What's the right approach for blog monetization?

Lately I’ve been experimenting with this blog a little bit to learn more about how AdSense works, so you’ve no doubt noticed the ads. I personally dislike ads, but they do have the potential to be a money-maker under the right circumstances. The nice thing about them is that the money doesn’t come from the pocket of the viewer, it comes from the people who advertise. For this blog, however, I don’t think they’re a good fit. Here are a few reasons why:

The content of this blog doesn’t lend itself to pulling quality ads. I’ve been seeing ads for “Fix Flash Player Errors” – I sincerely hope no one clicked on that thing. It takes you to a registry scanner of some sort, and strikes me as being a bit nefarious. Also, the ads are only pulling in (at most) a few cents per click. For over 2700 visits, I made a whopping total of 73 cents.

The people who view this blog are not given to clicking on ads. Clearly, whatever my blog is advertising, you’re not interested in. For over 2700 visits, my ads were clicked around 10 times.

In terms of a money-making proposition, I think it’s safe to say ads are not a good fit. I have removed most of the ads on the site. I still want to watch how Google AdSense analyzes my content though, so I’m leaving one small ad in the footer. Instead of the ads, I’m going to try a donation model. I’m going with 3 donation levels: $1.23, $5.33, and $10.63. I started with $1, $5, and $10, and then added a few cents to offset Google Checkout fees. These donations will help me write more useful content, and will allow me to devote more time to finishing up some of those lingering projects that people have expressed interest in.

I really want your feedback on this. Do you think the donations are appropriate? Is the Buy button unobtrusive enough? Are the amounts right? I’m looking forward to your input.

2 Responses to “What's the right approach for blog monetization?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    When I viewd this, one of the ads was:

    You Suck
    because your poor. Find out how to be rich like me.

    Did not click.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is the one I got:

    Earn Money Blog
    Have a blog? Earn revenue from relevant ads – Try Google AdSense

    Sorry, Tom. Your content is really useful and I’ve toyed with the idea of setting a money making blog myself. If you need to make money, this is certainly not a direct way to do it. It will help you get more gigs, though, as people know you better and see what you produce. I would classify this as being a “prestige in the community” kind of reward. Best of luck bringing home the bacon.