Can a Blog Be Profitable Without Ads? Explained

You’ve started a blog, and you’re wondering if a blog can be profitable without ads or if you have to use them. Before you apply to Google AdSense or another network, consider the pros and cons.

Can a Blog Be Profitable Without Ads? | Hannah Haefele

Then, you can look into some other tactics that allow you to make money with your website. Read on to learn why blogs may or may not have ads.

But first, this post contains affiliate links. Check out my full disclosure policy to learn more.

Why Many Blogs Have Ads

Many blogs have ads to help make money. Consider some of the specific reasons why you may want to monetize your website using display ads.

One-Time Setup

One of the best things about placing ads on a site is that you only have to do so once. You can apply to an ad network and receive the code you need to set everything up.

Other monetization options, like services or even digital products, require a bit of upkeep. If you’re short on time, choosing a more passive option can help you make money on a tight schedule.

Works for (Almost) Any Niche

You can use display ads for most niches except for certain adult topics. But whether you blog about pets or finance or beauty, you shouldn’t have a problem getting into an ad network.

Not all niches are as great for other monetization strategies, such as affiliate marketing. However, if you can create good content and drive a significant amount of traffic, you can make ads work for you.

Extra Income

Except for massive websites, a blog probably won’t be terribly profitable with ads alone. But they can provide some extra income to diversify your business model.

I have ads on a couple of my blogs, and the income helps cover my website hosting and domains. That way, you can reduce your overall expenses.

Why Not Place Ads on Your Blog

Not all blogs have ads, but they can still be profitable without that income stream. Before you rush to apply to an ad network, consider some of the drawbacks.

They Affect the Branding

When you place ads on your blog, they can detract from the visual design. That can make it harder for you to build brand awareness and recognition.

On the other hand, a website without ads can look exactly how you want it to. No matter what, you won’t have control over the colors or design of the ads that appear on your blog.

Decreased Reader Retention

If someone comes to your blog, they may read your blog post. But they could get distracted by one of the ads and click on it, then they’ll leave your site.

Sure, some readers may come back, but others won’t. If you want to build a loyal audience, ads could keep you from retaining readers and building a connection with them.

Low Payout

Compared to other ways you can monetize a blog, ads pay very little per impression and click. Some ad networks pay more than others, but the higher-paying ones usually have massive traffic requirements.

So if you want to make your blog more profitable, ads aren’t the best way to go. But that does mean a blog can be profitable without ads.

Ways to Monetize a Blog (Other Than Ads)

If you want to start a profitable blog without ads, consider some other options. Then, you can set up a business model that works best for you.

Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing, you can promote your favorite products and services. You can publish reviews and other content that markets the products.

Instead of using a generic link, you’ll use a special tracking link. That way, if someone reads your blog and clicks on your link, they can then buy the product, and you’ll get a commission.

Freelance Services

Depending on the niche you choose for your blog, it may lend nicely to you offering a service. For example, you could offer online lessons if you have a blog about music.

Offering a service is a great way to make more money sooner in your blogging business. But it is the most active option because you have to provide the service to get paid.

Digital Products

An alternative to offering a service is to create a digital product. Common options include courses, eBooks, and other printable or downloadable items.

You can create the thing once and sell it over and over, so you can help more people. But it does involve a lot of work upfront, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid.

Physical Products

You could make physical products or merch related to your niche. Maybe you have a fashion blog, and you sell clothing either that you make or that you source from a vendor or thrift shop.

Like services, selling physical products takes a lot of time. But if you have the time to dedicate to growing that part of your buisness, you can use your blog to promote your items.


One income stream I want to start is to do sponsored blog posts. This is where you work with a brand on one article, and they pay you a flat rate in exchange for you mentioning the brand in the content.

Sponsorships are more popular in the video world, but they’re not uncommon among bloggers. However, you will need to build a loyal audience first, especially if you want to charge a lot for a sponsorship.

Should I Put Ads on My Blog?

Only you can decide whether you should put ads on your blog or not. I’ve placed them on a couple of my blogs, and the ads have brought in a small amount of extra cash.

However, I wouldn’t place ads on a new blog. You probably don’t get that many views, so it’s not going to be worth the process when you may earn a few pennies.

Can You Make Money Blogging Without Affiliate Marketing?

Along with display ads, affiliate marketing is a common way to make money blogging. But also like ads, a blog can be profitable without affiliate marketing.

You just need to focus on other methods that you want to spend time doing. Then, you can still make money from your website.

Is It Realistic to Make Money From a Blog?

Making money from a blog is realistic, but it will most likely take some time. You can’t expect to get rich quick, especially if you rely on ads or affiliate marketing.

The fastest way to make money blogging is to offer it as a freelance service. That way, you can get paid per blog post, and you don’t need a massive audience.

Final Thoughts

A blog can be profitable without ads, and there are many other options you can take. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of using display ads to decide if it’s right for you.

And if it’s not right, you should look into other methods, like affiliate marketing. To learn affiliate marketing, enroll in Affiliate Marketing Superstars, one of my favorite courses on the subject.

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