Very few of us will ever earn enough off our blogs to quit our day jobs. OK, but if we could earn a few extra bucks per month … why not, right? A little extra disposable income never hurt anyone.
Advertising on Instigator Blog
I’ve used a few services for advertising on Instigator Blog, including:
I’ve also gotten a sponsor, and talked to others about a few sponsorship-related ideas.
I haven’t done any affiliate marketing yet.
Google ads are the most commonly used on blogs. They’re everywhere. Competition exists – Yahoo, AdBrite, etc. – but no one tops Google Ads for market supremacy. That’s research enough for most bloggers to say, “I should put Google ads on my site.”
What’s more, there are tons of resources on how to make money using Google AdSense. Try a Google search on the subject and check out the first few links:
A resource that I quite enjoy related to Google AdSense and other contextual advertising is JenSense.
It’s easy to find information on best practices for setting up Google ads.
Next, there’s Text Link Ads which is an easy-to-use service for allowing advertisers to purchase links on your site. Doing research on Text Link Ads is a bit harder, you’re not necessarily going to find any best practices on how to use them. But there’s a great article at Work Boxers titled Getting Rich from Text-Link-Ads (and he’s done other posts on them too) which can help.
It seems advertisers with Text-Link-Ads want to see high page rankings and they purchase links for SEO purposes (not primarily for clickthroughs.)
The third advertising service I’ve used is Performancing Partners, which I’ve only recently implemented. There’s not a lot of information out there about them, so research is fairly thin. I can tell you that they’ve got tons of publishers (it’s ultra-easy to setup) but very few advertisers. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger has done a quick review, Performancing Partners Sends First Payments.
I also mentioned sponsors. Instigator Blog has one sponsor, GreatFX Business Cards. I’ve never seen any real research on getting sponsors for a blog, the possibilities, success rate, how to go about it, etc. It seems like the domain of the highest trafficked blogs, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity for less trafficked blogs to get sponsors.
None of the advertising has worked well for me.
Google ads have netted me a total of something like $10.00. The content here doesn’t lend itself well to contextual advertising. Blog-related ads give very poor results and the rest are hardly niche enough to get great clickthrough rates.
I recently removed the Google ads from the top of posts on the front page of the blog. If you view a specific post the ads are still there (but will probably disappear soon.) In the past I was embedding ads near the bottom of posts but I’ve also stopped doing that (for the most part.) It just wasn’t generating any worthwhile results.
Removing the ads cleans up my posts a bit, and brings the content up a bit higher on the page. If no one’s going to click them, I don’t want to keep them around, mucking up my interface.
Before I removed them I did experiment with:
- Ad Placement – Right below the header seemed to work best. I never had any success (on any of my sites) with ads embedded in articles, but you see this a lot on other blogs.
- Ad Style – The most common advice you’ll see is: blend your ads into the content as much as possible (i.e. same link color, same text size, etc.) The more the ads look like pieces of real content, the more they’ll get clicked.
Text-Link-Ads has done worse than Google. Sadly, Instigator Blog has a page ranking of 0 (ggrrr!) and I haven’t sold a single text link. Jamsi at Work Boxers claims to be making around $180/month off them though, which is great! His content is not dissimilar to mine (although it’s a bit more tech-focused), so I hope once I do get a page rank something will happen. In the meantime there’s very little to test.
On the positive side, when there are no links sold it doesn’t show anything on the interface, so things are nice and neat.
Performancing Partners was only implemented last week. Truth be told I don’t really like it. They’ve got tons of publishers but very few advertisers and I suspect my blog won’t be a big seller. Plus, it’s taking up fairly valuable real estate that might be better served with something else. Implementing Performancing is a test in and of itself to see if I can generate any interest. If there’s nothing in a few months, I’ll take it down (I don’t have high hopes.)
The sponsorship angle, in my opinion, is the way to go. You can negotiate with a real person (as opposed to doing it through a network) and seek out specific opportunities that you think are a good fit. I haven’t tested this a lot (I’ve waited passively for sponsorship opportunities), but I’m going to look at this more in the future and see what exists.
I have been getting pitched a bit more from PR folk. I received 3 “pitches” in the last week – one for a book, one for an MLM and one for a new entrepreneurship-related website. That’s not really a test of anything, except that eventually you will get pitched. I am experimenting with ways of turning those pitches into profits…(so pitch away, I love it!)
Since I’ve had very little success with any advertising there’s not much I can validate in terms of testing at this point. Perhaps if I get a page rank and start to see some ads coming through I’ll have a better sense of what to do next.
But again, I’ll bring it to you, my wonderful community and ask some questions:
- Have you had success with any of the advertising options I’ve mentioned? What about others?
- Is there hope for Google Ads, Text Link Ads and Performancing on this blog or is it all a pipe dream with the type of content and level of traffic I’ve got?
- Have any of you had success with sponsorships? Have any of you sought sponsorships with targets that you thought would make great fits?
Please share your ideas, suggestions, success stories and failures! The more we talk about this stuff (when it’s not coming from a blogger that gets 50,000 visits/day) the more we can help each other out… (We’ve got holiday gifts to buy, right?)
This is the second part of a multi-part series on fine tuning your blog through research, testing and validation. The first part was Increasing RSS Feed Subscribers.