Advertising on Your Website – Considerations & Advice

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Advertising on your website - Considerations & Advice

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.

Why advertise?

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

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.

Alexa for MyInkBlog

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?

About the Author

Jared Thompson is a keen product and graphics designer. His strengths are his ability to produce high quality work from graphics software like Photoshop. He has a great eye for detail and understands how an image should be presented in its best quality. He has a passion for the works and designers of the Bauhaus movement and strongly believes that ‘less is more.’ Jared is currently studying Product Design at the Northern School of Design.

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  • http://blog.vinhkhoa.com/ Vinh Khoa

    Thanks for the useful tips. Although placing ads provides a stream of income, readers are still those we need to consider first. I haven’t had any ads on my blog yet (it’s still new so I don’t think I could attract any advertiser for now) but if I do, I will only look for ads related to my blog’s topics.

  • http://inspirationfeed.com inspirationfeed

    Great article Jared, its really useful and helpful.

  • http://www.webcreationuk.com/ Web Design

    I strongly believe there are other great ways of monetizing a website, such as affiliate programs. Those really bring loads of cash… :)

  • http://www.admixweb.com Holly

    Great article! Thanks for sharing!

    • Saleem Raza

      Nice Smile

  • http://graphicdesignblender.com Preston D Lee

    Jared,
    Great article here. I agree with most of it, but the concern I have is encouraging bloggers to post something new every day. While daily posting CAN lead to more traffic, sometimes it can be detrimental to your blog as well.

    Imagine if you are trying to publish an article very day when you’re used to publishing once or twice a week. This could really cut down on the quality of the articles themselves which, while it offers more pageviews initially, could have a negative long-term effect.

    Also, first impressions on a blog are extremely important. If you are posting so fast that your audience doesn’t have time or means to tweet, digg, comment, stumble, bump, etc. it’s not going to look very good for new visitors. You lose credibility which could reduce pageviews in the long run.

    Anyway, just my two cents here. I think this article was spot on! A definite must-read for design-bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

      I definitely prefer to post about twice per week. I used to try to push out more than that, but quality can really suffer. When I take a step back, I’d much rather read blogs with interesting content than those pushing out list posts and other uninspired material.

  • http://www.webdevtuts.net Marcell Purham | Webdevtuts

    I do not think you should publish a new article everyday. I thinking posting 2-3 times per week is good and once you get to the point where your site is getting a larger community then start to write in depth tutorials or articles that will make them say WOW! Great article

  • http://www.wpin.me Ben

    A nice clear and concise guide to advertising on your blog, in particular Buysellads. I myself tested the water earlier on this month and was rejected.

    However I am not disheartened, I will persevere and thanks to some wise trinkets of advice from yourself, I look forward to reapplying when I am ready. Great post by the way very informative and a good read for those starting out.

    Retweeting now!

  • http://prodigalconcepts.com rod rodriguez

    Nice article, I’m a google analytics user and I’m not familiar with Alexa it would have been nice if you made a match up of which is a better tool to monitor your sites stats, but anyway I like your inputs, although writing full time would be such a huge hurdle for someone with a day job. Thanks for this post…

  • http://www.smashingshare.com Waheed Akhtar

    Nice article Jared. Agree to all your points but Alexa, it is not the exact tool to see statistics etc. Using Alexa tool, you can get your Alexa Rank at top in few days …. that’s not the right way and thats why I dont trust Alexa Rankings.
    Most important RSS Subscribers ….. they are the real numbers I feel Advertisers should see while selecting ad space.

    B/w I enjoyed reading this. Cheers!

    • http://www.animhut.com/ sriganesh

      ok i agree with you in certain height for alexa rank. i have seen in some blogs having many twitter followers and RSS subscribers(2-3k), but for past 3-4 months i never seen any ads on the slot.
      although is a useful blog. i do visit daily !!
      so … which one will advertisers take in account ?? suggestion plz.

  • http://www.lucascobb.com Lucas Cobb

    Great post Jared and I know you struggled on your way to being accepted by BuySellAds. I was on the same road as you and when you finally made it you landed advertisers in no time. It paid off for you and I followed suit. I was accepted, though I have not picked up any advertisers yet, I still made it.

    For those of you looking to get picked up by BuySellAds, check your Alexa rank and when you are in the 400,000′s or lower they will accept you.

    I also agree on ad placement, the highest price is above the fold and people love those ads before posts.

    Affiliate marketing inside your posts is another way to make some money blogging. I have found a way to do it with certain types of posts and it pays my hosting bill monthly so I break even and get to enjoy the wonderful world of design blogging for free :D

    Great post again Jared and it is awesome that you shared your experience with the readers on myinkblog, added another post to your growing guest author list and helped inspire the new guys to keep at it.

  • http://www.kchains.com Keychains

    Great post,

    I will try to translate it to Chinese.

  • http://phiredesign.net AJ Troxell

    Great thoughts and advice. One thing that I feel should always be addressed is the implementation of Ads in your design. I see it more and more, that advertisements are not always implemented into the design as a sidebar to it’s content, but are instead an integral part of the user experience. Which, in an informational setting such as a design blog, is not a good thing. Too often, it conflicts with the usability and worth of the blogs content.
    Just a though.

    • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

      I agree, it’s nice to see when ads flow with the overall design.

  • http://nenuno.co.uk/ Daniel

    Excellent post Jared, I agree when you are not accepted into an Advertisement Agency such as BuySellAds.com, just make some changes and improve your content and re-apply.

    I wasn’t accepted off the bat but I gave it a few more weeks and applied again. I got accepted and now generating revenue! Other than that the products and services being advertised are things I have a large interest in such as WordPress themes and Web Hosting!

  • http://superdit.com aditia

    I’m really new to this advertising thing, I had rejected by BSA once, but I’m not giving up, so when is the better time to open the blog / site for advertising? it’s base on how many page view that we achived, ex: 10000 pageview / month? unique visitor? or something else ……
    I’m looking for an answer here, thanks

  • http://vinfotech.com Web 2.0 Design

    Thanks for this informative article about advertising.

  • http://www.zerozaku.com Gio Borje

    I’ve heard that Alexa’s statistics are very inaccurate because it only records data according to users that have the actual Alexa toolbar downloaded—which of course, isn’t many. The information could be misleading potential advertisers.

  • http://www.davebrownphotography.com/BlogInstall/index.php Denver Photographer

    I had no idea that alexa was quite so powerful. I am looking over all of those reports right now. Thanks for the info.

  • http://www.premierfurnitureltd.co.uk Arif Shaik

    Thank you Thompson.It is a great post. I gathered a bit information from your post.

  • http://www.herbugstudio.com Herbug

    wow, I will start checking alexa more often
    thanks for the article

  • http://www.dotpeak.com DotPeak Web Design

    Good points Jared,

    I think next to writing good contents it’s also important to include interesting images on blog posts.

  • http://www.novation.be Nicky

    Great article. I’m checking Alexa right now!

  • http://www.i4visualmedia.co.uk Essex Website Designers

    Advetising can be a good means of income if your own site has a good traffic value and people want to advertise a genuine related service but alot of the time it can just get in the way and look quite bad.

  • http://CazareBucuresti Niky Cazare

    Unless you have specifically designed your website to make money from advertising in the first place it’s unlikely that selling space on your website will make you any significant revenues. However, taking advertising could offer additional value to your users, and the brand association you might get by having relevant brands advertising on your site could help strengthen the perception of your business.

  • http://www.risedream.com/blog/ Usman

    Thank You for the Useful Articles.Please Tell if there is an Alternative to BUySellAds for Advertising on a blog.

  • http://www.dot-design.co.uk Gareth Coxon Dot Design

    Personally, advertising on my site isn’t for me (currently) but I’m hoping in the near future I can add a discrete block that is fitting for my audience.

  • http://www.thenetimpact.com/ Web Design

    These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing

  • Accesorii Motociclete

    Great tips for any blog to consider. Thanks.