Did I ever tell you about the time I made €3.88 from my website?
My first blog was hosted on Blogger. When I signed up, it asked me if I wanted to run ads on the site and I thought, sure, why not?
Back then AdSense, ads created by Google placed on my site, were text-only. I assigned some spaces in my sidebar to display them and then forgot about it.
I’d love to tell you I made a million from those ads but the truth is I made €3.88, it’s still sitting in my AdSense account to this day. You see, I didn’t leave those ads there long. I was trying to sell my product and felt they distracted from my message.
This is part 2 in a series on monetising your blog:
Part 2: Should You? Would You? Use An Advertising Network On Your Site?
How to monetise your blog with Ad Networks
A lot has changed since I set up that first blog. Ads from ad networks are no longer solely text-based. You can have banners, images, videos. The sidebar is no longer prime real-estate and there’s now a far larger choice of ad networks you can join.
Should you be running third-party ads on your site?
You may write content to attract your ideal customer but you’ll always end up attracting people who don’t fit. If you have a high volume of traffic, monetising your blog with ads could be a way to generate extra revenue from the people who will never become customers.
Ad networks are the easiest way to do this. You don’t have to write a whole load of new content, you don’t have to develop a product or put big sponsored posts on your site. All you have to do is sign up, add code to your site and the ad network does the rest for you.
But before you decide, ask whether having ads on your site will detract from the main purpose of your blog. Attracting customers to you and your business and making sales.
That’s why I’ve chosen not to display ads on my site.
Before we delve into ad networks what’s the value in signing up for one of those as opposed to selling your own ad space?
Selling individual ads v ad networks
Instead of using an ad network to your site you can approach advertisers and sell space. this is great because you get to keep 100% of the revenue, on the downside, it takes time. The beauty of ad networks is that they do all that work for you for a cut of the profits. They are a massive time saver but you have less control over the ads shown.
What is an ad network?
An ad network is like an agent for selling ads on your site. They recruit blogs and websites interested in showing ads and sell space on them, in bulk to advertisers.
Just like Facebook ads or AdWords, advertisers can target the people they want to show their ads to and the ad network will find the appropriate sites for them.
Once you’ve signed up for a network, tell them where you want to show ads on your site and they do the rest.
How do you make money?
The ad network collects money from the advertisers, takes a cut and passes the rest on to you.
The advertiser pays either for the number of impressions their ad gets or the number of clicks on the ad.
Google AdSense, the most well-known network pays publishers 68% of the revenue earned from ads displayed on their content.
The downside is that you need to earn €70 before they pay you. I’ve had that €3.88 sitting in my account for years…
Choosing a network
Are you ready to give it a go?
If so you could start with Google AdSense. Sign up for an account here. Be careful to complete all the information correctly or you may not get approved.
The techie bit
AdSense will give you some code to put on your website so it can verify that you own it. If you aren’t sure how to do this ask your web developer, it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes for them to do.
Now, wait to get approved.
When you do, you will can choose the styles of ad you want to run and where you put them on your site. It’s a simple as embedding a video on your site.
Other ad networks
If you don’t want to go with AdSense, there are lots of other networks.
Be careful which one you choose, maybe ask other bloggers which ones they use or look for reviews and feedback. Some have been tainted with fraudulent activity in the past and if you want to display ads on your site you want to make sure they are legit.
Try testing a few of these networks. Some may be a better fit for your business than others.
Where should you put your ads?
Did you ever pick up one of those freesheet newspapers? There are always a few articles but most the content is ads. Although it might be fun to scan through those ads whilst you are on a train these aren’t the newspapers you look forward to reading.
Sometimes I land on blogs that look like those newspapers. There are so many ads that finding the content I went there for is a challenge.
As bloggers and more specifically as business bloggers we need to be careful to balance our content and our ads.
There’s no point hiding them away, you won’t make any money but too many can cheapen the look of your site and worse, drive business away.
So where should you put them?
Back when I launched that first blog on Blogger I put all my ads in the sidebar. I’m sure I wouldn’t even make that €3.88 if I did that now.
Although sidebars are still important for desktop viewers, and yes you can include ads there you will need to find other spaces on your site to display ads to mobile users.
Look at your site, could you include a banner at the top? Midway through content? Choose one or two placements per page, depending on the size of the page. You can experiment with this to find out which placements and ad styles drive the most revenue.
So should you run ads on your site?
Maybe, it’s a nice bit of revenue and once you’ve set up your ad network, you don’t have to do anything else, just keep producing content people want to see.
As long as it doesn’t detract from your business it could be worth a shot.
Have you used an ad network?
I’m not an expert in ad networks. It was a long time ago that I experimented with that first blogger blog. I’d love to hear about the successes or failures you’ve had.