why i’m removing sponsors from my blog



You might have noticed that there have been some blog updates on the sidebar recently. Among the tweaks, I’ve decided to take sidebar sponsors down from the site.

This has been an intentional decision made a few months ago. As sponsor ads have expired, I have intentionally turned away future sponsors with the understanding that I would be removing sidebar sponsorships completely.

Currently, for my content and readers, I no longer feel that sidebar ads are the right fit.

This is partly due to the declining value of sidebars in blogging as a whole (as shared at Alt Summit by multiple panelists) and the evolution of my own blog and business.

Though sidebar revenue was always a nice bonus, it was never what “paid the bills” throughout the years. So though this decision is happening now, it is not drastically affecting my business in any major way.

And though I may eventually do collaborations with other companies or small businesses in the future, they will be more intentionally content driven –  rather than sidebar focused.

I have deeply appreciated the support of my sponsors over the years and I am proud to know that many have had wonderful business connections and clients come from appearing on the blog.

You might be wondering, “What does it feel like to go sidebar sponsor free?”

It’s actually been a pleasant surprise. Though I never felt any extreme pressure to “perform” when I had sponsors in the past, the site and content now feels a bit more intimate somehow.

It’s just me, writing to you.

Just like before, but… quieter somehow. Simpler.

If for some reason I need to take a few days off of blogging, I feel a lightness about that decision.

Statistics feel more irrelevant now that traffic isn’t a guiding factor for sponsor rates.

And my final hope, like I’ve found lately with my WIKW newsletters, is that I’ll feel more comfortable being the full “me” in this space.

Sometimes I have the subtle feeling that I am holding back (a little) from saying all that I think and feel about a subject if I fear it might be somehow alienating to some people.

This softening of my opinions on some topics isn’t doing you any real justice or true service, even though it might be more palatable overall. And though this has nothing to do with sidebar sponsors specifically, I think it speaks to my feeling that we are now in a more intimate space.

My home.

I’m not planning on being controversial for the sake of it – I just want to push the boundaries of my own bravery. To be the feistier, goofier, and slightly more opinionated version of myself.

The way I am in real life.

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  1. Kate

    Of course, this makes me smile. Awesome decision Jess. Looking forward to seeing you (as a resident Chicagoan) at Business in the City tomorrow night!!

  2. Angela S

    I have never been a big fan of ads. They seem to clutter and sometimes distract from the blog..especially the flash or gif ads! A little spring cleaning is always necessary!

    1. Jess Lively

      That’s a great way to look at it – spring cleaning!

      1. Exactly what I meant before when I posted to your FB question asking what you should blog about–I suggested spring cleaning! Figuratively, not literally (I should’ve been a little more specific)… a way to de-clutter, so to speak 😉
        PS: Way to go, Jess!

  3. Natalie | Natalie Dressed

    This makes me really happy. To be honest, it’s just really refreshing as I can’t think of another big blog without ads. My blog is still small so even though I’ve been approached by a few people regarding beings sponsors, I declined simply because I didn’t think it would be fair to them. Beyond that though, being approached has made me question if I ever want to have sidebar ads. Thinking that kind of scared me because it isn’t typically the chosen route in blogging. But maybe that’s another reason not to have them. 🙂


    1. Jess Lively

      Yes, I think ads are a completely personal decision and I don’t think it’s wrong or right to go either route. It’s all dependent on the intention of the blogger.

      Go with your gut when you feel the time has come to make that decision.

  4. Like your logic. I’ve thought about this as well. I need to hear more about this “no sidebar” thing. Are you doing it?

    1. Jess Lively

      I’m not sure if I know what you are speaking about. What is a no sidebar thing?

  5. kates

    I think this decision is an awesome one. Your blog is now just , yours! I can’t wait to continue reading…congrats!

  6. great decision. i’m not a big fan of sidebar advertising anyway. i kind of make a point of ignoring them, hoping they will go away.. 🙂

    1. Jess Lively

      I’m glad you are a fan of the decision! Talk with you soon!

  7. Capella

    I am also in the process of streamlining and simplifing. It is so much easier and makes me happier to focus on what is good and profitable without taking up so much of my time.

  8. Meg

    Great decision. I get so distracted by blogs that have a bajillion side bar ads. It feels like they’re selling out a bit and worried more about revenue than the content? I mean I understand you gotta do what you gotta do, but there’s a limit. Thanks for always giving us great content.

    1. Jess Lively

      Yes, I see your point and I also totally respect others who choose to offer ads. It can definitely be a great thing for those who do it well and it does support the businesses that pay for the ads too- so it’s all about finding the right mix for each person.

  9. unsolicitedadvice

    Do it! Be authentic and controversial when called for. I do it on my blog and I love reading other’s blogs – even if I disagree, respectfully – because I know people aren’t feeding me someone else’s thoughts!

  10. I like it! I didn’t re-add mine when I did my blog makeover (mostly because I didn’t like the way they looked) but I also knew that I was getting very few clicks on them, so what’s the point!

    1. Jess Lively

      Yes, the layout does seem to shine a bit more when it’s all consistent with the site. I totally agree.

  11. Dervla Kelly

    Sounds like it was the right decision for you, Jess! And i’m glad it makes for a simple experience.

  12. Sage Grayson

    Well said. I never felt like sponsors were a good match for me either. I appreciate how honest and “you” you are in everything you put out there.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you! It’s all a work in progress. : )

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