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Why Marketing Your Ad Space Should Precede Marketing Your Blog

This post is written with the assumption that the majority of bloggers are blogging away in the hope that somewhere along the line heaps of cash will start to roll in. I read many a post that will tell you that the most important thing a successful blogger should do is to market their blog. This seems logical, considering that you can’t make any money unless you lure unsuspecting readers to your blog. Whilst true I liken this to a store that placed ads of huge opening specials but forgot to stock the shelves or have staff on hand to take the sales. Taking that into consideration I reckon it’s better to get your blog in order first before you go out fishing for readers.

Although I reckon most of you are familiar with the following list, I would like to go through it anyway, for the benefit of those new to blogging the money way.

  1. Content: The most important thing has to be your content. It’s got to be informative and written well enough that it will captivate your reader. If done properly it will encourage the reader to subscribe to your blog, and if your lucky to promote it via one of the many social sites that exist. Naturally it’s easier if you provide the links for visitors to click on.
  2. Professional Theme: Very few people will look twice at a poorly structured theme and if your theme is really unprofessional  it may actually scare people off.
  3. Ad Placement: This is very important and may need a lot of trial and error. What may work for one person won’t necessarily work for another. As far as Adsense is concerned, I’ve found the following positions to be the best;
  • 336×280 ad placed at the top of my side bars
  • 250×250 ad placed at the top of every post
  • 468×60 ad placed at the bottom of the post
  • I haven’t had much luck with the sky scraper ads but I persist with them in the side bar because I believe in getting as much exposure as possible
  • Another good position would be the leader board add placed somewhere in the header. I don’t have any on my blogs as I much prefer promoting products that I hope to have a good conversion rate or ones that offer a high return.

If we were to consider the store analogy, companies will pay top dollar to get prime shelf position, usually those at eye level. When considering ad placement on your blog it’s best to place them in positions that are just as prominent. You will notice in the example above that my ad placements are where people are most likely to be exposed to my ads.

Sometimes if I write a particularly long post, I will even use one or two 468×60 banners to break it up.

Get customer feedback, email marketing and surveys

Although we do not have much control, other than trying to choose the right keyword that Google may or may not target, over the ads displayed by Adsense, we do have total control over the ads we choose to display ourselves. Yet on more blogs that I care to number, including my own, we fail to display the right ads. This in itself is a failure to market our very own ad space.

Placing the right ad on a niche blog is relatively simple, but for those of us who do not have niche blogs finding the right product or service to market is a little more difficult. I feel that the difficulty of that task is what prevents us from doing the research required to find the right ad, and so we just place anything there in the hope that we may generate a sale. And then we wonder why our conversions are so low.

We should consider every post as having the potential to convert a percentage of our visitors into potential customers. We should remember that the customers more likely to buy or click on an ad are those sent by search engines and not our regular readers. Therefore what we should ask ourselves is what type of visitor are we targeting and ensure that they are greeted with the products they are searching for.

If you had a store, your wouldn’t advertise DVD players and then present customers a selection of vibrators now would you? And yet we will write a post about one subject and offer visitors something completely unrelated. Admit it, you’ve done it. I know I have and I continue to do it because I am the perpetual lazy blogger.

This is one situation where you should do as I say and not as I do. Take the time to research the right ad to display on your posts or blogs and I am sure that over time you will be rewarded for your efforts.

Naturally there may be times when certain posts do not offer the opportunity to display and when that happens I simply display rotating ads and hope for the best. :drunk_tb:

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Hey Sire, thanks for all the good tips! I can learn a lot from you about ad placement and choosing the right ads. I just signed up for some affiliates at Google Affiliates & LinkShare. I’m experimenting a bit now to see which ones people are drawn to, and I’m going to run with it. I will have two niche blogs up soon, and BOY will that be easier.

    Thanks for discussing ad placement. Why clog the sidebars with banner ads if they are not working? I’m going to try to take more time going forward to choose the best individual ads for my posts. Question: I started placing relevant ads in the media box (upper right over sidebars) in my posts. Do you think it would be more effective to ad them to the posts themselves? I don’t think I can choose individual above or below post ads (those have to be site-wide, I think.) Just your opinion if you have time. :)

    1. Hey Heather, I reckon you would have come across one or two of these tips before, but I appreciate your sucking up :tongue_wink_ee:

      As for your question, lucky for me I am familiar with Thesis and so I know what you meant when referring to the media box, which seems to be missing on your blog? I actually use it to display rotating ads on my Load Of BS blog and I reckon it’s a prime spot for placing an ad.

      As to posts, I prefer to place ads at the end, and if it’s particularly long I may even place one or two in the middle.

      1. You can take your sucking up and stick it in your Wassap! :-) I actually haven’t yet discussed ad placement with anybody. If you don’t want to help, just say, “I don’t help silly American women”. Heh.

        I use the media box on selected posts rather than on the main page, but I was wondering if it would be more effective to put the ads on the posts themselves rather than making a special media box for the ads. I’ll figure it out in the long run I reckon, *sigh*, since you don’t *wimper* want to help me.
        .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving =-.

        1. You can take your sucking up and stick it in your Wassap! :-) I actually haven’t yet discussed ad placement with anybody. If you don’t want to help, just say, “I don’t help silly American women”. Heh.

          I use the media box on selected posts rather than on the main page, but I was wondering if it would be more effective to put the ads on the posts themselves rather than making a special media box for the ads. [drama]I’ll figure it out in the long run I reckon, *sigh*, since you don’t *wimper* want to help me.[/drama]
          .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving =-.

        2. Now now Heather you don’t have to nag me. As to American women, I love them, especially their accent, but my wife won’t let me have any :lol_ee:

          Now to helping you out. I thought I did, but it is possible that, me being a dumb bloke and all, that I didn’t do it properly.

          Firstly I didn’t know you could use the media box on selected posts, so you taught me something there. Personally I would put the ads on selected posts so as to be able to hand pick each ad personally.

          The ads on the main page would have to be more generic unless you have a niche blog.

          Was that better, and am I forgiven for teasing my favorite commentator. :innocent1_tb:

          1. If I were really your favorite commentator (rhymes with potater) you would have deleted my duplicate comment. :P

            I was just wondering if you think it’s better on individual posts to put an ad in the media box (upper right above the fold) or on the bottom of the posts. But at this point I think both of us are ready to quit blogging altogether. :D
            .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving =-.

            1. Kthx. :P
              .-= Heather Kephart´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving =-.

            2. Now where is the fun in that Heather :devil_tb:

              I reckon you need to try both to see which one works for you. I prefer to place it at the bottom of the post, as I’ve reserved the top for adsense.

  2. Traffic is the key before any monetization efforts should come in. I may or may not be right for some but before I even embraced Google Adsense, I was so close to getting the less than 200T Alexa Rank. I know Alexa may not be the most accurate traffic metric at least I have a hint. Google Analytics shows how well a site gets traffic although not as fast than Sitemeter.

    What I’m trying to point out is that traffic must be the first priority and in order to get that traffic (be it targeted traffic for niche blogs like I have), creating quality content should be the first in mind.

    I’m almost a year blogging and getting PR4 while trying to get a higher Alexa Rank is a lot of hard work to do but as soon as you get to the point wherein you’re getting enough traffic, then that’s where any monetization efforts should commence.
    .-= Mathdelane @Software Critics´s last blog ..Mippin-ize Your Site for Mobile Browsers =-.

    1. Twitter:
      Hi Sire,

      I’m going to have to agree wtih Mathdelane here. For the great majority of people, they’d be better off having NO ads at all on their blog … unless and until they start getting TARGETED Search Engine traffic on a consistent basis.

      In fact, if you really want to make “big money”, as opposed to just “peanuts”, I’d almost say this is a must. For an example, look at some of the big start up Internet companies …

      – Facebook went a couple of years before they had ads.
      – Twitter still doesn’t have a “good” monetization strategy.

      Yet both of those companies are worth many Millions of Dollars.

      If they had started out trying to put the monetization before the user base, we probably would have never heard of either of them.

      Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to entrepreneurship.

      Just my opinion of course ;-)
      .-= Todd@Home Business Tips´s last blog ..Todd’s Best Home Business Tips =-.

      1. Hey Todd the difference between us and them is that they came up with something unique that turned out to be really popular and so their sites are now worth a fortune.

        Me I’m stuck with peanuts and I’d rather eat them sooner than later. :laugh_tb:

        1. Twitter:
          Hi again Sire,

          A quote from your September earnings report:

          “I have to say I am a little shocked to see that this blog was pretty well the worst performer as far as Adsense earnings go, and it seems that my Load of BS site is the best performer. I reckon, seeing how most of the visits on Load Of Bullshit are search engine generated that you could almost say that search engine traffic are the ones more likely to generate Adsense income.”

          That my friend is what they call a CLUE that is right in front of your face. :-)

          That same report showed that this blog gets almost 3/4 of traffic from direct or referral sources … translation: most of your visitors are other bloggers.

          Let me ask you, when was the last time you clicked an ad on another bloggers site, and actually Bought something?

          Personally, I can’t remember the last time.

          But I will tell you, I do buy stuff when bloggers I know, like, and trust, write about (and link to) stuff that I may need at the time.

          You are one of the best connected bloggers I’ve met online … dude your picture is every where. Your posts are always interesting, and your comments sections usually involve some pretty lively debates.

          You are (or should be) an “influencer” … and as such, should be making more money from your blog than just peanuts.

          The problem is, while I know, and like you, when it comes to trusting any recommendations you might make; you have SO Many advertisements here, that I have a hard time figuring out what you really believe in … and I’ve been interacting with you, on and off, for about 2 years.

          Now I could very well be dead wrong … lol, it’s easy to have Opinions about other people’s projects

          … but I’d be willing to wager that if you were to remove about 90% of the ads on this blog (especially the adsense), keeping only ads for products/services that you actually believe in (like the flexsqueeze theme) and/or those that have performed well with your readership in the past, you would actually make MORE money in the subsequent month.

          Sorry, didn’t mean to get off on a rant … and it may very well be none of my business … but sometimes I just don’t know how to keep my Big Mouth Shut.

          Hope you take this in the helpful spirit in which it is intended.

          Catch up with you again soon,

          p.s. thanks for not deleting my previous comment … I forgot about the two keyword rule … sorry.
          .-= Todd@Todds Tips´s last blog ..Todd’s Best Home Business Tips =-.

          1. Hey Todd, I didn’t consider this a rant and I’m always interested in other peoples opinions.

            As to what products I believe in, I usually post about those products. If I’ve tried or use the product I mention it in the post. If I haven’t tried a product I will generally give an opinion on it and then ask if anyone else has tried it and what they thought about it.

            Naturally as I wrote that post, I already knew that search engine traffic is the way to go which is why I have always maintained that SERPS is more important than PR. While my load of BS site makes more money for that particular reason, there is a whole less interaction and therefore not as enjoyable as WasspBlog.

            Like you I prefer to buy from bloggers I know, and I do actually click on Adsense ads if I see something of interest.

            If I was to start another blog I would still place ads on it first, and then go for traffic. I believe in showing people how it is, and not hook them with an ad free blog only to introduce it at a later stage.

            And Todd, thanks for all the compliments too :smoke_tb:

    2. Mathdelane, now you tell me! Where was this comment when I started blogging all those years ago. Oh well, too late now :doh_tb: :drunk_tb:

      1. Sire,
        I’m afraid I was still too preoccupied by the corporate setting during the time you set foot on the blogosphere that I don’t even know how blogging could earn some bucks to buy peanuts ;)
        .-= Mathdelane @SoftwareCritics´s last blog ..Do-It-Yourself PC Auditing Software =-.

        1. No worries Mathdelane, seeing how you were way too preoccupied I reckon I can forgive you :wink_ee:

  3. Isn’t that something – I *say* I want to make money on my blog, but I really have been too lazy to determine which ad placements are the most successful on my site. Currently I’m using a plugin which inserts an Adsense ad at some random spot in every post. I have heard that the 250×250 at the top is best though. Maybe over this long weekend (in the U.S.) I may make a change.
    .-= Christie@IntrovertZone´s last blog ..Thanks, but I have my own drummer =-.

    1. @Christie:If I’m not mistaken, you may be using the ‘Adsense Injection’ plugin. I used this for a time a few months ago but eventually took it down and resorted back to manual placement of my adsense blocks because of the following reasons:

      – it messes up my formatting, especially with the placement of images.
      – it sometimes violates Google Ads TOS by randomly placing the ads right beside/on top of/below some pictures or images. Now I don’t want to endanger my adsense account with this even with the tiniest chance of google catching my post in that arrangement.

      If all my posts had no pictures in them (within the post), I would probably be still using the plugin. If the plugin you’re using now doesn’t inject ads in the immediate vicinity of pictures, please tell me. I’d immediately install it on mine.

      Hey Sire, I see that you also got your own preferred adsense placement positions. I’ve read a lot about these and they say there’s usually no ‘one best arrangement’ that serves all types of blogs, although one common good placement is always the ‘above the fold’ position ‘where people are most likely to be exposed’.
      .-= James Moralde´s last blog ..Open_Basedir Restriction In Effect =-.

      1. Hi James, yeah I’m using the Adsense Injection, and it does sometimes put the ads right beside or under the images in the poats. I didn’t know that was against Google’s Adsense TOS. Guess I’d better take a look at that today, thanks!
        .-= Christie@IntrovertZone´s last blog ..Thanks, but I have my own drummer =-.

    2. I used to use a plugin that placed random ads on my posts, but like James it played havoc with my formatting. The one I use now let’s me choose the size and placement. Once I decided on that I leave it to do it’s job, and it is working quite well.

        1. Sure Cristie, it’s called the All In One Adsense And YPN.

          1. Hi,

            Sire, All in one Adsense and YPN plugin is really flexible and easy one. It doesn’t go to mess up formatting. I am really in some effort to code a similar plugin, hope so I could do it soon.

            – J.
            .-= Web Design Company´s last blog ..1100+ Brilliant Free WordPress Themes =-.

  4. Yes you are right about advertising adspace. And the most running adspot will be top navbar as always.
    .-= Sagar Rai´s last blog ..List Of Top 60 Twitter Tools Used By Many Successful Bloggers : Twitter Tools Tips =-.

    1. Welcome to WassupBlog Sagar Rai. While that may be the prime position on most blogs, I think it will still depend on what’s around the ad, as I’ve seen some blogs that are so cluttered the ad didn’t stand out at all.

  5. Some great tips Sire. I never liked blogs that were crowded with ads.

    1. I think it all depends how the ads are presented. I have a fair few ads but I think I’ve placed them in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.

  6. I would not limit this post for newbies Sire but rather for everyone, including the so called “pros”. The reason I say this is that many of us sometimes forget to look back and see which one works for us or not. We limit to stick ads all over the place and see what happens. This part where you said “we just place anything there in the hope that we may generate a sale. And then we wonder why our conversions are so low”, is so true and I don’t think there is really much more to be said…
    .-= DiTesco´s last blog ..Using Google’s AdSense Channels – Video Tutorials =-.

    1. How nice of you to say so.

      Even though you read a lot of the same stuff on blogs these days, I think it’s a good thing as everyone had a different way of explaining things, and where it may not make sense on post because of the way it was explained it may make complete sense someone else’s post.

  7. Twitter:
    Wow, first a really long post, then one that has some serious content to it. What, you sick or something? :lol_tb:

    Good stuff, Sire, and of course I don’t follow all of this myself, though I probably should. Actually, I go on my finance blog, but that’s the only one.

    Pretty much the only sizes I use for Adsense are 160×600, 468×68, and 250×250 here and there. Of course, we have to remind people that they’re only allowed 3 Adsense blocks on each page, which means you have to be careful on your main blog page that has multiple posts not to have too many Adsense blocks showing.

    Good stuff, Sire; cut it out! :drunk_tb:
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Rocky And Bullwinkle Turn 50 =-.

    1. It was sort of long wasn’t it, for me anyway? :laugh_tb:

      The plugin I use for Adsense only inserts ads on individual posts so they never appear on the front page.

      Thanks or bringing that very important point up Mitch.

      1. Twitter:
        Oh yeah, you’re still using that Adsense plugin. I’m only using it on my finance blog, and only for the home page. Just seemed a bit buggy with my other blog.
        .-= Mitch´s last blog ..How Do You Feel About Blog Podcasting? =-.

        1. Must be because my FlexSqueeze theme goes so well with most plugins, huh Mitch? Sorry I couldn’t help but give it a little plug. :lol_ee:

            1. Sure, but first they have to let me know it as this particular link that got the sale.

  8. I have to agree with #3. Ad placement is huge because even if you do get the traffic, if your ads aren’t in the most visible spots, people won’t click on them.

    1. That’s so true, and so obvious that you can’t click on what you don’t see.

    1. No worries Eren, and I’m sure you will begin to use them when you are comfortable doing so.

    1. I’m all for sharing old friend, but first comes first, as in where are the vast profits? For now let’s share a soda, as I know you don’t drink. :drunk_tb:

  9. One thing I learned is to introduce your ad space slowly, means only put one ad up to avoid that people have too much choice and end up clicking nothing. Also, when it comes to Adsense, with too many ad spaces you run the risk that Google places also low paying ads on your site, now I start with one ad space in prime location and add carefully more as I get more clicks, SY

    1. Yes, that could work but I don’t have the patience. Besides I don’t believe that offering more of a selection would confuse people into not clicking on anything at all. If anything I believe the reverse to be true.

      Still, that’s the good thing about being individuals, we do the things that we believe in.

  10. First I want to say thank you for your nice blog. I also prefer more for monetize my blog by adsense and by selling ad and link. I have been blogging since last one year. When I was new on blogging I did not know much about how to market my blog. Now I learn little bit about it.

    Best practice to market our blog is to provide some best resource to our reader and making our blog brand like this way. Once we make our blog brand we can easily market our blog.
    .-= chandan´s last blog ..Work at home | Freelancing PDF converting job =-.

    1. It’s good to see that you’ve been blogging a year as a lot of people give up way before then. Keep it up and I’m sure you will meet your goals.

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