) and I sure don’t think, “Why look what this person supports.” I know adds are not chosen and just a “thistle on the rose” of useful and interesting blogs.


  8. As a person who is almost completely externally motivated, I think you should not worry about adds on your blog (although I too would draw the line at a Planned Parenthood ad). Blogging is hard work and work needs to be rewarded. That’s the way God had fashioned the world. Therefore, I’m happily (sort of) willing to suffer thru some ads to get consistent, thoughtful blog posts. I don’t blog, but I love reading the Smucker blogs!

    Renee Coffman, a reader in Harrisonburg VA


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