We kick off this week’s theme with Juanita Nessinger of Vertical Online Media – a total guru when it comes to all things advertising!
You’ve started your blog, put in many long hours into nurturing it, growing it and building a following. Congratulations! Now you’re thinking, “Is it possible to actually generate revenue from this?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
Choosing your ad unit sizes
I like to share with friends that are new to advertising to familiarize themselves with IAB.net. This is the Interactive Advertising Bureau website and the standard for all web advertising. Once there, your new best friend on this site is going to be the “Guidelines and Best Practices” dropdown menu. This area shows you all of the standard ad units and their creative guidelines.
I highly recommend utilizing the following ad sizes on your blog, as they are the most standard, and will benefit you in you the long run when starting to monetize your site:
- 728×90 (Leaderboard)
- 300×250 (Medium Rectangle)
- 160×600 (Wide Skyscraper)
- 300×100 (3:1 Rectangle) This unit is no longer as common, but is a very good size if you want to have multiple smaller partners on your site that you will sell yourself or put on a sales site such as BuySellAds.
Deciding where to place your ads
Now that you’ve decided what ad sizes you will utilize on your site, now you need to decide where you want place them on the page.
As shown in the example above, the 728×90 performs best, and is most aesthetically pleasing, when situated at the top of the page, either centered over the content or flush left. You can also utilize this Leaderboard unit in the middle or bottom of your blog posts. Do remember though, you don’t want to overload your pages with ads, so I don’t recommend having any more than two of any size ad on a page at a time…three if the ads are a smaller unit, such as the 300×100 unit.
The 300×250 unit is a versatile unit and can be used on the right hand side of your page, or within your content, with the edit wrapped around the ad.
When making the decision on placement for the 300×250 unit, you should note that on average, this unit will perform best placed within the content. This is a definite plus if you are monetizing on a Cost Per Click model (CPC). Your readers will tend to click more often on ads when placed within the content. Conversely, if your priority is the reader experience and not necessarily the revenue, it is recommended that you place these units on the right hand side of your page.
Your 160×600 and 300×100 units always work very nicely on the right hand side of your page.
Start Monetizing Your Ad Units
Now that you’ve decided where your ad units will be placed on your page/s, it’s time to decide HOW you’re going to monetize the traffic to your blog.
The most popular, and realistically, most simple way for you to start monetizing your Blog is to utilize Google AdSense. AdSense is a very quick and simple way to get started making money from your blog. It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. All you need is a Google login of some sort, you paste their code into your dedicated ad spaces, and provide them with a valid postal address so that you can get paid! It’s really that simple!
Once you have this set-up, Google will place the highest-paying ads in your category on your site. Depending on your blog’s content matter, you can expect to receive anywhere from $.50 per click to upwards of $3.00 per click.
Please know that there are also a multitude of advertising networks of whom would be very happy to work with you, but if you are just getting started, AdSense is truly going to be the easiest, and most reliable, for your needs.
Additional Monetization Options
If you don’t want to be at the mercy of Google and want to sell your ads directly on a CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) and/or a Flat Fee basis, then an Ad Marketplace may be just the thing for you.
Utilizing a marketplace allows you to set the cost for your ad inventory as opposed to simply accepting what Google or an Ad Network is going to pay you for your inventory. Please do note that Advertising Marketplaces do take a percentage of each sale made through their service. Regardless, in selling directly, you will want a backup for inventory that is not sold, so again, signing up for an AdSense account will only benefit you to back-fill any and all remaining inventory.
Selling your ad inventory yourself isn’t always as easy at it may seem. You will need to be very adept at articulating your audience, all of your site statistics, traffic, unique users, pageviews, etc., as well as any and all demographic information that you have on your audience. Please look for the post coming later this week on The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit.
Establishing relationships with larger brands, and their Ad Agencies, can be a very time-consuming venture and there is never a guarantee of being selected to be on their ad plan. Also, do note that you will usually be required to fill out a full RFP (Request for Proposal) from the ad agency. These can be a little more than daunting if you are new to advertising, so you should take that into consideration before opting to sell your inventory yourself.
Advertise Link on your Blog
Regardless of how you decide to monetize your blog, once you start the process of monetizing your blog, you should have a link on your site that shares with potential partners their options for advertising on your site, how they can get a media kit, if you have one, and highlight your monthly traffic, unique users, and your best Top Line demographic information you have for your readers.
If you do not have demographic information on your readers, putting together a basic Reader Survey through SurveyMonkey is free and easy!
Congratulations on being ready to make the leap into making money from your blog! If you have a decent-sized audience, and/or a highly targeted audience, there is no reason you can’t start monetizing your traffic.
Again, if you are just getting started, and the advertising arena is new to you, I highly recommend utilizing AdSense. Start with just a few ad units on each page, you can always add units as your traffic grows and your audience becomes more accustomed to seeing ads on your Blog.
Don’t be afraid…getting started is easier than you think!
I hope you’ve found this helpful and please know that I’m here to assist. Please feel free to ask any additional questions within the comments section, or you can reach out directly by emailing me at [email protected].