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10 Ways to make your Blog more Attractive to Advertisers

Today’s guest post comes from Chad Randall, the Director of Sales for b5media and the author of AdvertiseSpace. Chad has been working in the online advertising industry for over 6 years now, and has personally sold more than $5,000,000 in online ads. I figured he’d be a good person to ask about how to make your blog attractive to advertisers.

1. Have an “Advertise with Us” Banner on your site

This is the single most important issue. It should click to an Advertising information page and have an easy way to contact you for more information and rates. Key points: Make it a graphical image or a tab. Keep it above the fold.

2. Keep the ads on your site specific to your site

Don’t have smiley ads and wallpaper ads if your site is site is about mobile phones.

3. Show them the banners

If you currently have no paid placements on your site, put up house ads or partner ads in the same spot you would run a paid spot. (A house ad refers to banners for other products or sites that you or your company own)

4. Throw up a free bonus ad.

By putting a free advertisement on your site, you may not only encourage similar ads or competitors to that product, but the company you added for free may decide to advertise with you. Ask for full disclosure of the performance of the campaign in return. (Total clicks, total purchases etc. ) Key points. Put the free bonus up with a direct URL without tracking tags or affiliate tags.

5. Show your site stats.

You need to show at least the basics for site statical information: Monthly unique visitors and total number of impressions are the 2 key ones. Other less important can be Google PR & Alexa rank.

6. User demographic information. Know your audience.

The bare minimum is Male/Female % and average age of your readers. Other potentially useful information includes geographic, HHI, single/married, number of kids. etc. How do you get this info? You can do site polls, survey’s, or get more detailed stats from ComScore or Quantcast.com

7. Have an ‘About Us’ section.

Clearly explain who you are and what your site is about. And also why you are an ‘authority’ on what you are writing about, and why anyone should care about what you have to say.

8. Don’t use Google AdSense on your site.

OK, this could be the most painful one for most people especially if you are generating a few hundred bucks a month from it already. But Google ad sense devalues your site and makes it look unprofessional. You have to ask yourself, “Do I want some real revenue from my site or Google’s table scraps.”

9. Keep your blog on topic.

If you are all over the map in regards to topics about which you talk about, advertisers won’t know if they are a good fit for your site.

10. Keep your blog professional.

If you are talking about your cat, (Matt Cutts), ranting about your drive to work, swearing or bashing every product you can think about, it will scare away advertisers.

updated – for spelling. Thanks Eric.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Useful tips, thanks. Good to know there is income revenue better than Google adsense. :)

  2. Dave Taylor says:

    Chad, I find it hard to understand why you, the ad director of b5media (of which Darren is a member), are saying that AdSense makes a blog “unprofessional”. My take is quite the opposite and that if anything, an AdSense block is like anything else you add to a page (like, say, a widget or banner ad): you can use it for good or evil. If you have an ugly design or try to trick people into thinking it’s part of your navigational scheme, well that’s obviously bad. But that doesn’t make AdSense itself bad.

    Frankly, for you to blanket criticize AdSense without explicitly saying that you make your money by competing with Google for blog advertising space is a bit like the pot calling the proverbial kettle black.

    Oh, and finally, some of us bloggers make more than “table scraps” with AdSense. In fact, I know of many bloggers and website entrepreneurs that are making a quite comfortable living working closely with Google.

  3. ilker says:

    Very informative.. Thank you Darren!

    It is almost like a post written especially for me as I recently asked my readers how to advertise on my blog. I will follow your advice word for word and see the results. Do you want me to keep you updated?

  4. engtech says:

    *throws out cat avatar*

  5. Peter says:

    Another good idea is to submit your posts to Digg or Profigg, from time to time. Personally I prefer Profigg rather than Digg, but it is only my humble opinion.

  6. Eric Giguere says:

    You’d think a competitor would know how to spell “AdSense”.

    You know why I like AdSense? Because I don’t have to worry about all that demographic stuff or hunting down advertisers, I just have to worry about my content and increasing my traffic/readership.

    And you can definitely use AdSense to attract advertisers to your site. Expect things to get even more interesting with pay-per-action ads as well.

    (Plus even the most professional blog can occasionally reference a pet.)

  7. Allan says:

    There goes a Googly hit.

    I bet, this post is for someone (from Google), who has subscribed to Darren’s RSS Feeds.

  8. Philip Liu says:

    Not sure about table scraps for Adsense comment–they give you 75% to 80% of the cost per click Google charges advertisers.

  9. Edward Mills says:

    Chad. Thanks for #8. I’ve been holding off using adsense for just those reasons. I’d much rather have full control over the ads so that I can offer them to my readers from a place of integrity. Sure, my readers can take care of themselves, but you’ve got to wonder how it damages credibility if a reader clicks on an ad that turns out to be totally off-topic, spammy or scammy.

  10. Some very good points — thank you.

    It’s interesting, though, that I had to scroll past several Google insertions to comment on a post which characterizes them as unprofessional. I’ve always thought AdSense’s contextual feature — which works well for my site — actually adds value to the reader.

    I went to the b5 main page, opened the first category in your directory (Arts & Design), and clicked the first three sites. All carried AdSense.

    Where do you *not* use AdSense, Chad?

    Again, I appreciate your post and intend to make a few of your suggestions actionable in my own efforts.

  11. Chad says:

    oops, Darren did warn me that the Google AdSense would be a sensitive subject. :)

    I guess I should clarify that point. If you want to attract ‘large’ advertiser and/or agencies to want to advertise on your site, then AdSense can turn them off, even running CJ affiliate ads can. I’m talking fortune 500 clients here.

    Yes, b5media does still run AdSense as a last resort and it is usually the lowest CPM in the mix.

    And as for my table scraps comment, if you compare a $20CPM to an average AdSense CPM of $1, I just consider it insulting. And the gang over at Google is eating pretty well…

  12. Simonne says:

    I found this post useful, thank you for sharing it with us. Yet, I would emphasize here that my lovely cat just attracted more than 10,000 visitors to my site over the past three days. She featured an article about how to pill your cat without getting scratched. She also made some pocket money out of AdSense these days: her food for about one month. Not bad for 10 minutes of modeling, isn’t it?

  13. Bes Zain says:

    I think the best thing to show is that you can be professional. Being professional does not mean not having personal blogs with cute colors and weird layouts and stuff. Being professional can mean that you can add elegance and respect into things, even if they are supposed to be extremely informal.

  14. this post seems rather contradicting…

  15. Stuart says:

    No AdSense? Are you off your tree, Chad?

    As if someone earning a couple hundred bucks for Google is going to pass up using AdSense in the hope that advertisers might find them more “professional”. I’d gladly swap my AdSense for a publisher who was willing to pay more than Google but not in the hope that I might attract them.

    I’m with dobizo.com – seems contradictory seeing as most, if not all, b5media blogs sport AdSense advertising. Are you saying your own network is unprofessional?

  16. Christa says:

    I really enjoy your blog and post, I am a new blogger learning the ropes with adsense and blogging. I know I got a lot to learn and love reading comments as much as the post!

  17. 網路賺錢 says:

    As I know low traffic blog won’t get any attractive to advertisers!! AdSense is low traffic blog’s good friend. Do use AdSense!!

    If your blog is high traffic, use adsense too! and get some direct ads sales at the same time.

  18. Shedwa says:

    Great tips. Not sure about the lack of AdSense attracting advertisers, but would be glad to get rid of it for ‘real’ ads. I’ve put some of your tips into action, and I’m anxious to see if I notice any changes in my advertising statistics.

  19. Some good tips, but the statement about AdSense is extremely amusing since at one point some of the blogs in the b5 network had SIX ad units on a single page ;)

  20. CJ says:

    That was accidental, Tyler – I think you are aware of that. :) We are trying to steer away from Adsense, but unfortunately our current design just isn’t very ad friendly. As soon as we roll out our proverbial ‘new templates,’ you will see that. I personally use lots of AdSense, on my other blogs, but would happily give it up for other advertisers. Chad – how cheap can I get you on the side? ;)

  21. Al Nye says:

    It makes NoSense to drop AdSense.

    Al

  22. Garry Conn says:

    Great tips… I am curious about the Google Adsense part though… and the reason why I question this is because there are quite a few highly successful sites online that use Google Adsense as well as have a market for selling their own ads on the site. This site here is an example.

  23. Mike Panic says:

    10. One of the first things I read about blogging some time ago was to the effect of, “be true, tell it how you see it, don’t hold back.” Now depending on what kind of blog you run, this can be very true. I wouldn’t expect a blog about a pet cat to generate a lot of money, but look at some of the bigger blogs out there that curse, show violence and other “not work safe” material that do very well.

    I’ve made it a point to write articles as of late about my good and bad experiences with products, services and customer support. Consumerist is one of the biggest “complaint” sites out there yet gets great advertising for showing how poorly major companies treat their customers.

    There is a time and place…

  24. imnakoya says:

    Very informative post; however, to suggest leaving out Adsense is somewhat an head-scratcher to me. Not every blog can attract the big advertisers, and even if this is possible, the beauty of “Goggle’s table scraps” is in its ease and convenience of usage. Is the #8 point based on some verifiable evidence or is it just “I think so” kind of opinion?

  25. First of all, I’m not blasting the anti-AdSense advice.

    And indeed, opinion is the backbone of what blogging is about.

    But to mix up poor implementation of AdSense (yes, I too dislike the insertions of blocks of AdSense into posts and other tactics that inhibit the flow of reading) with the industry itself is a good example of where the old saw “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” came from.

    A great many blogs are not trying to attract other bloggers and folks interested in paid posts, paid reviews etc. I blog on technical subjects and my readers are largely fellow practitioners in those fields. Attempting to sell general interest “advertise on this site” and electronic games, ring tones and other leisure oriented trivia is great for those living in that world but of little interest to a GPS implementation engineer. However ones for $6000 plus survey grade GPS systems, $16K GPS Total Station packages and $60K (plus) enterprise-wide medical equipment tracking systems will interest that engineer a lot. And the beauty of the AdSense/AdWords method is, id someone wants to advertise on my site, they can, with no intervention from me do so. I certainly can’t do all the marketing, sales, design, accounting and (the bugaboo of the advertising world) collections for properties as small as mine, just to insure I get 100% of the pie instead of the share Google gives me.

    How many technical journals to you read that contain no advertising? yes, of course the base of the advertising is economic, but are you maintaining you don’t frequently learn from advertisements? My ads, especially Link Units are as much a service to my readers as they are a source of income for me. I’ve had readers tell me that specifically.

    Where else will small-time publishers find someone who will comb the market and find relevant advertising for products like that? As per the Terms of Service, I of course can’t discuss CPM, but I sure am not complaining. Again, no offense taken at you stating your opinion but since each blog is (somewhat) different to blanket dismiss a service which is simple, reliable and profitable for so many, with so little explanation seems a bit excessive … especially, as has been pointed out, .. to a great extent your network was built by and continues to be a significant user of AdSense.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and I do see lots of good comments on all sides of the issue.

  26. macgoo says:

    Wow everyone has really hammered you about the adsense thing Chad. What I think everyone needs to remember is that this post is purely about attracting advertisers to your site. Chad feels adsense if a little bit of a turn off to the big advertisers. That is all! I have got a feeling this guy has a fair idea what he is talking about considering how successful B5 has been. Bring on $20CPM I say. Where the hell do we get that from!

  27. Steve Robson says:

    I don’t think big advertisers are going to give a monkeys about whether or not AdSense is on a site. They will see it as and entrepreneurial blog whose owner is thinking about driving traffic and creating eyeballs. What they are going to be more interested in is how many page views and unique visitors.

    A good advertiser will see a blog or website that is having a go as best they know how, they are not going to be put off because you tried to make some money, they’ll see you making the effort and see a good prospect. They’ll probably see the AdSense and ask you for some stats on it so they can get an accurate picture of how well your site is performing.

    Advertising online is all about measurement and quantifiables and AdSense provides lots of useful information you can share with potential new advertisers. They’ll be impressed if can turn around and say I make $200 a month on AdSense.

    Thats my 2 click throughs anyway.

    Steve Robson

  28. Garri says:

    We have a saying here at Holiday Pad and that is: b*ll*cks to Adsense.

  29. Rui Augusto says:

    Nice tips, as most of the people who comment before, I don’t agree with the adsense tip.

    I guess Problogger will have to stop using adsense, to make it look “more professional”

    I’m looking at this adsense block under the comment form and it looks nice…

  30. Garri says:

    … oops, submit button was clicked too hastily.

    I’m with Chad on the Adsense tip but it was an easy decision to drop Adsense because we didn’t run it in the first place. We will implement our own system at some point this year.

  31. As a few others have noted, this post was about attracting new advertisers to your site. Running AdSense means you aren’t selling ads yourself, which would turn me off as an advertiser ;-)

    On the slightly contradictory-ness of Chad saying AdSense sucks while b5 runs a lot of AdSense, the answer is simple: we’re dumping AdSense.

    The new template is up at http://www.ensight.org.

    It’ll take us 2-3 months to redesign the network, at which time we’ll hopefully be done with AdSense, at least until such a time as Google deems to actually reward publishers for the worth of the ad being shown.

    My perspective is this: if you’re being paid any less than 1CPM/unit on a page, you’re being ripped off as a blogger. Some people are earning more than that, most are earning less (in your AdSense reports, remember that the default is to show revenue for the entire page, not per unit). Much, much less.

    Chad’s simply saying he feels content is worth more than that, and I’m sure few would disagree with him on that ;-)

  32. Chad says:

    OK We’ll first off, I should apologize, since I am a totally new to the blogging world, I now realize that if you are going to bash something you need to back it up better.

    So I’ve explained ‘my’ reasoning here :

    http://www.advertisespace.com/2007/03/22/why-i-hate-google-adsense-part-i/

  33. Amanda says:

    I think its about time webmasters took back the control of their advertising it is hard but it gets so tiring seeing adsense everywhere.

  34. soul-healer says:

    I think you should say use 1 Adsense block rather then dropping it. Too many adsense blocks makes it look unprofessional.

  35. I think the only adsense blocks that make a blog look unprofessional are the ones that people stuff in the middle of a long article. I hate those things.

  36. Sweet stuff here – thanks to Chad for starting the conversation.

    I’m currently working on finding more advertisers for Know More Media, and while it’s always challenging, it’s also very rewarding. These tips will definitely help. Anyone who wants to shoot the breeze re: online advertising is welcome to ping me.

  37. VAtu says:

    Thanks Darren, For these Gr8 tips.

    This will help me alot.

    VATU
    http://technobuzz.net/

  38. tish says:

    What is the minimum number of views/week or month necessary to attract advertisers — or for AdSense?

    Thanks

  39. ilker says:

    Hello again Darren,

    I have accomplished your first tip and placed a banner in my site saying I’m interested in sponsors.. the Web 2.0 way! ;)

  40. Good advice indeed!

    One thing does spring into mind though. The topic of using Google Adsense or not.

    I personally see Adsense as a “must-have”, but in a way that doesnt destroy your layout. I have on previous occasions seen sites with Adsense all over the place, which in my opinion indeed is not the brightest way of utilizing it.

    But, kept at a fair amount, and placed with just a tad of common sense, I really do believe that they can be used in a way that does not lower the general appearance of your site.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Regards.

  41. Sharyce says:

    Boy, am I impressed with your blog and your content. There is so much useful information here. I bookmarked your blog and will be returning often. I can see why you earn money with your blogs! How do you maintain so many blogs? 20? My goodness!

  42. Peter Davis says:

    I tend to agree that Adsense has become like the ‘low rent’ district of the web. Of course, it’s easy and people use it because of that. And, yes, you can get far better CPM rates by attracting advertisers directly.

    But, as the director of sales at B5, you’re saying that Adsense is a “last resort” yet even on a property as popular as problogger.net there are multiple placements of Adsense. Sounds like you’re admitting you’re not doing a very good job.

  43. Scott says:

    and serve your audience :)

  44. Alberto says:

    What makes us unprofessional are our prejudices.

    Because the best professional of all is the one that defies the standards.
    This is why he/she isn’t in (y)our team: no one would ever hire such a guy. No troublemakers, only parrots that imitate are eagerly sought.

    Innovation? What innovation? Firms do not want innovation. They want security.

    It’s not adsense what makes you look unprofessional. It is a prejudiced way to feature it that makes you and them look unprofessional.

    But then, what do our audiences mean by “professional”? Genius goes out of the walked path (and thus can’t be professional, by definition!), and our audiences are just a set of miseducated guys who respect only success and that would flock whereber pamela Anderson in a swimsuit would say to them to rush because that’s professional in her opinion.

    If we judge things by “professionality” we exclude genius, and we are left with whomever has enough money to teach a mass what is professional and what is not.

    We don’t know what is professional and what is not.
    “We don’t walk by sight, but by faith.”

    Alberto

  45. in moderation once again. I’m afraid to comment any more here – especially while it’s in guest mode.

  46. Couldn’t tell if I was the only one to comment on this topic, but this site, ProBlogger, uses AdSense. There must be some influential and important revenue stream that is being generated from it.

    -Sam from MarketMatador.com

  47. thanks very much for usefull information

  48. jaybol says:

    this is great info…thanks for the great recommendations

  49. Starfeeder says:

    “8. Don’t use Google AdSense on your site.

    OK, this could be the most painful one for most people especially if you are generating a few hundred bucks a month from it already. But Google ad sense devalues your site and makes it look unprofessional. You have to ask yourself, “Do I want some real revenue from my site or Google’s table scraps.” ”

    funny…..

    I’m actually in the process of re-arranging items on my future layout… including moving Google AdSense ads to a more discreet and “quite” location

  50. DavidYin says:

    Darren,

    It is such a good post gave so many ways to attract Ads owners.

    Thanks a lot.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Chad Randall recently wrote a guest post on Darren’s ProBlogger blog about why you should not use AdSense, and after the natives got a little restless, followed it up with more at his own blog. I think he is right on the money. Check it out! Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  2. [...] Chad Randall, b5media’s director of sales, got hammered for a guest post he did on Darren Rowse’s blog about why he hates Google AdSense. After getting stitched up, he took another crack at his thesis today. For all the gory details, check out his blog. [...]

  3. [...] 10 Ways to make your Blog more Attractive to Advertisers [...]

  4. [...] Chad Randall, b5’s Director of Sales, posted this guest blog entry at Problogger: 10 Ways to make your Blog more Attractive to Advertisers. And, one of the things he said was: 8. Don’t use Google AdSense on your site. [...]

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