One of the aspects of genealogy blogging that many new bloggers look to as soon as their site is up and running is advertising.
Some words of advice: don’t rush to litter your new blog sidebar with ads. First build a readership over a few weeks or months and then gradually introduce advertising methods that not only are of interest to your readership but ads that can bring in a stream of revenue.
Blog Advertising Pluses
- With a popular blog you can pick up some serious mad money. While not enough to quit your day job, advertising revenue can very often cover your hosting fees or allow you to purchase genealogy books and software programs.
- Gain a professional appearance for your blog. If you are running a genealogy blog as part of a business then carrying ads from the major genealogy vendors can add some legitimacy to your site.
Blog Advertising Minuses
- You may turn off some of your loyal readers as well as possible new readers. Many devoted blog readers skew more tech savvy than the average Internet user. More often than not, your regular readers won’t click on advertisements. It doesn’t hurt to poll or ask your readers how they feel about blog advertising in general and specifically about ads on your blog.
- You become beholden to your advertisers. While most genealogy blogs don’t venture into controversial topic matter, keep in mind that advertisers often won’t allow their ads on sites with extreme viewpoints. Many bloggers will maintain one or more blogs for their personal opinions and keep a strict topical focus on their genealogy blog.
- You will not make money overnight. The bloggers who do make money – whether it is a little or a lot – are doing so because they’ve carefully built a readership and have put quite a bit of time into marketing their site.
What does this mean? Investigate the proven advertising methods and give them a test run. ProBlogger has a great post entitled Starting Your First Blog? 29 Tips, Tutorials and Resources for New Bloggers with a section Making Money from Blogs which should be required reading for new bloggers.
Among the various proven methods are:
- Affiliate Advertising. Create an advertising relationship with genealogy-related vendors and see if they have an affiliate program. An affiliate program enables you to earn a “commission” on each sale made by one of your readers at the affiliate’s website. Here are some current affiliate programs geared towards genealogy:
- RSS Feed Advertising. Don’t forget that most blogging platforms will allow you to add a header or footer to your RSS feed. You can place links or ads so that your readers who only see your posts via Google Reader or Bloglines will also notice your ads.
- Advertise Your Products. Consider writing an e-book, quick reference cards or cheat sheets, etc. that you can sell on your blog. Example: Maureen Taylor – The Photo Detective – has just come out with a new book entitled Fashionable Folks – Hairstyles 1840-1900 and she has deftly marketed it on her website, blog and Twitter.
- Advertise Yourself. If you are available for genealogy research or to speak to associations and societies then make sure you advertise your availability on your blog.
As a genealogy blogger, what has been your approach to advertising on your site?
© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee