Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

When Should You Start Monetizing a New Blog?

by Missy Ward in Affiliate Marketing   &     14 Comments

This question came in on AskMissyWard.com. Got an affiliate marketing question? Ask away and I'll answer it as time permits.

“I recently started a new blog featuring kitchen-tested vegan recipes and post both great dishes and the disasters. Ideally, I'd like to cover the costs of running the blog – hosting, my email newsletter, etc. and it would honestly be great if I could make some money out of it. I was planning on giving affiliate marketing a shot after sitting in on part your training day during Affiliate Summit East 2012. Can you let me know your thoughts on when I should start monetizing a new blog?” – Michelle

Hey Michelle,

There are two schools of thought on this subject. Below are the pros and cons of both philosophies.

Build Your Blog First, Monetize Later

Pro: Some bloggers believe that the reader’s focus will be drawn to content rather than ads which may build a stronger audience faster.

Con: You'll constantly be trying to figure out that perfect moment where you should start monetizing.
Con: You might underestimate the value of your traffic and leave all that money on the table.
Con: You might have to go through a blog redesign to include space for ads that you didn't account for when starting your blog.
Con: You may realize that your readers are not buyers. They'll love all of your recipes, but won't buy that Rachel Ray cookware you may be trying to sell.

Monetize Your Blog from the Start

Pro: Between the hard costs associated with running your blog plus the time you're spending doing it, isn't some money better than no money?
Pro: You can incorporate space for ads immediately, rather than having to redesign later.
Pro: Your readers will have a consistent experience from day one, rather than questioning your motives the day you decide to monetize your content
Pro: Learning what works early on can increase potential income down the road. (What products sell, where are my best ad placements on my site, which ad serving platform works best for me)

Con: New blogs less likely to make significant money without having traffic.
Con: Finding advertisers can be more difficult as some require you to have a certain traffic level before they'll allow you into their affiliate program.

I subscribe to the “Monetize Your Blog from the Start” because it's rarely my intent to create a blog or website that won't generate revenue.

Let me know what you wind up doing!

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

Comment & Add Your Voice

1 Amy March 20, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for the post – this is exactly some of the analysis I was looking for.  I am just starting my blog and was thinking of monetizing from the get-go for some of the reasons you suggest.  Are there certain types of monetizing that are more conducive to young blogs in your opinion? Thanks!


2 daveM October 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Confidence in your site may be the determinant, if you feel you can do marketing on day one…. Jump In, or you may want to experiment for a while. People have to feel what is right for them and then do. I sure like to read your blog articles, Missy, you are a straight shooter, it is easy to accept your wisdom and advice.!!


3 Mike Dammann October 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I have a few friends with successful forum who hardly make any money from them, but that is usually due to more profitable plans for the future with them and out of fear to lose credibility.
I can see their point to some degree, but do believe the answer is to work on perfect targeting of your ads.
I recommend putting one or 2 ads up from the getgo, so readers become used to them and learn to ignore them.

My strategy is usually to check my stats and see if anything rings a bell and find a program that offers something even just a few of my visitors are looking for.

That to me is the most natural progression least likely to create a bad impact on my visitors.

~ Mike


4 Ashley K. Edwards October 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

I need to move my blog. Do you have a recommended host? I know there are many, many opinions on this topic.


5 Missy Ward October 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

Hey Ash — here’s a link to an article I wrote on another site that I own that addresses your question: http://itsawahmthing.com/starting-your-business/top-5-things-to-consider-when-choosing-wordpress-hosting-for-your-blog/

6 Ashley K. Edwards October 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

7 Ashley K. Edwards October 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

I think I’m going to go with Synthesis. I’ve heard you talk about it quite often as well as several others in the industry.

8 Sharon at Big City Vegan October 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm

As a fellow vegan blogger I concur with Missy. Money can make it possible to continue to test recipes. Those ingredients don’t walk into your house by themselves, takes some benjamins and time is money. Monetizing your blog can make it possible to bring all the great stuff you’re doing into the world. Plus, monetizing means advertising companies you believe in or products you love anyway. Good luck Michelle! Thanks Missy for another great post!


9 Missy Ward October 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Sharon, you’re one of the smartest Vegans I know 🙂

10 Sharon at Big City Vegan October 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

You’re THE smartest affiliate marketer internet entrepreneur I know Missy! 🙂

11 adventureswithben October 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I think the sooner you start treating your blog like a business, the better result you’ll get. You’ll really think about how you’re spending your time and whether or not it wil give you a good ROI.


12 Missy Ward October 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

13 Joe Sousa October 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I have always been of the mindset of monetize from the beginning also. If the content is good enough the audience will be built and won’t be turned off by the ads.


14 Missy Ward October 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I completely agree with you Joe. I wish some of the blogging “purists” would give a listen.

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