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Run an Advertising Audit on Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Todays task in the 31 Day project is to do an Advertising Audit on Your Blog. I know that not everyone doing this project is making money through advertising – be there are enough tasks from other days in the project that you can always go back and redo one of the others.

It’s easy to set up advertising on your blog and to spend time optimizing it but then let it run the same way without ever giving it much more thought.

Take some time out to think strategically about the design and placement of your ads.

  • What could you do differently?
  • Would using a different size ad make them perform better?
  • Would changing the colors have an impact?
  • Could a different position increase CTR?

Pick one aspect of your blog’s ads to change and watch what happens to your ads performance once you have. I did this last week and increased the ad unit size of my AdSense ads on this blog from 300 x 250 to 336 x 280 and saw a jump in CTR without losing much in the way of readability. It’d been a year since I tweaked those ad sizes – just think about how much money I’ve lost in that time!

A few basic and fairly general principles to keep in mind as you run your eye over the advertising on your blog.

  • Generally ads above ‘the fold’ do best (ie ads that can be seen without having to scroll)
  • Ads close to content tend to do better than ads in sidebars (see the AdSense heatmap for hints)
  • Ads above and below comments are other spots which can work quite well on a blog
  • Blogs generally have fairly loyal readers so to rotate the colors, size and position of your ads can be effective at combatting ad blindness
  • If you’re using ads like AdSense or Chitika try blending ads (ie making the colors similar or the same as colors on the rest of the blog)

I’ll finish by saying that every blog is different. The ads that perform best will vary a lot from blog to blog – the key is to test, track and then test and track some more!

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. Darren, Google said I had over 1,800 impressions last week and no one clicked on anything…I must be doing something really wrong! Thanks for the info!

  2. You just helped spark some ideas…..thanks for the tips!

  3. Melissa (I read SEOAware by the way), it also depends on your users. For example, most Digg users don’t click ads (that’s why Digg.com uses CPM-based ads on their site). You need to place and format your ads so they’ll be noticed, though they shouldn’t scream “I’M AN AD!”. AdSense works well if you place it on post pages, close to your content (either floated to one of the sides with the content flowing around it, or above or below the content).

  4. I am commenting on a blog I’ve never commented on before. Thanks for the great tips. The job board is very helpful. It has helped me immensly

  5. I have come to think of my own blog and how i have neglected my ads placement for sometime since i feel comfortable earning a certain amount, but with your hit on my head, i will now try and optimize my blog with better blending options which i find potential that it will increase my CTR.

  6. Good tips. I did a similar, very simple Adsense-adjustment like yours a few weeks a ago and it´s been quite beneficial.

  7. Yes his tips are really good. And thats why I wrote an article on my site ‘Why I Love Problogger’.. Just check it on my site

  8. Ha, Melissa can’t get anyone to click on any ads, and Darren goes against the Google heatmap advice and “makes 40% of his income from Adsense”.

    Go figure.

    Things will get better Melissa, you’re site is great. I’ve read it quite a few times myself.

  9. I spend far too little time on my ads. I need to do this ASAP.


  10. My CTR is a pathetic 0.31%. I guess I have to work on those tips and guidelines and try to find my most effective advertisement position and size. Thanks for the advice!

  11. I have the impressions but zero clicks. The reason I think is because my blog has been read by a handful of non-blogger. As we know fellow bloggers do not click on ads. So until I get non-MyBlogLog”ers to read my blog I am not anticipating revenue but am focusing on optimizing and getting ready for it.

  12. Darren,

    Any suggestions for where to test our own website “heat map”? I am sure there are a few websites out there that will track heat mapping on various blogs for free. I know I have seen them but just don’t know where to go or any reliable ones.

    Google Adsense does have a recommendation but not every blog falls into the same format Google has in their version of the “heat map”.

  13. Thank you for posting the heatmap. That is very helpful!

    Drop on by sometime!

  14. We sure could use some more competition in this market – Adsense isn’t paying a lot sometimes.

  15. I recently went through and made a modification to one of my sites based on the heat map. I had the main ads located in a side bar on the right and a horizontal ad bar at the top and bottom of the page.

    I took out he right sidebar completely and used a floating ad to the right of the blog post. I’ve definitely seen a jump in clicks, though it hasn’t been long enough to be scientific.

    I’m still in the experimenting stage, but I do think that the usual sites for ads can get ignored as people get used to ads being in that spot.

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