In Defense of Bloggers who Allow Ads on their Blogs

Today I received a comment about the ads on my blog. Toni wrote:

I hate to complain but your site is becoming bombarded with pop up adds that you cant focus on the subject material. What is happening with that?

So, first of all I’m not sure why she sees pop-ups. I have expressly asked my ad provider not to do pop-ups and I don’t see them when I check on my blog, so I’m not sure how to respond to that.

But I can’t say I blame her about ads in general. I too think that blog ads can sometimes be intrusive. It can also be annoying if an ad covers the part of a picture that you want to see. I like it when there is an ‘x’ that you can click to make the ad go away.

As much as I understand her point of view as a reader, I would also like to address the point of view of bloggers like me. I don’t know very many people who start a blog with the intention of producing a full-time income. I started my blog with the intent that I think most stay-at-home moms do, excited to have an outlet for my creative energies and an opportunity to show off the things that I make.

As a blogger/crafter, your collection of blog posts becomes kind of like an online resume of what you have done and what you can create. As you get more and more readers, it’s fun to see what kind of projects they respond to and to try new things (like my UnTutorials series).

Then… you start to get real work! First requests for magazine articles and projects. Then invitations to contribute to books. And finally invitations to submit proposals for your own book! It seems crazy, but all of this can come as the result of a blog that you started to show off the cute things you make for your kids.

I’ve been writing the SewCanShe blog for 7 years now, and I guess I’m in the middle of that ‘writing your own books’ stage. I have sewing and quilting projects published in half a dozen magazines and my publisher and I are putting the finishing touches on my second book that will go to print soon – yay! Crafty Little Things to Sew will be filled with cute and clever projects you can sew up quickly, a category that my readers have led me to sew more and more of. I can’t wait to see it, and to show it to you! Plus they’ve asked me to submit another proposal for my next book. Oh, and I even got to go to Denver and film a Craftsy class!

But I digress… as time went on I started to actually get paid for what I did. It was wonderful. I could contribute to my family’s income while doing what I love.

And then sometime in the past few years, projects that I started out designing for my blog suddenly seemed ‘too good for just a blog.’ I wanted to submit them elsewhere so I could get paid for my work. Is that a bad thing? Designing a tote bag, quilt, or anything else to sew takes a lot of time. Just think about how long it would take you to make the item. The designer probably made 1 or 2 versions while developing the project, and then she would have made another one, stopping to take pictures along the way. And then there are the 2-4 hours that it takes (at least) to edit photos and write out instructions. Would you post something like this to your blog for free when you could make a few hundred dollars by submitting it to a magazine or book publisher?

So then for a while I was doing double-duty. Writing for my blog and writing content to sell also. It was a bear. It was not fun. It felt like a job, not what I wanted my hobby to be. And don’t forget, I have 4 kids ages 7-13. Chauffeuring people to and from school is my other occupation. Finally I got burned out. I had to choose one. Writing for my blog and giving all my ideas away for free. Or writing content to sell to publishers. What would you do?

And then a solution came along – Ads. By putting ads on my blog I didn’t have to feel like I was giving my best work away for free. Of course you get to read and download and enjoy my best work for free, but I still get paid a little bit because the ads are there. I don’t allow pop-ups that you must click away to see the content or those ads that cover the whole page. If you still think my blog has a lot of ads on it, you should hear me talking to the ad network that I work with. We chat on the phone every now and then and the conversation generally goes like this:

them: Adding this type of ad, and this type, and this type would increase your revenue by 40 percent.

me: Ummm, no. That sounds really intrusive.

them: Okay, well removing the ‘x’ from the current ads will increase their profitablity by 30 percent.

me: I don’t think so. Let’s keep those ads optional.

them: Other sites are doing it and having great success!

me: Still, let’s just leave things as they are.

them: Alright, well, let us know when you are ready to make more money!

me: Lol.



It is tempting though.

Personally, I feel okay about the number of ads currently on my blog. The amount of money I make from all sources (blog ads, affiliate links, sponsorships, book and class royalties, etc.) doesn’t come close to my husband’s income (not even half, but who’s counting, anyway?) but it does make me feel a little gratified that I’m not giving away all my ideas for free.

What do you think? Should bloggers be paid for their work? Let me know your opinion – it’s such a relevant topic!



P.S. I’m still hearing from a few readers who see pop-ups – which confuses me because I am not allowing them to be sold on my site. One thing everyone should be aware of is computer malware and viruses that come when you download free programs, games, and other files from disreputable sites. Or when you click on attached files in spam emails. These will cause pop-ups and other problems no matter where you are surfing the web (sometimes when you don’t even have a browser open). In that case you need to install and use some good anti-virus software. Good luck!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. I hate the pop up ads. No matter how many times I click the "x" they either pop right up or send me to the link. I will only read blog with pop ups if I can go into reader mode.

  2. I don’t see any pop-ups when looking at your blog, but I’m on mobile.

    I love your site and thank you for all of the work you do to provide us with sooooo many free patterns and projects which we may not have come across before.

    I have no issue with ads on blogs – especially if they help pay the bills (or what I really say is provide fabric for more projects).

  3. I totally get what you’re saying. Ads are vital to you being able to provide quality content! Personally, I don’t mind the ads on the side bar at all (or affiliate links or the like). Keep doing those!
    I did encounter 2 pop ups today–I checked on my iPad and they appear at the bottom of my screen. Maybe the ads only appear on tablets? I took pics so I can email them to you if you’d like.

    1. Hi Janelle! Thanks for letting me know what you see. I guess I don’t consider the small ads that come up from the bottom pop-ups and I do allow those. Always with an ‘x’ to close them, of course.



  4. I only see ads I can x out of at the bottom of photos and the bottom of your page. They are not intrusive on a desktop computer’s full screen. And absolutely pay yourself with ads. I love reading your blog and you shouldn’t give all your ideas away for free. They are still free to me, so I’m not going to complain. I appreciate your willingness to keep the ads to a minimum. I look forward to your new book too!

  5. I am grateful for the free tutorials/patterns I obtain from this blog and others. I could not afford to buy all of the projects I want to try without them. If the price I need to pay for these tutorials/projects are a few pop up ads, then I am willing to pay that price. Sometimes, those ads even lead me to something I have been looking for. While typing this (with the assistance of my cat, Allie) 3 different ads did pop up so I checked my ad blocker. Guess what! It was turned off.
    I also want to say thanks for the ads of your sponsors. I am in Central Arkansas. We have few fabric store options. The ads have at times helped me to find supplies not available locally.
    I truly enjoy your blog. If my looking at ads allows you to continue this blog, I will gladly do so.

  6. Perhaps it would help to define what "popups" are—on your blog I have logged on to see ads appear right around the photos–after clicking a few x’s, they generally all go away and then I do not see them on subsequent posts for a while. So to me, they’ve been ads that "behave" themselves. They’re there, and I’m not fond of them, but I can ask them to leave and they go, LOL.

  7. After years of blogging and not placing ads on my blog I finally felt that blogging and writing tutorials is a lot of work so I started putting ads on my blog. I personally don’t like ads and links all over a post. What gets really annoying is text links that has nothing to do with the content. You barely hover over it and a large square ad opens up and blocks what youre reading. I do see ads on every one of your photos. I’m just putting up with it because at some point we should be paid for our hard work and I appreciate the efforts bloggers make to write and share. Please don’t put links in your text that has nothing to do with your post. I might go batty. Lol

    1. I totally agree. Links within content should always be relevant. Sometimes though, I think the hover-over ads that you are describing can be a type of malware (computer virus). In that case, they will appear on all kinds of blogs that you read and only anti-virus software can clean it off of your computer.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!


  8. I don’t think there is anything wrong with paying yourself with ads. You do produce content that is worth reading, and have link parties for all of us. Yes, I do consider the ones that come up at the bottom pop-ups. At least I can x them off. The ones that were annoying were coming up on every single one of your photos, add all those to the ones at the bottom, and the animated ones on the sidebar and it gets to be a bit much to handle. That doesn’t appear to be happening today, so maybe that has changed.

  9. I do not think your ads are too intrusive. I can hit the X or read your blog and run away from the ad by scrolling up. Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading our blog.

  10. Marie Biswell says:

    I don’t have a problem with ads on a blog, I have them on mine too. I don’t like pop up ads though, they are frustrating and slow the website down – I see pop-ups on your blog big one at the bottom and on each photo, so I can never see a full photo which is annoying and honestly, I don’t hang around on your site much anymore because the ad slow things down because they are always popping up & changing.

  11. I have enjoyed your blog, but do get a lot of what I call pop ups at the bottom that I have to click on the x because they do cover up your writing. Had to click out of 10 of them just reading this post and 2 in the comments. I don"t see this on other blogs with adds. I have found for me all of the adds slows the computer down also.

  12. I have seen ads only at the bottom of the page or picture, easily removed by clicking the "X". The ads are certainly tolerable when you weigh them against the great wealth of information you share on your blog. thank you

  13. Betty Anne says:

    I get the pop-up ads on your blog. They are also on the bottom of each photo. So far they have x to close them. I hate the ads that pop up and you can’t seem to close them down, or are full page size. (I have unsubscribed to some of those blogs). I realize that is a source of income and if they are closable it isn’t too much of a problem. I also dislike the ones that are videos that run without you clicking on them (I am seeing one on yours just above the comments. For those of us with limited download access they take up our valuable gb. I enjoy your blog but don’t always enjoy the distractions of the ads.

  14. I can’t see any pop up ads on your blog, Caroline. I see one ad at the bottom of each picture, a static ad that stays at the bottom as you scroll, and a movie type ad in between the post and the comments. I don’t see these as pop up ads, although I think some may feel they are.

    I’m not overly keen on ads at the bottom of photos, but if the content is worth it, they won’t make me not read the post. I appreciate that you have left the X. Sometimes I close them, sometimes not.

    I find ads in the middle of text more distracting than under photos. But again, if I value the content, I’ll ignore them and keep reading.

    Magazines and newspapers have had ads for as long as I can remember. It’s just something we take for granted. With the advent of the Internet, we have been able to source a lot of information <i>(both good and not so good),</i> for no cost and ad free. I think this has led to an increasing expectation that everything online should be cost and ad free.

    Seems fair to me that I <i>pay</i> for good content with a few ads. Pre-Internet, I had to pay $$$ to obtain that information via books, magazines or patterns.

    You put a lot of time and energy into your blog, Caroline. You deserve to be compensated for it.

  15. I have never had a pop up from your site but I block all pop ups. I didn’t realise you have adds so maybe they are all blocked. I think you deserve money for all your work. Thanks for a great blog.

  16. Hey there

    I would just like to let you know that most of these pup-up ads pop up at the bottom of a picture, not on the actual text (well only one did that close to the end of the page) so although they are not really popping up, they do cover the bottom part of the beautiful pictures. I don’t mind it, as I can click them away and I understand the reason why they are there.

    Just wanted to let you know because as you said, you asked your agency not to do any pop-ups, and you shouldn’t be getting ‘complaints’ from us for something you specifically asked not to be there.

    Thank you for all the great work you do and the patterns you provide for us, I love your blog!



  17. I think it depends on the blog and the content. Your blog has small ads, at the moment, most are for quilt shops & related, which is perfect. I don’t have a problem with popups on your site, but I do have an ad blocker. Some sites have so many ads that they drive me away. That includes the sites that think they have to ‘encourage’ you to sign up for their newsletter by using a popup when you go to leave.

  18. Like Krista, I was on your site one day with a huge ad covering content. I clicked here, there, and everywhere until I got rid of it. I don’t mind ads on bloggers sites – except the ones that cover content. I’ve seen some small and discreet ads that are not intrusive and that are easy to close. But here’s the after effect of something that you might want to look into. I now have these 2 black circles with an x that won’t go away. I’m thinking it’s a leftover from that big ad that appeared one day.

    Bottom line: I love your blog and will keep coming back!

  19. Caroline, I enjoy your website very single day. It is one of my go to places for stimulation, patterns and just to see what you are doing. It is completely understandable that you would have ads to support your time and effort. As we all are aware good quality fabric, thread and accessories are not cheap. Pop ups are a pain but they do have the x to make them dissappear. So don’t worry. An extra little click of the mouse is definitely worth your wonderful work. Merry Christmas.

  20. The ads I see always have an x to close them which is good, but it’s annoying that they come up over every single picture.

    I did think it was pretty funny that there was one covering the text where you said:
    So, first of all I’m not sure why she sees pop-ups. I have expressly asked my ad provider not to do pop-ups and I don’t see them when I check on my blog, so I’m not sure how to respond to that.

  21. Cindy Pilkington says:

    Hi Caroline, I do enjoy your blog and also enjoyed following the transformation of your sewing room. I do see many photo ads on your blog with a tiny "x" in the corner, which sometimes goes away when I touch it or it takes me to a link. I don’t care for this type of ad because, #1: I don’t take time to even read the ad, #2: it’s annoying to have to make it go away while trying to read something or see the image you provided. #3: the x is so tiny it’s hard to engage it on an iPad or mobile device. I tend to read stationary ads on the side of the articles that don’t move around or taunt you with some type of movement. My old eyes like to read calm plain looking ads, which I do enjoy sometimes. Thanks for asking our opinion about the ads and just know the comments are about the ads, not your wonderful blog. Keep up the good work!

  22. Caroline,
    amen to that. As a crafts blogger, I’m still centuries away from your success, but it was not before I made my first (ever!) tutorial, that I got a vague idea of how much work it really was. If only you could get everyone to make a tutorial, nobody would complain about ads anymore, LOL! You are one of my favorite bloggers, and your content is amazing! It’s a lot of hard work and you should be paid for it (and that not just half of a salary ;). Can’t wait for The Crafty Little Things to Sew!

  23. I have read a couple of complaints about some seeing a lot of pop-up ads! It maybe on their end because I don’t see a lot of pop-ups on here. If it is on their end, they can down load what’s called a "Pop-Up Blocker", that will help cut down on them! I had my son install it on one of my desk top computers a few years ago, worked great…

  24. Stephanie says:

    I totally get it – and it’s hard to decide how much is too much. I personally can’t stand in-photo ads and currently don’t have them, though I know it would earn me significantly more. As far as I understand it, even if you tell your network not to allow pop-ups, ad providers can "sneak them in" by changing the code. I don’t think you’re on the Mediavine network (I love them!!); they have a "report this ad" link by their ads so you can note when you spot one or readers can.

    Anyways, I think people who don’t blog themselves just honestly don’t get it – the costs, the time, the energy that goes into running one. So hopefully your post will educate some of those readers so they leave you alone 😉 I know how much work it is and appreciate the community you cultivate with your link parties! Can’t wait to see your second book – and Merry Christmas 🙂

  25. Good morning…I am a new sewist and I am always looking for video tutorials, blog ideas/tips, etc. Typically when I look for websites/blogs, the first thing that will prevent me from using their site is a plethora of ads. Unfortunately, your site has a great deal of ads. Not only are there pop-ups, but there are ads embedded within the blog such that when you are scrolling through the blog, an add shows up smack in the middle. Your website was recommended from another so here I land. I have had to ‘x’ a pop up six times to get through the blog. Although I realize you have to make an income (God knows the struggle is real) I find the ads to be to distracting and frustrating. I hope you do well in your endeavors. Aside from the crummy pop-ups, your blog is full of wonderful ideas. Best of luck to you and yours.

    1. Kimberly, you won’t land on a better blog with better information. Go to your settings on your computer and turn off the pop up option. Caroline does not control that you do. There isn’t a single blog or video that is worth anything without ads and affiliate. If you’re looking for wonderful information, I suggest finding a teacher in your area. Enjoy your new skill of sewing.

  26. i had several pop up ads that I had to click away to read your article. The ads on the side are fine but the pop up ads are not my favorite, however I do like your content and blog so much that it wont deter me!! I totally agree with what you are saying and think you should do what you have to do. I just am curious about your pop ads that you are not intending to be there – I will admit that I do not have a pop blocker BUT I dont get this many pop ups at other blogs so i dont feel like its me. Keep up the good work and thank you for having this blog so we can get inspired.

  27. MachelleH says:

    I understand your need to be compensated, but I agree with Kimberly about the quantity. When you are looking at a tutorial, the photos are a very important component, and the bottom of every photo is covered by an ad. This covers up your hard work, and the details we need to see. To close the ad on every signle photo and the ad that covers part of the content at the bottom of the page is too time-consuming. I have stopped following blogs in the past because the ads just became too much hassle to deal with.

  28. Hi Caroline
    Having ads or not having ads……I like what you wrote about the subject. But, there are Pop-ups on your blog. They’ll come and go…be there and then replaced with another! Also, some ads, like Fleming Furniture(I think local NC company) and endurance- just to mention two, don’t have "x’s" only the little arrow that goes to their site.
    I usually skip the ads but they do, on too many occasions, block your photos and/or your writing. Another problem is that, if by chance, I follow the ad I’ve had to type in info while I’m trying to get out of it!! I find that ads, overall, are very annoying but I put up with them because I like the blog!! I think most of us tolerate the ads for this reason…so please Caroline, keep blogging while we keep clicking on the "x’s"!!
    And thank you Ryan much for sharing your projects!

    1. June, there are settings on your computer that allow or if they’re turned off don’t allow pop ups. If you go to your set up page it’s pretty easy to turn off. If you can’t find where to do it on your type of computer, you can google how to do it, or take it to a computer repair, or a friend who is good with computers. But the pop ups on your computer is not anything Caroline can control, endorses, or gets paid for.

  29. Sorry, Caroline my auto correct or whatever on my kindle changed ad from ESURANCE (insurance comp.) to something else and at end changed your name to Ryan from Caroline….have no idea why…sorry!

  30. Chris Harless Goscha says:

    I guess I don’t understand what a lot of people are talking about. I never have full screen or even part screen pop ups. Of course I installed Malware Bytes and Spybot and don’t have that problen which is the root of a lot of pop ups. Also you can restrict pop ups. And there is a free version of both if you search hard enough.

  31. I just had to close 2 popups while reading this post! They’re small, and on the bottom of the screen, but they’re definitely popups. I don’t think it’s malware. They’re ads for things like Blueberry Park fabric, Microsoft, and other pretty reputable places. There’s a little square in the upper corner that says "AdChoices".

    I understand completely your need to produce income and don’t begrudge you that, but when they get so bad that you can’t read the content it’s too much. That said, your site isn’t as bad as some, but on my older iPad that’s a little slow, it can be almost impossible to get around on your site. On my newer desktop I hardly notice them.

    By the way, the popup I closed when I started this comment just came up again while I was typing the above sentence.

    I like to print out tutorials as PDFs. It would be really great if you had a button on your tutorials, as I’ve seen on other blogs, that produces an ad-free, clean view with pictures that can be printed. Sometimes I have to try a couple of times to get the tutorial without ads in the middle.

  32. I love that I can get free patterns through your blog for free! Patterns which I would likely be unable to afford if you had to sell them. I am more than happy to look at the ads to support your blog. God bless x

  33. First of all, I just love your blog and all the tutorials you so generously share with all of us.

    As a quilter and crafter, I also understand the need to be compensated for your time and effort. I appreciate your efforts to keep it as minimal as possible. I don’t experience the popups some people are speaking of, but I do find that not all the ads can be closed completely, or are simply replaced with a different ad.

    BUT! I do find the ads intrusive and costly to me. I happen to live in a part of the country where the only internet available to me is via satellite, which comes with a limited amount of bandwidth and slower speed. The volume of ads makes your pages slow to load and the moving ads, as well as the frequency with which they refresh, chews away at that allotment. It seems that when the ads refresh, the entire page has to reload. If I follow your links, they open another tab, with yet more ads; hence, more ads refreshing.

    I find that your site is the only one which hangs frequently, sometimes grinding my fairly new computer to a halt. If I were more computer savy I could probably find a way to strip the pages down, but that would likely be a multi-day project for me.

    Might it be possible to have the code written in such a way as to eleminate at least some of these issues? Or stay way from moving ads? I don’t mind seeing offers related to crafting, but some of them seem to be entirely irrelavent! For instance, right now your site has a video with Amy Schumer regarding bullying. An important topic to be sure, but not one I’m interested in when visiting a craft site.

    Sorry, don’t mean to sound like I’m ranting, but you DID ask, lol.

  34. I was getting pop ups until I checked the settings and my Popup blocker was off.
    Glad you said something causing me to check. Thank you.

  35. apopofred says:

    I wonder if some readers are confusing the floating ads (one on the bottom that stays as you scroll, one on the side) for pop-ups. Perhaps on mobile they are more intrusive?

  36. Hi, Caroline, if they’re seeing pop ups they need to go into their setting and turn them off. But as for ads, afilliates, and all the rest. Yay! For you! If you can stay home and care for your family, be creative, and inspire us everyday, I’ll look at ads all day. They aren’t something that you can’t X out, they aren’t in the way, and they make it so we get so much of your time, energy, and patterns. Thank you for caring about us.

  37. Hello Caroline,

    I found your blog quite recently when I was searching for a pattern to sew a purse organizer. I liked your pattern and luckily it came with a tutorial too! My purse organizer turned out very nice, I’m happy with it. So thank you very much fort that!

    Regarding your ads. I’m not very bothered by them, because they stay nicely at the righthand side and they never pop up. It probably depends on your settings for malware defence and pop-up blocker.
    Because I’m not a US-resident most offers are not valid anyway … so I’m not that interested (I don’t ‘see’ them). I did discover Craftsy, though, and I’m glad I did.

    I like your website and blog very much and I almost visit daily. You are very generous with your knowledge. It’s quite appropriate you get some compensation for your time and sharings.

    Kind regards,
    Tessa (from the Netherlands)

  38. I agree with you on all accounts, but you should know that it is Google (via AdChoices) loading those pop-up ads. If you have indicated no pop-ups, you should let them know that something has gone wrong with the setting. I have a pop up blocker, but sometimes have to disable it to see something that I do wish to see, even though it is presented as a pop-up. That is how I found the source.

  39. I am glad this was addressed. I constantly get pop ups on your blog, but no where else. For that reason I do not believe it is my problem. The pop ups are so frequent that I often just close your window. Right now there is a pop up from trip advisor at the bottom of the page and one from Northwestern Medicine in the middle of the page.

  40. Mary Beth says:

    I don’t mind the ads at all. I really enjoy reading your blog! However, I am getting pop ups as well and my pop up blocker is turned off with only a few exceptions. I wonder if anyone else is having this problem.

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