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Why I stopped reading John Chow’s Blog?

March 1, 2010

Last Updated on - May 21, 2015  

minutes read


Did that title hit you somewhere? If it did, let me tell you that I too felt somewhat the same when I decided on the title.

My objective is not to get into any controversy. Then what is it….?

I used to be a regular reader at John Chow’s blog. I had very high opinion of him and his blog. He was one amongst the best professor’s of blogging whose advices and suggestions were guidelines for blogging. It is not that they are no more important for me. I am still subscribed to his RSS feeds and read them regularly.

But my visits to the blog reduced gradually and even when I surfed over to the blog my stay there was for just about a few seconds. What brought about this change in my behavior?

I was driven away…

That is true! I was driven away from John Chow’s blog every time  I visited it. It was John who drove me away. Rather what drover me away was the design of the blog.

Design of the blog, I said….!

That is right. I found it hard to find valuable content out there. The design appeared to be so messed up that I was unknowingly prompted to click away from the blog.

In order to find some content I had to use a microscope because the content in the blog was confined to edges and corners. Will I want to spend so much time trying to find content, when I knew that I am working on a tight schedule and there were about 10 more things lined up, which were even more important for me?

Of course, not. John had a different design some time back. Though that too was stuffed with ads, that still appeared okay. But this one has changed my behavior.

The Problem with the Design

John has been earning well with his blog. And it will not take Einstein’s brain to figure out that the majority of his earnings will be from advertisements on his blogs. So he will not want to compromise on this aspect as his income will take a severe hit. But this is indeed the problem with his blog design.

The first thing that one will notice as you click over to his blog is a clutter of advertisements just below the navigation menu. Add to it another banner ad in the header of the blog, that too with text size equal to or, greater than the blog name. You have set up a start for disaster. As you scroll down to check posts in the blogs, you will be greeted with a series of advertisements. Content will be on the extreme left column and that is it.

The blog appears so much stuffed with advertisements and banners that you will feel as if it is cluttered. This was what drove me away from the blog.

The Use of Banner ads

Banner ads form an integral part of the monetization strategy of any blog. If your objective is earning money then, you will have to put up a few banner ads on your blog which can help you earn some money. But how many such ads is the question.

There are no norms that are there to decide on the number of ads to be set up. But there are a few things that you should  consider when you plan to put up a few banner ads.

  1. Your blog attracts advertisers only if it has traffic. So it is very important that you respect your readers. Remember that your blog is firstly for your readers and then for your advertisers.
  2. As far as possible put up your ads on your sidebar. Don’t mess up your content section with ads. When the veterans in blogging say, “Content is King”, it would also mean that the “Content area is the castle of the king”. Hence it is very important that present the content in a way that is acceptable for the reader.
  3. Your logo and header graphic is the brand for your blog. Your would not want an advertisement to overshadow your brand image. A banner in the header should not play dominance to your logo or, blog name.
  4. A navigation areas provide for a smooth navigation on your website or, blog. Keep it clear and visible for the reader.

These are some aspects that you can consider when you place ads on your blogs. The sole fact that monetization is important is the reason why I too put up ads on my blog. But when that starts to interfere with the very existence of my blog, I would want to let go off the former.

What is your opinion on placing ads on your blogs?

Photograph courtesy ssmallfry

About the author

My name is Dilip. I am a fan of the internet and love the many opportunities that the world wide web provides. If used constructively , the internet can give you an opportunity to lead a life free of the 9-5 treadmill and will be able to give more time to your family members.
Read about internet entrepreneurship at my blog.

  • Off late, I have found that many blogs from the most established bloggers who in their trainings focus on blog design and reader focus, often do not follow these things on their blogs. Most of these blogs are so much stuffed with ads that finding quality content on them at times becomes an adventure in itself.

  • This is so true. While I like John Chow’s content, his website is FULL of ads. I am so distracted when I go to that site. Whether it’s the banner ad at the top, the square ads on the right, or the ads throughout the post and at the end of each post, I am constantly distracted by the amount of color and flashing ads. It drives me away from the content, which is often very good. That can’t be a good thing.

  • You are right. Many a times good content often go un-noticed just because of the ads that these good and informative blogs put up on their sites.

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