by Kevin on October 7, 2008
Almost immediately upon visiting many blogs and websites, for that matter, I look at their advertisement space, their advertising page, and see what they are charging, how they have designed everything, and whether their advertisers are relate to their site, or are simply looking to create some returns from a low-cost ad. In this way, I can base some of these findings on what I do at this blog or my other properties, and determine whether I am following trends in the market or simply overcharging advertisers for space that they won’t see any return on.
When it come to designing your advertisement space, a lot of time and work should be spent, if this is your main source of advertising. There are many different approaches to selling advertising space on your blog, but this post won’t go into much depth on them — instead, I’ll be looking at how you should be designing the whole process of advertising on your site.
What Advertisers Look For
The two main areas that advertisers look for when advertising on a site is: how much does the ad cost per month (or period), and the potential return, through figures given by other advertisers on the site or traffic analytics. From these, the advertiser will decide whether the community and visitor base is strong enough to see this return.
Secondly, advertisers look to see whether everything is complete in the process to advertise on the site, or simply lacking the details necessary to base their decision off immediately. For example, if there are no details about where the ads display, how will the advertiser know if/when his ads are placed on the site?
Your Advertisement Page
At this point in time, my advertisement page is not completely finished. I do not have exact details or images depicting where the ad zones are, but you can base that off the blocks in the sidebar where they would be placed.
One of the best ways to distinguish your site from the next in your niche is by creating a killer advertising page. On this page, there are a few main ways to accomplish this, outlined below.
- Make the Link Prominent - You want to attract new advertisers, right? Then, don’t bury the link in your other pages, and link to it in your header, where advertisers are able to place their link/banner (use empty spaces or the bottom of each area to do this), and in your contact page, if you have a direct advertising email. By doing this, anyone that visits your site, even if they are not interested in advertising, will be able to see what your rates are and whether you have any spots open.
- Supply and Demand - Don’t expand your advertising space simply because more people want to advertise. Create a “reserve list” to allow advertisers to purchase ads in advance, resulting in the ability to raise prices in the long-term, rather than increasing the number of ads displayed on your site. For example, you can sell ten banners for $1 apiece or one for $10.
- Tell Advertisers Your Terms and Conditions - Many sites and visitors do not like placing “flashy” or long-loading advertisements on their site. They generally detract from the value of the site in mention, resulting in a less-than-ideal situation for both parties. If you don’t lay out these terms when someone advertises on your site, they may file a complaint/spread word about your policies, ensuring that you never see a dime from advertisers again.- How long does each advertisement run? Can you purchase long-term advertisement spots for a reduced rate?
- Can you request to have the advertisement taken down before the month is over, and do you receive a pro-rated refund/have a money-back guarantee if the advertisement doesn’t give a good return for the advertiser?
- What are all the sizes and types of advertisements sold on the blog? Can you purchase links in the feed or sidebar?
- Have you had any advertisers that have been satisfied with the results your site gave? Provide some testimonials.
- What methods of payment are accepted? PayPal, check, credit card, AlertPay, etc.
- Advertising Areas - Create a visual image of where advertisements will be placed, including feeds, if that pertains to your blog. This way, advertisers will be able to see where their advertisement will be placed, and how many others will be “competing” against theirs.
- What Subjects Does Your Blog Focus On/Visitor and Readership Rates - These two areas are also crucial. While some blogs may only have 10,000 visitors per day, they may also have 50,000 readers, bringing the daily visitor rates to ~60,000 theoretically speaking, a huge difference in the method visitors use to read the content. If this is the case for your blog, make sure you are able to express this to your advertisers, as they may wish to advertise in the feed rather than on the site. Secondly, be transparent about the subjects you include on your blog. If the business or website they are hoping to advertise doesn’t appeal to this niche, then they have no reason to advertise on your blog/website.
Designing the Advertisement Areas
Blogs that are ad-heavy may appear to receive a lot of new advertisers each month, but the truth is that many of these may be placed by the site owner to think the site is popular and profitable. The cold, hard fact is that these sites don’t have many daily visitors, and are simply “deposit” pages for the site owner to collect a few cents each day form the dozens of blocks of Google AdSense and affiliate programs placed on the site.
If you choose to go this route, this post isn’t for you, as you are targeting advertisers that don’t care about the human visitors the site receives, rather than the links they are able to build. Instead, this post will help you create an area that is in heavy-demand, heavily sought-after area that advertisers are lined up to advertise on.
Sidebar Advertisements - Begin your site’s advertising by focusing on gaining a few, high quality sites, meaning that you shouldn’t place more than two to four 125×125 banners in this area. As your traffic and advertiser rates go up, you should increase this amount to continue growing your income.
General Tips: Don’t overcrowd your advertisement area, use spacing (5-10 pixels) between each ad – vertically and horizontally.
Feed Advertisements - Use only a few advertisements in your feed, or you’ll distract from the value of “subscribing” to your site. Depending on the click-thru rate from your feed to your blog, you should base your feed’s price off this, in addition to how many subscribers vs. blog visitors you receive.
General Tips: Keep the feed advertisements as small as possible, but raise the rates, as there is less “supply.” Typically, I’d suggest one large image/banner and up to five text links.
Other Ad Formats: Keep the ad sizes all in relative sizes to the standards set forth by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. You can create your own format around the size of your sidebars/headers, but you will find that advertisers first target the common sizes and formats.
The main purpose of offering advertising on your blog is to help advertisers connect with a more distinguished audience from the rest of the sites available. From this, you want to offer an attractive set of advertising plans, all presented within your site the way you think the advertiser wants them to be displayed – to highlight both parties’ services/products.
One of the main reasons that blogs don’t get the level of advertisers they want is because there is a lack of details surrounding purchasing an ad or too many affiliate programs are promoted on the site, rather than pure advertising space.
What tips do you have to share with other visitors/readers about advertising on their site? What methods work for you?