Actually, that’s pretty much what I said to Jad last week! And Steiner would not be alone. Real confirmed readers have emailed us, highlighting that the ads Google are serving made the reader experience on our site increasingly unbearable.
We agreed and agree, from today – despite knowing it will impact our income severely – we have dropped banners and pop-ups in an effort to improve the reader experiences we thrive to keep GrandPrix247 a proudly independent Formula 1 news website 24/7.
We particularly focussed on optimising the mobile phone experience for our community, while updating the backend with the latest bells and whistles to make everything faster, while tweaking the look and feel of the site. It would be interesting to know what the regulars think of the improvements in the comments below.
It is also a good time to apologise if the reader experience deteriorated over time on our site, but – in our defence – those pesky ads we all hate, the pop-through between posts, and other intrusive banners are all part of Google Adsense’s best practices.
In fact, if you follow Google Adsense’s maximum recommendations to deliver the banner inventory (which is triggered by a piece of code that appears in the <head> section of every page the site delivers) they will fill the place with everything in their arsenal, including the inter Vignettes, In-Page ads within the body of the text and a slew of potentially annoying ad styles. We have opted for the traditional, less intrusive units.
We at GrandPrix247 with our monetisation partner Snack Media are taking more control over what Google Adsense sends to our site, blocking Ads from being injected into our posts, terminating the pop-ups and pop-through’s, and together ensuring the best reader experience; while, of course, constantly exploring acceptable, non-intrusive, alternative monetisation opportunities, including Advertorial content which you will come across on occasions but have no obligation to read.
This brings us to that elephant in the room: Money! GrandPrix247 does not make a profit, seldom if ever has, but has done well enough to keep two of us running the show, with a modest stipend going to our writers and the rest gobbled up by fees to keep the site running, including agency content, photos and of course hosting for our growing reader base.
The new look will impact income but, hopefully, but experience shows that alternative income sources will arise as we tackle this leg of the journey. It is impossible right now for us to eliminate Google Adsense entirely so that we can still keep writing and editing while managing GrandPrix247, without having to do shifts at McDonald’s or Burger King!
Make no mistake, if that’s what it takes, I would do it as was done when this project began back in 2009 as a serious pass time, kept alive after hours. It remains a labour of love, whether it makes money or not I will still be typing away, even if it costs me. But then I would not expect our great Crew to do what they do for this site for free. However, thankfully, we are far from the ‘fast-food-joint-job hunt’ point.
If this is the next chapter of our cool F1 journey, then we will entitle it: Reader experience comes first on GrandPrix247… and let’s see where this goes.
In closing, as you all know, your opinion matters, that you were uncomfortable for too long with the banners is painful. So please let us know your thoughts – now and whenever – on the website experience, via email or in the comments below, as we put you first, where you belong.
Enjoy! You too Guenther!