Blog Ads: Today’s Theme Leads to Money (Hopefully)

Well, as you can see, I’ve changed my “blog clothes” again. Yes, by golly I’m test-driving yet another new theme on my never-ending quest for the elusive perfect backdrop that illustrates my unique point of view. (Is there such a thing? A perfect backdrop, I mean.) This theme is very similar to my old theme, except for one big difference. I switched my blog over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org to accommodate brand spanking new blog ads.

Now for any of you who aren’t bloggers this would seem about as interesting as picking plaque off a poodle’s incisors (which, by the way, I did occasionally when we had a poodle). But to you fellow bloggers out there, you’re probably asking why would I ever do such a bizarre thing?

Turns out I have a pretty good reason. It’s called money. Lately advertisers have been knocking on my virtual door wanting to know if I wanted to dip my toe into the rushing river of blog ads. I politely declined until I found an ad company that offered blog ads from companies I’d actually heard of.

The First Roadblock to Blog Ads Based Cash

However, wordpress.com does not let you put blogs ads on your blog (unless you use WordPress’s AdWords, which I tried briefly and did not like). But wordpress.org does allow custom ads, so I decided to make the switch and try out the passive-income-producing world of blog ads. I doubt I’ll get rich off blog ads, however, it would be nice if I could make enough money to cover the cost of all the music lessons and band trips my kids do ad nauseam.

I made the switch over to wordpress.org just Wednesday of this week, so I’ll let you know in about six weeks how blog ads work out for me as a business venture. But in the mean time I want to give you a quick assessment of what it was like to convert my wordpess.com blog to wordpress.org, being that there are all kinds of horror stories on the web about what a nightmare it is to do it.

I assumed this position more than once during the switch
In a nutshell, it was pretty easy, and I’m not a CSS or html guru at all. I know enough to change rudimentary existing code, but not enough to write anything from scratch. WordPress.com does offer a service called Guided Transfer, where they’ll make the switch for you for $129, but I’m too cheap to do that. Instead I’d rather muddle through the process myself, banging my head against the wall as needed. (Hey, no sense, no pain.)

After I set up my new host domain on GoDaddy I simply exported my blog content from my wordpress.com blog and imported it into the canned theme I picked on my new wordpress.org blog. Needless to say my new blog looked like a mess, as the new theme formatted things about as randomly as how my son puts clean clothes in his dresser. But that was easy enough to fix (my blog format, that is, not my son’s disorganized dresser) because fortunately the admin panel on wordpress.org looks like the obnoxious younger brother of wordpress.org. Meaning the admin panels resemble each other, but wordpress.org’s is more obstinate to deal with. Everything you take for granted in wordpress.com has to be added in wordpress.org as a widget or plugin. Even so, it took me less than a day to get my blog to look like 95% of what I wanted.

Second Roadblock: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

Adding the java code (for the ad) to a widget text box in the side bar was another story. That needed some tweaking and for that I turned to my rock star web designer friend, Amy, who graciously helped me out as needed without laughing at my obvious inabilities. She also made some adjustments to the style of the theme to make it prettier. In return I promised her I’d someday take a CSS class so I can stop pestering her.

When I got the new blog the way I wanted, I simply switched the blog’s domain name to point to the new host, and boom! Now I have rotating blog ads, which means someone is paying me to write my blog! How cool is that?

The downside is that there have been some technical difficulties. For example, some viewers don’t see the blog ads because they don’t show up for everybody (what’s up with that?). The blog ads should appear in my sidebar right after the picture of me speaking into a pasta spoon (an exercise I do nightly while cooking dinner, by the way). If you don’t see a box containing rotating blog ads (a new one appears every time you come to the page), let me know so I can tell the ad company to get a wiggle on and fix it.

Change is Never Easy (if it were everyone would be doing it)

Another very bothersome growing pain is that all my stats from my wordpress.com blog post (LIKES, shares, tweets, etc.) did not transfer, even though the comments did. So if you look up an old post, it will show zero social media stats. Also, wordpress.org blogs do not have a generic LIKE button for fellow bloggers to hit. At least I can’t find a widget or plugin for one. The only LIKE a reader can do is for Facebook, which is great, but probably not a prevalent choice for readers.

However, the gurus at WordPress customer support told me that they did transfer all my followers. So if you are one of my followers from before this week, and you get this post, drop me a comment and let me know. I can’t find a way on the wordpress.org admin panel to show me a list of my followers. If you know the secret to this annoying little riddle, let me know that as well.

So that’s my latest adventure. If you’ve made the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, I’d love to know how it went for you. And if you have experience with blog ads I’d like hear about that, too. After all, I consider bloggers on the forefront of genius when it comes to the world of new media. Either that or we’re just plain crazy.

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

11 comments on Blog Ads: Today’s Theme Leads to Money (Hopefully)

  1. I got the email but the link was broken earlier when I tried to use my phone to read the post. I saw the ad for full Sail University. I’ve been thinking about the switch but am very nervous about it because I love my .org site and intuitive functionality. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Terri. Yes, I got a couple of emails and private messages from readers who said they could get to this blog post by clicking on my “Home” button, or by going directly to my URL (http://nonsensetomomsens.com) but not by clicking on the “read more of this post” button from the notification email. Great! (Insert annoying tone here.) Turns out there was a problem with the permalink settings, which is all new territory for me. It should be working now. If you get a second could you please try clicking from the email again to see if the link is fixed and then let me know? Thanks!

      And yes, you should be very nervous about making the switch, because there are some definite growing pains, as you can see. If you do it, I suggest you have a ringer in your back pocket to help you when you get stuck. In my case, I had my web designer friend, Amy, to pull me out of the ditch when I got stuck. Luckily she’s like a sister to me, so she doesn’t charge me for her time, which is a good thing because I wouldn’t be able to afford her.

      But the flip side of switching is that you have literally thousands of widgets and plugins that you can use to customize your blog, and you have full control over the SEO options, which can bring more people to your blog. That’s a double-edged sword, however, because if you don’t take advantage of those options, then wp.org won’t do it for you (like wp.com does) so your blog won’t reach as many people.

      In my case I had no choice but to switch because I wanted to try allowing ads on my blog, so I had to try. I think in the long run it will be better, but I had a huge learning curve ahead of me.

      Thanks for the feedback. It’s invaluable to me, as are all your comments! I really appreciate that you read my blog faithfully (broken links and all). 🙂

  2. Took me a little while to click onto you – it worked with your name, not the blog title. We are about to make this switch, too, so this post was timely and helpful!

    1. Thanks, guys. I appreciate the diligent effort. As you can see from my longwinded reply above to Terri, it was a permalink problem. It should be working now. If you have a second, try clicking on the “read more of this post” link from the notification email and see if it works now, and let me know either way. Thanks!

      Sheesh. What a faux pas for my first post from my new wp.org blog. As I said in the post there is definitely a learning curve on my part, but in the long run, I’m glad I’m making this switch sooner, rather than later. I have less than 50 posts total, so it’s not so bad. The longer you wait, the more data you have to transfer and the trickier it is. So if you are thinking of making the switch, you should just jump in and do it as soon as possible. And when you do, I have one piece of vital advice: Have a personal web design mentor or guru you can go to for help (unless you ARE a web design guru yourself, which I am not, so I needed to get one). WP.org offers no help outside of forums and canned online documentation, so you can’t call a human and ask for help. My web designer friend, Amy, was invaluable. I don’t think I could’ve done this without her, or at least it would’ve taken me forever to figure it out on my own.

      Anyway, when you do make the switch, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me to see if I can help. I’m no expert by any means, but having just gone through this I might have overcome whatever problem you encountered and I’m be more than happy to share my experience. Good luck! (And thanks for your feedback.)

  3. Now the “Read more of this post” link does work but clicking on the headline (which I usually do because I know I will want to read your posts without reading the teaser first) did not because the linked url is http://nonsensetomomsense.com/todays-theme-leads-money-hopefully/ – without the date. Strange, indeed.

    On the bright side, I can see the ad too, although I have never heard of UFX Markets. Which does not worry me in the slightest.

    Good luck with figuring out the rest of .org’s sectrets.

    1. Thanks, Sandra. I tried after I read your comment and I got the same results you did! Dang! So then I went and played with the permalinks again and now it seems to be working. Problem is, I don’t know what I did to fix it! I just clicked on a lot of options that didn’t work, and then put it back the way it originally was.

      Anyway, when you get a chance if you could try linking on the headline again to see if it works for you now, too, and then let me know either way, that’d be great!

      Thank you so much for the feedback (I’d never know otherwise), but more importantly thank you for telling me that you read my posts without bothering with the teaser. That means a lot to me!

    1. You know, Phillip, I’m beginning to think you’re right! Analog, and the drachma, are both sounding better and better as I go through this switching process! Thanks for sticking with me.

  4. you’re the second blogger I follow that is going this route. very interested to see how it pans out for you both.
    I could access your posts easily and had no problems really.

    I see people making comments have to put in email and website details now. Is this part of wordpress.org standard practice?

    best of luck 🙂

  5. I noticed the theme change, but had no problem navigating to your blogsite.
    Thanks for sharing this transition. I’ve wondered about the ad process and this is great info. I’m looking forward to how everything goes with this change.

    Good luck!!!

  6. Well, I see you made the transition – and did quite well. Congratulations! LOL… and you went through ALL the EXACT same things I went through when I did my first transfer. I had to go through nearly 100 posts and “fix” them to fit the new theme. And I miss the “Like” button in wp.org, too. I’ve tried a few out as plugin’s, but they always seemed to conflict with another plugin or widget.

    If you haven’t found the Jetpack – which you should have because it “comes with” wp.org, then I highly recommend it. It offers a lot of the same features as wp.com – plus the stats. Honestly, i set up all my .org sites with google analytics as well as the stats in jetpack, and I prefer the jetpack better. Easier to read, and I’m not writing a thesis in SEO stats. I just want to know the quick and dirty numbers.

    I don’t see your ads because I use AdBlock in my browsers, so I don’t even see my own with AdWords or WordAds (whichever). Are you being paid by the click? Or by a time frame?

    Best of luck and once again, congrat’s on the successful move!

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