Advertising. Do’s and Don’ts (in my opinion, of course)

(please remember what is stated below are *my opinions*.  No names are mentioned, nor will they be.  please do not be rude in the comments.  if you don’t agree, feel free to say so politely, or I will delete the comment. thanks!)

A couple of weeks ago I was emailed rates for advertising.
They were seeking me out to advertise.  Which is fine.  I get a lot of those.
I see the rates and about faint.  This has happened only twice.  The almost fainting due to sky high ad rates.
And let’s face it.  I didn’t almost faint really.  But I did say “are they serious?” out loud.
This prompted a few comments on Twitter about advertising, and what is this world coming to, and pretty soon no small business is going to be able to afford advertising.  OK, so you may be thinking I am being a bit dramatic, but am I, really?

This has nothing to do with my post, but I had to share the picture!  
I love how Dana makes it look like it’s a magazine ad!

The first time I almost “fainted” over advertising, was because the price was so high that I literally shouted “What the …” H E double hockey sticks.  Yep.  I cuss like a sailor but not on here, m’kay?  This website/blog had just started offering advertising.  And their rate was $700 a MONTH!  Seven Hundred Dollars.  That did not include a giveaway which was an *additional* $300!!!  Now we’re talking $1000.  $1000 could get me an ad in a small magazine!  I politely declined.  (though I wanted to ask what they were thinking, I refrained).

I have a hard time justifying high ad prices.  I mean there are so many blogs out there that have a HUGE following, but have super reasonable rates.

Anyway.  The rant on Twitter prompted several people to ask me what I thought was reasonable.

So here it is.  I really can’t answer that question.  But for me, reasonable is not $1000 a month.  Reasonable is not even $200 a month when the blog is new at offering advertising.  Why do you need that much?  And I have heard it from blog owners before… if you value your blog you’ll charge what you think you’re worth.  Well, I’m sorry.  I don’t agree.  Charging someone $1000 a month is insane.  There, I said how I really feel.  I have felt so many times that blog owners are getting carried away.  They’re getting greedy.

Now, maybe I am just too thoughtful.  So what if I am?  I like helping others.  I like seeing other prosper and succeed.  And I feel by charging such high amounts for ads on our blogs is just holding people back.  Now, I realize this really is non of my concern.  I get that.  I know that.  But for me it’s still a concern.  As I try and seek out places to advertise, or people seek me out, well, I have to think about this, do I not?  And I’m sorry, but I do think about others too.  I can’t help it.

While I know some blog for money, and some blog for fun, and some blog for business, or whatever, I just don’t get why the prices go so high.  Now some of the prices I would pay.  For instance.  If The Pioneer Woman was offering advertising or Dooce or names like that.  Then yeah.  Paying $500 a month would be justified.  They have several hundred thousand followers.  And that $500 could help me get out there more.

But paying $100 a month for a blog that has 100 followers is just not my bag baby.  I have to think wisely with my money.  I need a return on my investment at least 80% of the time for my advertising dollars to make sense.  Now I am hoping that I am making sense.  Am I?

I have been thinking a lot lately about sidebar ads as well.  About how they have become the norm.  Everyone has sidebar ads.  I get to the point now where I don’t even look at the sidebar, because it no longer catches my eye.  This is one reason I no longer offer sidebar ads and only offer weekly blog post sponsorships.  Because now-a-days people are using Google Reader or some other form of easy blog reading.  Sidebar ads are not seen on those.  However.  If you are having a giveaway on a blog or are sponsoring a week of posts, or someone is reviewing a product of yours, then you’ll be seen every. single. time.

And can I ask something else?  Some people are taking on so many sponsors that their entire sidebar is FULL of ads.  How does this get anyone noticed?  They all blur together and it’s so overwhelming you end up dashing off the page because you’re so overstimulated!  What I have also noticed happening is those with too many ads on their blog can not do 1 giveaway at a time.  So group giveaways are starting.  Let me be frank.  Group giveaways are ridiculous.  It’s like the mass grouping off ads.  Your brain can’t think.  There is not enough time to go to everyone shop.  You get all shaky and panic because you JUST CAN NOT HANDLE IT.  Ok.  I am being so dramatic!  LOL!  My point is… group giveaways take away from the point of advertising.  You advertise to get noticed not to be herded into a mass group like cattle and be looked over.  As a business owner we want our own attention, yes?  We want to be noticed we want to show off our stuff and when we pay for advertising and giveaways we want the giveaway to be us and us alone, right?  (I sound like I am starting a revolution or something)

My main point of all of this is, at what point do we say “no more”?  At what point to the ad rates stop climbing so high and so out of reach?

What say you?


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27 Responses to Advertising. Do’s and Don’ts (in my opinion, of course)

  1. alicia says:

    I haven't entered the advertising world yet on either end, but that does seem really outrageous to me. Maybe if I was super successful and wanted to do it as a business? No, even then it seems stiff. Thanks for the info and for opening my eyes…

  2. Those rates are outrageous for that small of a following! Crazy! I agree with you on the fact that if the site is having hundreds of thousands of readers it's worth it. I blog for fun and because I'm passionate about it. But I also want to help get the word out about some of those super talented moms out there and their lovely businesses. I want them to be able to advertise their goods. My rates are probably way too low, but I also understand that a lot of new businesses don't have much of an advertising budget and I want them to be able to be successful. I also offer to barter/trade services as well. It's fun and rewarding for both me and the business involved. And it helps take the load off their ad budget.As for overly busy sidebars, that's a tough one. I try to limit my sponsors and am very choosy as to who is advertised on the site. I only pick businesses that I myself believe in and enjoy. After all, how are my readers supposed to be interested in them if I'm not? I want to be able to talk about my sponsors and enjoy them, not ignore them.I think once you get it in it strictly for money, you've lost the reason why most bloggers start in the first place.

  3. Jessica says:

    Um, wow, I can't even imagine paying that much to advertise on a site. . . unless, like you say, it was someone with a huge following and huge name cache. It makes no sense – for every 100 followers a blog has you have to assume only a small portion will click on the advertisers button, and an even smaller amount will purchase. The return for the money just isn't there. The "I should charge what I think my blog is worth" comment is a double-edged sword . . . my husband is self-employed, and while you don't want to habitually undercharge, if we charged every client what he is WORTH, he would have a very small portfolio and only a few projects a year. . . so, yeah, maybe you (using the general "you" here) think you're blog is worth a lot – but much like Star Wars collectables and Beanie Babies – it is only worth what someone will pay.I don't even advert on blogs, but those rates apparently pushed my buttons as well!

  4. Ashley says:

    I've actually gotten to the point where I've taken most of the ads off my blog as they aren't really of much value to my readers. I only kept my Google ads, Swagbucks, and YouData, because they work for me. I'm all for offering ad space (at a VERY reasonable rate), but I want an ad to get attention if it's on my blog, not be jumbled among a bunch of others!

  5. LenzLove says:

    It is insane. And I think I've had that same OMG face when I saw rates. I think that's why I love my Photography Blog. It's all about the Love. My deal & cupcake blogs are loves too but they are driven with a touch of sales{not much..LOL}. Truthfully, if something is going to take time away from my family I need to be rewarded. That's how I feel {can you see me smiling}. However, I know if it were ever a point that It felt like money was the only thing driving my blogs…there's NO WAY I could continue. So not worth it. It's all in fun, that's my firm belief. I so wish we had a chance to connect more in Arizona. Are you going to TypeAMom? Good Post Shey!!

  6. Hannah says:

    I agree 100% and I especially agree with luvinthemommyhood's comment. I am very new to blogging and have just started my online store a few months ago. I don't feel like I have enough readers/followers to be able to charge for advertising on my site at all. And I certainly don't have the money to pay those ridiculous rates. I appreciate your honest feedback on what rates should be because newbies like me could be seriously ripped off and never know the difference!

  7. I completely agree with you, Shey. $1000 a month? That's crazy! I have had a few companies ask about giveaways, and if it's not something that amazes me (or my kids), it's just not worth my time. I don't offer paid ads on my blog. If I like a product, I'll offer to stick an ad on my sidebar for a short time. I know a lot of people have strong feelings about that, as well, but… it's my blog 🙂

  8. Becca says:

    I am not the crafty type, but even I know those rates are so far beyond me. I think that you are very well said and I agree with you. I will buy from those that I am impressed with, not by the flashy advertising. It isn't always the first impression that gets me, it is the content of the businessperson that shines for me! And you, Shey, are a GEM!

  9. Amen to everything! I have never heard of such INSANE pricing. wow. I agree, very greedy. Thanks for taking the time to write the post.Linda

  10. I completely agree with you about it all! 1000 a month? That person must be smoking crack. haha crazy! and I agree about the group giveaways and all the advertising on the sidebar. I rarely click any of them honestly. Unless something really pops out. But most of the time I (like you said) get overwhelmed with all of it. Great post!

  11. Jaimie says:

    Agree 100,000%!

  12. mabblab says:

    I totally agree with you! I think that bloggers need to charge a fair price based on their regular readership and the perks they offer. But, $1000 a month? There's no way a blog can have enough of a return on that investment!!! Especially a new one!!! (By the way, I don't do blog sponsorships or ads since my blog is mostly personal, but if someone out there is willing to pay $1000 a month, I'll devote the whole dadgum thing to their business. For that price, I can be bought!)Thanks again for your blunt and true and fair assessment of things. -mab

  13. I absolutely, one million percent agree with you. I am a new business owner…brick and mortar, plus have a website. I have looked at some of these "high traffic" blogs to advertise and like you thought OMG!!!! First of all, I couldn't afford it…hello, I'm a NEW business owner. It really stinks. It is so hard getting your name out there without putting yourself out of business by spending all your money to advertise. It is a big catch 22. I don't know what to do at this point. I am not on the beaten path…so unless you know I am here…Can't afford major retail space right now, so I don't know…just toughing it out! But again, I can so relate to your comments. Thanks for sharing them.

  14. I couldn't agree with you more!As I am a 'Google Reader' user, I think the weekly 'sponsorships' are the way to go. I've made purchases from 5 (yes, only 5!) people, you being one, that I came across featured in someone's blog. And you know what my favorite thing about the weekly sponsor is? It's not the giveaway (because we can't all win) it's when they offer a simple free shipping or 10% off. Just makes my day! You just keep on keeping on! Because when it comes to all this advertising business, you seem to have hit the nail on the head!

  15. OK, here is my opinion on the CONSUMER side. I am a HUGE believer in buying handmade (my credit card can attest to that!). Where do I find these creative people that make amazing things? Not through any ads on sidebars at all but through someone who thought enough of this person's product to actually write a post about how amazing these people are. Maybe they are getting paid to do that but I feel that they met somehow through blogs and wanted to give their new-found friend a shout-out. Sure, giveaways are great and I've found many a thing I can't live without when visiting an etsy shop that was new to me AND offering a discount or a giveaway. The blogs with too many ads, especially the flashing ones that drive me nuts and have nothing to do with an individual person but a product you can buy anywhere, are blogs I don't stay at for very long. I find that blogrolls, the ones with pictures and post titles, attract me way more than any ad. And those blogs with thousands of followers? Sorry, most of us just don't have the time or inclination to click on each and every ad. It is just too easy to google for what we want.So, how much is too much to pay for an ad? Don't know. Find someone who loves your work and ask them to write a post. I'll read it! A personal recommendation from someone I admire will cause me to come to you. And really, isn't that why we become followers?You have a great blog shey b and you'll be successful, with or without advertising, because you are honest and very, very talented! And as soon as I get my new camera, it will have a shey b strap!

  16. Meg says:

    amen! i fully agree with you! many ad prices are out of control & i think it is nearly impossible to get a good return on them. when i'm able to start offering ad space on my blog, i want to make sure that each sponsor gets adequate exposure. thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  17. Rachel says:

    Great post. I love your candid writing.It's such a tricky balance, isn't it? I've recently started to get offers for give-aways, and advertising, and etc… and I just don't know. I don't know what to do. It's tempting, and yet, I am not sure if it follows the feel of my blog. So, at this point, I'm just praying for wisdom. In fact, reading your post helped me think even more about this.Blessings to you!Rachel

  18. Myrnie says:

    Hmm. OK, I think people have the right to charge whatever they want, to advertise in their space. And you have the right to never give them your business. That's just the way a capital society works, the same as your camera straps. They'll either find people who value the space THAT highly and will pay the price, or they'll have to lower the price to where the market will accept it. If I'm only willing to teach piano for $200/lesson, I might find a student, I might not. But if that's the price I need to make it worth my time, then so be it. I agree with the sidebar ads. In fact, I made myself a rule that I never click on online ads, on blogs or anywhere else, for fear of spyware. Maybe if I see an ad in enough places I'll type in the address or google it, to see what they sell.But I have a question for you: I entered in a "mass giveaway" a few months ago (a new giveaway every hour, for 24 hours) and was shocked when I started receiving newsletters and coupon codes from the vendors. In every case, the mailing was from a 3rd party marketing service that had harvested my e-mail from the comments in the giveaway. Was I right to be appalled? The host blog had no idea that would happen and was pretty shocked when I told her.

  19. Sonya says:

    That's crazy!!!! Even if you considered it it would have to drive costs of your products up!

  20. it was very interesting reading this post, thank you 🙂

  21. All I gotta say is WOW! I just relaunched my blog and is doing my first giveaway. I haven't even thought of charging for advertising. And even if I did, I'm so shocked about those rates. The only thing I'm working on is just getting followers & maybe 2 giveaways a month.But I totally agree with you.

  22. Studio JRU says:

    I am currently trying to figure out this whole advertising thing from a business standpoint. I get emails seeking me out to advertise and I have been 'shopping' around. It is all confusing to me. The costs vary so much. I am trying to decide if I would be better off spreading out my advertising dollar on a few blogs with lower costs… or only 1 or 2 blogs with higher costs? Then I worry about getting lost in the sea of other shops. So many things to think about when trying to spend my money the best way possible! :)Thank you so much for this post and your opinions. Some great food for thought! :)~Jennifer

  23. Aunt LoLo says:

    Oh my goodness….$1K a MONTH to advertise?! That's pretty crazy!! I thought of you today…mostly because I saw one of your camera straps, live and in person, at a wedding luncheon. 😀 Now THAT is the best advertising there is!

  24. heididh33 says:

    I'll advertise for you on my little ol blog for a free camera strap. 🙂 I'll give you some sidebar space and write you a post! 🙂

  25. $1000? Wow, just wow. I have followed you for a long time now and entered many of giveaways. Honestly I think your reputation is all you need. People will want to talk about you if you are offering great stuff and you do! I have rarely seen a camera strap of yours that I didn't love. What is this person's blog offering that is worth $1000? Wow.

  26. Chacoy says:

    I agree with you, if it was a "big name" blog it would be worth it. I haven't gotten into the "ad" business, but have offered friends of mine the opprotunity to put their site's button up because they were brand spanken new! and I hate when I go to a blog and can't concentrate on the content because of their "ad" business!Use your own discretion when doing ads-just like you have been!

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