Today I want to open up a little about something that’s been happening behind the scenes at Jennypurr in recent months. Since about February of 2014, around the one year mark of running this blog, I opened up my website to advertising revenue streams. This included sidebar advertising that I ran through Passionfruit, adverts via Mode Media, affiliate links through ShopSense, and very rare native advertising via sponsored posts. As of April 2015 I have closed each and every single one of these income streams. For the past eight months or so my website has not accepted any forms of sponsored content (I think in my entire time blogging I’ve accepted just one piece of sponsored work), and from now on this website will have no form of advertising in any part of the site.
In the world of online content, where monetising via advertising is usually the norm for anyone who makes a living from their blog or houses their business in their online space, you could wonder why I’m closing myself off from this opportunity for income. Today I want to open up about the reasons behind this decision, why I believe it’s a positive step for me to take, and share just a little advice for anyone trying to decide whether they want to explore these type of income streams for their own blog.
It doesn’t feel right anymore: The first, and probably most important, reason is that ultimately monetising my blog in this way just doesn’t feel right anymore. I wasn’t enjoying this part of running my blog, it felt more like a drain of my energy than a positive and exciting way to make money, and I was surrounded with icky feelings whenever I dealt with these areas of monetising. For someone who is building a business through their blog that is built on the desire to do work full of purpose and passion, these icky feelings were a sure sign for me that it was time to close these income streams. This doesn't mean I haven't thoroughly enjoyed getting to know every single blog or business that has advertised on my sidebar, or that I'm not grateful for their support and the opportunities I've had so far with this blog, but the time has come now to really focus on what Jennypurr exists as today. I also can't best be of service to any potential advertisers when my heart isn't in it anymore.
It doesn’t align with my intentions: Everything I’ve built so far and everything I continue to build for my business and my blog is all anchored to my core values and intentions. Monetising my blog in this way has started to feel in complete contrast to what my intentions are for this space, and to stay true to myself moving forward I just knew that it was time for them to go. This doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with monetising in this way - I see how for many talented content creators online that it plays a huge part in how they keep their online spaces running and I fully root for them every step of the way to make money doing something that they love. But making money via advertising is not something that feeds my soul, and my biggest intention with my business is to do the work that feeds my soul as much as it does my bank balance.
It’s not how I want to make money: Following on from the previous point, ultimately making money via advertising streams is not how I want to make my income. I’m passionate about working with people, encouraging others, and doing work that is purposeful and fulfilling for both myself and the people I work with. When money from advertising streams arrived in my bank account I didn’t feel excited, fulfilled, or motivated in my endeavours. This was a sure sign for me that to wholeheartedly run my business it was essential to do it in ways I was proud to do. I also would like to add to this point that I believe for many of us, relying solely on advertising revenue streams isn't a very sustainable (or always fulfilling) way to make an income, and though from the outside it may seem that many people can live off adverts alone, so much more work and side projects go into making a full time living - Alisha's recent insights on how she makes money blogging is a must read.
It isn’t a positive addition to my reader’s experience: I don’t personally hate advertising online. Yes, it may be irritating when adverts pop up out of nowhere, or we have to wait a minute while an advert plays before we can watch a YouTube video, but I’ve never really felt any resentment towards this. We all know it’s possible to block these through our web browsers, and I genuinely believe it’s never anyones place to judge or assume anything about how others make their living. Saying this, a huge intention for me with Jennypurr is to make it the best reader experience it can possibly be, and although I've never allowed anything on this site that I believed would be negative for my readers, I didn’t feel like advertising was adding anything extra or of value to my audience either. This space exists as an online creative resource for bloggers and creatives and I want that to guide me with everything that I do.
It allows me to focus more on my impact instead of my traffic: Advertising revenue streams are very reliant on your website's traffic and reach. Your page views and unique visitor count are everything - they affect how much money you make and how much people will want to work with you. I’ve never been all that interested in my site's traffic, so much of the time it can just feel like empty numbers. I personally prioritise how much of a positive impact I can have through my site and the opportunities for connecting with my community and ideal clients way more than the numbers I see on my Google Analytics dashboard, as more times than not they don’t always tell the same story. I now have the complete freedom to not feel tied down to my traffic, and although I’m very happy with the reach my blog has, I now have more space to be brave and bold with my online presence without that concern about traffic ever having to hold me back.
Now none of this means that I have a problem with making money via advertising streams - I support many of my clients to do it this way and I also monetise the online lifestyle magazine I run, ALO, alongside Rebecca with some of these income streams. I really do believe though that monetising our skills and expertise can be so much more valuable, sustainable, and fulfilling in the long run, and that is the model I’m focused on now when it comes to monetising my online presence. I'm really excited moving forward to focus on monetising in a way that is authentic, intentional, and fulfilling.
If you’re trying to decide whether to open up advertising income streams on your blog or not, my best advice would be to consider the following things:
- Is it aligned with your core blogging goals, values, and intentions?
- Is this how you want to make a living?
- Will it distract your website and blog from really working towards your bigger long term goals?
- If you do want to monetise in this way - do you have enough traffic/reach for this to be a sustainable and worthwhile income stream?
I would love to know your thoughts on this topic?
p.s further reading: Five Questions For Anyone Who Wants To Turn Their Blog Into An Income Stream
HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER
I work with bloggers & creatives to help them feel focused and find confidence in their blogging process. Whether you want to connect with your ideal readers and clients, give your creative business a better online presence, launch your blog from scratch, or transition your online presence into a business, I'm here to help you make it happen. Find out more here.