Have you ever considered advertising your blog? Today I want to explore this idea as part of my series of posts on how I’d promote my blog if I was starting from scratch.
Most blog promotion tips that I see given are about growing your blog’s readership quite organically (something I firmly believe in) – however one strategy that I’ve seen more and more bloggers using is to pay for Advertising to give their blog a kick start (particularly in the early days of their blogs).
One of the wonderful things about the space we’re operating in at the moment is that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote your product or service (or blog) these days via advertising.
While I know that for some even a small amount will be out of the reach of some – if I were starting out today as a blogger and wanted to gather an initial audience (or was wanting to expand my audience) I’d consider experimenting with a number of different advertising campaigns.
I know that this goes against the grain for some blogging purists but my approach has always been to invest at least a portion of the money made on my blogs back into improving them – and one way to do this is to invest that money into advertising.
I’ve concentrated my own limited experimenting with advertising in three types of advertising:
- StumbleUpon – I’ve written previously about using StumbleUpon Advertising so for an expanded post with tips I’d head there. But in short – the great thing about SU advertising it is that it can start an organic flow of StumbleUpon traffic also. The key is to get your landing page optimized so that StumbleUpon users who see it will vote it up! In this way you kick off the traffic with some cost but then scale it back as organic traffic begins.
- AdWords – An oldie but a goodie. The reach of AdWords is enormous as it opens up places to advertise everywhere from Google results pages through to many many thousands of websites on any number of topics. Many bloggers have used this with great effect to launch their blog. Particularly useful is the ability to target specific sites that run AdSense and to develop ads that target those readers specifically. This enables you to target specific ads to specific sites (like John Chow did a year or so back when he advertised here on Problogger with personal messages to my readers).
- Facebook Advertising – I experimented with this recently with some success. Facebook Ads allows you to run ads that target certain demographics and interest groups. Ads can either be bought on an impression basis or you can pay for them per click for as little as 0.01 cent per click. I tried both and found that paying per click was a much better way to go as at least that way you’re guaranteed some actual traffic.
Please note – there are many many other ways to advertise your blog if you have a budget. I’ve chosen these three because they allow you to have very small budgets and to target different groups of people by interest and/or demographics.There are of course many other options open to you as a blogger to pay for advertising of your blog. You could use a tool like BlogAds (something I did a few years back) or even buy ad space on another blog through a direct sponsorship deal.
Tips for Advertising Your Blog
There are many smarter people than me around that could give us all some tips on using advertising effectively (please give you tips below) but let me give a few quick tips that I’ve picked up along the way:
Landing Pages not Front Pages
I’ve found that instead of directing people clicking your ads to your blog’s front page that it’s much more effective to send them to a specifically designed landing page. The front page of your blog is a good page for regular readers to see what you’ve been writing lately – but for someone coming to your blog cold from an ad it can be a bit of a random destination. So design a page that is aimed at ‘converting’ these first time readers into regular readers. This page could highlight some of your best content, perhaps give some key selling points as to why they should subscribe and then have a call to action (a way to subscribe to your blog for example). This way you’ll not only get a new visitor to your blog – but you’ll have every chance of them coming back again and again.
Relevancy Relevancy Relevancy
I’m not just repeating myself for emphasis – but because I’ve found that three elements of your ad campaign need to have ‘relevancy’.
1. The Site Displaying Your Ad
2. Your Ad
3. Your Landing Page
The more aligned these three things are the more successful your ad will be. When people run ads that don’t relate to the sites they display on they rarely get clicked. When people click ads and then are led to a page that has little relevance to the ad they get angry and rarely take the action that you want.
Track Your Results
The last thing that I’ll say is that you can very easily spend a lot of money with little results in advertising. As a result it is essential that you know what you want to achieve from your advertising and that you have a way to measure it’s effectiveness. I also take the approach that it’s worth starting out slow with a small campaign to test the waters before pouring much cash into advertising. This enables you to optimize your results without spending much and then to ramp things up when you are confident that things will convert.
Bonus Interview Coming Soon
Later today I’ll be sharing a short interview with a blogger who I’ve seen using Advertising very effectively to launch numerous blogs. They’ll share more on how they use the above strategies to give their blogs a ‘kick start’.