Peter has another worthwhile post at Ads On Blog on the topic of Optimum Placement of Google Ads where he suggests that bloggers consider five questions when they decide how to place ads on their blog. Here are the first three which I think are key:
‘1. What is a user trying to accomplish by visiting my site?
2. What do they do when viewing a specific page?
3. Where is the focus of their attention likely to be?’
One of the traps that many bloggers fall into when placing Adsense ads is to just put them where everyone else does – but I think these sorts of questions are a better starting place. Understanding the thought processes and habits of your readers is actually a very helpful thing.
How do you do this? I have done a number of things to try to get inside the minds of some of my readers. Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Watch someone surf your blog – ask someone who hasn’t been to your blog before to have a look around your blog while you watch on. Don’t tell them where to go – but watch what they do. After a few minutes ask them a few questions about what they saw, what they read, what stood out etc. Of course you could pay for a professional eye tracking type service – but even just what you can glean from just observing one person very unscientifically can be very useful.
2. Email your regular readers – On occasion I pick a random regular reader from one of my newsletter lists or comments lists and will ask that reader for feedback on my blog. I seek their opinion on design, ad placement etc and ask them for their impressions of my blog.
3. Do a survey or poll – this can be as big or as small as you like but give all of your readers the opportunity to feedback to you who they are and what they think of your blog. Collect data on who they (demographics), why they come to your blog and what they think of it. Also give them an opportunity to make suggestions. I’m always amazed at how my readers see things that I’ve never noticed before about my blog because they look at it as an objective outsider.