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Advertising Your Blog: Go Viral on a Blogger’s Budget

Posted By Guest Blogger 3rd of June 2011 Advertising 0 Comments

This guest post is by The Blog Tyrant.

Until now you’ve been relying on organic methods to grow your blog’s traffic—search engine rankings, guest posts, social media and word of mouth. But now you are thinking about stepping into the league of the the big boys (and girls) and spending some money on advertising your blog to the world.

Where do you start? Where do you find the money? How much do you spend? And where?

Advertising Your Blog: Go Viral on a Blogger’s Budget

photo credit: x-ray delta one

In this article I am going to show you the ins and outs of advertising your blog on a budget. I am going to show you how to raise the money and then where to spend it to reap the most rewards. And trust me, if you haven’t thought about spending money to promote your blog you really should. The potential benefits are mind boggling. You might even go viral.

Why you should start spending money on blog advertising

I’m not sure how it started (it is probably Old Man Rowse’s fault) but bloggers seem to be afraid of spending money on advertising. For over a decade now there has been a real aversion to spending money and instead people focus on organic methods only.

Now don’t get me wrong, organic methods are super important. They are the backbone of your blog promotion. But adding some paid advertising is like adding adamantine to that backbone and becoming the Wolverine (non-comic readers please ignore). With just a little bit of cash you can totally change the speed at which your blog grows, the audience it reaches and the income you earn.

  • You can go viral more easily
    One of the major benefits to spending some money on advertising is that you can go viral so much easier. Normally you’d write some amazing content and hope it gets Tweeted by some big shot but with a little bit of money you can give it a major kick start. All the big guys do this.
  • You can laser target the right people
    Forget about all the tire kickers, with modern online advertising you are able to promote your blog only to the right people; people who are interested, ready to interact and possibly pay for something that you might end up selling.
  • You bypass the beginner stages
    We all know the beginner stages. The first few months where no one visits your blog and you have no subscribers. With a bit of advertising you can totally bypass those annoying months.

Like I said, you should never forget about the unpaid, organic ways of promoting your blog. You need to continue with them as you have always done. But why not try something new and spend a little bit of money on kick starting your blog and potentially launching it in to a whole new category of amazingness?

Proof is in the Fortune 500

If you still need proof you just need to turn your attention to the biggest companies in the world. Do you think they just rely on free methods of advertising? No. They spend millions of dollars promoting their websites, blogs, and products. Even their viral campaigns have a lot of money behind them.

“But we don’t have millions of dollars, Blog Tyrant!” I can hear you say.

Well, neither did they. Or, if they did, those millions are a proportional spending to what they earn. And that is all I am asking of you. Spend an amount of money that you can afford. But I’ll get more into that in a minute.

The strategy, advert and landing page

Advertising Your Blog: Go Viral on a Blogger’s Budget

photo credit: sarihuella

Please keep in mind that these topics really are limitless. If a marketing student came on here they would be able to talk for hours about these matters. My goal is not to educate you on every possibility that you could think of but rather to give you an idea of where you can start.

1. The strategy

So, to develop a strategy for your blog advertising you need to do a few things:

  • Solidify your goal
    What is the goal of this campaign? Are you trying to reach a certain number of subscribers, sell a certain number of books, etc. Make sure this is very clear before you start.
  • Know your target market
    Who are you going to pitch to and why? Is it stay at home moms who are looking to make money online? Is it 18 year-old students who spend all day on Facebook? Who is your target market?
  • Research the competition
    Spend some time finding out what your competitors are doing. What is working and what is failing? Where are they advertising and how are they doing it? Try to get a very detailed picture about what is going on.
  • Find a point of difference
    You want to find a way to stand out from the rest, something that will make people sit up and pay attention. This point of difference is very important for the viral aspect.
  • Solve a problem
    The best viral campaigns solve a problem. It doesn’t matter how trivial the problem might seem, chances are it is being experienced by millions. If you can solve that problem in a new, clever or funny way and then kick-start it with some paid advertising you are well on your way to going viral.

The goal here is to come up with an idea about how you are going to talk to these people and get them interested in what you are doing or selling. You need to get a complete picture of the environment before you jump in.

2. The advert

Once you have developed some sort of strategy you need to take a look at the advert itself. These has several components to it and it can be in the form of an image, some text or a mixture of both.

  • Use a call to action
    Your advert needs to have a strong call to action. This is where you tell people what to do next. It is important because people often get confused or forgetful and without a specific command they will fizzle out. Show them what to do next.
  • Show social proof
    Social proof is where you alleviate people’s anxiety by showing them that other people are doing this as well. No one likes to be first, make sure they know they aren’t. Amazon do this really well.
  • Develop scarcity
    Your product isn’t limitless. This offer isn’t going to go on forever. To encourage people to interact with your advert you need to make it seem scarce. This is extremely important for conversions because people hate to miss out on things. Here is how I use scarcity to get a huge amount of comments.

If you aren’t very good at crafting ad copy you should check out a lot of resources. If you are really crap at it you need to hire someone to do it for you. Small mistakes can mean huge losses of interest and/or money.

3. The landing page

We are not sending all this traffic to the homepage of your blog. Nope. We are sending it to a specifically designed landing page that is built perfectly to deal with these new visitors. It needs to be specific and it needs to address all of their concerns. It is here that you will do things like:

  • Pitch the idea and the benefits
    Tell them why they are here and what the benefits are. Now, I said benefits for a reason. We are not telling them about the features of whatever it is you are advertising. We want these people to know what will happen to their lives if they get involved. Will they make more money, sleep better at night, or progress towards enlightenment? Tell them the benefits.
  • Reiterate all the advert copy
    You want to reassure people that they are in the right place and reiterate what your advert promised. This is very important if you want to keep the people on the page. Make sure they know they are in the right place doing the right thing.
  • Give something
    Before you can get you need to give. So give them something free. It might be a video or an eBook, it doesn’t matter. The act of giving helps to establish trust, good karma and gives you an opportunity to hit them with a little bit more sales speak. Increase the pressure so to speak.
  • Convert your goal (virus)
    It is here that you need to convert the visitor so that they do whatever it is you want them to do. If you want them to sign up to your newsletter make sure that is strong. If you want them to just share on Twitter or Facebook then tell them and make sure they can do it easily. It is from here that you want the virus to start happening.

Your landing page is the thing that starts it all off. It needs to be tweaked, refined, changed, and improved constantly. Everything you’ll ever need to know about landing pages can be found right here on Copyblogger.

Where to advertise your blog

Advertising Your Blog: Go Viral on a Blogger’s Budget

photo credit: Daveness_98

Now we need to get into some of the fun stuff. Where exactly should you advertise your blog? What works best? What is cheapest? Over the years I have tried all of these methods with varying levels of success. Hopefully I can save you all some time and money.

1. StumbleUpon Ads (Paid Discovery)

StumbleUpon Ads, which is now called Paid Discovery, is basically a platform where you pay for other Stumble users to view your page. Let me be clear from the outset, this does not work for every niche. In fact, some of the results I’ve had have been dreadful. But, if you do it right, you can get those paid viewers to give it a thumbs up and potentially send it on the hundreds of thousands of other users … for free.

How does it work?
Basically you just sign up, pay them $20 minimum and then show them which page on your site you want them to send traffic to. You can also set the demographic (age, sex, location, etc.) of the people or you can let them choose the best ones.

What works well?
The best thing to use StumbleUpon for is super cheesy link bait articles and interesting photos. Stumble is all about sharing so you have to find something that is both interesting but generic enough that everyone would want to read it. I have had health and fitness articles get

Check out the StumbleUpon Ads Blog, Darren’s tips on running a Stumble campaign and a good discussion from the Warrior Forum about the ads.

2. Facebook Ads

Years and years ago Google AdWords was the best platform. They allowed anything, you could get really cruddy landing pages approved and make lots of money really easily. Then they made things harder. Well, Facebook Ads are a bit like that old AdWords except they are now getting more strict and controlled. If you want to get in on the action with Facebook, now is the time.

How does it work?
Facebook Ads are done through your own personal page by clicking Ads in the left side bar and then following the prompts. Basically you just create a text or text and image advert and select a target group or set of keywords. You have much greater control over who you target as Facebook collects a lot of information about its users. You then choose whether you want to pay per impressions or per click (perhaps we can talk in the comments about which is best) and then they invoice you once week.

What works well?
Facebook Ads work really well for anything that targets young people. High school kids. Why? Because these guys aren’t completely blind to ads yet and they love to click on things that will help them through their high school days. I have also had success targeting women looking to save money but, for some reason, I haven’t done well with the male demographic.

Typically you want to send traffic to a well designed Facebook landing page as this allows them to like it and then send it on to their friends. Also, if you send people to an outside website you might get the warning “You are leaving Facebook” which can put people off.

Basically, if you can design a page or site that promotes something that is valuable and to do with pop culture you will do well with Facebook. Remember, people are paranoid about what will show up on their wall so they won’t look at anything even slightly confrontational or iffy.

Some great tips from All Facebook about how to improve your campaigns, an interesting step by step guide from the world’s most evil blogger, a good first time try and more goodness from Zac.

3. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is, for those who don’t know, the reverse side to Google AdSense. This is the part where you pay to appear in the paid section of Google’s search results, or on the ads that appear in people’s websites and blogs. It is the largest online advertising method and is extremely well evolved.

How does it work?
You sign up for an account, add your bank details and then develop a campaign. This means doing all the regular things like creating an advert, setting a daily budget (important), setting your keywords or target sites and your locale. Always run a cheap $5 campaign first to get the feel for it and learn some of the downfalls. There is a lot of room for error with AdWords as the speed at which you can spend money is immense.

What works well?
In my experience local stuff works really well. If you want to target downtown Melbourne in Australia you can do it. This is extremely good news for people selling things from a local shop or to specific group of people. Football shirts, for example, can be targeted by city.

Landing pages, squeeze pages, affiliate pages, etc. won’t get approved so don’t even bother. If you want to sell a product through AdWords you better make sure you have a whole site of useful information before trying to apply. The good news is that most blogs already have that.

AdWords is not great for going viral but it is very good for targeting people ready to buy. Don’t bother paying for ads on people’s websites, just go for search results. Those people are looking for solutions to their problems and have their wallets ready. If you can solve a problem quickly, Adwords will work well.

Shoemoney has a good one here about an arrow ad, a great post about improving your quality score, something about increasing conversions and a great Adwords guide.

4. Private Advertising

Private advertising is where you contact other blogs or websites and pay for a spot on their site. For example, all those small square buttons on the right hand side of ProBlogger are either private ads or affiliate programs. Yaro also sells space all over his blog.

How does it work?
Sometimes these blogs will be partnered with an ad network that does all the deals and payments for them. This can get expensive. Other than that, you simply send them an email and ask for a spot. Generally these prices are fixed but you should always try to negotiate because often they are pretty keen to just fill a spot. Try coming down on the price 40% and then bargaining up if needed.

What works well?
Directly relevant is the key here. If you are running a viral campaign about becoming a millionaire then look to get ads on pages, posts and sites that are directly relevant to that. Why waste money appearing on pages about dogs if your product is about Porches? Keep your advert simple (no flashing rubbish) and to the point. Ask people a question or introduce your scarcity right away and make sure your landing page welcomes them directly from that blog.

What doesn’t work well?
Don’t ever pay for in-post links because Google will ban you as soon as they find out. Sidebar advertising is about as far as I would go in this regard.

For this section I just want to give you an article on how to haggle. It’s where its at.

Raising the money for paid advertising

Advertising Your Blog: Go Viral on a Blogger’s Budget

photo credit: Ed Yourdon

So how do you raise the money for paid advertising? Well, it is as simple as you want to make it. And it is all about reinvestment.

Reinvesting for advertising

Remember I talk about my millionaire uncle who told me to have various projects on the go? Well he also told me to reinvest part of everything you earn. You want to set aside 5% to 20% of everything you earn to put back in the business and part of that goes on advertising.

So, if you make $100 writing a freelance post you should put aside your tax, your savings, your spending amount, and your business reinvestment amount. It takes a lot of mental toughness but you have to (just like with tax) imagine that part of that cash is not yours, it belongs to the business.

This allows you to advertise and actually grow your business further. Soon you’ll be getting more $100 jobs or more authority and as such be able to raise that fee to $200 and above. This is how advertising works. If you can go viral with clever campaigns you will find that you will be able to grow your authority, Google rankings and sales figures all at once and the momentum from that campaign can carry through for a long time.

Tax deduction
Remember that almost everything you spend in the course of earning money is a tax deduction. Advertising is usually included in that so make sure you keep records and reciepts and talk to your accountant about it. The more money you can get off your next bill the better.

Will you spend some money?

I’d really like to know whether you are open to spending money on your blog. Have you done it before? Will you try it after reading this post? Please leave a comment and let me know, especially if you have any stories, experiences, or advice to offer. I would love to make this comment thread a resource-rich stop for anyone wanting to advertise their blog on a budget.

Lastly, if you aren’t going to ever spend money on advertising your blog, why not? I find that really interesting.

The Blog Tyrant is 25 years old, works from home full time and sells blogs for $20,000 plus. Subscribe to his feed for a free eBook on increasing your email subscribers by 120% overnight or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. I’ve always been afraid of spending any money on my online ventures, especially for advertising. Most of the time I feel like it’s a wasted investment, but this article makes a lot of sense. Advertising wouldn’t be a multibillion dollar (emphasis on multi, it’s somewhere near half a trillion) a year industry if it was a waste.

    Once I have some kind of product to make me money I’m going to invest in some basic advertising.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Its never a wasted investment. In fact, I have seen studies where people have shown that online spending has a far greater return than radio, TV or print advertising. I think it was something like for every $1 you spend online you make between $15 and $20 back.

      • I wouldn’t say it’s NEVER a wasted investment, but if it’s done correctly than yes, usually every dollar spent comes back much more so.

        I believe the online spending vs. traditional spending effectiveness numbers you’ve stated, and I think the gap is only going to get wider.

        BTW, you were cut off in one sentence in your post, right here: “I have had health and fitness articles get” …then it just ends abruptly.

  2. Hey blog tyrant I love ur post and your blog.

  3. I think what most people are comfortable doing to starting slow, making some money and using that money to do advertising and other “risky” investments.

    I like the suggestion of making the investment money online too.

  4. I decided to start a blogging competition called Blogger Idol, and I took out a few ads on FB. In the two weeks that I had the ad open, I doubled my traffic. I only did it because I had a short amount of time in which to gain followers to make the contest worthwhile for those that participated, but otherwise I usually stick to the organic methods. But here and there, when I find a cheap source of advertising, I’m all for it.

    • Great result Heather.

      Its interesting that you look for only cheap sources despite having such a great experience. Do you think you could increase your revenue by spending money on advertising and then grow from that?

  5. Nice post BT

    Awesome to see you over here :)

  6. I haven’t even thought about paying for advertisements, and I probably still won’t even after reading this. It might be stubborn, but I have this incessant “need” to be able to do everything myself and that’s reflected in my blog. If I paid for advertising in any way I would feel like I “lost” (To who?). Even if it is a blind view, I feel it works for me so I’ll stick with it.

    Great read thought, thanks!

    • I know the feeling. I’m a bit like that too but about three years ago my best friend told me to “get out of my own way”. I really wanted to make the work from home thing work properly (house, car, etc.) so I needed to kick it up a gear.

      Good luck Stefan.

  7. Interesting article as it is extremely relevant to me. I wanted to grow http://www.awkwardengineer.com faster than what was happening organically.

    Google had a couple free $100 adwords promotions going on, so I may try that. I also found Facebook’s ad interface really, really, really simple to set up, target and use. I paid the minimum ($20, I think) to get it up and running.

    The Facebook ads keep a “Social Reach” stat which lets you see how “viral” your ads are, i.e., friend of a friend’s clicks.

    Anyway… the real part is trying to decide how much money to put into it, but to do that you need more of an idea of what you’re trying to get out.

    Thanks for helping me realize I’m not crazy for buying ads for my own blog!

    -The Awkward Engineer

  8. Depending on your target market, online ads might not be the best option. Content marketing is great, but it is especially effective when combined with local brand building activities on other communication platforms.

    A simple example is radio. Few bloggers seem to recognize that large cloud solutions often advertise on broadcast formats. A common example here in Cincinnati are mid-size company sales CRM platforms. The final sale is handled online, but the brand recognition makes “searching” for these solutions easy.

    • Jeremy that’s a good point.

      I work with offline clients every day and have found that local businesses do really well from a mixture of locally targeted Adwords and offline advertising. If its retail or some sort of new product you combine that with a Facebook page people can share and you are cooking.

  9. Thanks for a great article. Time IS money, so if you’re open to spending your time, why not money?

  10. I have spent an insane amount of money on my blog. None on advertising yet. I’m still not sure a dime of what I spent was worth it.

  11. I’ve never paid to advertise my blog at all. To be honest, I’m afraid to spend money as well as time on it.

    I have lots of other work to be doing on a nice secure hourly rate, so I already feel like the unbillable hours I put into my blog are an uncertain investment. I’m just scared that nobody would click my ads if I did place them, and then my cash would follow my time into the past.

    Also, I’m primarily *selling* a face-to-face service (modelling), but it’s my blog’s audience that appeals to many of the photographers, designers and artists who hire me. They know if they use me for a shoot or a sitting, I’ll get them the images they want, but I’ll also blog about it and send them interested traffic.

    So who do I focus my efforts on: the readers who buy nothing but encourage others to book me, or the buyers who look at my photo portfolio and hire me but read none of my posts?

    Love to hear your views!

    • I would say don’t avoid doing things just because you are afraid of the outcome. Start with small $10 campaigns, try different things, see what works. Its a tax deduction for your business and you are really losing much.

  12. I got a $100 gift card in the mail from Google AdWords. Think I’m going to put it to good use. Thanks for the tips

  13. I’m not going to hide anything. I’m a relative newbie to blogging and trying to limit spending up front. I don’t want to start off broke just starting out. I’m also setting up some systems to bring money in but that
    won’t be ready until late this early early next for my ebook.

    You gave great examples.

    For a new blogger, when do you think the time is right to start spending money? I know that’s kind of a broad question since it’s different for everyone.

    • I would say don’t spend money until you have a goal, product or idea. You don’t want to just spend money to get traffic, you want to spend it to get conversions.

  14. Why did you put Stumbleupon ads first? Are they better than facebook ads? Or even google adwords? I think this also depends on the blog language and contry.. in some countries, there aren’t that many users on stumble, while there are hundres and even thousands more people on FB… not to mention that Google is used almost everywhere:) so I think it depends on where you’re located and the people you want to reach out

  15. I’ve read so many ebooks on where to start and what to do in generating hits to my blog, I must spend more time reading than actually working on the blog.
    Thanks for the tip about StumbleUpon Ads, I’ve signed up and started my first campaign.

  16. Nice to see someone cover this topic. I personally don’t use paid advertising at the moment but it has crossed my mind several times and I will probably try it out sometime this year.

  17. Excellent article, will keep coming back to this! I’ve had some good success with Facebook ads too, and like the way you can target them to friends of your current fans.

  18. I’m doing small advertising programs such as facebook ads and adwords.

    Right now and investing all profits from the site into more advertising.

    It’s worth the money to supplement your natural growth with growth from advertising, imo.

  19. I’ve thought about paid advertising, but I guess I sort of figured I was ‘cheating’ if I paid. Or that I was a loser because I HAD to pay to get my blog more access. I figure I should probably get done with grad-school and have a job before I start spending more money on my blog….but then I’m coming back to this post.

  20. Very nice and LARGE post, Mr. Tyrant.

    I think that as much as many people would like to throw some Mullah behind one form of Advertising or another, many new Bloggers and probably quite a few intermediate Bloggers also, would be running on tight financial restraints.

    Their are a number of dissolutioned Blog and Website owners who having been bitten once(Sometimes much more) and are now very wary when it comes to parting with their hard earned cash.

    For those already bringing in large scale financial results, they can afford to spend big reinvesting into their Blog(Website) to spread their presence and impact, even further.

  21. Good stuff. I’ve had some luck getting traffic and clients via Facebook Ads for specific landing pages, post cards left in local shops with some benefits to visitors, listed on them, to come to our site.

  22. Nice advice. I have some adwords qouta of adwords from my hosting company. I think I should I spend that at some stage.

  23. A great and timely read for me. I set up my workwear streetstyle fashion site about a year ago now and had been focussing on organic growth through my social media bits and bobs but am now looking for them hits of adamantine because I think that my site really provides people with real and achievable ideas on what they can wear to work!

    I recently received an email from Google inviting me to try AdWords – giving me credit to first try it out. I’m hoping to have some time to sit down first and work out my strategy here.

    I haven’t thought of spending dollars in the past because as yet, I don’t monetise my blog. That said it is essentially a portfolio of my work that has led to paid consultations and freelancing for other websites, so I can see the value in doing so.

  24. (oops posted before I’d finished – thanks for a great post BT!)

  25. I just got on Facebook and will be placing an add sometime in the next few months. $20.00 to see what the reaction would be, seems pretty inexpensive to me.

  26. Hey Tyrant,
    Thanks for this post, this kind of post was actually required. I know quite a lot of bloggers who had money but were not so confident to advertise their blog.

    Its all about how much confident are you with your content/product. People out there are ready to buy/read your stuffs if they see its wroth. I am sure this post will encourage a few of them to spend some bucks to make some more bucks.

  27. i don’t have much money for advertising my blog. hehe..
    but i think that advertising in facebook is very efective ways. why? we know that facebook have more 500 million users now. every people always use facebook and average of them always spend their much time enjoyable. but google, every people always use this search engine for searching any information that they want to find. i think that people usually ignore an advertising in search engine, because their focus will direct in find information.

  28. Sounds like a lot of people are spending money on their blog without a plan of how they are going to recoup the investment.

    I didn’t know that planning was so under utilized in the blogging community – but that explains the wasteland of abandoned sites out there, huh?

  29. You really better do some analysis and evaluation of the benefits/cost of paying for advertising. If you find that it could pay off, this may be the next step you take to take your blog to the next level.

  30. Hey BT,
    I got a $100 adwords from HostGator. I used it to sell my eBook. It did alright but I think I need to create better landing pages in order to convert more sales.

  31. Good post on a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

    My blog has a big sweepstakes coming up (to coincide with our product launch), and we’ll be using some ads to drive additional traffic and entries to keep the sponsors happy. I’ve had some success with StumbleUpon ads (see the Likes on this post: http://blog.tortugabackpacks.com/packing-tips-for-women-how-to-pack-light-for-carry-on-only/) and plan to use both them and Facebook ads to drive entries. Hopefully a contest presents a clear enough benefit and simple call to action to succeed with these ad platforms.

    I’ve worked in SEM for 4 years, including at Google, and would caution against the use of AdWords in driving blog traffic, unless you have very clear conversion goals and values. The traffic can get expensive and, if you don’t know the worth of a visitor, you can get clicks much cheaper elsewhere. Just know what you want (newsletter signup? ebook purchase?) and how valuable it is, then keep your CPA below that number.

  32. I ran a short test AdWords campaign to gauge interest in a book I’ve been working on, and it seemed to boost my search engine rankings and traffic considerably.

    Of course, traffic levels were really low to start with, so it could just be a coincidence.

  33. Hi Blog Tyrant,

    Very interesting post. I really like the way you describe all parts of this post. I never use paid advertisement.
    Because of that i wasn’t got enough. Facebook ads and Google adwords are some of advertisement programs which i want to use to promote my upcoming project.

    Thanks for the post. I’ve got so many interesting tips and useful information for my upcoming project.

    Thank you and Regards
    Deepak Malviya

  34. Awesome article not bored even the article is too long for me!!!!

  35. StumbleUpon is an excellent site to make your blog go viral. Nice post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

  36. My plan is to get into songwriting, then spend the money I make on off-line advertising such as billboards. Yes, I like to think big.

  37. Hi there,
    Very interesting post!
    Perhaps something I could use in the future.
    My blog is today rather new and small.
    Best Regards
    Classier Corn

  38. I decided to do a Facebook Ads campaign for my fanpage after reading an article here on Problogger. I got it targeted pretty good to get a decent CTR of .1 – .2 % and saw my page grow from 180 fans to about 700 fans over the course of two weeks. It is now almost at 1000 and I’ve spent about $60. Not too bad to quadruple my fans and put me into the 1000 realm.

  39. Excellent article with some valuable methods of implementing viral strategies for blogging. If planned out and executed correctly paying for advertising can generate some serious dividends, especially if you’re in the right niche.


  40. This post was so timely and answered all of the basic questions I had about advertising my blog (and book). While this is not something I’m going to do this month, I’ll probably put it into my marketing plan for August. The tricky part is finding the best places to buy advertising. My book, Math for Grownups, is general but filled with great info for a variety of niches, from gardening to shopping to planning a vacation. Perhaps Facebook is really the way to go.

    Never would have known about sending folks to a landing page. That really helps segment the stats, so that you can make informed judgements about the effectiveness of the ad, yes?


    • Exactly Laura. You can also have different landing pages for different ads. For example, for your product you could run some ads/landing pages that promote maths as a financial tool to make or save you money while running another one about how to not look stupid as an adult who can’t do maths (like me).

      Split test.

  41. I did ads on Stumble, statcounter.com, and Facebook, none of them worked out for me.

    Maybe it was the message so witth your suggestions I am thinking of trying the blog sidebar idea with a new ad I will be making this weekend…

    As with all small businesses money is tight and the budget can’t be busted with this new project even though the return on the investment could be high.

    Either way with out the right copy it is a gamble, but I need to get my product out in front of other readers than the ones on my list…

    Thanks for the post, great information, off to read the link about haggling… :)

  42. Well put, Ty. You stated the facts so well, I understand this area much more than I did. Thanks for a good lesson about how bloggers can advertise.

  43. Yes it is true that this is a really good way to get traffic, but most of the starting up bloggers will not have enough. Most of them are 18-25 people that just want traffic, and I don’t think they will go ahead and give 5$ each day.

  44. Yes, I am open to spending money on my blog. Yes, I have done it before. However, No, I will not try it after reading this post…..or at least, not using the advertising options that were mentioned in this post. So I guess, Yes, I will try it after reading this post but that may not be relevant or apply directly to your question because I already planned on advertising my blog and spending money on it way before reading this post today, lol…..just not on the websites or medium that is discussed here.

    I used SU before and found it to help in traffic but only slightly and I’ve used BlogAds, which cost more money than possible all of the other advertising I used and all of the advertising that you mentioned on this post. It cost more not only in price but also in results……traffic did not convert and the call to actions were basically ignored, so it’s like I spent money, and more money and then more money all for nothing. I’ve also used Project Wonderful from time to time and that service has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that you can get traffic cheaply or next to nothing and some of the disadvantages are that because of the auction-like setup, your going to have to constantly be the highest bidder in order for your ads to show up….similar to Google AdWords, I guess.

    Another disadvantage is that many of the websites available in the PW network are not quality, fill up their sites with lots of ads or place their ads way below the fold, making it less likely that readers will even notice the ads during any one visit or even repeat visits. So, this requires you to have to spend some time searching and checking out specific websites and blogs and then advertising on those particular sites in order to get more bang for your buck or for your cents.

    So, while PW can be useful, there are other advertising services that are much better and more beneficial for bloggers. That is not to say that PW does not have it’s place in the blog advertising arena…..of all the times I’ve used it to advertise my blog, I’ve found campaigns to be more successful when advertising specific blog posts rather than my entire blog as a whole. For example, if I wrote a blog post about why eating 3 times a day can actually lower productivity, then I would browse through the PW network, find sites that are related to business, homemaking, entrepreneurship, parenting and food and then I would create an advertisement with graphics and text centered around that one blog post and then create a campaign and leave it at that.

  45. I found this article very inspiring AND helpful. It may take me a week to wade through all the additional info you packed in here–but I love that! I haven’t spent any advertising $$’s yet and have just started guest blogging like mad to promote my blog at http://adamsorganizing.com/ so I found your guide extremely helpful. (It’d make a great e-book–btw).

    A couple questions: You went over many options and talked a bit about opt ins to ‘start the virus’. Do you find that direct ‘calls to action’ work well? Or is does the virus take several more revolutions before sales conversions begin? I guess I’m wondering about more specifics of your recommended step-by-step sales funnel for a virtual service business. Any further thoughts?

  46. I’ve used one of the free vouchers from Google to run a small Adwords campaign, but frankly it didn’t increase my traffic over the long term – in fact I only gained a few views from it. Stumbleupon does look like it might suit my needs, but it has to offer a positive return on investment which in my case poses a problem. My CTR is incredibly low (at less than 1%) so I’d have to see a massive hike in traffic if I’m not to be ultimately out of pocket – remember that most of us here spend a great deal of our time creating posts and so on, so in time terms we’re *already* paying and time isn’t free…

  47. I recently started PayPal advertising for by blog, but did not know about StumbleUpon ads – thanks! I certainly agree with the need to re-invest, especially in new ventures. Especially if you have been successful once or twice, it can be discouraging when a new product takes time to build. It only makes sense to leverage the capital of past success to establish new products.

  48. I have a blog that contains original content about vegan health and fitness – and is supported through advertising.

    I eventually tried out adwords because google keeps offering me free credit. Unfortunatley because my blog has affiliate links it violates their site policy!

    So ironically – if you have a blog with an AdSense style business model – don’t bother trying AdWords.

  49. I saw that you put Stumbleupon ads first, and they aren’t better than facebook ads or google adwords.
    This order is made by the country and the language, for example Stumblers are mostly in US, while FB uand Google users are all over the world, so it depends on where are the people that you want to reach out and where you are

  50. We had great luck with StumbleUpon during the winter season where we paid $154 for 3,080 views to the Mountain Weekly Colorado news website. The best part was we received 646 Organic Stumbles!!!

    But now all of our campaigns receive zero organic stumbles? I have tried numerous stories, demographics etc to no avail. So I think I will look at spending my money elsewhere, any other suggestions? StumbleUpon did say they DO NOT recommend liking or submitting your own content to the site as it will show it is only coming from you..

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