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5 Tips for Making Widget Ads Perform Better on Your Blog

In my last post I talked about 4 Widget Ad options that bloggers should test in the lead up to Christmas – in this post I want to give a few quick tips for beginners to keep in mind as they test and optimize these types of ads.

1. Keep Ads Relevant to Content

To make any kind of product ad or affiliate program work the product that you advertise needs to match what you’re writing about as closely as possible.

Most of the widget ad units mentioned in the last post allow you to choose what product (or at least category of product) that will be featured in the ad – so make sure you choose products carefully to match your blog (and individuals posts) topics.

2. Position Prominently

These Widget Ads work best when your readers see them. Now there’s an obvious statement if I ever heard one – yet I see so many ads on blogs that are likely to go unseen. Make sure your ads are in a part of your blog that will be seen by readers.

This means putting them above the fold, as close to content as possible or perhaps even underneath posts (people pause at the end of a post and look for something to do – an ad can work well there despite it being low on the page).

Avoid putting them in sidebars unless you have no other option to do that.

3. Multiple Ad Units Per Page

A logical way to increase the earnings of these types of ads is to show more than one per page. If you have one high on the page include a second one lower on the page also.

Don’t fall into the trap of stuffing your blog with too many ads – but don’t be afraid to have more than one on a page.

4. Blend Your Ad Units

Each of the widget ads can be customized in terms of size and design so don’t just let the ads sit on your page in their default appearance.

I find that ads that blend into your blog’s design a little work best. Try making the colors of links in ads the same color as links on your blog, remove borders (or at least make them the same color as your blog background) and where given the choice use fonts for the ads that don’t clash too much with your blogs font.

5. Track Your Results

Most of the widget units mentioned in the previous post have the ability to be tracked in one way or another. Utilize this and work out what works best for your blog. You will find that some ad positions, design and products will work better than others – once you work out what works best stick to it.

What tips would you ad? What have you found works best with Widget Ad Units on Blogs?

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. I haven’t been able to create any type of ad space in my sidebar that worked. I do like the tips that you provide and would like to add that maybe showing these ads on post pages only might take some clutter away from the homepage.

  2. Josten says:

    only if i could find some new ones for blogger

  3. wayne tully says:

    I find that tracking results on an almost daily basis works quite well for the first month of trying new widget ads, then once you know what could come in and be evaluated from your efforts you can start to add more ad variations.

    Also what seems to work best is customizing the widget code more than just blending in the ads, I use as many ad widgets and content links that I am allowed on one blog and generally measure up how each one performs over the other.

    I particularly like the testing of new widget ads to see what works and what does not and this as far as anyone else says is the best thing to do once you have moderate to high traffic.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I’ll have to take a look at widget ads. Since I’ve been making a nice living from Adsense for a while, I haven’t tried many other programs other than Chitika and Amazon (affiliate program).

    I like the idea of being able to choose what ads display next to my content though. Adsense does a good job with its contextual advertising, but I could see where it’d be advantageous to show an add for a higher end model of a specific product or the exact product you’re reviewing.

    Thanks for the information, Darren!

  5. bbrian017 says:

    weak article problogger! Seems you’re running out of things to blog about and now you’re ranting.

    Yes if you ad more ads on a page it’s likely to get clicked more…

    Yes track your ads to see what people are clicking…

    I’m almost thinking you didn’t write this…

  6. I certainly need to do a lot of testing on my ads. I am successful in placing them on my online stores, but I have found placing them (making money) on my blogs challenging.

    thanks for the post! :)

  7. Blog Expert says:

    I think the most important thing is the position. Position of your advertisements is always the answer. Otherwise people are just not interested in what you are advertising.

  8. Daniel Ted says:

    I think blending the ads to the theme of the site and tracking what widgets work best are the most important tips.

  9. JOE GELB says:

    some of these widget companies have been giving me problems like freezing out the whole site. im not sure why but they seem to do well for like a week then go aggro like they have a virus lol. does anyone know why this is?

  10. Dan Mihaliak says:

    I always thought the sidebar was the premium place to put ads. Thanks for opening my eyes to other ways.

  11. العاب says:

    Thank you for these great tips . Though they sound the same as those you wrote earlier about working with Adsense .

  12. The 3++ X 2++ is a good size for ads. It worked out for me better than any other tested sizes. Sidebar is the worst of all my 30 days tests.

  13. Frychiko says:

    I took it to the next level and made my own widgets (php/mysql/data feeds/pricetapestry) to insert directly into my posts. (A certain tech product) . Good thing is I’m the only one who has these ads plus it’s PPA and not PPC and I can customize the ad as much as I like.

  14. Melissa says:

    I’ve only used the Amazon Deals widget and since keeping it within a post instead of on the sidebar, I’ve definitely seen the clicks increase since putting it there. Sales are slow though but that’s just a traffic issue.

  15. James says:

    One question I have that I hope someone can help with is that, I am in the UK, but my readers are in the UK and all over the world, what amazon associates site should I use, or does the currency/site change depending on where in the world people are accessing your blog from?

    I don’t want to be putting things up from amazon.co.uk, and loosing out on commision because people see it on my site, and end up buying it from amazon.com….and also I dont want to put up stuff in dollars and alienate my UK customers….

    I hope that I have been articulate enough, and I hope that someone can enlighten me!

    Thanks!

    James

  16. Eric Hamm says:

    Keeping your ads relevant is definitely key. I see so many ads that have absolutely no place on a particular blog and I’m sure rarely get any clicks. Solid tips, my friend. Thanks! Eric.

  17. steveo250k says:

    I’m curious about the 1st tip to make the ads relevant to the content. I have not started a blog, but I have a webpage that gives tutorials. So far adsense has not performed. My first tutorial is how to use PowerPoint to give a presentation. My target audience is college students. Google Ads reads the page(s) sees PowerPoint and Presentation all over the place and gives links to professional presenters and products to enhance PowerPoint. Stuff few college students are going to use. Google is a smart company, but I think my audience is going to be more interested in music, electronics, college information, etc. I expect my audience to come to my page, learn how to quickly create a presentation for a specific class, then move on. My focus is not to be everything PowerPoint, or everything about presentations, but to focus on a specific solution. “It’s Sunday and I have to give a presentation in class on Monday. What do I do?” Come to http://o-shining-see.com and get brief, step by step instructions and quick advice.

    I know one of my problems is lack of content. The videos are time consuming to create, so I don’t have much up there yet. Still, I think I have a situation where my content matches my audience and adsense matches my content, but I don’t think my adsense matches my audience. If that makes any sense.

  18. Flipsem says:

    Great post thank you. I have a question I hope someone could help with. Is it best to choose either adsense or ads and not both. My assumption is to choose one or the other but I have no data to back this up.

    Any thoughts..?

  19. Kevin says:

    Hi Darren,
    You and your readers may be interested in a WordPress plugin that we just developed that displays widgets and their content based on assigned post/page IDs, tags, and categories. Thus you can now place more directly relevant ads in your sidebar and control when and where they appear.

    For example, let’s say you have one or several posts on SEO and you have tagged or categorized them under “SEO”. Using the plugin you can simply place your relevant SEO ads or affiliate products in a text widget and assign it to appear only for posts/pages that are tagged/categorized with “SEO”. You can do the same for posts and pages as well!

    You can find the Widget Locationizer plugin here: http://tomuse.com/wordpress/widget-locationizer

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions

  20. relevant is the key. I try to offer books that I have personally read or at least in the same category. This way im adding value because of person recommendations

  21. Team Nirvana says:

    These are some of the oldest tips which had been been around for eternity.

    But, as these are the foundation for any blog or website to hit the goal of connecting to the audiences rather than putting the blog itself on the bay, I assume these would stick on as long as we do follow conventional philosophy of making good bucks out of blogging.

    Thanks for reminding us all again Darren.

  22. I just redid the entire layout of my ads thanks to this article. Thanks for the tips!

  23. J.D. Meier says:

    When you say avoid the sidebars, do you mean try to stick inside your posts?

    … or is the blog fine, just not the sidebar and above the fold?

    I thought the main hot spots were the upper left, and then the right sidebar, a little ways down.

  24. Takumi86 says:

    Nothing really new to this article only the last one, and i would love to add another tips, make your widget color ads same as the background, make it blend to the background. Dunno if this gonna worked but i didn’t advice you to do that only giving up my ideas…