Should You Run Ads on Your Freelance Writing Website?

by Kivi Leroux Miller on March 2, 2010

in Business of Freelancing,Marketing

My quick answer: No!

When I first put my websites for professional freelance writing services online, I ran Google AdSense ads on them. I’d say at least half of the websites for freelance writers that I’ve visited lately have AdSense on them.

But I took the ads off my sites within a few months and never regretted it. I think it’s a mistake to run AdSense or other contextual advertising on your site when you are trying to sell your own writing or freelancing services.

Here is what is says to me when I see ads on a freelance writer’s site, especially in “optimized” locations, like between the headline and the body text, or with the body text wrapping around the ad:

  • This writer is more interested in getting me to click on an ad so she can make $0.10 than she is in convincing me to hire her for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
  • This writer is desperate for revenue, which means she probably isn’t very good at what she does for a living.
  • This writer doesn’t understand online marketing.

I’m not against all advertising, especially when it appears off to the side, instead of in the main body of the site. It can also make sense when ads are presented as “recommended” or “endorsed” products and services (e.g., when you are an affiliate selling someone else’s products that you personally like). Advertising makes perfect sense when that income stream is the reason for the site in the first place and you are creating content to draw people to the site, hoping they will click on your ads.

But if you are trying to convince me to hire you as a professional writer, why distract me with ads for other people’s stuff, especially when it’s unrelated to what I’m looking for? Much of the advertising on writers’ sites is for writers, not for people who need to hire writers.

I hear many of you asking, “But what about a freelance writer’s blog? Writers use blogs to help with search engine optimization and to share with others. Why shouldn’t they earn some advertising revenue off that content that’s not directly tied to marketing the freelancer’s services?”

I think it goes back to your main purpose: Do you want me to hire you or do you want me to click on your ad? If you are writing a blog to position yourself as an expert, then you are using it to market your services. Be very careful about other advertising that distracts from that goal.

Decide what’s most important and then design your site and any advertising on it accordingly.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michael Collins September 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Ms. Miller, this is a great tip! I was thinking of writing practical articles just for the revenue I might make off advertising, but your insight has opened my mind. I never post on the internet anywhere but I wanted to say thank you!

2 Kenny Ross January 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This was great information. I’m very happy I came across your website. I was curious to know if ads should be put on a writing website and you definitely answered my question. I agree 100% with your reason why they should be left off of your website. I’m an aspiring freelance writer and that’s just what I want to market..writing services.

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