October 22, 2014

Do Advertisements Affect Traffic?

One common approach for new websites and blogs is to not display any advertisements on the site until traffic is grown to a significant level. The reasoning behind this decision is that not having ads will provide the visitor with a more positive experience and fewer distractions, which will allow the site’s traffic to grow faster than it would with ads on the site. In addition, most websites and blogs will make very little money off of the ads in early months with low volumes of traffic.

At the start of January I placed a few banner ads for affiliate programs on my primary blog. As advertisers became interested in purchasing the spots, the banners changed from affiliate ads to direct ads for sponsors. Up until this point the blog had never included ads of any kind, so it was a fairly significant change that had me wondering how it would affect traffic levels.

From my experience, the ads had no negative affect. I received no comments or emails that expressed disappointment or displeasure over the ads being there. In fact, I actually had a few regular readers tell me that they were happy to see the blog being monetized. I’m sure there were some readers and visitors who didn’t feel the same way but just didn’t share their opinions with me.

During the month of January I gained almost 400 subscribers, which is a pretty significant number for me. Also, the total number of unique visitors was the highest for any single month in the history of the blog. I know there are plenty of other factors that need to be considered when determining if the ads had any effect on traffic and subscribers, but since the blog had it’s best month I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the ads at least had no major impact.

What’s Your Opinion?

This is just the experience and opinion of one blogger. I’m interested to hear the opinions of others as well as the experiences that you all have had with similar changes on your own blog. Do you feel that including ads on your blog has had a negative impact on your traffic levels?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

9 comments

  1. I write for a very niche blog, i decided to go with advertising on day 1. I think it is important to build up brand recognition and the layout of my website is part of my brand. I knew that I wanted to have ads, so I just went for it. I have been blogging for a year and I am about to break 100.00 in google ads.

  2. From my experience, it is not the ads which greatly influences the traffic levels (save and except paid posts – which really killed off returning traffic). The quality of posting is far more important.

  3. Matt,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. On this blog I decided to go with ads from day one because I feel it gives the visitors more consistency rather than changing things up a few months in. We’ll see how it works.

    Pablo,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you. I haven’t done paid reviews but if they are not right on topic they can be kind of frustrating to some readers (if there are too many).

  4. I guess for one completely new blog which the author is still an unknown chap to the niche and blogosphere, he might need to have a blog without ads just to show that he is not starting a blog just for money.

    The reason maybe why we are receiving no complaints on the 125×125 banner ads placed on our blogs is that every blog is doing it and somehow, visitors become blind to it.

  5. As long as you have good content, I really don’t think that ads are any problem. Your adds on both blogs are pretty centrally located and you also don’t have adsense plastered all over the place. I wonder if ad placement would have an affect.

  6. Content quality is the only factor influencing me when I decide to keep visiting a blog. I don’t mind ads, sometimes they lead to interesting discoveries, most of the times I ignore them. If the blog is 90% ads, well, that’s a different story :)

  7. I dont see there being a negative effect. Ads should be targeted and if they are to work, your readers should want to see them as they offer something of interest to them.

    The only type of sites people complain about ads on normally are forums. We all appreciate the need to monetize a website, in order to be rewarded for your efforts.

  8. Adam,
    I think that is a really good point about placement. I try to keep ads where readers will see them and visit if they are interested, but not somewhere that will annoy them. I really hate the placement of ads in some blogs. Even so, it doesn’t stop me from reading, just makes me never want to click on those ads out of spite.

    Wayne, Alina, and Tom,
    Thanks for the feedback. I feel the same way as all of you.

  9. As long as ads are non-intrusive they don’t affect traffic at all. But once your site gets as ad heavy as John Chow, you can say bye-bye to traffic from social media…

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