After reading a well written post over on Cycling Tips about the disclosure of advertisements on his blog I thought my readers deserved the same courtesy.
I didn’t create Biking To Live for the purpose of making money. I am trying to learn the world of Internet Marketing but do that with blogs/sites separate from this one. I have added advertisements here though on the off-chance I might be able to cover hosting expenses and/or cycling expenses. I honestly find it difficult to have advertisements here because I consider this blog somewhat of a personal blog for me. Because it’s a personal blog, I’ve developed some good relationships with many of my readers and would never want them to feel like I’m trying to take their money. On the other hand I get a lot of search engine traffic that brings new readers that never leave a comment. Those folks are mainly who the advertisements are for. If one of my regular readers feels compelled, or wants, to click on an advertisement then by all means do so. Just don’t think that I expect it.
What kind of advertisements do I have?
The four advertisements you see over on the right side (Bike Tires Direct, Jenson, Western Bike Works, and Triathlete Sports) are affiliate links to different stores. If a visitor clicks on one of those ads and buys something then I earn a percentage of that sale as a commission. Typically in the neighborhood of 5-8% of the total sale. Just clicking on the ad doesn’t earn me anything. Those four ads also have the ability to earn me commissions for a period of 30-45 days after a visitor clicks on it. The Jelly Belly banner between the posts and comments and the large Western Bike Works ad under the Top Commentors section further down the page work the same way.
The FRS Energy Drink ad under my friends list further down earns me nothing unless a visitor clicks on it and signs up for the free trial.
You’ll probably see this ad go away very soon. It’s gone.
The Genuine Innovations banner at the top right of the page earns me nothing. Because I like and use their products I offered that ad spot to Genuine Innovations for free and they took me up on the offer. They made a special banner just for my site and sent me a Carbon Road Mini which I reviewed for them.
On old posts you’ll see some Google Adsense ads that I was experimenting with. I’ll make money if a visitor clicks on those ads but it’s not much. Typically less than 50 cents. Usually much lower. I’ve stopped using Google Adsense a while ago and you probably won’t see it unless you’re in the archives.
Sometimes I insert links to Amazon.com to products within my posts. Those don’t earn me anything unless a visitor clicks on the link and buys something at Amazon. Again, typically in the 5% range of the total sale.
You’ll see the odd product review every once in a while. Like the one I did on Heft on Wheels or the Mini Carbon. I’ve done product reviews before for another website (not cycling related) and I don’t do them unless I’ve actually used the product. I don’t think that would be fair to my readers. Links from those product reviews are most likely affiliate links like the banners to the right.
Truth be told, I should probably take them all down because in the year I’ve had my blog I’ve made less than $10 from them. I have a few theories as to why:
1. Cyclists are hard folks to sell to. If you’re like me it’s just too convenient to drive down to the local bike shop and pick up what you need. Nothing wrong with that because you are supporting the local shop. You’ll venture to an online store if you need something hard to find or if there’s sale and you’ll just go directly to the site you need.
2. The cycling niche is very hard to break into to make money. It’s saturated with blogs, sites, and big name stores and is hard for the little guy to find his own corner. It could be that I’m just not savvy enough to find an angle. I have my eye on a couple of areas just to see if I could make a go at it but it’s not something I would do on this blog.
3. The advertisers I have aren’t well known and probably aren’t places that most cyclists shop online. I get that but there’s not much I can do. I’ve tried for over a year now to open accounts with Performance Bike, Nashbar and REI with no success. I was declined by each of them when I applied a year ago (probably because my blog was too new) but they’ve ignored every email I’ve sent them since requesting to re-apply. With that kind of feedback, or lack of feedback, I wonder if I even want them on my blog.
4. Times are tough right now. The economy is basically sucking the life out of everybody and people are stingy with their money. I know I am. You don’t think I’m riding a 15 year old bike because I want to do you (I’m actually riding it because, frankly, I don’t deserve a new bike until I’ve lost a significant amount of weight)? I’d love to pick up a new bike, or even a heart rate monitor to train with on my current bike, but we’re all trying to make do with what we have.
So, there you have it. Now that I’ve written this I’ve almost talked myself into pulling down all the ads…lol! Seriously, they aren’t doing me any good right now and probably just distract my readers. I’m not getting clicks on any of them which tells me folks don’t visit my blog to see advertisements (which most people don’t do anyway right?). They must come because of my sharp wit and charming personality.