A few months back, I wrote about the business challenges with Offbeat Mama. Well, I am happy to report that the solution I pitched in that post has been a big success — our editorial process shifted so that now I approve all Stephanie's pitches, but editing the posts rests on her and the copyeditor's capable shoulders.
The result? Not only do I have more time to work on non-editorial stuff, but Stephanie has TOTALLY rocked that shit. Was I micromanaging? Did I do her a huge favor by getting the fuck out of the way? Did me getting out of the way encourage her to step up? I have no idea — all I know is that posts are strong and traffic is up, so it's working!
As if that wasn't enough of a success, I also decided to join the Glam Publisher ad network — which has finally made Offbeat Mama profitable.
This was a difficult decision for me — joining Glam meant adding some truly heinous banner ads to the site. But we heard repeatedly from Offbeat Mama readers that they don't have money to spend on our sponsors' products, and these banners address this need — now readers can support Offbeat Mama just by, well, reading.
Glam's banners are what's known as "CPM" advertising, meaning that Offbeat Mama makes money based on how many people see the ads. You don't need to click them (although by all means do if you're interested). You don't need to buy anything. All you need to do is disable your ad blocker, and let the ads show up.
It was a rough decision: some of the banners are obnoxious. They're not the awesome indie brands that we love featuring as sponsors (and will continue to feature as sponsors!). But if ugly banner ads are what it takes for us to pay the bills to ensure that we can keep publishing Offbeat Mama, that's what we'll do.
We tested it out for a month and you know what? Almost two years after it launched, thanks to those ugly ads, Offbeat Mama is FINALLY breaking even. (…at least this month.) It still makes only a tiny fraction of Offbeat Bride's profits, but I'm ok with that. I don't need every site to be a cash cow. I was able to give Stephanie a 25% raise, and that's good enough for me! The Glam ads have done so well on Offbeat Mama, that I'm now adding them to Offbeat Home, as well… and am able to give Cat, the editor over there, a raise too.
Ugly ads that enable me to increase the wages I pay my editors? Worth it.