Things to consider before selling ads
Should you sell advertising space? There is no right or wrong answer to that question, ultimately you have control over what advertisements are shown, but will advertising turn off some of your readers? Before you jump into anything, it’s a good idea to sort through the pros and cons. Here are some things you should consider before you make that jump.
To monetize your site or blog is often the first answer given, and with good reason. Your time is valuable. But are there other ways you can make money without advertising? Is it really necessary to sell valuable real estate on your site to gain a few extra pounds (or dollars?) Maybe your site is more suited toward monetizing your brand through merchandising, or offering paid services?
Should you use an advertising marketplace or fly solo?
Many of the blogs in the design community use BuySellAds to manage their advertisements. Allowing a company like BSA to handle your ads, saves you time, connects you with a growing marketplace, and improves renewal rates.
However for many people, 25% commission is a tough pill to swallow, and perhaps you’d like a little more control. Could you just handle everything by yourself? Of course you could. You can simply use a PayPal account and solicite advertisers. This way you are on a more personal level with your advertisers. You will have plenty of control over who is advertising, and you will be able to build up long term relationships with your advertisers.
Advertising needs to be targeted to the correct audience, selling your own ad space will allow you to control the kinds of products and services sold on your site. For example, on my site I have turned down offers from online betting sites and other questionable services because they aren’t targeted towards my users.
Your stats matter
Improving your statistics is important. Advertisers will be concerned with your page views, Google ranking, Alexa rank and more.
A little about your Alexa rank
If you don’t know what Alexa is, you should definitely check them out. They are a web information company that allows you to monitor all sorts of user stats, page views, and interactions made on your site.
Alexa allows you to size up your competitors on the web. You can see your traffic, search analytics, audience data and click stream data. Showing how other popular sites are in comparison to yours, what terms people are using to find your competitor’s sites, what kind of visitors your site is attracting, and where affiliate partners and programs are helping garner traffic for your competition.
A good way to keep track of all these stats is to download the Alex Plugin. Not only does this widget allow you to monitor the ‘Alex rank’ from the site but you can also customize it to show several other stats. This widget can be placed wherever you wish on your site to quickly show others your Alexa ranking.
Sizing up your competition with Alexa
- The Alexa Traffic Rank will show how popular a site is compared to yours, including Reach, Page views and more.
- Search Analytics will show you which terms your competition is using to get traffic.
- The Audience Data will show you what kind of visitors your competition is attracting.
- The Click Stream Data will show you where your competition is getting traffic from affiliate programs and partners.
A few tips to improve your advertising appeal
Here are a couple of ways you can improve your rankings, and your appeal to advertisers.
Write content daily
Writing on a daily basis not only will improve you as a writer, but also bring in a constant stream of page views and hits. You will soon be building up large floods of people who flock to your site on a daily basis to check out the content you are writing. With high numbers of impressions you are much more likely to attract the bigger and better advertisers.
Put yourself in the advertiser’s shoes
Produce content that is interesting and relavant to your potential advertiser’s target audience. If you are going to provide a series of articles on WordPress tips, hints and tricks you are likely to attract WordPress companies online. They will be attracted to advertise on your site because your content is bringing in the type of reader who they want to sell their product/service to.
How to get accepted on an advertising marketplace
Try, try again. If at first you are not accepted there is nothing against, applying again once you have taken the necessary steps to try and boost your ranking and chances. You may have only been a few steps away from being accepted the first time around, so there is no harm in improving yourself to be accepted the second time around.
What to do once your site is accepted
Be precise about where your ads are available in your advertising description. If you provide the wrong description and your ads are placed further down your site they are less likely to get the impressions and clicks the advertiser is hoping for. Give it a place on your blog where advertisers are going to want to advertise, not hidden away where visitors aren’t going to see the ads. Promote your ad space and link to where potential advertisers can purchase it from.
BuySellAds lists your advertisements for buyers to discover your site, but you will have a better chance of selling space if you promote where people can purchase your ads. You should try to have at least one empty advertising block in the advertising area that links directly to the place where people can contact/purchase that same spot. This will help advertisers visualize where his/her ad will be placed, and quickly make that purchase. Another good practice is to have a spot in your navigation which links to an advertising specific page. On this page you can showcase opportunities available on your site and link to a purchase page.
Keep your price consistent for a few months, otherwise it may put off advertisers from being a loyal supporter and advertiser on your site. Yes you will (hopefully) be improving as you go along and so you should re-evaluate your prices in line with the kind of traffic and hits your site is generating, but be realistic to both the competition and content of your site. Be sensible in offering prices based upon, the size, page views, and prominence of the advert.
Be patient and consistent and your advertising revenue will grow. What experiences have you had with display advertising? What considerations and advice would you share?