I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this announcement today: Go (Even More) Ad-Free. Finally, wordpress.com is doing away with the Google Ads that have plagued my blog for so long. Well, they’re not really doing away with them, I have to pay to opt out of them, but it’s at a very reasonable price: $30/yr.
By now, if you have been following this blog, you should know that your wordpress.com blog does display Google Ads to first-time visitors to your blog coming from a Google search. There’s nothing you can do about that. Inspired by a post on Notes, links and conversation I decided to do some digging, and for your convenience I have collected some examples:
Have you ever wondered why your wordpress.com blog ranks high in Google search results? You may have heard that WordPress has an excellent SEO, and that may be true, but I have my own theory: wordpress.com blogs rank high because when you land on a wordpress.com blog post from a search result, the blog will display Google Ads. This is something most blog owners on wordpress.com are blissfully unaware of.
If you read my post 2 days ago, showing how how my blog looks like with the Google Ads that WordPress is serving to my first time visitors coming from a search result, you will know that the ads really ruin the design and visual impression of my blog. Is there a way to make the ads more inline and less protruding? A theme change maybe?
This week seems to be a philosophical week. After first pondering the supposed pros of an ad-free blog, then discovering that my blog is in fact not so ad-free after all, the question naturally arises: What to do next?
So should I go back to TypePad, because at least there I have control over my ads? Or stay with WordPress, because of the added functionality I have here? Just looking at the scoreboard should be enough to convince me. I have already moved my blog to WordPress, but do I really want to stay here now?
You know you can’t have Adsense on your wordpress.com blog, right? Well, think again. You can’t have AdSense on your wordpress.com, blog but WordPress can. Yes, WordPress does run AdSense on your wordpress.com blog. See for yourself, left. And if you came to this post from a Google search, you may even see the ads above this paragraph, and below, at the bottom of this post.
Ok, it’s a free service. I knew they were running ads. I read Matt’s note. Jada jada jada. I know all that. Fair enough, but this? Thanks to an observant reader of my blog I was sent a screenshot of how the ads actually appear on my blog. Look at the ad, that isn’t even remotely contextual. Then I began to search for it myself; you can read how below.
I’ve given this quite some thought after I moved my academic and scholarly blog from TypePad to WordPress. I do miss not seeing my AdSense on my blog, but on the other hand, it looks much cleaner now. If I compare my visitor stats before and after the move, the number of page views has actually increased dramatically; does this mean my visitors are stopping by and reading more of my pages, because it looks more professional without ads? Or is it just that WordPress SEO works better with Google?