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Ad: Is that your business model? Then think again

As you probably know, I am an advocate of having a business behind your blog, this has been the practice of most successful blog businesses around the world. Richard Branson said  I wanted to be an editor or a journalist… but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.

Writing or producing of content alone can’t generate money except you use those content to drive your business, which is what content marketing is all about. Your blog should serve as a marketing channel and a business development tool. Despite this fact, whenever we talk about making money from your blog, what comes to the mind of many is advertisement – placing of ads especially use of ad networks such as Google Adsense.

Although Advertisement is a monetization strategy but the fact is that it has outlived its life cycle. It is no longer a reliable business model as it was those days (dot.com bubble) A lot has change since the fall but this doesn’t mean advertisement is bad. Nowadays ad model seems to work effectively for news sites with huge traffic and social platform with strong network effects like Facebook, Nairaland and others, but it is not effective for niche blogs.

Why Advertising is not a suitable Business Model For Niche Blog

Am not against blog advertisement, but if you really want to earn a decent living from your niche blog then you can’t afford to use advert as your main income stream. Instead use it as market research tool  

Huge traffic and CTR

For you to consider advertising as a profitable business model for your blog, then you need huge traffic (I mean millions of them) and high CTR. Most times, advertisers advertise for the sole purpose of driving traffic to their site, generating lead and closing sales. Most advertisers track various advert metrics especially Click Through Rate (CTR) to determine if it is an effective channel, ROI (channel worth their investment)

Statistic has it that advertising CTR is dropping even that of Facebook (dropped to 0.05% as of 2011), this is due to ad blindness and for this singular reason, most marketers are switching from advert to content and email marketing which hold a huge promise and return.

Improving CTR has been a long life battle for bloggers and site publishers since 2005 due to the rise of ad blindness – which is getting stronger everyday coupled with Ad blocking tools at the disposal of the web surfers.

NB: Ad Blindness is simply refers to internet surfers ignoring advert on web platform either on social media or blogs. People rarely click on advert nowadays, even if you check how you view and click on advert. You will discover that this fact is true.

Darren Rowse of Problogger in one of his post argued that your loyal readers (long time follower of your blog) tends to ignore your ads because they are use to it, he also said that ads optimization tend to work must effective with your new blog visitor compared to your long time readers.


As of 2013, there are about 152 million blogs around the world and about 80%  of these blog depends on Advertising model coupled with huge advertising network such as Adsense, Media.net, Chitika, BuySellAd etc. This will result to huge competetition, a survival of the fitness competing for the same advertising dollar. This leaves the low and medium trafficked platform on the ground with little or nothing.

Why give away your blog potential to your competitors

After the launch of Sproutsale, I discovered that advertisement is an effective market research tool and keyword selection (when using Adword). Michael Dunlop (the founder of Traffic Domination and IncomeDiary) highlighted that it is not the amount of traffic that determine how much you can make from your blog but your revenue (model) strategy – Most advertisers are either promoting a product that your audience might be interested in or something close to it. Instead of collecting few bucks for advertising, partner with them on a per sale commission (affiliate) or even come up with a product in that line.

Alternative Models

One of the top content marketing and copywriter authorities in the World Copyblogger as of 2013 listed viable business model and ad placement was not part of that list. This further validates that ad placement is a faded business model especially for non news related blog (niche blog), even the social micro messaging giant – Twitter is yet to turn profit (Although you may credit this to much spending). You maybe thinking what of Google, Facebook and others – here is the fact: you are not them either do you have access to the same fund needed to grow your business to that stage, so the early you come up with a viable and sustainable business model the better.

Here are some business models to implement

  • Direct sale – Digital product sales – ebook, video, software, script etc
  • Affiliate sale
  • Sponsorship
  • Consulting
  • Freelance
  • Blog flipping

Once you have choose a business model, then use your blogging endeavour to drive the business – which is called content marketing. It is important to note that the purpose of content marketing is not to drive sales directly but to build a loyal audience and earn their trust which in turn set the pace for tons of sales.

Content Marketing Cycle

Content marketing leads to being know which then leads to be liked by your audience and in turn produces trust

Content —Know—Liked—Trust—Sales

Once there is trust, you can sell anything with huge profit even to affiliated product. It is important to watch the kind of product you promote to your audience (Your earned trust is far more important than any money you will earn)

About Mark Ugwuanyi

I am the founder of MarkSignal - a web design company and lead developer of ContentOptin - Simple WordPress Content Upgrade Plugin that Delivers. He love to read and develop web application.