Make Money from Advertising on your Blog
If you are running a blog, advertising has to be one of the most common ways to start monetising your site. There are many ways you can bring advertising onto your blog, but the main thing to avoid is alienating your current readers/followers. Before you start going all out with advertising all over your site, bear in mind that any ads should be introduced slowly. It is also ethical to state somewhere on your website that you have affiliate links, reviews etc. for which you will be paid for or given free product. Here are the most popular ways to start making money from your blog:
Box and Banner Ads
There are various WordPress plugins that can help you manage 125×125 box ads/banner advertising and many blog templates are already geared towards advertising. The main thing with this is don’t overdo it! You probably want to start with 2 or 3 ad boxes so your readers don’t feel annoyed when you suddenly start bringing advertising boxes on your blog. Ideally have them present from early on so your readers know what to expect. No-one wants to see empty ‘Advertise Here’ boxes everywhere, so it is well worth offering an associate a ‘free’ ad until you start to get some interest. As your site grows, you can start to bring in more sidebar ads, but again take it slowly. Have in mind the maximum amount of box and banner ads your site can realistically show as you don’t want them to completely overwhelm and take over your site – this will put existing readers off and new readers won’t hang around on ad-heavy sites.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates (that would be you as a blogger) for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. You might write a blog post about an affiliate product and offer advertising on your site which links to your personal affiliate link. Many affiliate marketers provide you with articles, blogs and and ad banners which you can add to your site, therefore saving you the time and hassle of creating them yourself. You are then paid when someone purchases the advertised product (usually between 10 and 60% of the value of the product).
Text Link Ads
Text link ads are based on specific wording within the posts of a blog. Text Link Ads are unique because they are static html links that can drive targeted traffic and help your link popularity. This is a top factor in organic search engine rankings. The downside of text link ads is their subtlety. Readers may well click through link ads not realising they are paid for ads. It is recommended that if you do have affiliate links/text ads on your site then you make it clear in your website disclaimer so your readers don’t feel they are getting ‘duped’.
Contextual ads are usually delivered based on the content of the page or post where they are being displayed. The ads shown on the page/post should be relevant to the content thereby increasing the likelihood that the reader will click on the ad. Google AdSense is a good example of a contextual advertising program. Contextual ads are typically pay per click ads.
Reviews are an indirect form of advertising on blogs. A company contacts a blog owner directly requesting them to write a review about a product/service appropriate to their readers. The blog owner will usually get to keep the reviewed product, or in some cases they are paid to write the review so this is another income stream, albeit irregular.
Ensure you have a clear pricing plan for your ads and stick to it. Have a page dedicated to your advertising and PR. To get some ideas of what to charge, visit your competitors blogs and see what they are charging. Remember though that anyone paying for an advert on your blog will want to see some return, so you need to be able to provide your visitor statistics. It is worth reading the following blog post on www.entrepreneurs-journey.com too, as this provides a ‘advertising formula’ on charging for ads on your blog (there are some exceptions so ensure you read these too). There are a few ways you can ‘price’ advertising as follows:
1. Flat/Set Rates. The advertiser pays a fixed price to have an advert on your site for a set period of time. This is the ideal method for those who host smaller blogs and also with advertisers because it is the simplest model. As a blog owner you need to present your statistics such as page views and unique visitors along with your pricing structure. Rates depend on your site traffic, the location of the ad (banner ads are usually a much higher cost than sidebar ads for example), whether the ad is present on all pages, and the duration the ad (monthly/weekly/annual).
2. CPA (cost per action, lead or purchase). The advertiser is charged every time a visitor purchases a product or makes a transaction. These ‘conversions’ are reported to the advertiser. Blog owners can either have a set price for each conversion, or in some cases the advertisers choose their price. As an example, a lead to take out a mortgage can cost £60 or more so this means the advertiser will pay you £60 when a visitor phones or asks about a mortgage after looking at or clicking the ad on your website.
3. CPC (cost per click). The advertiser is charged each time a visitor clicks on their advert. Clicks can be priced from as low as £0.01p to more than £15 per click. Usually it is the blog owner who sets the price but occasionally the advertiser will. There is a flaw with this method which is click fraud, whereby clicks are made deliberately to increase the advertising cost. It is well worth using an ad server with click fraud prevention to offer protection and reassure your advertisers if you are using CPC.
4. CPM (cost per mille/thousand impressions). The advertiser is charged per thousand impressions. It is one of the more popular model among medium/large websites. At a £5 CPM, 10000 visitors a month with an average of 5 ad views each will earn £250. CPM is a particularly appropriate model when a blog/website has more than 500,000 impressions per month.
The key is to be patient…you aren’t likely to see return in the short term but as you gain credibility and your site visitors increase, it is possible you can make money through advertising – good luck!