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Advertising or not advertising?

It depends on how you do it...

You've got a website. Good for you. There is a good case to be made for online advertising. And there is an equally compelling case to be made against.

Whether or not you should include advertisement to your website is out of the scope of this little entry. Instead we'll assume you've decided to put some ads online but you still wonder how to do it.

Some pretty decent advises can be gathered in Adam McLane's blog: http://www.mclanecreative.com/why-blurring-the-lines-kills-your-brand/

Let me summarize it for you. To put things in a binary form, there are two options.

  1. Should you clearly put your ads blurred in the middle of your content, right where the user won't be able to discern them from your real content?
  2. Should you clearly visually identify a space where your ads are?
Well. There's no "best one". Those two approach lead to different results.
  1. The first approach will generate a lot more revenue than the second one. But it will scare your users away because your pages will be a random blend of various sources making the experience confusing. In the end, you will have to bet on people not returning to your site. You might as well have no content, but a good strategy to lead eyeballs to your site.
  2. The second approach will generate less revenue. But it will make the user experience a whole lot better because your content will be clearly available to your readers. If by any chance you generate interesting, focused and regular content, you will make your brand better day over day.

So, which is it? Well, it you don't care about your image, readership and brand, go the first route. Believe me, this is not a rhetorical advice as many sites rely on this very model. You can find them searching on Google. These are the pages filled with ads and nothing more than sparse sentences in between those ads.

But if you care you should definitely go the second route. That's the one I prefer, because I build websites to convey content, not to rip visitors or advertisers off.