Adding Advertising to Your Blog
You’ve been blogging for a while, you mostly enjoy the experience. You are getting some links, traffic is steadily growing…but you start to think about it and realize that blogging eats a lot of your time, and while you enjoy it, you are just not getting paid for it. Yet. It’s time to bring on some advertisers, and make this blogging thing work for you. I’m going to tell you how to integrate advertising into your blog so that it’s easy to run, and how to make it more attractive and desirable to advertisers.
The first thing you need to do is make your blog attractive to advertisers. You are probably wondering how do you do that. Well there are a couple of steps. The first thing an adverstiser wants to see are some traffic stats. You can use a service like Quancast for traffic and demographic information, they will also give you a nice little embeddable iframe that you can put up on your blog.
You will also want to show how many RSS subscribers you have. You can use feedburner and they will also give you an embeddable chicklet you can put on your blog. Unfortunately feedburner has a tendency to be less than reliable. Numbers will sometimes vary by several thousand, so just be aware of that.
The next thing is that you are going to want to set up an analytics report that just shows the number of page views and unique visitors. This is something you can mail to the people who want more information. I would suggest putting all of this information on a “advertising information” page, with a contact form so that advertisers can get in touch.
Once you have and can prove you have the traffic they want, the next item on the agenda is creating a space that is advertiser friendly. Blogger Patrick Gavin wrote a great post on blog advertising, I suggest you read it as he does a stellar job of explaining it from an advertiser’s point of view. But to simplify, what an advertiser wants is traffic that is on target for their market, and prime real estate for their ads. If you are going to offer 125 buttons they better be above the fold! Masthead ads are okay, but the more you can integrate them the better. Leaderboard ads above the mast head are pretty much useless. Leaderboard ads in the top or bottom of the post are much more attractive.
As a publisher you want two things, ads that are easy to set up and take down. And you don’t want to have to keep running after people to pay you. The easiest way I have found to handle invoices is using paypal monthly subscriptions, it auto bills advertisers every month, and they can cancel whenever they feel like it. The Ad Rotate plugin seems to be the most flexible in the way of managing and setting up advertising. After the plugin is installed, set up the “banner groups” this will give you the ability to set aside certain areas and assign ads to them.