A casual scan down the right columns of this web site will show that I have been quite busy adding links and signing up for affiliate programs. This was not an overnight decision. While I plan to continue adding helpful links, I have also given a lot of thought to the “monetizing” of this blog.
My basic philosophy follows some of the following points:
- Provide as much free assistance as possible.
- Keep the content fresh and helpful for writers, non-profits, and whoever else ends up on this page.
- The page will pay for itself
While I made sure there was a good bit of content to begin with in the first two months or so, I have now begun building up the sidebars. The addition of ads to the page was something I agonized over. I didn’t want to junk up a nice site with flashy, trashy, and unsightly ads. I didn’t want people to feel like they had to buy something in order to use this site. I also didn’t want the content to lose significance with the integration of ads.
So my first thought was that I would never do anything that I wouldn’t want to see on someone else’s site. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I did not want scantily clad women on the ads like those in hotmail, nor did I want cheesy photos of random people in the ads. I did not want bright flashing colors, nor did I want to have obnoxious banners and random ads that meant nothing to most readers like the classmates ad or vonage. I also wanted to make sure that the ads related to the content on the page and my overall vision for the site.
Such a path of thinking led me first to Google ads. The content is specific to the site and does not have to throw graphics in your face. The links often relate to the content well and if they are not helpful, as they often are, they at least can be amusing.
My other thought was to include ads for products that I know users will find helpful. For example, many web sites and the vast majority of blogs are associates with Amazon. If you purchase a book on an associate’s site, they receive roughly 5% commission on the sale. As an associate of Amazon, I have chosen to only list books that are useful to those using this site, instead of attempting to drive up sales by only listing best-sellers.
The same is true for the web hosting companies listed. These sites have either come with recommendations from reliable sources, such as Blue Host, or offer easy compatibility with the open source blogging program know as wordpress (the program used to build this site). Even if you can find a cheaper web hosting program, the sites listed are worth a look because they are compatible for wordpress. I give my word that I put up the ads that were least visually offensive.
I also have put web hosting and other online services on this site because Vermont has notoriously lagged behind in the technology sector. I hope to help non-profits flourish in a world that is rapidly moving online, even if Vermont as a whole is a bit behind the pack.
As I expand the site I may ad some advertisements, but they will continue to be sites of interest to my readers. If you have any comments on the ads on this site or have questions about putting ads on your own site, feel free to comment below.