When I announced that I was going to start offering select advertising on this blog as well as begin experiments into using advertising systems like Google Adsense you can bet that I mulled it over in my mind (and heart) for quite some time.
Even though I’ve been monetizing my other blogs for years I felt that this community was a bit different – really something special – so much so that it would hurt a bit more than normal to hear negative responses to my announcement, even though I had shared historically that I would wait to earn the trust of my readers.
And that’s what I did. I waited almost a year (10 months) before dropping the first advertisement on the blog and felt it was the right time to start the experiments.
But again, I knew there was the potential to rub people the wrong way (and I was prepared for it for sure) – there’s always the risk of offending your community the moment you throw up an advertisement on your sidebar or change the format of the content to slot in a big banner ad.
For many bloggers who jump into advertising after waiting for a bit it’s a simple test of their grit and the quality of the community that they’ve developed. One needs to engage with the risk-and-reward tension that exists and one can never quite find the balance; in fact, I’m not sure there is one now that I think about it.
And so with bated breath I published the announcement post and you can bet that I monitored the traffic and the response with eager anticipation (and a bit of trepidation).
Heck, I even launched the campaign and change during a holiday weekend to limit the amount of potential pushback as many people were traveling and might not have time to read the blog, thus giving me a more expanded and thinned-out-over-time number of responses.
But man, was I humbled to see an overwhelmingly positive response to my announcement, via the comments on Facebook, the blog directly, and Twitter.
I’ve highlighted some of the comments here that really warmed my heart:
Matthew Snider said:
Congrats brother on the new monetization!
Greg Herman said:
I really have to be more faithful to reading your blog. I learn something new with each visit. Thanks for the great content. Be sure to let us know your results with this experiment.
Jorge Silvestrini said:
New beginning for ads – it’s all good! Let us know how everything goes!
James Brooks said:
Exciting! I genuinely hope that this is fruitful for you. You deserve it. The content here is awesome, and you deserve to be rewarded handsomely for the good that you are doing.
Once I turned of AdBlock Plus I could see the ads. Will leave it off to support your site.
This blog provides so much value I’m sure the majority won’t mind seeing the ads!
Calvin Koepke said:
Nice! I’m actually pretty glad to see you start advertising, and just so you know, I admire that you waited so long to do it.
Dustin Stout said:
Man, it’s about time!
Travis Kristin Spencer said:
Saw the advert spaces on the blog today excited for you!
And more. I couldn’t believe how many people came and dropped a comment supporting my efforts! I was completely blown away.
I mean, could anything be more satisfying than knowing that the time and investment in developing the community around good and compelling content was worth the wait for monetizing and adding advertisements? Although I knew that I would wait I wasn’t sure how long that wait would be – 10 months later it was time to begin and it all paid off in spades.
I can say with confidence that I’ve earned your trust, earned your respect, and worked my tail off to provide an abundance of valuable content including free tools like WordPress Themes, double-digit WordPress plugins, and even neat SEO Spider Tools that we’ll use specifically for the SEO Blog Post Series.
You’ve entrusted me with your blogs and I’ve taken that charge and responsibility as seriously as I could, giving you everything that I’ve got so that your blogs could be better.
And when I announced my advancement into advertising and monetizing this blog you guys paid me back with positivity, support, and encouragement that would make other professional bloggers jealous. Love it!
How Did I Earn The Community’s Trust?
Of course I want to share some specific and practical elements that I feel may have contributed to this overwhelmingly positive response so that you can do the same with your blogging community.
Remember that each community is unique in it’s own right and that you’ll have to take great care and with wisdom apply these contextually to your own blogs:
- Wait to Advertise - I firmly believe in the power of waiting to monetize and advertise on your blog so that you can put your best foot forward proving, through action, that you’re blogging to provide them value and not to make money off of them.
- Create Amazing Value – Your content needs to be the best that it can be. It needs to be compelling and exceptionally helpful. Review my series on creating amazing blog content and you should be on the right track.
- Give Away Tons of Stuff for Free – I consider the art of giving stuff away for free to be a top strategy for me. In fact, it’s the strategy that I employ day-in and day-out. And go above and beyond just the content – give stuff away via contests and giveaways and promote other people’s content as well.
- Listen to Your Community – Are you truly listening to your community? Are you responding to their needs? I have found that providing multiple avenues for engagement and actually responding to them has been a serious boon for this blog and the community in return.
There are four elements that I feel have helped me but you might have another opinion, which I’d love to hear!
How have I served you in the past 10 months? More importantly, what can I do better? What areas can I improve?
And finally – Thank you guys so much!
[Image via Creative Commons, terry.]