When to monetize a new site or blog

Blog Money
Many a website or blog are started with the sole purpose of making cash (and if you’re reading this blog I’m sure you know what I’m talking about), I know a lot of new and aspiring webmasters and questions I get asked a lot are:

  • How can I make money from my 3 hour old blog?
  • Are my ads blended enough?
  • My brother and his pet dog have been banned from Adsense how else can I make money?
  • How many ads should I put on my page?
  • I haven’t got any subscribers yet so how should I monetize my feed?

I’m a pretty helpful guy (maybe a bit selfishly helpful due to my belief in karma) and the answer I almost always give is:

  • Ask me again in 6 months

Like many people I’m all on for making money and when I start a new site have a revenue plan in mind but the most important thing at the early stages is building your site for the visitors, a quality site brings happy visitors, happy visitors bookmark, subscribe, tell their friends and most importantly come back.

With the majority of site monetisation methods they are paying you for your visitors, in the early days of a site can you really afford to be losing visitors for a few cents. Let them explore your site for a while and if they find information that interests them they’ll be back in the future and you’ll be able to make more money out of them again and again 🙂 .

I’ll only start to look into monetising a site now when it’s getting at least 1,000 visitors a day and has been going for 6 or more months. I’ll have a few ads on to fill a bit of space and add color or graphics to the site but their primary function will not be that of revenue generation. The only reason we have any ads here is to fill a bit of space and because Scott and I wanted to see the sort of advertisements that Google would serve up, come back in 6 months and that might change 😉

I would be interested to hear what people think about this and whether you’d come back if Self Made Minds was an ad centric playground.

Would you be a repeat visitor to a site that was ad heavy
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About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Good god, Al! You are scaring me! What will SMM look like when you really start putting ads up?! (I added the pop up/under option for the poll.)

    I believe that you should have ads up from the start, if you plan on placing any. You don’t want to scare your visitors away by suddenly cloaking your content in ads, when they have become used to reading a clean, clear page.

    BTW: Nifty little poll script! Care to share the source?

  2. There are no plans to make this place ad heavy but it will make money in the long term. With the sort of audience this site should attract I’d wouldn’t expect Adsense no matter how blended to do very well.

    The Poll script is Democracy, it’s pretty nifty, I do need to do something with the CSS though.

  3. As somebody who hates ads I am always looking for ways to monetize my sites without appearing to show any ads. For instance I never show ads in my feeds.

    Another trick is to check to see where the visitors have come from and only show ads to those who come from search engines. Visitors from sites like Digg etc don’t click on ads so its best not to show them any, that way they are more likely to link to your site and return.

  4. I’m not sure Al, i don’t often click ads on any site, but occasionally i’ll see an ad that genuinely interests me and i’ll click it.

    As for waiting until a site is recieving decent traffic is something i’ve heard before, sadly (myself included) i feel alot of webmasters don’t want to wait until traffic reaches those levels. I can see the pros of doing so…….

  5. I don’t mind ads too much so long as they don’t make the content hard to read. Whacking huge ads mid content does annoy me as it breaks up the flow of the post. Smaller ads with the content wrapped round them are ok though. If they aren’t in amongst the main content I’m usually pretty blind to them anyway.

  6. That’s a great suggestion mad4, I used to show more ads to SE visitors but now I’m not so fussy and give all visitors the privilidge of more adverts. I’d love to hear other ways you use to monetise, with your subject I’d expect you to do very well from affiliate products.

    I think it’s much easier to say than do Ash especially when you’re first starting out, the first site I did was plastered with ads.

    That’s great to hear Garry, I think I’m more old school and am not an ad fan at all. If I see an adsense ad that interests me on another site I always key in the URL rather than clicking simply by force of habit.

    Pop-ups and unders are the worst kind of ads IMO so you won’t be seeing them here without a bloody good reason ($100 CPM may do it 🙂 )

  7. Great post Al. Interesting that you don’t monetize until the site is seeing 1000 users/day. For a site that’s been at this level for 6 months, what would you estimate would be the percentage of users clicking ads? I know there are a ton of variables with this, but I’m just curious what percentage a site like yours sees?

  8. I don’t mind seeing ads on blogs, as long as they are not pop up or pop under. Contextual ads are good, and I even discovered interesting sites by clicking on ads.

  9. Hi Ryan, like you say it’s a bit of a how long is a piece of string question. With regards to CTR a lot depends on where your readers are coming from. If it’s the same 1,000 readers every day your CTR will be appallingly low, whilst if they are all from search engines and your ad placement is well optimised you could see a CTR in double figures.

  10. I, a hardcore ad-click-averted webmaster, much like you Al, was tempted enough to click one of the ads on your post about finding paid writers. (It was either amazing article copy from the Dyslectic Writer, or incredible ad targeting by Google. I don’t know.)

    It felt so decadent! I felt like such a bad, bad boy! (No spanking on this occasion, but it might have been fitting.)

    I am afraid that most webmasters are Ad-in-sensed and shy away from clicking on anything that resembles a Google ad. So, unless you find some other way to make money off us, I fear you will have to rely on CG to keep you away from that day job.

  11. I’m suprised that even with havy havy adds on the page most of the ppl will continue visit the site.. yeah i know that content is the king but.. man! on some site the adds can make you go blind!

  12. This is a great reference. I’m just starting a blog and seeing the poll about how many dislike ads is pretty interesting.


  13. Bear in mind that the poll has been completed by a very web savvy audience, a lot of who make money from ads. It would be good to hear what regular web users think.

  14. Nice article it took me a while to arrive at the same conclusion 😉 my parameters are differen as my sites are not high traffic basicaly when 90% of traffic is organic i add the adds.

  15. I’ll only start to look into monetising a site now when it’s getting at least 1,000 visitors a day and has been going for 6 or more months.

    Your site is created 08-mar-2007, so its not 6 months old.

    • This site isn’t really monetised DejAn, granted there is an adsense skyscraper but we all know if this was monetised for adsense we’d be pulling 300×250 ads into the posts etc, it was just added to fill some space on the right and out of curiosity to see what would come up.

  16. i hate pop up ads. as long as no pop up and it doesn’t load the page slowly. then it will be fine for me.

  17. Ads never dictated if I should or should not visit the site. It was always the content that drove me to the site. I would come back to self made minds if you continue to have great content.

  18. Adds are sometimes good and sometimes bad. I’ve seen a lot of good , unique , updated sites that have a little ads showing and those that are are so blended into the site that you even might mistake them for a link on the site. On the other hand there are those kind of sites that are filled with them. They do offer interesting things to read … but its quite hard to read since you have so scroll over adds everey 2-3 lines of content.
    In my humble opinion ,adds are good as long they do not keep you from reading, ’cause thats why you went to that site after all, right ?

  19. Thanks for survey sharing…I learn from my experience that people have pop up and pop under. however, this survey can give real live visitor opinion.

  20. 1000 visitors when ads should go up?

    You ought to be crazy – the clickthrough rate would be very less, and it wouldn’t justify the slow down of the blog, or your visitor’s annoyance.

  21. Great post (y) ads are ok to me when there is no pop-ups.

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