Should I advertise?

Main building at the Maryland Institute Colleg...

Main building at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I studied art at Maryland Institute College of Art, the biggest insult you could say about an artist was that s/he was “too commercial.” The thought of someone actually getting paid for their handwork and creativity seemed to contradict the very nature of art. We were all supposed to starve and wallow in obscurity for the next fifty years. The only acceptable way to become famous was postmortem.

Seven years out of college (oy has it really been that long!), I’m amazed by my friends who have found work that involves some sort of creativity. It doesn’t matter that they’re making art for commercial sake, in fact, it seems even more incredible that they are making good money expressing themselves.  My classmates are making jewelry, designing video games, and photographing models for national magazines. I look back on our snobby, self-righteous younger-selves and wonder how we could ever be so judgmental of people who love art but don’t want to be homeless.

Recently I’ve been approached by a few companies who want to advertise on my blog. When I originally started the HeSoProject, I was so ignorant about the entire blogging process that I figured I would write a few posts, and then live off the advertisement money. Ha! If these companies had approached me back then I would have said yes in a heartbeat. Now, two years into it, I’m slightly hesitant. The HeSoProject is my baby, and I don’t want to dilute it with distracting, false messages. (Currently WordPress puts up ads at the bottom of some posts, but that doesn’t really bother me because it’s part of the free service.)

My inner-college student is yelling “don’t sell out,” but my dwindling bank account is a little louder. Do you, my awesome reader, have any thoughts on the matter?

14 comments

  1. I think if you respect the product or company that will be advertising on your site, do it. Maybe you could figure out a way that you could create the ads so they aren’t false or distracting. For the record, you already advertise on your site without getting paid. Every time you promote something or someone you are essentially giving them a free ad.

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    1. I did ask them for a list of potential companies so I can do some research into it. I definitely wouldn’t want to promote something I don’t believe in. Thanks for the feedback!

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  2. I agree with the other comments, if you can have some control over who advertises go for it, however I don’t believe the free version of WordPress will allow you to advertise. you might want to check into that. Also, I was appalled when looking at my site on a friends computer that the ad WordPress had on my site had to do with dairy products and I am vegan! So with the free site you have ads anyway but you have absolutely no control and no monetary reward. I say get a premium account and choose your ads.

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    1. It might be worth it to upgrade my service just to get rid of the wordpress ads. I’ve never actually seen the ads on my blog, but that’s terrible that they were advertising milk on your site. They messed with the wrong vegan!

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  3. I was contacted by an advertiser a month or 2 ago but haven’t made a decision as to where I want to go with my current blog. I understand also, as the previous commenter stated, that you may have to change the host site of wordpress (there’s wordpress.com and wordpress.org or, you can choose to move your blog to any one of thousands of self-hosted sites which will also charge a monthly fee to host your blog ) in order to advertise. You may also want to consider the fact that you may have to increase your stats dramatically in order to financially benefit from advertising. Start with maybe one ad of your choosing and see how it all works. I think the most important thing is to be able to choose your ad and where it is placed so as not to be overly distracting. I’m all for it and may ultimately try it myself. Hope this helps …a little. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for the helpful advice. I haven’t looked into the actual hosting criteria, but I will. Let me know if you try it how, and how it goes!

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  4. Funny what a few years does to your thinking, isn’t it? That whole starving artist thing never made much sense to me. I mean, if people want to buy your , that’s a good thing … people enjoy what you create and you get to make a living, or at least some money. As others have said, as long as it doesn’t affect your integrity as an artist, it doesn’t seem like a problem.

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  5. I believe you would have to upgrade to a self-hosted account which has a monthly fee and may require a little more work/maintenance on your end. If you think you have enough advertisers to make it worth the extra effort and costs, then go for it. Good Luck!

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  6. I think you can advertise and make money off of your blog without sacrificing your integrity. I can’t see a problem with making money doing something that you love. The more people visit your site, the more you make.

    I know that google adsense allows you to choose what your ads look like and where they’re placed and generates different incomes based on how many clicks your page gets and how many direct clicks on the ad links you get, too. There’s quite a lot of control with adsense as it generates ads based on your content.

    I think if you feel comfortable with the companies who are approaching you there’s no reason not to do it unless you’re passionate about being a starving artist… The problem is food is so good it’s hard to maintain 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’m still waiting to get a list of the possible companies that would want to advertised, but yes, I agree there is a way to make money and still maintain a sense of integrity.

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      1. You’re very welcome. Hopefully you can find something to your taste and that the advertizing works out for you should you choose to pursue it.

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