Is it time to run ads?

No, I’m not “selling out” to “the man.” (Actually, I suppose that since I have a good job and live in the suburbs with my family of four, I’ve probably already sold out to the man. But, that’s a question for another post.) But, I do have a good reason for thinking that it might be worth running ads on the blog. More on that in a second.

You’ve all seen what it looks like – the sidebar with several small ads. (I wouldn’t go with the three-column visual monstrosity you see on some sites.) And, the ads would all be related (hopefully) to Christian life and ministry. So, I’m not thinking about using some generic ad service that would push ads that have nothing to do with what the blog is all about.

Now, I realize that these ads don’t bring in very much money. So, you might be wondering, “If we’re not talking about very much money, and if the ads take up space on the blog, why bother?” Good question. (Of course it is or you wouldn’t be wondering about it.)

Th.M. scholarships.

It wouldn’t take much advertising revenue every month to subsidize a small scholarship for the Th.M. program. We have a few Th.M. scholarships and I’ll be posting an announcement soon about a very generous scholarship for Th.M. students headed toward teaching. What I would love to have is even a small Th.M. scholarship dedicated toward students focusing in pastoral theology and preparing for local church ministry. (A big scholarship would be better, but I’m willing to take baby steps.)

So, here are my questions for today. Would it bother you if we included ads on the blog? Or, if any of you have some experience with this, Is running ads on a blog worth it? I don’t really know the logistics of blogvertising (I don’t know if that’s a word, but I like it). So, I’ll take any input I can get.

[This is part of a series reflecting on the future of the blog. Earlier questions were Is It Time for a New Name? and Is It Time for a New Look?]

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on February 1, 2011, in Misc, Th.M. Program and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. A little blogvertising wouldn’t bother me, especially it it’s for a good cause.

  2. I am with Paul, though I’d sure be game for the Pastoral Theology scholarship! (though I have interest in teaching too). 😉

  3. Ads are a part of the internet. The only time ads bother me is when they really lag a website or cause pop ups, etc. that prevent access to content. The normal sidebar ads are a non-issue in my opinion.

    The Huffington Post would be an example of a blog/site that has too much advertising for it’s own good. I don’t bother to visit it anymore because the display is so chaotic and all of the information that loads up on each page causes my browser to lag.

    I think the hassle is only worth it if you have regular content and a large readership that makes it worthwhile. I haven’t used ads, just Amazon Associates, and I’ve quit doing that. I guess there is no harm in trying it out, an extra scholarship would be nice. 8)

  4. @Nathan – good thoughts. I’d definitely want to make sure that they weren’t intrusive. So, no pop-ups, nothing flashing, and nothing in the body of the post either (I hate that).

    Interesting that you didn’t find Amazon associates all that helpful. I’ve heard from some others that it’s worked out for them, so it probably varies from one blog to another.

  5. Well I didn’t promote it or care whether I earned any money or not. I’m more interested in supplying information, and my blog is free so there is no real incentive to push it. If I had earned any money I would have spent it on books, but I already have enough books to read for the next ten years…

    I think if I made it a priority to blog everyday and make it very easy to link through to various places and ads then I could eventually have a stable model for revenue. It’s just something I have no interest in at all, and I’d rather spend my time on photography or reading than on generating revenue.

    Raising money for a cause is a different story, but I do that at work usually, so I don’t tend to do that in my free time.

  6. Bring on the ads if it means lowering the cost of the ThM. I like your idea about a scholarship for those wanting to get a ThM and go into pastoral ministry…mainly because that’s me 🙂

  7. I’d recommend a “donate” button from Paypal. The web can be a surprisingly generous place. One little button with a corresponding post or two (or scholarship page/tab) may generate more funds than a cornucopia of ads.

  8. I’m sure I’m not your blog’s target audience but here’s my opinion: I don’t like ads on blogs though I tolerate them better on big commericial blogs/websites. Even if the ad revenue goes for a good cause, I like a little peace when I look at blogs, especially non-frivolous ones–that’s a compliment. I’ve unsubscribed from blogs with ads because it wasn’t worth it to me to push away the ‘noise’.

    Of course this blog is not completely frivolity-free so maybe you could put ads in the flotsam and jetsam posts?

    Another way to raise money is to have a bake sale or sell candy bars. [That is slightly tongue-in-cheek but blog ads have the same feel to me as a kid selling me something.]

    Can I put an ad in the comments? [No, I don’t have anything to sell, but would readers mind if I did? If so, is it any different than an ad on a blog?]

    On the blog name…it was content, not the name, that drew me here [and I still have no idea what the name means]. So whatever you do, don’t stop–your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey, thanks for the input. I especially appreciate the encouragement. And, your thoughts on the ads are helpful. From some of the feedback that I’ve gotten from others, you’re definitely not alone on this perspective. So, I’m going to think about this quite a bit more before I do anything.

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