long monetization tips hero

The 7 Deadly Sins of Blog Monetization

Website monetization is definetely a lustful topic for us, haha, but In a twist of irony, our 7 deadly sins are a homage to WordStream’s sinful series on PPC advertising. If you’re an advertiser as well as a publisher, it’s a must read. And we’re sharing the link to avoid accusations of blog envy.

My therapist insists psychotherapy belongs in her office, not on our blog. So this post will steer clear of anything heavy Freudian. We’ll zero in on website monetization practices and keep our introspection focused there.

Quick question: This morning, when you walked into the break room, did you steal the last cup of coffee and leave the pot empty? Perhaps you ate a disproportionate share of the croissants?

From personal experience, I’d say four is not an appropriate number for one person. If so, please skip topic one. Nobody needs to start their day with breakfasttime guilt.

But let’s do a thought experiment.

How do the 7 deadly sins relate to our blog monetization strategies and decisions?

What sort of pitfalls can we avoid?

1. Gluttony

blog monetization tips gluttony

Gluttony is about consumption – way too much of it. Consumption isn’t always about net positive gain. Four croissants every morning is higher consumption. For many, this will lead to gains of pounds.

Most of us don’t have aspirations towards a career in fashion modelling but we’d still like to bend over at the water cooler without tearing our pants.

We’ve talked about different types of website monetization ideas before. Gluttony in this context is using the kitchen sink strategy for monetization. Throwing everything you have at them and hoping something sticks is not a strategy. Sometimes less is more. Of course, sometimes more is actually more too.

Adding new types of monetization to your website is only a good idea if it works. Don’t just stuff your website with every different option known to webkind. If so, we may end up being monetization gluttons.

We don’t want to fatten up our websites. We want to add stuff that will improve it. But we have to be strategic and test. The key here is tracking results.

If you can’t track the results of your monetization efforts it’s not worth doing to begin with. Sometimes a single croissant and a nice cup of coffee offers the most value. No over-consumption. No gluttony.

2. Greed

blog monetization tips greed

Greed is the second of the seven deadly sins but it’s first when we think of blog monetization. Greed is a different beast. The cynical among us might suggest it’s impossible to focus on monetization without it. We’re not of that school of thought. It’s too short sighted. Money is just a tool of trade.

In our context, we call this the taker bias or accumulation without giving something back in return.

Let’s be clear. If you are running your blog as a business, make no apologies for attempting to maximize your revenue. That is one of your core objectives and success metrics.

That being said, websites that focus solely on revenue have made greed analogous to website monetization in general and advertising in particular and that’s bad. In the real world, greed jeopardizes relationships.

My croissant-deprived coworkers are not my biggest fans right now. They identified me based on the superfluous crumbs around my desk.

Relentless focus on ad revenue departs from “giving” or the creation of valuable content and a great user experience. If you forget about delivering value, your revenue uptick will be short lived.

Don’t suspend your goal of increasing and maximizing revenue. In fact, we want you to be even more successful at it. Just understand that offering value to your user should be your primary goal and monetization, second. You need to find the sweet spot where user experience and monetization balance out. Getting greedy has short term benefits and long term liabilities.

3. Wrath

blog monetization tips wrath 2

There was a post it note at my desk that said:

“Eat all the croissants again, and I’ll scratch your Macbook Pro”.

I would file a report to management, but I’m under deadline to get this blog post completed. And I also suspect involvement of management in the note writing.

That brings us to wrath. We’re going to use the sin of wrath here in the less aggressive sense of frustration.

When your monetization doesn’t work, don’t get mad get data. Take this as a learning experience. Only the real lucky or exceptionally smart get it right the first time. For the rest of us, trial and error is they way to go. Learn from your mistakes to effectively monetize your blog like a pro.

4. Lust

blog monetization tips lustOk, so lust is next.

We’re going to think of lust as the affinity we have for our most successful competitors. There is nothing wrong with admiring those who are successful at what they do. They serve as great (albeit informal) mentors and role models – even as competitors.

For many of us, lust is the engine that propels forward to bigger and better things. Nothing wrong with that, right?

In fact, just 2 weeks ago, we created an entire blog post about reverse engineering.  In that post, we shared some of the technologies used by killer blogs. So we definitely are not going to tell you it’s wrong to “emulate” your competitors.

The trick is to carefully borrow what works for them and make it your own. Then test it out.

There will always be differences. Even if you could clone yourself like a competitor you adore so much, the results are likely to be different.

5. Sloth

blog monetization tips sloth 2

Sloth is synonymous with laziness. But trust me, your blog readers are not lazy. There is sort of an intrinsic filter. Many people considered to be lazy are in fact demanding.

They demand to be entertained, informed, or wowed and they want it now. If your content doesn’t deliver any or all of these three they’re not going to bother to dig deep and look for it.

Demanding readers are hard to please but not impossible. If you expect to make money from your blog on a continuous basis you need to stay ahead of the curve and always be aware of new monetization trends in:

Nobody said that monetizing a blog was going to be easy but if your readers are demanding and not lazy neither should you be.

6. Pride

blog monetization tips pride

Pride can manifest itself in many forms. We’re going to think of it as over confidence in your results, which is also directly related to the sin of sloth. It’s worth expanding on.

Come in closer cause you’re going to need to focus. Getting good results can actually cause you to perform worse in the long run. That’s right, overconfidence may keep you from gaining new opportunities.

Have you ever tried congratulating someone on a great job? Imagine following it up by telling them to do things different next time. Just picture the tangled up eyebrows they flash back at you with that look of confusion and annoyance.

I’m not sure anything changes as fast as the digital world. Even viruses mutate at a slower pace.

Get in the custom of patting yourself on the back for Plan A and simultaneously working on plan B, C, and D.

This could not ring truer when we talk about banner blindness. Banner blindness develops when readers get used to seeing your ads of a certain size, in a certain place. Basically, that means that if your ads were getting a lot of clicks three months ago don’t expect that to continue. It won’t.

What works now will not work over time. That is the nature of the digital world. It’s not a bad thing, but it needs a commitment to continuous testing to ensure survival.

Don’t stick with what you have because you get some good results now. Try new strategies. Keep testing and optimizing your new potential alternatives. In fact, here’s an infographic with 9 strategies to combat banner blindness.

7. Envy

blog monetization tips envy 2

When we fall into a state of envy, it’s because we focus on what others have, not what we need. In our website monetization context, envy is about a mistaken view of our competition.

In our previous lust discussion, we warned about trying to clone your competitor. The takeaway was that being identical does not guarantee identical results.

Don’t be envious of your competitors. Yes, adopting and testing some of their strategies may be effective. But it would be completely ignoring one of the most powerful factors in the success of any business. That factor is differentiation.

You too can show leadership in both business strategy and marketing. Here is the core question:

What can you do that sets you apart?

Leaders exist to surpass their competitors, not just blend in. Being average will get you by. But average, by definition, isn’t an optimal result. Just as there are opportunities to test out stuff that others are trying, you can be creative too.

What is a unique approach that is you believe will be effective, and nobody else is doing? Try it. Test it. Iterate it until  you have something useful for you -and unique from your competitors. That’s differentiation.

So don’t envy them. Plan to surpass them.

Are You Ready to Experiment?

That is our thought experiment. Can you see the recurring theme in each of our seven sins?

Each sin raises a new perspective. We provide new ways of thinking of how to improve your website monetization.

It acts as a primer on how to adopt and test your strategies and position against your competitors. Yet none of these approaches are valid without testing and data. Otherwise, at best, you would just be making informed guesses.

Zero in on the sin that resonated most with you. How can you use that fresh perspective to adapt your strategy?

As with any philosophy of life, it’s unlikely that you will be without any sin. Following the framework we talked about today, you can make some incremental improvements.

Remember to say “no” to sloth.  Don’t rest on your laurels with banner blindness. And always make sure everyone in the office gets a croissant before you grab number two.

So which website monetization sins are you most guilty of?


I’m Head of Marketing Operations at AdNgin. Before coming to AdNgin, I was a marketing professional focused on SAAS business models. When I’m not working, which is rare, I sail and hang out with my son, Jonathan, and wife, Meital.
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  • Robin Rue

    I think everyone has their own way of looking at it. I am just thankful for whatever comes my way.

    • Hi Robin,
      Thanks for commenting.
      That’s always good practice. But the next step in my mind would be to take what’s working for you and scale up.

  • tara pittman

    I am always looking at new ways to earn money. I wont take a post just for money if it does not fit my site.

    • Hi Tara,
      Thanks for commenting. Looks like you have your priorities straight. Good luck 🙂

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  • LOL the first step to recovery is admitting your a dumb ass – love it! For me, I took down most of my affiliate ads on my side bar and reconsidered what I really wanted to promote. I update it regularly not just based on what I have earned as honestly I do not receive my revenue from those ads. I try to stay true to my audience and things I personally have tried and love.

    • Hi Joely,
      What a great comment. Thanks for sharing. Seems like you’re on the right track. I would just add that I see many bloggers (not necessarily you) quickly remove an unsuccessful monetization channel. I would suggest to first give it a bit of time. Try to optimize it. If it still doesn’t work, get rid of it. Most monetization channels don’t work if you don’t optimize them first (again, not saying that’s your case, more like a personal rant).

  • Lexie Lane

    LOL I think these are true, I’m start a blog without anything until I had a connection and ideas.

    • Hi Lexie,
      Thanks for commenting.
      We all started out somewhere. Good for you for persevering and building your blog from nothing. It’s an achievement!

  • Jennifer Clay

    I have seen several bloggers get really greedy and in the end I have seen them not succeed. These are some great tips for any blogger.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for commenting.
      As I mention in the post, it’s about finding balance. I deep dived into the issue of balance in previous posts so I won’t bore you with it again.

  • It’s not about greed it is about a passion and getting paid for your time

    • Hi Dana,
      Thanks for commenting. IMO, all pro bloggers are marketers (actually it’s more like all marketers are bloggers but never mind) so there needs to be a clear strategy and goals set out. If you want to increase readership that’s one thing. If you want to make money that’s another. And if you’re in it for fun then your blog experience will be completely different. It’s important to understand what you, and no less important you audience, want out of your blog and then try to find a balance where everyone is (kinda) happy.

  • You pointed out everything so well. Gluttony is a no-no because you will tend to lose a lot when you want more than you can handle. The key is to choose sponsors that are related to your niche.

    • Spot on Esme.
      I’m spouting off cliches here but don’t bite off more than you can chew. I see this happen over and over in blogging forums. Would be bloggers wanting to know how much money they can make if they get a certain amount of traffic. Sustainability is key here. Blogging is a long distance sport and you won’t be able to profit from it in the short term.

  • The Wardrobe Stylist

    I love the comparison. It certainly made me think…I think in my case I may be a victim of some of the sins, not all…the sins can also apply not just to monetization of your blog but popularity and how that can be a competitive edge for some people

    • You’re so right. Walking up the blogging curve to success usually requires stepping over your competitors’ feet along the way. Still haven’t figured out a way to avoid that unless you’re in a field that’s constantly growing.

      • The Wardrobe Stylist

        hmmm you might be waiting for a while, seems like everything has some sort of competition.

  • I love the creativity of applying the 7 deadly sins in blogging. Those are very true.

    • Thanks Mai. Can’t take credit though. The guys at Wordstream inspired us. They have a great blog by the way if you use PPC advertising to promote your blog. (no affiliation)

  • rika agustini

    Great article and very fun to read. Great information for bloggers. I enjoy my blog, i am so passionate about it. Hope money will follow 😉

    • Hi Rika,
      If you enjoy it you’re already doing something right and if that was your goal to begin with then you accomplished it. To make money from a blog you need to pro-actively strategize and act on your decisions.

  • What a relatable way to break it all down. I’m afraid I’ve ‘sinned’ a few times already.

    • We’re all sinners. You are forgiven 😉

  • Hi Eyal,

    I love each sin – meaning, I love you exposing them 😉 – because these energies go into creating some wicked, failing outcomes in the blog monetizing game. Focus on vibing higher by addressing these energies. Goodness knows I rode that jealously train like mad for years.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for dropping by to comment.

      That’s interesting you should say that. Actually your blog is a great example. You’ve taken the ambition of many bloggers to live off their blog in their choice of exotic destination and turned it into your unique selling point. No doubt many bloggers are envious of that (I know I am).

      Basically, you’re telling your audience that you will show them how to turn their envy into ambition and that’s pretty awesome. Sorry if I went all meta there…there’s still a bit of the academic in me.

  • Claudette

    As always, another great post full with suggestions that most of us will find at least one thing to adapt. Thanks!

  • Shaylee

    This is such a great post, I love how you laid it out! Monetization can be really hard!

  • Hey Eyal,
    A thought provoking post, I must remark! There are many things we do that readily affect destiny. Blog monetization should be done by checking on our emotional realities.

    Its good to know how these “7 deadly” sins readily affects our monetization and by extension our conversion. Its time to avoid these sins so we can improve on our monetization.

    The first step towards achieving traction with these suggestion is to acknowledge which sin so easily besets us. It may not be the same for every individual so each marketer must identify the ‘sin’ that affects him most and work on being delivered!

    In kingged.com, I left the above comment where I found this post!

    • Great comment Sunday!

      It’s never simple to acknowledge, let alone take action, on our foibles. But if you can get past that you’re on track to improvement, and not just in monetization.

  • Dhemz Apdian – Dias

    Thanks for being real and direct to the point. These are very true! http://www.gregdemcydias.com

  • K’Lee Banks

    Thank you for sharing this list. Monetization of my blogs is not something I’ve mastered yet, so I will keep this list in mind to make sure I don’t commit these “sins.”

  • Thankfully I don’t commit any of these sins- she lets out a sigh of relief- but it is so important to not make your website look like a junkyard sale.

    • Good for you Ana,
      Keep up the good work.

  • Eyal: Have you read Jonathan Hoenig’s book, Greed Is Good: The CapitalistPig’s Guide to Investing?

    • No I haven’t but just googled it and looks like an interesting read. Will add it on to the pile of books I need to get to.
      Thanks 🙂

  • Reading your article, I cannot agree more with your point of view.

    Gluttony, greed, wrath, lust, sloth, pride and envy are indeed 7 deadly sins of blog monetization. These are 7 attitudes that we can relate to blogging and we should stay away from these sins.

    It’s self-explanatory that these aren’t healthy. One cannot prosper if he/she has the attitude of being envious, for example. It’s natural that people get envious on certain things and reasons. However, we must control and keep in mind that being envious is not good. We should divert it with a positive attitude by setting a goal and being like this and like that, by doing your best, by making smart and wise decisions and so on.

    “Don’t be envious of your competitors. Yes, adopting and testing some of their strategies may be effective. But it would be completely ignoring one of the most powerful factors in the success of any business. That factor is differentiation.” is a great takeaway.

    • Thanks for commenting Metz.

      I agree (with myself) obviously. You need to find out what works best for you, which is not necessarily what works out for your competitors.

  • Lawrence Berry

    Many bloggers and businesses want to monetize their website because I mean who wouldn’t want to make a little extra money while providing the value that you want to provide. There are some important monetization killers that you have mentioned. Putting too many ads and call-to-actions to try and increase revenue can kill the user’s experience, which will in turn decrease your income. The keys things is to focus on value and on growth. The rest will fall into place.

    • Hi Lawrence,
      Thanks for your comment. Like I mention, monetization, or successful monetization, is al about balance. And that’s not just true for advertising. It rings true for any type of monetization you may be doing on your website. It’s important to remember that there your visitors didn’t come for your ads or sponsored content or product offers. They most likely are visiting your website for the great content your offer them. That’s why it’s so important to find the balance between content and monetization, Where is that balance? It’s up to your data.

  • Hey Eyal,

    I like the analogy of how you put each sin. I can definitely relate to Gluttony and lust. At one point I was trying to do everything under the sun to see what sticks. The only thing I got from that were confused visitors lol.

    With glutton came lust. I figured if these strategies work for these influencers then obviously it’ll work for me, right? Well not quite right because not all of their strategies did work. In addition, it was overwhelming to try each one. It was like me trying to keep up with 50 kindergartners all at once. But it was a lesson learned.

    Thanks for sharing Eyal! Have a great week!

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