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5 Ways to Make an Empty Ad Slot on Your Blog Work For You

Posted By Darren Rowse 16th of February 2009 Advertising 0 Comments

Yesterday I published a guest post here on ProBlogger that gave 7 Reasons to not have Empty ad Spots on your Blog. Today I want to build on this post and give you 5 alternatives to simply removing an empty ad slot from your blog.

Removing the ad is one valid option (especially if you already have a lot of ads) but it isn’t the only option. There are other ways of using the slot to either to earn an income or do something else to build your blog.

When I have an empty ad spot on one of my blogs I generally do one of these five things:

1. Put up an ‘advertise here’ Ad

As Ben says I would only want to have one of these showing per page. Too many of them looks a little desperate. However having one of them shows you’ve got an empty spot and calls potential advertisers to action. I link this ad to an ‘advertise with us’ page that outlines how people can purchase advertising on the blog.

2. Run an Affiliate ad

Just because you don’t have a paid advertisement doesn’t mean you can’t monetize the position. I recently had a spare ad spot on my Twitip Twitter Tips blog (the sidebar one which is now sold) and instead of an ‘advertise here’ ad I slotted in a large ad for a resource that I’d previously recommended on the blog called the ‘Twitter Survival Guide‘.

I was a little dubious about whether it would convert as I usually find affiliate programs work best within a post (as I’ve written in this post on affiliate programs) – but at the end of the month realized that the affiliate program had earned me about 80% of what selling the ad to an advertiser would have – it was a great way to earn something from the position while I negotiated the next advertising deal.

3. Run an Ad Network Ad

Another way to make at least some money from an empty ad spot is to consider placing an ad from another ad network. I generally start with AdSense or Chitika – depending upon the blog and then will begin to experiment with other ad networks to see what converts.

While these ad network ads might not earn you as much as a private ad sale (although they might) they can actually be quite worthwhile using because they’ll give you information on how well an ad spot works and what it earns. This information can actually be helpful in selling future ads in that spot.

Picture 8.png4. Run an Internal Ad

Another option that I use quite a bit is tocreate my own ad for a section of my blog that I want to drive traffic to. For example – currently here at ProBlogger in my sidebar I have an empty ad spot halfway down the page. If you scroll down there you’ll see that at the moment I’m putting an internal ad into the slot for the ProBlogger Job Boards. In effect I’m advertising my own site (or a section of it) to my own readers. Other internal ads that you might run would include:

  • Ads for your blogs newsletter
  • Ads for your RSS feed
  • Ads for a category
  • Ads for a ‘sneeze page
  • Ads for a forum area
  • Ads for one of your best posts
  • Ads for a competition you’re running
  • Ads for your business or a service that you offer
  • Ads for a series of posts that you’ve run
  • Ads for an e-product or resource that you’ve developed
  • Ads for your Twitter or account or some other social media connecting point

Essentially any important part of your blog is a good place to drive readers to – particularly if it is something that will drive revenue or increase reader stickiness /loyalty.

5. Swap Ads with another Blogger

I don’t do this one these days but another option is to do a deal with another blogger and arrange for them to show an ad for your blog in their empty ad spot and for you to show an ad to their blog in your empty slot. This way you’re promoting another blogger in your niche and hopefully expanding your readership by the traffic that they send you. This would work best when you do it with a relevant blog to your audience.

Another variation that is a combination of this and option #4 above is to do it with another of your own blogs (if you have more than one). Many blog networks do this – they run ads for other blogs in their stable of blogs in the hope of cross promoting and driving traffic from one blog to another.

What do You Do with Empty Ad Slots?

I’m certain that these are not the only 5 things to do with empty ad slots and am keen to hear what you do with them?

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. I also believe having an empty space (in ads area) is bad. It gives visitors bad impression. I am myself slowly filling up the space with home ads.

  2. I have thought about asking other burgeoning bloggers about swapping ads but I’ve never done it. This post reinforces the fact that I may have been on to something.

    Great ideas here.

  3. Great ideas. Now I’m off to search Problogger for information on getting started with ads – I’m sure you’ve written about this :-)

    I don’t know how to do the layout, how to invite advertisers, how to decide on what I will charge etc. Hey, right now I’d be willing to give away ad space on a temporary basis to get something good looking and create the impression that I’m worth sponsoring.

  4. I am considering trimming a few ads right now. Seems like only a couple spots get clicks anyway. The rest just hang there, unloved.

  5. For many new blog and new blogger, the 5th will be the best option to attract traffic

  6. Interesting post. The concept of an empty ad slot is quit new to me. Probably because I use adsense. But what about filling those slots with adsense

  7. I like to rename this post as a “Blogger’s Survival Kit”, since the ads are one part by means of which any blogger would be generating income.

  8. Most ad networks, like Performancing Ads, will let you create your own ad that will be shown in your empty slot until someone buys the slot. This is a real easy and low maintenance approach.

  9. I don’t know well about placing ads in blog.

  10. I came across this blog when one of my friends suggested problogger.net to me. Cool as what he mock me with ;)

    I have implement 3 of 5 ideas you suggested at above post.
    I never thought about the swap idea but I think I can figure it out.

    Thanks for the info Rowse

  11. I am running ad network ads in all my ad slot, it’s too difficult to get direct ad deals for a new blog.

  12. Thanks darren, really good and helpful article i was looking for information about this topic. I’ve already implemented 2 of these idea’s that you suggested.

  13. I’ve converted my empty slots to using Google Adsense. It’s nice to not have a blank spot there, and I’ve left one slot open for the “place your ad here” ad. And like you say, it’s nice to have ads there just to see how they are performing.

  14. perhaps it could be a good idea to link “empty slots” to internal points like best pages or even an amazon astore that way you would raise awareness to your readers about what’s new and highlight slightly different content

  15. Awesome post. I always love the idea of bartering, or of moving traffic around internally by putting up ads to “special” areas of your own site(s)

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