Webmasters are so quick to throw advertising onto a site without thinking about the psychological impact the advertising will have on end users, and those interested in linking with you.
We went through this last year and found that the $ we were earning from the advertising on a new site was minimal. We had plenty of unique content on the site, more than our competition. As soon as we removed the advertising we saw an influx in sites wanting to link with us.
Combine that knowledge with the fact that the big search engines are paying less and less for ad clicks. You have to weight the potential negative impact with the revenue you are receiving. People simply don't click ads like they used to.
So if you link to an ad free site this week and then find ads on the site next week, would you feel deceived? Would you take your link to the site down?
You shouldn't, because that's the kind of situation you are promoting.
If you intend to put the ads on the site after you get enough links, then isn't it dishonest, or at least seriously deceptive to remove ads or delay placing them on a site just to help getting links.
If you are planning to put ads on a site eventually, do it from the start.
That way your prospective link partners will know what kind of a site they are linking to.
I don't publish ads, and I can categorically say that I completely understand the BUSINESS DECISION to build the service side, then monetise.
I might feel a little peeved, but certainly not anything akin to betrayed or misled. If the value is still there, then thats fine.
|I might feel a little peeved, but certainly not anything akin to betrayed or misled. If the value is still there, then thats fine. |
So are you saying that you would not link to a site that had ads....
....even if "the value was there"?
|So are you saying that you would not link to a site that had ads.... ....even if "the value was there"? |
In my experience ads cause Content Blindness. No matter how good the content is, the ads will pop to the fore on an unestablished site.
|In my experience ads cause Content Blindness. No matter how good the content is, the ads will pop to the fore on an unestablished site. |
You're mixing the message here.
Content blindness would be a regular user issue, not related to getting links from other "webmasters".
If a "webmaster" can't see past the ads on a page to see the value of the content and the value of linking to the the content, do you really want or need a link from them? I wouldn't.
If ads are going to over power the content, they will do it no matter how established the site is.
|Shouldn't you focus on building traffic first then monetizing the site after it's acquired? |
So very true.
|So are you saying that you would not link to a site that had ads.... even if "the value was there"? |
Absolutely there are times I won't link to a new site with ads, particularly a blog. I want to see their commitment to the blog before I throw a link to it, no matter how good their content is.
Around four years ago someone requested a link to their new blog. The blogger had an advanced degree in the field related to his blog's niche. I declined to link to his blog and he got pissy about it, that's how I remember this guy. So a year later I check back and he's still going at it, only now he has an extensive blog roll and other links totalling over five thousand links. If he hadn't been a crybaby about the link I would have thrown him a prominent link at that point because he was adding great original content on a daily basis. I'm glad I didn't though because he burned out after the second year and two years later he still hasn't posted additional content.
This has nothing to do with sliding under a policy of not linking to sites with commercial content. I don't understand why you keep arguing that point because it's not a point I'm making or defending.
My point is about putting the focus on the content so the site is fairly evaluated. Putting content out there on a new site that is ad free encourages the link, from me and others. Putting content out there with ads sends a negative message to webmasters like me who are checking the age of a site as part of judging whether this site is spam or not.
Evaluating a link to a site that is brand new and has ads on it makes me look at it harder. How aggressive are they with the advertising and how dedicated are they to the content? An established site with blogads on it is ok with me. A site with a domain regged two weeks ago with blogads already on it sends the wrong message to me. I am more likely to throw a link to a new site with good content that is ad free.
|Evaluating a link to a site that is brand new and has ads on it makes me look at it harder. How aggressive are they with the advertising and how dedicated are they to the content? |
It'd be pretty hard to do that if the ads weren't there, which is one good reason why they should be.
|My point is about putting the focus on the content so the site is fairly evaluated. |
Fine. On that point my position is that if the content is so weak that a few ads overpower it, the site may not be ready to go live anyhow, and it sure isn't ready to be out looking for links from credible sites.
|This has nothing to do with sliding under a policy of not linking to sites with commercial content. I don't understand why you keep arguing that point because it's not a point I'm making or defending. |
I'll stand by this ...
|If you plan to put ads on a site but don't because you want other webmasters to think it's an ad free site, that's deceptive. |
Apparently we agree on that, to some degree.
|I understand and agree with your point. However I'm making a different point. |
I see it as the two inseparable sides of the same coin.
We may have to just agree to disagree on this.
I genuinely think it is madness to try and monetise a brand new (inforational) site. Your priority should be traffic. You get the traffic, then you monetise.
This is especially true if you are putting live a site that is (for lack of a less confusing word) 'organic'. That is, it will grow in response to the preferences of the user base. Such a site would be unlikely to be able to support advertising initially due to 'thinness', but would be ripe for monetisation at a later date.
And to remake the same point as MB- its important busy webmasters look at your CONTENT to evaluate it for link-worthyness. On a smallish, newish site, ads are likely to just make them leave without looking.
|it is madness to try and monetise |
It isn't about trying to monetise a site.
It's about being honest and saying "I'm building an ad supported site, please link to it if you find the content worthwhile".
If they can't see, or won't look beyond the ads, the link isn't worth getting.
|Evaluating a link to a site that is brand new and has ads on it makes me look at it harder. How aggressive are they with the advertising and how dedicated are they to the content? An established site with blogads on it is ok with me. A site with a domain regged two weeks ago with blogads already on it sends the wrong message to me. |
That's exactly my point (but better stated). An established site is likely to be cut more slack, in terms of advertising, than a new site that has no track record or reputation. If I'm a Webmaster, editor, or librarian and the first thing I see on a new site is three AdSense ad units, I'm likely to think "Aha! Another 'AdSense site'!" before I've even had a chance to evaluate the content on the site. Why? Because there are so many crappy made-for-AdSense sites around--and given the incredible dreck-to-gold ratio on the Web, the odds are far better than even that a brand-new site with prominent AdSense ads isn't worth my time or a link. Unfair? Maybe, but plenty of things in life are unfair. (Try applying for a bank teller's job while wearing a death metal band's t-shirt instead of a suit and die.)
[edited by: tedster at 10:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 7, 2009]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]
I don't think sites like Facebook, YouTube and Google were dishonest for not monetizing their sites when they were new. Or that Twitter is deceiving their users by not monetizing at this moment, but planning on how they might.
There's a time to plant and a time to harvest. There's a time to build a site and a time to execute a monetization strategy, or even rethink it. Growing a site first in order to monetize it later is a common strategy for success. Webmasters building a new site should step back and consider this. Placing advertising on a site from the beginning may get in the way during the period when the webmaster should most be focusing on growth.
In my experience, a new site that is advertising-free is going to be viewed more favorably. Webmasters, including myself, are more likely to link to a new site that isn't monetizing itself right out of the gate. As someone else noted, established sites can get away with advertising.
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:38 pm (utc) on Jan. 7, 2009]
I tend to drop at least a line of adsense adlinks on a new site right from the first day.
I have two reasons for this:
Firstly (and most importantly, to me) it means I can track it in my Adsense reporting, which I look at least daily, with a standard report breaking down by domain (channel). This lets me keep my finger on the pulse of the site's growth without effort.
Secondly, it means I have always had some form of advertising on it, so I can't get whining later of 'you've gone all commercial man!' ;) because there has always been some sort of advertising on it.
I'm with leadegroot on this but then I would never let advertising dominate the content.
In the other direction an ad unit or two at the bottom of the page isn't an issue for me. A page which is predominantly advertising would be unlikely to get a link as I wouldn't see any value for my readers.
|I'm with leadegroot on this but then I would never let advertising dominate the content. |
Then forget ever running a successful print media company because without that dominating advertising any newspaper or magazine would quickly dry up and die a horrible death.
I also don't agree with the OP, if the content is compelling, unique and a good resource you'll get the links regardless of the ads.
Why leave the ads off until later?
You're just leaving money on the table you'll never recoup, lost, gone forever.
Besides, starting with no ads and switching to ads later isn't deceptive unless you've made some sort of agreement with your link exchange partners that you're running an "ad free" site or something.
|I receive many requests to link to new sites. Number one reason I'll decline is advertising. It's poison. Advertising sends the message that the reason this person wants my link is so they can make a buck off my traffic. Why should I link to that? |
I don't know if you represent the majority of webmasters, but the point is well taken. I know I hesitate on this issue when seeking links. Sometimes I'll leave the ads; sometimes I won't.
The thing with established sites is a bit trickier. I have one homepage that will make on average about $50/day. Do I take the ads off in the hope of getting more links? How many days will it take for the other webmaster to look at the site and respond?
I'm more motivated obviously to seek deep links to pages where there are no ads. If and when those pages get links and boosted high in SERPs, one day they may get ads, too.
Another issue to keep in mind is bounce rate and just the presence of AdSense ads. Just like you could reject a site seeking a link because of its ads, some users (including me) hit the back button on some sites with AdSense. Supposedly Google now considers bounce rate for ranking. I would venture to guess Google might also consider penalizing new sites with AdSense from Day One thinking they might well be "AdSense Sites."
|Advertising on a new site is self-defeating. Shouldn't you be highlighting the quality of the content to show why your site is linkworthy? |
The one exception to that general rule is when your site attracts search visitors almost exclusively and you have no intention of promoting it in social media circles or by paid advertising. In this scenario the ads, if well targeted, may actually help a visitor find what they want faster.
Ok, but how do you intend to rank if you can't attract backlinks?