Close
Close

Six Figure Blogging – Free Preview Call This Wednesday

Six-Figure-BloggingA few weeks back now I announced the launch of the second version of Six Figure Blogging.

This Wednesday (2d April) at 8pm EST (US Eastern time) Andy Wibbels and I will be holding the free preview call to give those deciding whether to participate a taster of what’s to come in the following weeks of the course.

If you can’t make the live call it will be made available to those who register for it in the day after we do it. You do need to register for the call at Six Figure Blogging to get either the live version or the recorded one.

Looking forward to connecting with you on the call!

PS: just a quick warning – the early bird price will end 24 hours after the preview call so if you’re planning on joining in make sure you do it by Thursday evening.

WordPress 2.5 Goes Live

WordPress 2.5 launched over the weekend and has lots of good things bundled up in it. As usual Aaron has a great post with 10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.5.

Why Do You Blog? [POLL RESULTS]

A few weeks back I ran a poll here on ProBlogger asking readers why they blog.

Keep in mind that this blog is about making money from blogging so you’d naturally expect that the ‘money’ answer might be higher than in the wider blogosphere but here are the results.

why-do-you-blog.png

There’s lots of good discussion in the poll announcement post which explore motivations for blogging further.

Interview with a Weblogs Inc Blog ‘Producer’

VictorWhile at SXSW Interactive earlier this month I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with some of the Weblogs Inc bloggers. It was great to get a little insight into how one of the original blog networks has grown and is now currently operating a couple of years after it’s sale to AOL.

One of those that I met was Victor Agreda Jr. When I asked him what his role was he told me that he was a ‘blog producer’ at a number of WIN’s blogs. The idea of blogs having a ‘producer’ immediately intrigued me and I asked him if he’d be willing to do a mini interview to explore it. Here it is:

Darren: How long have you been working with Weblogs Inc? How did you get the job with them?

Victor: I started blogging for Weblogs back in 2005 with Download Squad. I originally applied for TUAW, in part because I was the top-ranked commenter (at the time comments were given 1-5 stars by the bloggers) and I had huge numbers of comments.

I later wound up on TUAW as a blogger (about 6 months later). My full-time gig began a little less than 2 years ago. I was brought on partly for my tech background, and partly because I speak Spanish.

Darren: When we met in Austin you described your role as a ‘producer’ of a few of Weblogs Inc’s blogs – can you unpack what a blog producer does for us?

Victor: In fact, my AOL title is “programming manager” but “producer” is probably more accurate. I come from a film/video background, and “producing” our blogs is pretty similar. I make sure the trains run on time, people get paid, content is getting posted, etc. Basically middle-management (which means I get to watch everyone having fun while blogging).

Darren: Which blogs do you work with?

TUAW, Download Squad, DIY Life plus Autoblog Latino and the Spanish version of Engadget and Autoblog.

Darren: What is the biggest challenge for you in your work?

Victor: Finding and retaining top talent. I used to say ‘especially in tech’ before we launched DIY, but honestly, it is all pretty rough. Either folks have their own blog they are monetizing (no matter how small– but people like to “own” their stuff) or they are lacking in some critical fashion (can’t write).

Darren: Does WIN employ producers on other blogs? Do their roles differ to yours at all?

Victor: We have two others at my level, plus one person one level up the career ladder (Barb, who manages 3 f/t Joystiq editors). We split our properties up among “verticals” so, for example, Willy would manage Cinematical and TV Squad, while Kristi handles Slashfood and Aisledash (entertainment vs. lifetsyle blogs).

Darren: Do you have any advice or tips for smaller to medium sized blogs that want to step up in terms of professionalism and growth?

Victor: Building a team is crucial, always. Once you grow beyond just yourself, it is important to have a talent pool who can bring a variety of skills to the table. This usually means a level of tech-savvy (people shouldn’t be afraid of wikis or simple HTML) plus a certain level of management ability. There also gets a point where you need someone focusing on sales!

Should I Change My Website Into a Blog?

“Hi Darren, I’ve got a website at www._____.com which I’ve had for a few years and not really done much with. I’ve heard that blogs are a good way of building traffic and making money, should I change it to a blog?”

I get this type of question on a weekly basis so I thought that I’d tackle it as a post.

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether to change an established website into a blog.

6 Reasons to Consider a Blog

Much has been written on the topic of why blogs are a medium to consider for your website but here’s some that I’m particularly attracted to:

1. Blogs give Individuals, Companies and Brands ‘Voice’ – 5 years ago I was a guy with a ‘voice’ that reached a few hundred people on any given week – today what I write and say is sneezed out to hundreds of thousands of people on any given week. My blogs are the vehicle for this.

2. Blogs are Conversational – both in the style of writing, the way they interact with one another and the way that they are designed with comments at their heart blogs are all about the conversation.

3. Blogs build Trust – as a result of being a relational/conversational medium a blogger can build trust with their audience (something that most businesses would kill for).

4. Blogs build Profile – looking to become an ‘expert’ (or at least be perceived as an expert) in your field. Blogs have the ability to showcase your expertise and help you become the ‘go to’ person in your field. Just today my blog brought me the opportunity to appear in Australia’s national newspaper – the result has been numerous other opportunities.

5. Blogs are Immediate – blogs are a great way to communicate with people because they are so quick to use. Have a thought, write it down, hit publish and within minutes it can be being read and commented upon by your readers.

6. Blogs are a doorway to Search Engines and Social Media – one of the great things about blogs is that they are indexed so well by search engines which love sites that are focused upon a topic, updated regularly etc. Social media sites (particularly bookmarking ones) also love blogs.

The list of reasons to blog goes on and on. Of course everything I’ve mentioned above can also be achieved with other types of websites and just because you have a blog doesn’t mean the above all falls in your lap (it takes work – see below) – however these are some of the attractive aspects of having a blog.

5 Reasons why a Blog May Not be for You

Some bloggers tend to build blogging up to be the answer to every problem you might have online without giving a full picture. Let me shed a little light on the flip-side of blogging and why it might not be the right medium for you.

1. Blogs Take Time to Mature – one of the misconceptions that many new or ‘PreBloggers’ come to blogging with is that they just need to set one up and people will come reading it in their thousands. This is rarely the case. Unless you get extremely lucky or have some existing profile or traffic source to leverage a new blog takes considerable time to build up when it comes to readership. When I surveyed Technorati’s Top 100 blogs last year I found that on average they’d been running for over 3 years to achieve their prominence (it’d be more now).

2. Blogs Take Daily Work – the key to successful blogging is to post quality content on a regular basis. Most bloggers post on a daily basis, many of the top blogs post numerous times per day. Combine this fact with the last point (ie that it takes years for a blog to mature) and you have this question to ask yourself:

“Can you write something of high quality on a daily basis on your chosen topic for the next 3 years?”

That’s 780 posts if you post each weekday for the next 3 years – 1560 if you post twice each weekday…..

3. Blogs Take More than Writing – I’m not trying to depress you but there’s more to successful blogs than writing posts. Bloggers face a lot of other practical challenges on their way to success. These include moderating comments (blogs are the targets of spammers and occasionally ‘trolls’ (trouble makers), design (making your blog look unique can be an important element in it’s success), marketing (new readers don’t just appear – it takes networking, self promotion etc) and more. The list of jobs that a blogger needs to do can be overwhelming to a new blogger. Of course a lot of these skills develop over time and become a natural part of your working rhythm – but it’s worth counting the cost of this before you get into blogging.

4. Bloggers Can be Anti-Trust/Profile Building – I mentioned above that a blog can be a wonderful tool for building your voice, profile and trust. However the flip-side is that you can actually hurt your reputation in your niche if you don’t use your blog well. Everything that you do on your blog has the potential to either build or destroy your reputation in some way. Remember that what you ‘publish’ online is permanent. While you might delete it from your actual blog there will be a record of it somewhere online. So publishing untruths, writing while angry, being manipulative or not being transparent on your blog can actually come back to bite you and hurt your reputation. The vast majority of bloggers have positive experiences from blogging but do enter into it with a little caution and care – the blogosphere can be a very unforgiving place if you give it reason to turn on you.

5. Blogs Rely Upon YOU as a Conversation Starter – I was chatting with a new blogger recently about their experience of starting a blog and they reflected back to me that they didn’t realize how draining it could be to be the instigator of conversation. They’d come from a background of using online forums previously – a medium where the community kicks off conversation. Blogs are similar to forums in that they are conversational, but where anyone can start a conversation on a forum a blog relies upon you to do it. This takes time, energy, creativity and a certain skill.

Once again, this list could go on (and on) but I’ll leave it at that and invite others to add their thoughts in comments.

My hope in exploring some of these themes is that those with established websites might have a better picture of some of the pros and cons of switching from their current website to a blog.

Blog or Website OR Blog and Website

The last question that I’d pose to those considering the switch from a website to a blog is that it’s possible to do both.

My challenge to most people who ask me the question about making the change is to think about whether they really need to replace their current site with a blog or whether they could just add a blog to their established site. In some cases the established site is fairly poor and deleting and replacing it can be the best move – but if you have a site with some level of presence in search engines, traffic and reputation then it can sometimes be better to simply add a blog to it and let what you’ve already developed remain.

The thing is that we’re now seeing many bloggers add other types of websites to their blogs (forums, social networks, static pages etc). Bloggers are realizing that blogs are not the best medium for every situation and that there are opportunities to reach different people with different types of sites – so keep your mind open to the possibilities of keeping what you’ve already established and adding to it rather than replacing it.

Recommended Reading

As I wrote this post I was reminded of a previous one that I’d written that I’d highly recommend those considering starting a blog read. It’s called 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You? This post explores some of the above themes plus numerous more and is designed to help you work out whether blogging might be the right medium for you. It’s one of the first posts in my series – Blogging for Beginners which is also worth a read if you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey.

20 Types of Pages that Every Blogger Should Consider

When you use WordPress you’re given the choice when publishing between doing it as a ‘post’ or as a ‘page‘. Posts go up on your blog while ‘pages’ are static pages that you can publish without it having to go up on your blog.

There’s a lot of reasons why you might choose a post over a page or a page over a post (that’s for another post) – but today I thought I’d highlight a few ‘pages’ that I have here on ProBlogger as examples of pages that bloggers might want to develop to promote their blog to different groups of people. Some are more essential in my mind than others but all have been helpful in the development of my own blogs.

About Page1. About Page – perhaps one of the most common uses of the ‘page’ function on WP is the good old ‘about page’. Having an about page is essential in my mind as it gives new readers to your blog a snapshot of who you are and why they should subscribe to your blog. This is the page that I go to every time I hit a new blog – if they don’t have one it decreases my chances of subscribing significantly. Read more on adding an about page to your blog.

Contact Page2. Contact Page – I’m amazed how many bloggers don’t have any way of contacting them on their blog. While I understand the temptation not to have one you could be missing out of wonderful opportunities by not giving readers, potential partners, press, other bloggers a way of contacting you. Read more on Why your blog’s readers should be able to contact you.

Press Page3. Press Page – I don’t promote this page heavily (although do mention it on my ‘About Page‘) but use it more when interacting with journalists and mainstream media outlets. The way I use it is to show journalists what others have written about me. I find that in providing a list of previous articles in mainstream media you gain a little credibility and give journalists a head start in finding an angle to pursue for their own potential articles about you. It’s also handy to be able to provide this page to anyone else that you’re attempting to build credibility with that may not be that ‘new media savvy’. It’s amazing how a mention in mainstream media will open doors for some.

Disclaimer Page4. Disclaimer Page – I need to update this page but for the interests of transparency have it linked to on every page on my blog to show readers what I get out of this blog – ie that I make money from it and use affiliate programs. I also use this page to dispel some of the myths and untrue assumptions that people have about me and this blog by sharing some of the ‘costs’ of this blog. I find that this balanced ‘disclaimer’ works quite well.

FAQ Page5. FAQ Page – this page was written with a very selfish motive – to cut down my workload. I get asked a lot of question, many of them repeatedly. As an attempt to answer some of these frequently asked questions I put together some answers for them. I still get asked the questions but being able to point to this page helps. I also have it linked to prominently from my Contact Page.

Subscribe Page6. Subscribe Page – having a page dedicated to how people can subscribe to your blog can be very useful. I don’t link to this from my sidebar any more (like I do at DPS) but do link to it from within posts at times. I find that having a page like this can be useful as some readers don’t understand the idea of RSS or can be worried about issues of privacy or what it means to ‘subscribe’. Sometimes having a page dedicated to walking people through the process can pay off.

Advertise with Us Page7. Advertise with Us Page – looking to sell advertising on your blog? An ‘Advertise’ page is an important part of attracting new advertisers and a well written one can cut down a lot of work for you as it’ll help to filter out people by giving them information that helps them to know if your site is right for them. Further Reading: Finding Advertisers for Your Blog.

Series Page - Compilation8. Series Page – Compilation – I’ve used ‘pages’ in two ways when it comes to series of posts. The first way is to put together a compilation page of all of the posts in a series. I don’t do this that regularly but in the example linked to put together the content from all 25 posts on my series on Battling Bloggers Block. I found that some readers really appreciated having the series all in the one place.

Series Page - Central Page9. Series Page – Central Page – the other approach to managing a series of posts with a ‘page’ is to use one as a ‘central links page’ that you update with a link to each post in your series over time. This is what I did in my 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Series last August. The beauty of this approach over the ‘compilation page’ is that it can drive a lot more page views as readers are ‘sneezed’ in multiple directions into your blog. It’s also good because it allows readers to be more selective about which posts in a series they want to read rather than reading the full thing.

Affiliate Pre-Sell Pages10. Affiliate Pre-Sell Pages – having a dedicated page for an affiliate program that you’re running can be a very smart move. If you refer to a product that you’re promoting regularly in your posts – rather than linking to the affiliate program link to a ‘pre-sell’ page on your own blog. This allows you to ‘pre-sell’ the product more with a personal message. This is what I do on my AdSense page here at ProBlogger. This doesn’t work for every affiliate program but I find with AdSense that it works well as their landing page can be a little off putting to new potential users of it. It also gives me a little more flexibility with how I mention AdSense in my posts as their Referrals program doesn’t allow html linking. Further Reading: 5 Tips for Improving AdSense Referral Earnings.

Services Pages11. Services Pages – If you offer services to readers then develop a dedicated sales page for yourself and link to it prominently on your blog. The example here is my Consulting page – a page I used to point to regularly. These days I don’t offer these services any more (due to workload) so have not promoted it for a while. I find that when you have a dedicated page to selling your services you can sell yourself much more expansively than just a quick mention elsewhere on your blog.

Key Information Pages12. Key Information Pages – Do you have information that you’re constantly providing to people over and over again (whether in blog posts, via email or in other ways)? Make a page about it and keep the link handy. That’s what I did with my b5media page and have found it to help me cut down my workload in answering questions about the network. I also link to it in my navigational bar here on ProBlogger and it’s lead to some great opportunities. You could do this with any business or product that you’re associated with.

Landing Pages13. Landing Pages – this page is an example of one over at DPS that I used last year as a landing page for an ad campaign that I ran. If you do choose to run an ad campaign to promote your blog then it’s much wiser to link your ads to a dedicated landing page than the front page of your blog. Read more on Advertising Your Blog and on Landing Pages.

Sneeze Pages14. Sneeze Pages – one great way to propel people deep within your blog is to develop a Sneeze Page or a ‘Best of’ page that highlights some of the better articles on your blog around a particular theme. Put links to these pages on your sidebar or refer to them in posts and you’ll see your page impressions per visit statistics go up.

Testimonial Pages15. Testimonial Pages – if you’re selling something (even if it’s yourself) to have some sort of a testimonial page can be very worthwhile. People base buying decisions increasingly upon the opinions of others – so capture some of these opinions and present them.

Event Specific Pages16. Event Specific Pages – speaking at an event? Create a ‘page’ specifically for those at it and mention that you’ve done so in your presentation. This way you can tailor a specific message to those visitors, their needs, your presentation and ‘sell’ something to them (whether it be subscribing to your blog, buying a product, selling your services or getting them to read certain pages on your blog. The example I’ve given is from a conference I did this time last year. I also used to have a section on that page selling a product that I mentioned in the presentation and it converted quite well.

404 Page17. 404 Page – when people arrive on your blog to a page that has been deleted, follow a dead link etc and end up on a default error page on your blog you’ve got a wasted opportunity on your hands. Customize your error pages to help readers find what they’re looking for or at least find something else that might interest them. Further Reading: How to Create a Custom 404 Error Page for Your Blog.

Special Projects18. Special Projects – Last year I participated in a charity event called (Movember). Rather than letting this event completely take over my blog for the month I created a dedicated page for the event that those who were interested in could follow my updates on.

Guest Blogger Page19. Guest Blogger Page – I’ve never spoken publicly about this page on ProBlogger before but it’s a page that I provide to guest bloggers of ProBlogger with some guidelines on how to write for this blog. I’ve done the same thing for DPS and have found that it’s been very useful. I get more posts that are written in a format that I can use and it’s cut down a lot of work for me.

Archives Page20. Archives Page – there are numerous ways that you can present that archives of your blog. It becomes more challenging the larger your blog grows to be able to direct people back to your best previous work and a dedicated page can be helpful in that process rather than just presenting a list of categories or dates on your site bar. What I’ve attempted to do with mine is to provide a page with dated archives but also categories with some suggested starting points.

Some of the above ‘pages’ can of course be created from ‘posts’ on your blog (and there might be some good reasons for doing so) however my preference is to make them ‘pages’. In most cases this is because I prefer these pages to not be date specific. The way I have my links set up here at ProBlogger posts have dates showing and in the link structure – but pages don’t. In many of the above examples I also didn’t want to page to show up in my blog’s RSS feed or categories – but preferred them to be standalone pages.

What page types would you add to the above list?

Update: Some great suggestions in comments so far. I agree that a privacy page is a good one, as is a comments policy (I have one of these but wrote it as a post – I think it’d be more appropriate as a page though). Another one that I should have included is a ‘resource’ page – a page that lists recommended resources, books, courses etc. Lastly – I should have included a ‘blog roll’ or ‘links’ page. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions – keep them coming.

5 Ways to Get the Opinion of Others and Add Dimensions to Your Blog

One way to add depth to the posts that you write on your blog is to include the opinions of others on the topics that you’re exploring. The way that I see it is that when I write a post with just my own thoughts in it it can end up being a little one dimensional – but when I draw upon the experience of others also posts have the potential to become 2… or even 3 dimensional.

How do I do it?

Here are five ways that I’ve used lately to include the opinion of others in my posts:

1. Twitter – one of the things that I love about Twitter is that it has the ability to create instant conversations around virtually any topic. Next time you’re writing a post ask a question or two of your ‘followers’ on Twitter. Ask them for examples, get their opinion or survey them on their behavior on the topic you’re exploring.

Example: in my post with 9 benefits of Twitter I showed an example of this when I was writing a post about RSS and asked my ‘followers’ how many feeds they read each day. Within minutes I had over 30 answers.

Twitter-Research2

Twitter-Research-22

2. LinkedIn Q&A – yesterday I decided to test the Questions and Answer feature on LinkedIn for the first time. I asked 200 of my connections about what social media services they use. 24 hours later 70 of those that I asked have given their opinion. What surprised me the most was the depth that some of the answers had in them with people really putting some effort into their responses.

Picture 4-6

3. Ask Your Readers - the last method is perhaps the most obvious, ask your blog readers for their opinions. Posts that are simply questions are great ways of getting comments on your blog but their real potential is to learn what your readers think. For example in the last week I asked readers about how they’d promote a new blog – I had just under 40 responses so far, some of which I featured in a followup post.

4. Google Your Topic - I’m surprised that I don’t see this done more but perhaps one of the most obvious ways to get a quote for a post you’re writing is to Google the topic and see what others have written on it previously. Rarely a topic goes by that some blogger hasn’t already covered in some way so it’d make sense to research it. Perhaps it’s our obsession with ‘fresh content’ that makes a little snobby towards what others have written previously – but I think it’s something well worth doing.

5. Target Specific Bloggers/Readers - the last method is where you ask a question of specific people. I’ve noticed more and more bloggers doing this lately – they write a post and then send an email out to 4-5 other bloggers in their niche to ask them for a quote or to do a ‘one question interview’. They then include these short quotes in their post – giving it more depth and also can add some expertise to your post (if you choose the right people to feature).

10 Blogging Jobs to Apply for Today

The ProBlogger Job boards have been listing some great jobs for bloggers of late. Here’s 10 of the latest from the last 7 days:

What excites me is that there’s such a variety of jobs being advertised not only in terms of topics/themes but also in terms of advertisers (with a few mainstream advertisers in the last month) and roles (I’m especially noticing more advertising for editors, managers and community managers).

How Much Should I Charge for my Advertising Space?

In this post Daniel Scocco answers to another question on the Problogger Question Box (and a question that I get asked a lot). Brian Auer asks:

What about [direct advertising] pricing? Are there any good ballpark price structures? What do we base rates on?

As soon as a blogger decides to play with direct advertising, the question of “how much to charge” emerges. If you charge too much, you might end up with no advertisers at all. If you charge too little, on the other hand, you will be leaving money on the table.

Unfortunately, as Brian wonders, there are no standard pricing structures across the Internet. You will need to take a look around, do some research, and experiment on your own site to find the rates that will maximize your revenues.

That being said, that are some methods that you can use to draw an initial price tag, and some specific places where you can look to cross check the numbers. Below we will cover them.

Defining the metrics: The CPM

Notice that talking about advertising prices in absolute values is useless.

Suppose there are two blogs. One charges $500 monthly for a 125×125 banner spot above the fold, while the other charges $1,000 for a similar spot. Could we say that the first blog offers a much better deal for advertisers?

Obviously not, because the value that the advertiser will get for its money depends on a myriad of factors, above all the traffic that each of the two blogs receives monthly.

If the first blog generates 100,000 monthly page views while the second generates 500,000 monthly page views, an advertiser would be better off by purchasing the advertising space of the second blog for $1,000.

As you can see, the answer to our question comes from a very simple ratio: cost of the advertising space divided by the traffic that the ad will receive.

Several metrics could be used to define traffic, from unique visitors to visits and page views. Most publishers tend to use page views though. Moreover, it is a common practice to measure page views by the thousands, so one should talk about cost per 1,000 page views or impressions. CPM is the term for that, and it stands for Cost Per Mille (Mille being the Latin word for 1,000).

Just to conclude our example, if you do a small calculation you can see that the first blog has a $5 CPM while the second one has a $2 CPM.

Now, we are not suggesting that you should tie your ad rates to the number of monthly impressions of your blog. Offering a flat monthly rate to advertisers is usually the best (and simpler) way to go. Just keep the CPM numbers in mind because they will enable you to compare your prices with those of other bloggers.

What do other bloggers charge?

Like it or not, the Internet behaves like a giant market place, and all websites are subject to the laws of supply and demand. In other words, if you set a price that is significantly higher than the one used by other blogs on your niche, the advertisers will go somewhere else.

The first thing you should do, therefore, is to take a look on blogs that sell advertising space to evaluate what rates they are asking.

The format of the ad (e.g., 468×60, 120×600, 125×125) and the position (e.g., header, sidebar, footer, blended with content) are factors that will directly influence the final price, so in order to be consistent through out your research you should pick a format and position that is popular.

Among blogs selling direct advertising space the 125×125 button ad on top of the sidebar is arguably the most used format, and it should fit our research purpose.

Let’s see what popular blogs on the online marketing sphere are charging, for instance. If you visit the Advertising page of Copyblogger, you will find that the blog generates over 1,000,000 monthly page views, and a 125×125 spot on the sidebar costs $1,500. Divide $1,500 by 1,000 (remember that 1,000,000 is equal to 1,000 times 1,000 page views) and you get a CPM of $1,5.

Similarly, if you visit JohnChow you will find that the 125×125 button add costs $500 monthly, and the blog generates 300,000 page views. Again just do $500 divided by 300 and you get a CPM of $1,66.

As you can see a CPM of $1,5 for the 125×125 buttons is a good average. Even TechCrunch charges a similar rate ($10,000 for 6,5 million page views monthly, converting to a CPM of $1,53), so let’s keep that number as a starting point.

Adapting to your own situation

All the blogs mentioned are viewed as authorities on their niche, which affects how much advertisers are willing to pay to get exposed to their audiences. If your blog is new or if you are just beginning to experiment with direct advertising, therefore, you probably should start with a lower CPM.

Start asking a $0,5 CPM, for example, and as your blog grows and more advertisers come along you can gradually raise it. If you have a blog generating 100,000 monthly page views this would translate into $50 monthly for each 125×125 button placed on your sidebar.

If you are going to use other ad formats or position the ads on other locations of your website just estimate how these factors will affect the traffic that an advertiser will end up getting. Placing a 300×250 banner on the sidebar, for instance, is similar to having 4 125×125 ads, so you could charge 4 times the price of the 125×125 ad ($200 monthly if your blog generates 100,000 impressions, converting to a $2 CPM).

Similarly, increase the CPM if the ad is on the header or blended with the content, and decrease it if the ad will be displayed below the fold or on the footer.

Keep in mind that you should consider real page views for these evaluations. Most web stats programs and software tend to over estimate the traffic on your site. Google Analytics is usually the most reliable one.

Cross checking the numbers and experimenting

In order to cross check the numbers with an external source you could join an advertising network (either CPC based like Google Adsense or CPM based) and use it on the spots where you plan to sell direct advertising.

If you are planning to sell a 300×250 banner spot below your posts, for instance, you could firstly put a Google AdSense unit there and measure the CPM that it will give. Most direct advertising deals should bring you more money that what advertising networks do, mainly because you are cutting out the commissions and negotiating directly with the advertisers.

Finally, remember to experiment endlessly and draw your own conclusions. What works for one blog may not work for another, and vice-versa.

Over to you

Defining optimal advertising rates is a tricky business, and I recognize that the methods and strategies described above might not work for everyone.

What other methods have you used on your blog? How did they work?

This post was written by Daniel Scocco from the wonderful Daily Blog Tips.