Learning the best ways to place advertisements on your blog is part trial and error, and part learning from other bloggers. These ad placement tips are part of the research I did when writing my ebook about making money blogging.
No blog post about ad placement would be complete without a word from Google:
“Creating a successful website is hard work. Successful sites earn their money by writing compelling content, developing useful applications, and maintaining vibrant user communities.” ~ Jason Morrison.
Morrison is part of the Search Quality Team on Google Adsense, and contributes to the Official Google Blog. If you need ad placement tips, keep an eye on that blog, as well as the Google Adsense Blog – both are fantastic sources of information. They regularly offer webinars about blogging, ad placement, Google Analytics, and website optimization.
If your blog isn’t paying for itself, read How to Make Money with Your Blog: The Ultimate Reference Guide for Building, Optimizing, and Monetizing Your Blog. The more information you have from different sources, the better.
And here are a few tips for advertising on your blog and making money…
Ad Placement Tips for Bloggers
If you use Google ads, remember that they have rules that are important to follow. For instance:
“We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.”
Google wants to give readers and bloggers the best, most valuable experience possible – and they’re happy to tell bloggers how to do it! Well, Google doesn’t reveal all their secrets and sometimes I wonder what’s really going on behind the scenes…but we take what we can get.
Rotate different types and sizes of ads
You have so many choices: product images, text ads, in-text link ads, pixel/favicon ads, contextual links, ebook ads, exit ads, banner ads, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And you have a gazillion ad sizes (300×250, 125×125, 160×600, etc). Start with the ad types and sizes that suit you best, run them for a couple of months, and see if you make money (and if you can stand them!).
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You probably need around 1,000 daily page views before you earn $100 or even $50 a day with your blog. Of course, your income depends on your blog’s niche and products. If you’re not making money from your blog, don’t forget that “ad blindness” can prevent your readers from noticing ads. Rotating ad sizes and types regularly can keep your blog fresh and keep your readers doing the clicky clicky dance.
Avoid big banner ads
“Personally, I see little value in banner ads,” says web marketing strategist Rob Laughter. “Users are trained to ignore ads. Banner click through rates are abysmal. Readers literally turn them off with ad blocking software. They’re intrusive, unsightly, and annoying.”
Luckily, we’re not stuck with banner ads!
“Bloggers do not need to settle for the most common advertising solutions just because they’re well-known and long-established,” says Justin Shimoon, President and CEO of AffinityClick. “There are great advancements being made in contextual advertising software, and transparency in the space is improving (now you can access what cut of the revenue you are earning, and what keywords are performing the best). Social components are being added to these technologies, allowing your community to interact with the ads found on your page. This is a huge advantage for bloggers.”
If you need help finding stuff to advertise, read The Best Affiliate Programs for Writers Who Blog for Money.
Balance high performance ad sizes with aesthetics
According to Google, the 300×250 ad unit is one of the best performing ad sizes (it’s one of my best performers – especially in the middle of a post). The 728×60 is also good – but oh so big! Google recommends putting ads above the fold (about the top 30% of the computer screen). I like putting text ads at the end of my post, before the comments section.
David Ponce of OhGizmo.com suggests putting Google link units directly beneath large leaderboard ads, because having something graphical above the links attracts readers’ attention. He also recommends leaving space between ads, staying symmetrical and balanced, and not overdoing the advertising.
Check out Google’s “heat map”
Certain locations are more successful than others, according to Google’s heat map. The best spot for effective ad placement is above the fold (about the top 30% of your screen when you open a page) and smack dab in the middle of your post or page. The second best spots are at the top left of the page, directly under the navigation bar in the center of the page, mid-post on the left side of the page, and at the bottom of the page.
Google recommends blending ads into your blog (as opposed to making them stand out), and experimenting with multiple formats and settings. Marketers and public relations agents spend a lot of time and money figuring out the best place to put their ads – and bloggers need to spend time thinking about this, too! Also, it’s good to know that some readers use AdBlocker (a FireFox plugin) so they don’t see banner ads (much less click on them!).
Advertise outside your blog
RSS feeds, email newsletters, email updates, and even your Facebook page can be effective places to place ads. But is that too much advertising? It depends on what you’re advertising, the style of the ads, how aggressive you want to be, and how much money you want to make! I have Google ads in my RSS feeds and email updates, but readers rarely click on them. It’s worth experimenting with, perhaps by putting them in for a month, and taking them out for a month. Do a “before and after” comparison.
If ad placement is new to you, read How Do Bloggers Make Money? 8 Ways to Earn an Income Online.
Your comments about the best ways to advertise on your blog are welcome below…