1 reason to put ads on your site, and 5 reasons not to

Your ad here!You’ve got a beautiful website. You’ve got some regular traffic. Now how about turning that website into a cash generating machine? What better way to make money than by doing almost nothing, right? Well, not so fast . . .

New website owners get excited about the possibility of putting ads on their website and generating some extra income. And Google makes it super-easy with their Adsense service (not to mention the hundreds of other options that are available). But, is putting ads on your website always a good idea?

5 Reasons NOT to Put ads on your website

1. Ads aren’t pretty

Banner and text ads are the easiest way to ‘ugly up’ your website (especially if you slap them everywhere, indiscriminately). Unless you’re working hand-in-hand with an advertiser to design ads that match your site, chances are the fonts, colors, and style of the ads that display on your site will not go with your web design. For this reason, I’d avoid plastering your site with ads and instead keep it looking beautiful.

2. Ads are distracting

What do you want people to pay attention to while they are visiting your site? Ads for Viagra, or your new product, blog post, video, or song? When you put ads on your website, you are distracting your visitors from some important stuff—your stuff. If you want the focus to be on your content, consider avoiding ads.

3. You will lose sales

Are you selling things on your website? If you are, I would be very careful about adding outside advertising to your site. This can cause your customers to click an ad and go buy something else from somebody else. Sure, you might get fifty cents for the ad-click, but you lost out on a sale that could have been a lot more!

4. You will lose credibility

Ads can sometimes make your brand look shoddy. It shows that you’re willing to do anything you can to make money and it can cheapen your brand.

5. You probably won’t make much

If you’re using a pay-per-click service like Adsense, you might get 1 in 200 people who visit your site to actually click an ad. While there are always exceptions, chances are you’ll make less than a dollar from each click. So if you’re getting less than a hundred people a day to your website, your profits will most likely be very small. It’s probably not worth it.

Now, for the one reason you SHOULD put ads on your website . . .

6. The #1 reason you SHOULD put ads on your website

If you are getting 200 or more real visitors to your website a day—and you are NOT selling anything on your site already—you can make some reasonable cash without shooting yourself in the foot. For example, I have a website that makes about 80 dollars a month in ad revenue from Adsense. My site gets about 250 visitors a day. It’s not a living, but it helps.

Your success or failure will largely depend on the quality of your content. If people land on your website and leave 2 seconds later because they are bored, you won’t get many ad clicks.

Even better than using an ad serving service, see if you can find businesses willing to pay you on a monthly basis for ad spots on your site. This way, you can make money from more than just clicks.

You can also look to partnering with other website services and affiliate programs that will give you a kickback if customers sign up after clicking on one of your ads.

All in all, most websites are better without ads, but good traffic can be monetized. If you’ve got a lot of traffic and you don’t think the ads will alienate your audience, it’s probably worth looking into your options.

What are your thoughts on putting ads on your website? Share your experiences in the comments below.