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7 Reasons not to have Empty Ad Spots on your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 15th of February 2009 Advertising 0 Comments

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.

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. Thanks for the advise. That’s very helpful. Don’ have any adds on my site yet. Still learning. Thanks!

  2. thanks!

    this is a very timely article for me as I am about to offer ad spots on my blogs.

  3. A blog with empty slots seems like a dead blog.

  4. Ben, creating an advertising page which spells out your ad policy sounds like an excellent idea. I just read what Darren does — searched his blog to find out — he has the sales team for B5 to sell the ads for ProBlogger. Interesting. He must have enough who are interested to be able to do it that way. More than enough! I wonder if he suggests other bloggers to do it this way — a sort of separate organization to sell for their blog. I’ll have to wait to find out if he suggests this for others — I imagine he’ll tell us tomorrow. :) Thanks for the great post, Ben, I’ll never leave blank ad spaces in any of my blogs. :)

    krissy knox :)
    follow me on twitter:

  5. Great tips :)
    thanx so much ..
    I’m going to erase my empty ad spots now :D

  6. Very interesting take on the empty ad spots. I had not thought that they could be looked at this way. Thanks for the post Ben I look forward to Darren’s ideas on this subject.

  7. I think the empty ad spots should be filled with your affiliate links.

  8. I totally agree with you, great post, I often see blogs with empty spaces and not just one, how bout all? It looks awful and desperate and also it shows that no one is buying and that is the worst part of all, and I would never have that on my blog.

  9. Thank you to Hesham for the ad page. It is a perfect example.

  10. i never thought about empty ad spots, i used to just fill it with temporary affiliate ,offer thanks alot

  11. any info is useful for bloggers. an evolving market with new things to learn daily

  12. I do 100 percent agree about “it looks desperate and look for “begging advertiser to come around and put there brand inside” as Reader I more agree if blogger should have “Ego-Ads”so that they keep there ad banner view with “more view” I think that will make the reader respect more the writer and confident enough to be the Feed follower or the twitter follower that automatically become your online fans for there life

  13. Good post, Ben. Given the choice, I would rather have fewer ads showing than have an open spot. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers filing 125 x 125 ad spaces with “Advertise Here” icons… but I think that if an advertiser is interested in promotion on a particular blog, they will naturally go to the blog’s advertising page.

  14. When is a good time to place any ads at all on a relatively new blog? I have heard two schools of thought on this: 1. Wait until we’re getting at least a moderate amount of traffic 2. Put some ads up immediately. I’m still a little out to lunch on this.


  15. Excellent article. I think empty add spots among everything else they just look stupid, boring and bland they bring no life to the Blog and they definitely make it look dead. If you don’t have advertisers put affiliate links up or put something up at least.

  16. Great stuff. My company just released a product called the Affiliate Product Optimizer. The APO tries to address this exact issue. When you sign up on our site, you specify a “zone size” such as leaderboard or skyscraper and we intelligently fill that area with product offers from the Commission Junction product catalog based on your site visitor’s interests. It’s free to use and really easy to set up, especially if you already have a CJ account.

    Check it out at http://www.echocurrent.com

    Sorry if this came off as an advertisement but it just really fits what you’re getting at Darren.

  17. I never think of point 5, but it’s a good point.

  18. I removed a dead space on my blog. A blog syndicator had gone out of business, but the widget code was taking up space. I put that space to better use with an ad. It is important to keep track of what is on your blog and manage the space.

    Thanks for the post. It contains good information.


    Joseph R. Mays

  19. I try and keep the spots full, even if I have to use affiliate offers to fill them. I really like using the OiO Publisher plugin for this because you can have any number of “default” ads to fill the spaces.

    Good list!

  20. Well that’s what I thought but I was not able to win a debate with my friend about it but hey guess what now I will tell him who is right.
    Mohammad Afaq
    Free Website Traffic

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