Sunsetting ads on Codeguage!

And a bunch of other free things as well...


Take the following extremely quicky survey and let me know of your viewpoint regarding a new revenue model that I plan for Codeguage (more details are described below).

Take Survey

Hey everyone! This is me, Bilal, the creator of Codeguage (and everything you see therein). In case you don't know about me, you can read more about my story here. And before I begin, it's vital to restate the fact that I run this website exclusively all alone. There isn't any team at my dispense for handling different concerns of the website! It's my pure passion to teach and your love of the platform that combines into a beautiful path, motivating me to continue on and on.

Now Codeguage is my full-time job. I spend every single day crafting stuff to help you out in your programming journey, potentially exposing you to products and services that'll ultimately help you in achieving the best of you and your career. Being a full-time job obviously means to earn plentiful money from the website so as to be a practical thing for me.

And perhaps the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing 'earn money from a website' is ads. For a very long time, I've been using advertisements on my site as well but they haven't thus far been any lucrative in getting me anything worth continuing them on. Believe me, not any lucrative at all.

I imagined ads to be able to provide enough value to me and you (the user) to keep the site going on for free, but sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them out, right? (But still, there's optimism to find in these times as well. 🙂)

Now I have two options in front of me:

  • Either go for another ad network
  • Completely sunset ads and shift to other revenue models

Frankly speaking, I am 100% compelled to NOT go with the former at any cost. Let me tell you why...

Firstly, the world is shifting towards stricter privacy laws and people are becoming more and more aware of the way their data is being used. Currently, as far as I know, almost all ad networks leverage your browsing history of other sites to target ads to you that align with your interests and affinities. This is so that there is a higher chance of you engaging with those ads and clicking on them. This 'ad personalization' is considered by many to be unethical and privacy-invading. You can opt out of it but unfortunately many people don't know of the whole scenario in the first place, let alone opting out of it.

I am thoroughly compelled to not go down this road of third-party advertising and likewise, keep Codeguage from becoming yet another seller of your data and privacy. I second this belief of mine of keeping your privacy intact by using an analytics provider, Beam, that is cookieless and doesn't track you across your visits on other websites (unlike GA4). Moreover, with its extremely terse size, it's really good for the loading times of the website, giving you a pretty smooth loading experience.

Remember that as long as you're OK with this ''personalized advertising'', there's nothing outright wrong with it. After all, it's one of the biggest sources of revenue for many well-known news publication websites and popular blogs out there. However, still, I always wonder why would anyone ever want to see ads of a real estate business on a blog talking about food, even if the audience of the website is somehow inclined towards real estate. It doesn't make much sense, does it?

Ads online must almost always be based on context alone. If a website teaches programming, only ads related to programming and to the tools used by programmers should be shown, nothing else.

If all this is not enough, and you're comfortable selling off your data and interests to third parties (at least now that you know of it) via ads, ad networks typically badly affect the UX of websites and also lead to poor loading times. And even if somehow the loading times aren't reduced dramatically, there still are a heck lot of ads that mainstream ad networks require one to display on the website. There's a rain of ads.

We're on the website to read content or see ads, I ask, which almost everyone always skips, right?

Amongst the top-most things that I value for any brand is its trust and feeling towards delivering quality to its users. With bad UX and poor loading times, I am not going to sleep well even if the resulting ads get Codeguage to earn big bucks. I am being outright honest here. I am very picky about high-quality stuff and it's important for me to make sure that Codeguage gives you an extremely smooth, high-quality browsing experience at the end of the day — one that potentially many websites can't match. 🙂

It's not to say that there aren't ad networks that tick many of these concern boxes and refrain from the so-called 'badvertising'; some even try to remedy UX and loading time issues to a great extent. However, their requirements are so steep that it may well take a great amount of time before I finally touch those milestones. But even after all that, there's still a high chance of having to sell your affinity data for the purpose of better targeted ads (aligning with your interests) which takes me to essentially where I left off. (Can't invade your privacy like everyone else, remember?)

So restating the ways that I thought of leveraging back in the day to generate revenue from Codeguage, I had:

  • Ads
  • Affiliate promotions (but only of products that I have personally used or that I have extensively researched and/or reviewed)
  • Your unwavering support (via donations on Buy Me A Coffee)

Given that I am now deciding to sunset third-party ads from Codeguage completely, that leaves me with ... well ... just two ways to monetize Codeguage: affiliate promotions (where you buy stuff that I promote) and your support.

On the chapter pages and blog article pages, you'll still notice banner images from other brands. These are NOT ads from any ad network, so to speak; instead, they are affiliate promotions for products that I have personally used or researched/reviewed extensively and that would be of value to you. The ads are plain images randomly chosen by some elementary code; they aren't any scripted ad slots selling off your data to third parties.

Coming back to the discussion, clearly, I can only continue to keep working on Codeguage day-in day-out so long as it pays me back in some way. After all, it's my full time job. It's difficult for me as an independent creator to work full-time on something that isn't able to monetarily suffice me to keep going on in the longer run.

Now it's time to talk about another revenue model for Codeguage, undoubtedly much more ethical (because there would be no targeted ads) and reliable for me in the longer run, and much more valuable for you as well since you'll get to access some exclusive stuff.

I am thinking of starting a premium membership, offering you guys some exclusive content to learn programming and web development, probably with the ability for you to send me your code snippets for review (where I can guide you on how to potentially improve your code). There might be cookbook-style content, asking you to create certain features using different technologies and then also presenting a solution thereafter, guiding you through the process step-by-step. The practice questions feature recently introduced on Codeguage would probably also go into this membership collection because it takes a lot of extra effort to produce it on my end and because it's an opt-in feature for you to consult to practice your knowledge of given topics; the core is still the main course which covers these topics.

Don't worry, I'll make sure to review the membership fee and make sure to keep it practical and affordable for almost everyone.

Speaking of the rest of the content on Codeguage, it will continue to be free, and all the upcoming content, including the new course on Node.js, will stay this way. Courses, tutorials, and the blog will continue to deliver the exact same value that they were delivering before. I won't be adding a paywall behind any course or tutorial or my blog.

And that's it for this notice.

Now before I make any final decision, though, I would humbly like to know of your response.

When the membership gets released, would you be willing to become a part of it?

Would you be willing to enjoy some exclusive programming content, including one of the biggest practice question bundles ever produced before on various programming languages?

Would you be willing to support the cause of Codeguage?

Take Survey

I am extremely thankful to the love and support you guys showed in recent surveys and just in general to Codeguage. At the same time, I hope you guys can understand my current situation and this genuine need to restructure my business model to be able to fund my content creation efforts.

I plan on introducing many news courses in the near future — the likes of Node.js (expected to be early-released by this Friday), Set Theory, Number Theory, Algorithms and Data Structures, Linear Algebra, MySQL, C, C++, and much much more — and this could all become true with, and only with, your kind support.

I hope to see a great future for you and for Codeguage.

Keep learning and keep growing!