Pro and Con of Blog Advertising

The pro:

Advertising on blogs has become more accepted as a way to make legitimate cash. There are bloggers who support themselves solely with advertisements. Of course, not in the sense of placing advertisements all over the blog, hiding the actual content. There are some widely successful sites that run unobstrusive advertisements and use them as a primary source of income.

Once you have established your blog and can convince potential advertisers, via site statistics and consistent content, that they should invest some advertisements on your blog on a regular basis, you can sit back and have money rolling in. You can make a tidy sum if you place your ads wisely and generate steady traffic.

The con:

When you accept ads on your site, you should have a sense of responsibility to your advertisers. Some bloggers have legitimate concerns about making sure their voices are not compromised by the requirements of certain advertisers. In this highly litigious society, advertisers are much more careful about who they align themselves with.

Not all advertisers are that picky, but if you are hoping to make money with your blog, keep your target audience and target advertisers in mind when you post entries.

The best way to keep your blog free of influence and truly your own point of view is to call the shots whenever possible. This may or may not be lucrative, depending on the circumstances, but it is your blog and ultimately your choice on what kind of content it holds and what advertisers you choose to partner with.

Free Site Traffic-Monitoring Tools

There are lots of traffic-monitoring services available. Here are two of the popular ones among the blogging masses.

Site Meter
Site Meter offers a free stats counter to place on your website or blog that is quick to set up and provides real-time reports on your site's activity. Signing up is easy, and as a free service, the service asks that you honor a few simple guidelines.

After a few short questions, Site Meter provides you with a snippet of code you must paste into a visible area of your site. Somewhere near the bottom of the page is usually sufficient enough. The free service puts a small logo icon on your site, but you can opt to pay for the advanced service and be icon free and benefit from the extra perks, such as more advanced visitor information, search engine ranking statistics, and information on up to 4,000 visitors. You can even download all your stats as a .csv or a Microsoft Excel-compatible file for creating reports. For most, the free version is sufficient, but if you plan to use your blog for revenue, you may want to more closely analyze your site traffic.

StatCounter's free service provides similar information as Site Meter but has the added bonus of letting you choose an invisible tracker. You still need to install the code snippet, but it will be invisible, so no weird icon button messes up your fancy design. Another added bonus is that the code StatCounter provides can be valid current code.

Like Site Meter, StatCounter provides handy, step-by-step instructions for almost any blog or website setup. StatCounter provides the neat little code snippet ready to copy and paste.

Site Statistics

Various tools are available to track site traffic, some free, some not, that you can take advantage of. Finding out who reads your site and with what browsers, and what kind of activity specific areas of your blog are seeing, can aid you in enhancing your site further and help you make improvements to areas you think deserve more attention.

Stat counters usually summarize your traffic in a graph format. For example, StatCounter gives you a nice little bar graph to help you monitor general spikes in traffic. But you will want to drill a little further to see what is really going on.

Unique visitors
This is the most important statistic for those who are using blogging for business or revenue-generating sites. This is the total number of people who have come to your website, and you can usually view it by day, week, month, and year. This number includes every person who come to your site, including returning visitors and new visitors. You often need to know this number when selling advertising or obtaining sponsors. Companies buying ad space on a site usually will want to know what you average in unique hits or visitors oer week or month.

Referrers and keywords
In most cases, traffic-monitoring tools tell you where your traffic is coming from. Knowing where your readers are coming from or finding a link to your site can be helpful in terms of tracking your promotion progress. It also gives you a clue of how people are finding your site through search engine.

Entry and exit pages
This feature shows you from what page visitors are entering your site and where they exit. You want people to stay and look around, especially if you are marketing a service or selling a product. If you notice that a large number of people are exiting on an entry that links to a lot of outside resources, you might want to change how you present that information. Your goal is to keep people on your site. The longer they stick around, the more they find, and the higher chances they will return.

You can usually see from which part of the world your traffic is being generated, which can come in handy in certain scenarios.

Browser statistics
The design of a blog or website can really impact how visitors navigate and use your site. It is always important to cater to all current browsers, if possible, but knowing which browser the majority of your site readers use to look at your site can help you weigh options when it comes to design or layout of specific information. If you have an even spread of varying browsers and sizes, choosing a layout that is a bit more flexible can be beneficial. The key is to know your audience.