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7 Reasons not to have Empty Ad Spots on your Blog

This is a guest post written by Ben Barden, developer for the CMF Ads advertising network, which offers low cost, no-nonsense advertising.

Blog advertising is an excellent way to reach a wide audience without breaking the bank. It can also make money for your own blog. There is a mistake that quite a few blogs make – using a lot of empty ad spots. There are a few reasons why I think this is a bad idea.

1. It devalues the ads.

If nobody is buying ads on your site, perhaps the ad price is too high for the traffic your site receives. This suggests your site doesn’t provide value to advertisers. Who wants to be the first to buy an ad when there are 5 empty spots?

2. It makes you look desperate.

I’ve seen sites with a whole row of empty ad spots – to me, this looks like the blogger is begging for money. Let’s face it, a lot of people want to make some money from their blog – simply saying “I have ad spots for sale” isn’t enough of a reason for most advertisers, unless they already know your site.

3. It’s a negative lifesign.

It’s like seeing 0 comments or 0 views on a post. If you come back and see the same thing again, the blog is probably dead. Don’t leave empty ad spots on your blog for long.

4. It’s a waste of space.

Some blogs like to put a lot of widgets on the page. But how many of these are worth having? If you have an empty ad spot that just isn’t getting filled, could you put something more valuable in that spot?

5. It puts a limit on the number of ads you’ll accept.

If you have empty ad spots, it suggests there’s a maximum number of ads you’re willing to display. So if you have 6 empty spots, you might not sell more than 6 ads. But if you have 2 running ads and no empty spots, advertisers can just contact you about buying an ad on your site. Also, if you get a very generous offer to advertise on your site, you may want to consider pushing the limit. This is less likely to happen if you limit yourself with empty ad spots.

6. It makes it harder to promote different ad placements.

If a site has different ads running on each post, this suggests the blog is open to flexible advertising. If you use the same “empty ad” image for every ad spot then this doesn’t give the impression of flexibility, as it suggests you can’t buy ads on specific posts. However, you can get around this by using a different “empty ad” image for each zone, or specifying the available ad spots on your Advertise page.

7. It limits you to certain ad sizes.

If you have loads of empty 125×125 ad spots, advertisers may not realise that you offer different ad sizes. Empty spots can show advertisers where their ads will appear, but this could be done just as effectively with an image of your blog, highlighting the various ad spots.

Is one empty ad spot acceptable?

Sometimes it helps to have one empty ad spot if you don’t have any ads up yet. This shows you accept advertising. It’s just better not to have a lot of empty ad spots.

What you should do:

Create an Advertise page that specifies what you allow and what you don’t allow. Advertisers can contact you with their requirements and you can decide if you wish to accept their ad request.

That’s my opinion – what do you think? Do you have empty ad spots on your blog? Why/why not?

Note from Darren: Thanks to Ben for this post. Tomorrow I want to follow it up by sharing 5 things that I do with empty ad slots on my blogs – alternatives to simply deleting them. Watch the Problogger RSS feed for this post.

How to Secure an Advertiser for Your Blog

How do I sell advertising on my blog? It is a question that I’m asked a lot so when Brandon J. Mendelson asked if he could write a post on this topic as someone who has sold a lot of advertising online and in TV I thought it’d make a great guest post.

Putting together a media kit for your blog is an excellent start; However, unless you know how to navigate the competitive waters of advertising, the media kit will be useless.

What’s Your Story?

Everyone has one. Do you know what it is? Can you describe your blog in under a paragraph? Two sentences? Seven words? If you cannot, you are not ready to sell advertising.

Take a few moments and condense your blog’s description into:

-A paragraph, which you can use in your media kit

-Two sentences, which you will use in your pitch email

-Seven words, which you will use for your pitch’s email headline

Wait, Email? Shouldn’t I Call?

Here you need to figure out what sector of the market you are looking for and what level the company finds itself at (local, regional, or national).The size of the company will determine the method of contact.

First: Think of natural fits between what your blog is about and what product might best serve your audience. Today, it is not about advertising but adding value to your user’s experience. Advertisements are a reflection on you as much as they are on the advertiser, so choose wisely.

Second: How big is the company?

Emailing a local store for advertising is a waste. You need to go in person or make a phone call. Small business owners do not have time to wade through sales emails; They need convincing when it comes to using their limited marketing dollars.

A regional company may be more open to email, but most regionals started small and likely still posses a small business mindset of wanting to meet people first to gauge interest.

A national corporation or international corporation? Don’t bother walking through the front door or making a phone call. Locate the marketing department’s email, which can usually be found by making a subtle, non-sales query to corporate communications, requesting that information.

How Much Information Is Too Much?

You want to use as little information as possible in an initial sales inquiry. This is who you are, this is what you do, this is what you are looking for. Are you interested? Include your contact information and move on to the next pitch.

Volume is key, but automation will kill you since each letter must be personalized. You need to master the ability to effectively communicate with a minimal amount of effort and do it often to increase your odds of making a sale.

The same goes for phone conversations and stopping in person. You need to see if there is interest in what you are selling before proceeding.

In person or on the phone, you want to follow-up on interest by scheduling an appointment at a time that is convenient for the store owner. Call first, stop in second (if the store is local or regional), and email third.

Once you know someone is interested, then you can send your sales kit and other collateral. All of which should be kept brief. The odds are, if a party is interested they have already googled you and visited your website.

Make sure your sales information is available on your website.

Wait, Won’t My Competitors See?

Yes, but if your competitor is any good, they will already know what you are charging. Charge what you think your services are worth, the only time your competitor’s rates matter is when you are first starting out. When starting out, you should see what your competition is charging and offer your services at a discounted rate. This will allow you to break into tight markets and get your name out there.

How Do I Know What To Charge?

Only you can decide how much your time is worth. Do not rely on Google Adsense or other online forms of measurement. Look at what the competition charges, ask yourself what an acceptable rate would be for your time and stick with it. Make sure to stay competitive by using stealth, but legal, methods to find out what your competition is charging.

Think of it like this: There are no rules about sending a sales inquiry to your competitor or calling them to see what their rates are.

When Can I Start?

Advertisers will come to you when you average 30,000 unique visitors a month without much drop off Until then you should factor:

How many subscribers do you have for your RSS feed? How many people follow you on Twitter? What is your Google, not Alexa, page rank? How often do you come up for key search terms for your niche? What your unique web traffic is?

You can go into the market and start charging for a new product at any time, but unless you have some sort of cross media access, it is best to firm up these numbers first.

Contracts And References

It is important to develop strong relationships with smaller advertisers who can vouch for: 1) Your character and 2) Your ability to deliver.

Character is key. If you are not trusted, kiss access to bigger paydays goodbye.

Get everything down on a sheet of paper that explains who gets what, when, and for how much. Deliver on what you promise, and serve as a resource for your advertisers.

By serving as a resource, you build credibility and positive relationships. These relationships are critical when it comes time to chase corporate sponsorship and they ask you to provide references from previous advertisers.

Be prepared to be open as your business’s financial success to larger prospective advertisers. The more money on the line means more scrutiny.

Demographics

Who uses your website? When do they access it? How long are they on? What else do you know about your users? Marketing and demographic data is the linchpin of your entire sales kit.

Corporations operate using systems such as Six Sigma to track department results in terms of their performance in utilizing resources (re: money).

The demographic and marketing information alleviates any concerns and allows for your advertising pitch to advance because marketing can show their superiors the resources are being allocated according to the corporate mission.

How do you do this? Surveys, soliciting feedback, conducting online focus groups are some examples to help compile this information. Read up on different qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to show that you know how to interpret the information.You do not need a consultant to do this for you.

Even the simplest survey can tell you critical information as long as you know how to analyze it. This may sound daunting, but trust me, you will pick it up fast.

Deliver

How do you know when to start advertising? When you are confident in your ability to deliver an acceptable amount of business to justify what you are charging.

Test ads on your site before you sell them, ask for reader and user feedback on how to best implement them, see if you can get a high click through ratio or high awareness of imaginary post sponsors first.

Use this information in your demographic data to share with advertisers and show them you can hold up your end of things.

If you are going to put up an advertisement when you say you are, do it. You are now responsible for someone’s money, and if you cannot hold up your end for just one client, you can expect others to find out quickly.

Good luck, tread carefully, and be nice to everyone as you go through this process. It is easy to lose allies and resources than it is to make money.

Brandon J. Mendelson is a graduate student attending UAlbany and a published American humorist. You can follow him on Twitter and help him kick breast cancer’s butt at The Brandon Show

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?

4 Widget Ad Options to Make Money on Your Blog This Christmas

Lets continue the Christmas theme from the last post on increasing Christmas earnings with Amazon with a quick look at four widget style ad networks and affiliate tools that are great to experiment with in the lead up to Christmas.

Remember – this is a time of year where those using the web are in a buying frame of mind and are more likely to click on product ads that they might see. Here are four options that present products visually:

1. Shopzilla Publisher Program

This program has been something I’ve experimented with more and more of late and it’s producing quite good results. It presents publishers with a variety of widget type ads with a large variety of options in terms of design, sizes and types of ads.


2. Chitika

Regular readers know that I’m a big fan of Chitika. It’s my second largest earner from blogs (2nd only to AdSense) and performs brilliantly on product related sites – particularly at this time of year.

As with all of these types of ad units it does best when you can make the ads show products that relate to what you’re writing about (using the ‘keywords’ feature that they’ve built in). Payment for these ads is on a CPC (cost per click) basis (although premium publishers also get an impression based bonus).

Chitika offer a variety of ad units including their eMiniMalls, Linxx (in text ads), Multiple Product Units (pictured below) and more.


Also check out their ‘premium ad unit’ that shows special ads only to those arriving on your blog from search engines. The ads that these premium ad units show are contextually relevant to the keywords that people are searching for in the search engine – they are doing very very well for me.

3. WidgetBucks

This is another CPC based widget ad unit that many publishers have found to convert well. You again get a good range of options when it comes to design and sizes. Here’s how they look (I chose a Christmas theme).

Picture 1.png

The only downside of WidgetBucks is that not everyone will be able to see the ads – if your readers are not within geographic areas that they serve ads to they’ll get impression based ads instead.

4. Amazon Associates Widgets

The Amazon associates program has quite a few widget type ad units that will help drive people into their store and increase the chances of earning you an affiliate commission. Of course these differ from other ads featured in this list in that you only earn something if people make a purchase.

Some of the ad units include:

Deals Widget

Search Widget

My Favorites Widget

Carousel Widget


There are plenty of other types of widgets to choose from also.

When These Widget Ads Work Best

The above options won’t work equally for everyone. While this time of year increases your chances of earnings with all of them – they all work best when there is relevancy between what you’re blogging about and what is displaying in the ads.

Blogs with a product related focus (or posts with a specific product being featured) will always out perform putting these ads on a general focused blog.

How to Optimize Widget Ad Units on Your Blog

Stay tuned to our RSS feed because later today I’ll post 5 tips to keep in mind as you test and experiment with the ad units mentioned above in this post.

Create A Media Kit To Attract Advertisers To Your Blog

In this post Marko from How to Make My Blog takes a look at how to develop a Media Kit to attract advertisers to your blog.

Having direct advertisers is a very lucrative way of monetizing your blog. Ads are one of the few ways in which a blogger can capitalize on existing blog traffic without any additional work, such as developing products like e-books or providing services like search engine optimization. First step for a blogger to attract sponsors to his blog is to create an online blog media kit.

What is a blog media kit?

Your blog advertising media kit should give potential sponsors the chance to learn behind-the-scenes facts and stories to supplement the content on your blog. Think of the blog media kit as a resume for your blog. It is a package of information that introduces your blog to interested advertisers and answers their questions about it.

Why should I develop an online blog media kit?

A blog advertising media kit is a sales tool for selling advertising on your blog and it is a must-have for any blogger who wants to monetize his blog content via direct advertising contracts. Your blog media kit should be used to get potential advertisers excited about advertising on your blog.

I recommend developing an online blog media kit as a professional looking document that potential advertisers can download from your blog, that you can send out to companies that contact you, and that you can send out to companies that you contact directly.

How to write your own blog media kit?

Remember the key practices of writing blog content online. Employ scannable text by using these suggestions:

  • low word count
  • one idea per paragraph
  • sub-headings
  • highlight keywords and paragraphs
  • bulleted lists

What should I include in the blog media kit?

The blog media kit should provide your potential advertisers with immediate access to advertising rates, key demographics, blog traffic information and your contact details. It should include everything a potential advertiser might need to know to help him decide to buy advertising space on your blog.

Make sure your blog media kit information is accurate, consistent and up to date. Update your media kit regularly as your blog grows and expands.

Blog profile

Start simple by tailoring your blog media kit to describe your blog, define your blog values, describe your blog content and you personally.

Blog target audience/traffic

It is important to show the potential sponsor what they are buying. Your blog traffic and your blog target audience are two primary motivators for the advertiser. Keep working to build your blog traffic and be ready to share your blog traffic stats, number of RSS subscribers, and number of email newsletter subscribers.

Add credibility

Add credibility to your blog by including external, third-party references. Include links from popular blogs to your content and also include links of your guest articles on other popular blogs. Also include third party rankings of your blog like Google PageRank and Alexa Ranking.

Be prepared to back up your blog traffic stats with graphics from your Google Analytics account. You may also need to grant the potential advertiser the access to your Analytics report. Google Analytics features a very safe option to do that without giving away your username and password.

Search engine rankings

When people search the Internet for keywords relevant to your potential advertiser and they end up on your blog, you have a key selling point. One of the most powerful strategies of selling advertisements is to show the potential sponsor how you rank in search engines for their product / service related keywords. Compile a list of keywords that you rank for that you can include in your blog media kit.

Advertising options / rates

Let the potential advertiser know what kind of advertising options you offer on your blog. Include the position of ads, the size of ads, show it by including a screenshot which has the potential ad position marked. Do not forget to include pricing for each of these ads.

Contact details

Finally make sure to include all the contact details needed to get in touch with you.

What to do when I have collected all the information?

Compile all the information into a nice looking PDF or DOC file and provide access to it from your Advertise here page. When potential advertisers look for advertising options on your blog, they will be able to request you to send the media kit to them and find out anything that they might need to know.

Technorati Launch Technorati Engage Ad Network for Bloggers

Technorati seem to have launched (in beta) their new ad network – Technorati Engage. There’s no official word on their blog yet – but the ad network does seem to be live.

This isn’t a really a surprise – Technorati acquired AdEngage back in October and said that they’d be Alpha testing their network – so this is just a natural extension.

technorati-engage.png

  • Bloggers decide what they want to charge advertisers
  • Bloggers can choose what categories of advertisers that they wish to be shown on their blog
  • Bloggers have the ability to approve (or deny) advertisers. You get 48 hours to do this.
  • The Revenue split is 60/40 (with you the blogger taking 60%)
  • Ad Formats are 125 x 125 ad units, text ads and ‘PhoText’ ad units which come in four sizes (25, 50, 100, and 200 pixels in width) – they combine both image and text.
  • If Technorati can’t serve an ad and there’s an empty ad unit Technorati will serve CPC ads to the ad position.
  • Technorati are offering what they call ‘ad rotation’ where you can serve ads from a variety of advertisers in the one ad box.
  • Payment to publishers is via PayPal, Check or Wire Transfer.
  • Publishers can sign up here.
  • You can see full terms and conditions of the network here.
  • Check out the Publisher FAQs here.

Thanks to all who emailed me about this and especially to Steve who was first!

BuySellAds – [USER REVIEW]

My name is James, I currently run iLoveMacApps and MacTricksAndTips. I am not a big time blogger by far and my income is quite small in comparison to some of the blogs on the web today. But I have found a service that has managed to triple my monthly income. It is called BuySellAds (BSA).

In a nutshell it is a direct banner selling serivce. As a result you can charge as much as you want for an ad slot and you can move away from the 2cent clicks on Adsense and start charging more. I am not affiliated with the service in any way before any one starts asking. I just like the service so much I thought it deserved more attention than it is currently getting.

Buy-Sell-Ads-1.png

Setting up BuySellAds

Using the BuySellAds system is really easy. The program is currently in beta so you may have to wait a couple of days before they accept you, but they accept most sites. Once as you are in, you have to enter your website details. The system works by adding your site and then adding advert zones to that website. Then you sell those ads for profit!

To set up a website you have to add your website URL and name. As well as this you also have to enter a description. Each site goes into a big pool where other people can find your site in the directory. As a result you may want to spend a small amount of time writing a good description. Include some statistics, what your site is about make it interesting for the advertiser. An advertiser will want a website where they are going to get good returns you want to try and fulfill that role so they keep coming back month after month. The final section of the website setup is to add some tags these are used when someone searches your site. Once as you have entered all of your details you are done and ready to add some ad zones.

Once as your site is submitted into BuySellAds, the service will automatically gather details about your Alexa and Compete rank, as well as Google Page and Technorati Rank, Del.Icio.us Bookmarks and Yahoo Inbound links. Theses are the type os statistic your would normally give an advertiser, BSA automatically pull all this information for you. One less thing you have to worry about.

Once as you have set up your site. You have to add a zone. This is an area on the page where the adverts will reside. Zones are customizable. You can have has many individual adverts in a zone as you want. In the zone section setup there is a couple of areas which you can customize. For example you add a description and a location. The most important area if the price. BSA take a 25% cut of what ever the advert price is. For example if you charge $100 an ad, BSA will take $25 and you will keep the rest. This cost covers hosting of the adverts, website and all the other bits and bobs associated with the service. You can set the number of banners in total and the number of banners show at one time. (E.G you can have 6 slots, but only show 1 on a page load). As a result you have to think quite closely how much you think advertisers are willing to spend.

If you have a high paying advert slot but an advertisers advert is only shown once in four page loads, this could put advertiser off. Picking a good price point can be a completely different post in itself. Once as a zone is setup data will be gathered from the Javascript you insert in your website, the most important factor is page views, on your listing page an up to date monthly view for that adblock is displayed. Most advertisers will want to see how many views there ads will get, as a result this is displayed for them and is very useful. The listings page can actually take over from a page you would normally create on your blog, it has that much useful information.

Once as you have set everything up you will end up with a listing page. Mine, for example, looks like this, you can search through the directory and see all of the available listing if you want more inspiration. It has information about my website at the top, and the advert units at the bottom. A buyer can now come along purchase an advert, as long as the Javascript code is on my page, the advert will appear immediately without having to ever speak to me. The money will be deposited into my account and everything will be good to go. You are slowly on your way to a big payout. I would also like to point out that adverts will also be set to renew, so advertisers can automatically get the same slot each month, giving you a nice stable income and removing the need for advertisers to keep having to setup and advert slot.

Buy-Sell-Ads-2.png

Payments are paid when ever you want, as long as you have earnt some money. Since this service is still in beta you have to email the support staff to send your check or PayPal, automatic payout is coming in an update. Although I usually get paid a couple of days after I have emailed them. You can have as many adverts as you want. If you have 3 or 4 ads at $50 you can easily earn $150, way more than I was with Adsense. As your site gets more popular you can charge more for a slot, giving you control of exactly how much you want to make a month.

Getting advertisers

The one problem with BSA, from a webmasters point of view, is that adverts will not automatically appear. Unlike Adsense, you have to go out and get advertisers directly. They don’t come from a big pool of people. This can be quite hard for anybody that doesn’t have a high traffic site, but it can be done. This is the method I used originally to build up a small base of advertisers.

The first step is to make sure that you have set up your adverts and they are being displayed on your website. They will appear as a grey “Advertise Here” box. This “Advertise Here” box has become quite iconic since I always know that it is from BSA. As it grows in popularity I expect these boxes to appear all over the web. You can,if you want, customize the placement and colour of these images with a bit of CSS to match the theme of my site.

The next step is to make sure the price of your ad is right. Too high and advertisers won’t pay. Too low and you may be giving yourself a cheap deal, as well as this an advertiser may not pay because the price point is too cheap and it won’t be a worthwhile investment (you can never win). I find it is best to start slightly lower than you are worth, get advertiser to bite and then increase the price over the months.

At this point, you have setup your site and have a well priced advert. You now need to write your sales letter. I find if you email a couple of potential advertisers that meet your niche you can get them to advertise although your results may different, just don’t spam everyone since this will really annoy people. Your email needs to be short, too long and people get switched off. It must clearly explain what your site is about, what you are offering and how to buy an advert. You can then link directly to your listing pages on BuySellAds. For example I would include an email along the following lines. Change it as you see fit, make it unique and interesting. Explain what you do and what BuySellAds is (since it is quite a new service that a lot of people may not know about).

“Dear X

My name is James and I run X. I am emailing you to see if you would be willing to advertise on my site. I offer X and I think this would be valuable to your product/service because of Y.

My site currently gets XYZ over a month

If you are interested and advert slot costs $XX and it runs for a month, this appears, here, here and here. If you are interested please visit my listing page on BuySellAds (URL), they offer the hosting for your advert. They handle everything and you can have your advertisement up in no time at all.

If you want more information just ask. Thanks

James”

The final step is to email your letter. You need to find companies and products that meet you niche. There is no point in emailing a dog center if you sell fish. I generally look at Adsense adverts, as well as advertiser on a similar niche to myself. Send them off the email and hope they are interested. Nearly all my advertisers I have found this way.

Conclusion

To conclude. BuySellAds is great in my opinion. You can set up an advert block which will automatically serve your adverts. It makes selling adverts much easiler. There is no need for them to email you. Its always a surprise when a new advertiser has bought advert in the night. It takes the hassle out of selling advert and enables you to write great content. Personally all the load of trying to manage when adverts are running and payment options is taken off my shoulders and given to someone else. I don’t mind spending 25% of my earnings. At my currently level its worth while, if you were earning thousands it may be a different story.

One last note this type of service is also great for would be advertisers. Although this post has been focused on selling adverts, buy ads is also really easy if you want to buy adverts. All of the payment processing and set up of the advert is done for you. You advert is automatically displayed and it automatically run. The pool of advertisers is also getting bigger meaning that there should be someone relating to your nice already on the service.

Like I say to my readers, try this program out. It doesn’t cost you anything to run. It does take a little time to get going, but once as you build a reputation and have a couple of advertisers on your site, your earnings can increase I have seen great results with this program and so may yourself.

How to Find Advertisers for Your Blog

In this video Gary Vaynerchuk answers how to monetize your blog or video blog with a practical illustration.

Of course you need to have at least some traffic to pull in advertisers – but once you do, if the advertisers are not coming to you yet – go to them.

PS: this actually works. When I started my first camera blog I couldn’t attract big advertisers like Canon and Nikon – so even in the early days when I just had a few hundred readers a day I began to contact local and online small businesses with a photography focus. I was amazed at how many of them were willing to buy advertising. The money wasn’t massive but land a few of them and it adds up.

The beauty of this is that as your traffic grows you’re able to charge more to these advertisers (give them traffic and many of them will stick with you). It also shows other advertisers that you’re attracting advertisers (which can stimulate new advertising).

Read more about Finding Advertisers for your Blog

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog? [POLL]

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog?

Warning – Before answering this question in comments you might want to consider doing so anonymously and without a link to your blog – particularly if your answer is YES. It could hurt you to identify yourself if you say yes publicly.

It is time for another poll here at ProBlogger – this one on the topic of selling text links.

A year or so back selling text links was the #1 income source for many bloggers. The practice was common and all done out in the open. Advertisers wanted to buy text links from blogs and websites that had been around for a while and had established decent page rank in Google. They were doing this to increase their own search engine authority. Bloggers saw the practice as relatively easy money – payments were recurring on a monthly basis and with services like TextLinkAds that emerged there was very little work in finding advertisers or collecting payments.

However the Text Link Ad selling industry came crashing down (to some extent) late in 2007 when Google took the step of penalizing many websites and blogs (some quite high profile ones) for the practice of selling text links. They see selling of text links as people trying to game or manipulate their ranking system and if they find people doing it – issue penalties which can hurt your search engine ranking.

As a result of this action many bloggers stopped selling text links. I had personally stopped selling them before Googles action (although was hit with a page rank penalty for a few days before Google corrected it).

The practice of selling text links continues today – however it’s done a lot less publicly than previously. Services still exist to arrange the buying and selling of links but it seems that it has gone much more underground with many deals being done directly between advertisers and bloggers and with advertisers less interested in site wide text links and more interested in buying them within content on individual pages.

While many bloggers have stopped doing it – quite a few continue to sell them either not aware of the risks or willing to take the risk for the income it provides.

The point of this poll is to find out just how many bloggers still sell text links.

As I mentioned above – if you want to comment on this poll below and you do sell text links you might want to do it anonymously or with a pseudonym as it wouldn’t be hard for Google to hit you with a penalty. Voting yes in the poll without commenting is anonymous however.

So it’s over to you – here’s the poll (it’s also in my sidebar):

Do You Sell Text Links on Your Blog
View Results


I’m looking forward to seeing the results on this one!