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Partnering With Brands Theme Week: Advertising 101

We kick off this week’s theme with Juanita Nessinger of Vertical Online Media – a total guru when it comes to all things advertising!

You’ve started your blog, put in many long hours into nurturing it, growing it and building a following.  Congratulations!  Now you’re thinking, “Is it possible to actually generate revenue from this?”  

The answer is a resounding YES!

Let’s talk.

Choosing your ad unit sizes

I like to share with friends that are new to advertising to familiarize themselves with IAB.net. This is the Interactive Advertising Bureau website and the standard for all web advertising.  Once there, your new best friend on this site is going to be the “Guidelines and Best Practices” dropdown menu.  This area shows you all of the standard ad units and their creative guidelines.

I highly recommend utilizing the following ad sizes on your blog, as they are the most standard, and will benefit you in you the long run when starting to monetize your site:

  • 728×90 (Leaderboard)
  • 300×250 (Medium Rectangle)
  • 160×600 (Wide Skyscraper)
  • 300×100 (3:1 Rectangle) This unit is no longer as common, but is a very good size if you want to have multiple smaller partners on your site that you will sell yourself or put on a sales site such as BuySellAds.

728×90 Example:

728x90

300×250 Example:

300x250

160×600 Example:

160x600

300×100 Example:

300x100

Deciding where to place your ads

Now that you’ve decided what ad sizes you will utilize on your site, now you need to decide where you want place them on the page.

As shown in the example above, the 728×90 performs best, and is most aesthetically pleasing, when situated at the top of the page, either centered over the content or flush left.   You can also utilize this Leaderboard unit in the middle or bottom of your blog posts. Do remember though, you don’t want to overload your pages with ads, so I don’t recommend having any more than two of any size ad on a page at a time…three if the ads are a smaller unit, such as the 300×100 unit.

The 300×250 unit is a versatile unit and can be used on the right hand side of your page, or within your content, with the edit wrapped around the ad.  

When making the decision on placement for the 300×250 unit, you should note that on average, this unit will perform best placed within the content.  This is a definite plus if you are monetizing on a Cost Per Click model (CPC).  Your readers will tend to click more often on ads when placed within the content.  Conversely, if your priority is the reader experience and not necessarily the revenue, it is recommended that you place these units on the right hand side of your page.

Your 160×600 and 300×100 units always work very nicely on the right hand side of your page.

Start Monetizing Your Ad Units

Now that you’ve decided where your ad units will be placed on your page/s, it’s time to decide HOW you’re going to monetize the traffic to your blog.

The most popular, and realistically, most simple way for you to start monetizing your Blog is to utilize Google AdSense.  AdSense is a very quick and simple way to get started making money from your blog.  It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  All you need is a Google login of some sort, you paste their code into your dedicated ad spaces, and provide them with a valid postal address so that you can get paid! It’s really that simple!  

Once you have this set-up, Google will place the highest-paying ads in your category on your site.  Depending on your blog’s content matter, you can expect to receive anywhere from $.50 per click to upwards of $3.00 per click.

Please know that there are also a multitude of advertising networks of whom would be very happy to work with you, but if you are just getting started, AdSense is truly going to be the easiest, and most reliable, for your needs.

Additional Monetization Options

If you have a highly-trafficked blog, or a highly-targeted niche blog, you may want to sell your ads directly, with the aid of an Advertising Marketplace such as BuySellAds or iSocket.

If you don’t want to be at the mercy of Google and want to sell your ads directly on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) and/or a Flat Fee basis, then an Ad Marketplace may be just the thing for you.  

Utilizing a marketplace allows you to set the cost for your ad inventory as opposed to simply accepting what Google or an Ad Network is going to pay you for your inventory.  Please do note that Advertising Marketplaces do take a percentage of each sale made through their service. Regardless, in selling directly, you will want a backup for inventory that is not sold, so again, signing up for an AdSense account will only benefit you to back-fill any and all remaining inventory.

Selling Directly

Selling your ad inventory yourself isn’t always as easy at it may seem. You will need to be very adept at articulating your audience, all of your site statistics, traffic, unique users, pageviews, etc., as well as any and all demographic information that you have on your audience.  Please look for the post coming later this week on The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit.

Establishing relationships with larger brands, and their Ad Agencies, can be a very time-consuming venture and there is never a guarantee of being selected to be on their ad plan. Also, do note that you will usually be required to fill out a full RFP (Request for Proposal) from the ad agency.  These can be a little more than daunting if you are new to advertising, so you should take that into consideration before opting to sell your inventory yourself.

Advertise Link on your Blog

Regardless of how you decide to monetize your blog, once you start the process of monetizing your blog, you should have a link on your site that shares with potential partners their options for advertising on your site, how they can get a media kit, if you have one, and highlight your monthly traffic, unique users, and your best Top Line demographic information you have for your readers.

If you do not have demographic information on your readers, putting together a basic Reader Survey through SurveyMonkey is free and easy!

In Closing

Congratulations on being ready to make the leap into making money from your blog!  If you have a decent-sized audience, and/or a highly targeted audience, there is no reason you can’t start monetizing your traffic.

Again, if you are just getting started, and the advertising arena is new to you, I highly recommend utilizing AdSense.  Start with just a few ad units on each page, you can always add units as your traffic grows and your audience becomes more accustomed to seeing ads on your Blog. 

Don’t be afraid…getting started is easier than you think! 

I hope you’ve found this helpful and please know that I’m here to assist.  Please feel free to ask any additional questions within the comments section, or you can reach out directly by emailing me at [email protected]

 

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Comments

  1. Jakub says:

    Is this a babyblogger or problogger?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      This is for anyone looking to get started in advertising. This week is covering the basics.

  2. Priya Ranjan says:

    This is very helpful. Curious, can a blog start Adsense from Day1, even though they have below 100 hits/ day.

    • Juanita says:

      Priya, as a general rule, you will need to have traffic to your site, and/or a highly targeted readership. AdSense approves sites before taking them on, so it is in your best interest to build our your Blog first. Of course, the higher your traffic, the better you can monetize as well.

  3. Siraj Wahid says:

    Monetizing your blog is something which can motivate you and can persuade you to do more, as it’s the only way which can help you to earn money and if you don’t earn money then you are more likely to lose your consistency and if you’ll lose your consistency then your blog is of no use.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I just signed up for Adsense this week and haven’t put the ads on my blog yet because I was so unsure of the best layout. This article was super helpful I. That respe, but I also have a highly targeted blog, so my eyes are now opens to other opportunities. So helpful!

  5. Sunday says:

    Surely, this post is very helpful. Utilizing the right advertising units and sizes makes sense. My best takeaway from this post is details on deciding where to place ads. This is strategic thinking and can help to increase conversion if done well!

    I have shared this comment in kingged.com where this post was found and “kingged” for its value to Internet marketers.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/partnering-brands-theme-week-advertising-101/

  6. John says:

    Thank you for a great article!

    I was wondering if you can recommend any good alternative ad networks to adsense.

    I have been using Chitika, but the cost per click is really low, much lower than when I used to use adsense (my adsense account was closed for “invalid click activity” – I still don’t know exactly what happened, because I certainly wasn’t clicking any of my ads).

    Any advice or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks in advance!

  7. Kulwant Nagi says:

    Loving the placement of ads.. Perfect design.. For me 728×90 size gets more clicks..

  8. Great Work,

    I love this ads placements style. You can also use 300 X 600 in replacement of 160 X 600. It works great for me.

  9. Anurag says:

    Adsense is by far the best way to monetize a blog because of the relative ads and higher CPC than any other ad network.
    And talking about buysellads, it is the best ad network to get a decent monthly income. Right?
    And the main thing the ad size, the 728 X 90 and the box had worked for my previous blogs.
    Thanks for the share, will going to read the next posts now.

  10. Will N says:

    Nice post Juanita. My blog has been running for just over a month now, and we’re already selling advertising directly. It’s not as hard as it sounds at first! Good luck all.

  11. Molly S says:

    I understand the temptation of posting ads which pay by clicks and purchases, if you have a new blog and want to generate a little money. But I think people should do it with caution and be VERY selective. I only use one of these, as I know I’ll make enough per month to pay my hosting fees and webmaster, so that no matter what kinds of real ads I get, or don’t get, I don’t have to pay out of pocket for keep my site running.

    That said, it’s my goal and really should be everyone’s goal to get rid of these barracudas who get free advertising from you. Advertising is not always a direct action to buy, in fact, it’s usually not. It’s a REMINDER to people that your company exists and reinforces the brand. When you see an ad on television or in a print magazine, it almost never is a “buy now”. Think of all the banner ads at ball games, the Olympics and sports stadiums….cars, beer, sports apparel….it’s all about reinforcing the brand name to the consumer, it’s not about buying now. Companies spend millions of dollars on what you’re giving away for free. Trust me, they’re laughing at “stupid bloggers” (yes, that’s a quote from a CMO) who give them what others make them pay for, and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

    Your goal should be to get companies to pay for the space on your blog, and the price is set by the number of readers you have and how many pages they look at of your blog. Your Alexa score is also a pretty good indicator. So while some may only command say $25. for a banner ad, others can get $1000. that’s fair. But to give it to them for free, in the hopes you’ll make a few cents per click, and they owe you nothing for your space if no one clicks or buys, should not be something you do lightly or with little thought. If you’re going to be giving away free space for clicks, I’d also advise staying away from single brands. I get pitches daily from companies who want me to put their (basically unknown brand) on my site and offer me a higher pay per click than others. I stay away, it’s not worth it. Better to have rotating items sold on major sites like Amazon or department stores – places where people are comfortable shopping already.

    I’m also surprised that the writer didn’t mention deep links. That’s an even better way of getting paid for clicks and buys without having free ad banners on your site.

    Your goal should really be to get direct advertisers that pay for the space on your site directly, and not make you their commission-only salesperson.