Because I'm always talking about how you can grow your income by serving your Fans, usually through products and services, I often have people ask me if ads have any place on a food blog.
My response is always an emphatic "Yes!".
In an ideal world, serving your Fans can bring in all the income you need. However, working with external companies on things like ads, affiliate links and sponsored posts are a great way to supplement your income.
My income percentages vary widely from year to year, but in 2018 almost 30% of my income came from ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. So I definitely think ads are a valuable part of a disversified blogging strategy.
To me, the greatest benefit in serving your Fans is that you don't have to RELY on ads, and you can focus on providing your Fans VALUE. The ads are simply a nice bonus that comes along with it.
It also helps you reduce trade-offs.
If you know that keeping readers happy, and turning them into Fans, will result in more sales (from a book / course / product / etc.) then you can see a direct monetary trade-off for each distracting ad or low-quality sponsored post. You can see how it affects your overall income.
That makes it much easier to draw a hard line in the sand - "I won't jeopardize my Fans' trust with this".
If ads, affiliate links, and sponsored posts are your only source of income, then it's much harder to draw that line because it affects your overall income so much.
So yes, feel free to use ads and affiliate links, but try to use them as a complement to providing products and services for your Fans. And try to implement them in a way that still provides value!
How do you approach using ads to make money? Let me know in the comments below.