How To Monetize Your Blog With Ads
Ads are the most common way to monetize a blog and should definitely be considered. In fact, you would have to have some very good reasons NOT to monetize your blog through ads.
Here are some of the most common types of Ads:
Text Link Ads
Text link ads are ads that appear randomly throughout the text on your website – targeting specific keywords for advertisers and turning those words into text links which then pop-up with more information about the advertiser if the user scrolls over them. These ads can be a great way to monetize your site because they are not intrusive and the CPC (cost per click) of these ads can be very profitable for web publishers like yourself.
Text ads are just plain text links, often using a site’s targeted keyword for the anchor text. For example, if I had a diet pill website, I might want to buy a text link from your blog with the anchor text “buy diet pills.”
Technically, it is against Google’s Terms of Service to buy and sell text ads because it’s illegal to “sell links.” Even so, this practice is still widely used by many bloggers and advertisers who focus on search engine traffic.
Personally, I don’t recommend buying or selling text ads ever, but if you do decide to sell them, just make sure you only sell a few (I’d say no more than 4) and that you only link to reputable sites.
Display ads are what most people think of when they think of website ads – they include graphical banner ads, leader boards, skyscrapers, large boxes and other sizes of graphical ads (a common one for bloggers is the 120×120 square ads).
Display ads are probably the most common type of ad and will result in your highest CPM (cost per mil, it’s an industry term that means “price per thousand impressions” so if your CPM for a particular ad is $5, you will earn $5 every time that ad is loaded on your page 1,000 times).
Pop-up ads are those annoying little things that pop up on the screen and ask you to buy something or “click here!” Pop-ups can be a great way to monetize your site, but I prefer to use pop-ups sparingly and generally I would prefer to use them with an opt-in form to my own email list so that I can build my list of potential customers and market to them over the long-term.
Flash / DHTML Ads
Flash ads are animated ads – you might see the colors change or images move to catch your attention. They were basically invented because people became “banner blind” and ignored most banner ads.
Interstitial ads are full page ads that appear between two webpages on a site. For example, if a reader is on your home page and then clicks to read another article, the interstitial ad would pop-up before that user saw the second page. The user then has to either wait or click a button that says “continue to the next page” to get rid of the ad.
Personally, I don’t like interstitial ads because they interfere with your readers navigation and wastes their time. I want to treat my readers well so that they spend more time on my site, not less.
Video ads are videos that play, usually similar to a banner ad in their positioning and size. Video ads can auto-play or wait until the user clicks them to play. I greatly prefer manual play video ads because they don’t interfere with the readers browsing the way auto-play videos do.
On-Site Sponorship Ads
These are basically logos of companies that have sponsored your website. Many nonprofit groups use ads like this.
How To Find Advertisers For Your Site
You can contact advertisers directly for your site, but most bloggers will start by using an ad or media network because it saves a lot of time and is much more convenient.
These include Google AdSense, AdBrite, Chitika, Infolinks, etc. These are a great way to monetize your blog through ads. Generally, these ads are either banner ads or text ads or link ads within your content itself. Each ad network has very different rules, policies and payouts so do your research. Generally, Adsense is the best following by AdBrite and Infolinks (depending on your content).
Media networks like GLAM Media and others are very similar to ad networks except they require a few extra things from you. First, you must sign over your COMScore “Traffic Rights” to the ad network – basically this allows the media network to say that they have a network of 80 Million page views a month with part of that number being YOUR page views.
This is good – it helps them negotiate better ad deals for you so it’s a win-win. Never sign an agreement for more than 1 year – one year is a long time in the internet business so you don’t want to get locked into a long term agreement if anything changes.
My Blog Advertising Strategy
I believe the value of a blog comes from its helpfulness to readers and its ease of navigation and access to information. Because of this, I find ads that interrupt the reader or waste their time directly reduce the value of your site. Yes, you will get paid for those ad impressions, but I don’t believe the payment is nearly worth the cost.
My ad strategy is to put as many ads on my website as a possibly can (to maximize ad revenue) while making these ads as unobtrusive as possible for my site’s readers.
Generally, my favorite ads to use that are the least intrusive are: display ads, video ads (manually playing), text link ads, and on-site sponsorship ads. I find that a good combination of these various ad types produces great revenue for the site without harming the user experience.
As always, since it’s your blog, it’s your choice which ads to use!
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