Okay, so your blog is up and running. Things are going well. You are starting to get traffic and you see your stats increasing at a steady pace. Now is a good time to think of monetizing some of this traffic. There are a lot of ways to make money on your site, but one of the most popular ways, especially if you are getting a lot of eyeballs, is to display ad blocks on your site.
The techniques to displaying advertisements (often) vary according to the website platform. Among the popular website platforms, this post deals with WordPress; introduction to WordPress advertisements and tips to add ads to WP website.
What are Ad Blocks?
Ad blocks are those little “blocks” of advertisements that appear on so many of those websites you visit. It’s just a spot for your ads to go – for example, like a banner ad.
Ad blocks, in some form or another, have been around as long as the web. They have, however, evolved. It used to be we’d see a few banners on top of the page, some with animation, others with flashy graphics. Users however, soon learned to tune these out. If you were making money on “pay-per-click,” you might have seen a slowly declining rate of revenue. So new methods were developed.
Types of Ads to Place Inside Your Ad Blocks
Before we get started, I want to outline four basic types of ads that can go within your ad blocks:
1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
These are pretty much self-explanatory. Pay-per-click ads pay a certain amount based on how many times someone clicks on the ad. These typically pay from as little as $0.01 per click but can range upward (sometimes even up to a few dollars), depending on the ad.
2. Pay-Per-Impression (PPI)
These pay based on the number of times an ad loads. While these may seem more appealing, as they don’t require any action on the part of the user, and don’t take people away from your site, they tend to pay considerably less, and are really only effective if you already have a large amount of traffic.
3. Static Advertisements
Static ads, pretty much available to high traffic sites, are “banner” or sidebar ads which remain there and will pay a certain amount per month.
However, as stated, unless your site is already getting many thousands of views-per-month, it’s likely not an option for you. If, however, you do have this kind of traffic, it’s an excellent way of making more income (or at least paying for the hefty hosting fees you may be experiencing with this popularity).
4. Affiliate Advertisements
These may be the most lucrative types of advertisements you can use on your site. Affiliate ads are (ideally) ads wherein you can be paid for purchases on a remote site. A unique id is associated with your site, which is then tie to traffic on the remote site so that if a user purchases this item, you can receive a percentage of the purchase.
It’s important to only use affiliations with content closely associated with your content. This serves the double purpose of both carefully targeting the right sort of users and also provide a call to action. We can see most of the WordPress blogs earning good money by featuring affiliate advertisements.
How to Add and Display Ad Blocks Within Your WP Site
In order to place ads on your site, you’ll need to determine where your ad blocks should be positioned and then embed them in that spot. It’s a lot easier than you might think. It used to be that you needed at least understand some basics of HTML & CSS (though this is still helpful, and I recommend it), but now any good WordPress theme should already have ad block spots located in an ideal position.
Best WordPress Advertising Plugins
WordPress is rich with thousands of powerful plugins, that you can get plugin solution to every problem you encounter. No wonder, here are a number of Useful WordPress Plugins for Managing Your Ads.
In addition to just copying and pasting your ad’s code into that spot, these WordPress ad plugins will help you to better manage your ads. Some are free and some provide a number of useful features for a small fee.
1. Advanced Ads
Advanced Ads is a professional lightweight ad manager which can manage and insert banner ads into WordPress. It was designed by a web publisher who recognized exactly what most web producers need when it comes to managing large numbers of advertisements.
It works seamlessly with many existing affiliate networks and provides full support for all Google Adsense banners. You have the ability to purchase an add-on which will assist you in selling space to potential advertisers.
2. Ad Inserter
3. Popup Maker
While there are some user-experience issues that come into play when choosing to include pop-up advertisements, as they can irritate or annoy users, there are times when they may be effective calls to action. Advertisers like them because they essentially force viewers to see their product.
Popup Maker is a highly rated plugin for WordPress, and it has many free features, including the ability to use slide-outs, banner bars, notifications, and various other graphically appealing formats. If one wishes to go beyond the free version, it can be enhanced by adding a few useful extensions, including analytics, AJAX login models, and more. However, as mentioned above, be wary with overuse of popup or other intrusive forms of advertising, as we will see below…
A Word About Ad Blockers
Unfortunately, there are a few known drawbacks with advertising on your site that you should consider – the most notorious one, Ad Blocking software. This exists because many sites and advertisers have violated some basic usability principles when it comes to including advertisements on their sites.
While you may use responsible advertising on your site, software such as this can cut into your bottom line. Users may never see the advertisements you provide. This can affect your website’s revenue.
However, there’s some good news. There is software that can help bypass some of this software. Here are a few WordPress plugins that can help with this.
1. Ad Blocking Detector
This plugin will detect whether a user has ad blocking software installed, and can serve them alternative content. This is a helpful tool in that you still have a way of reaching consumers, while at the same time you know that this is a savvy user, so you can better direct your message to them. It detects the major ad blocking software providers, such as AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, and Ghostery.
2. Ad Blocker Notify
This plugin will identify if a user has ad blocking software installed, and can write some customized text for these users. With this, you have the extra chance of addressing the consumer’s fears and can help increase their trust. It provides an extra chance for a pitch directly to the most concerned users. If you can win these ones over, you are already much closer to your eventual goal.
7 Actionable Tips for Displaying Your Ads
Now you have the software. You already have a good sense of some of the potential pitfalls. So let’s get to a few basic tips.
1. Relevant Advertisements
Keep your advertisements relevant to your content. I can’t say this enough. If there are ads for things that are unrelated, not only are they not effective, they can give users the impression that your site is not serious. Even more important, do not offend your readers. If you have a blog discussing, for example, prenatal care, an ad for Viagra, which while peripherally relevant, is actually off-topic and potentially offensive. Make sure you know who is advertising and for what.
2. Complementing Advertisements
Choose ads that complement your content. In other words, if you are writing about purchasing cars, why not include some ads for automobile financing? If you have an affiliate program for this financing program, even better; you can make money off of purchases of this type.
3. Avoid ads that clutter up your screen
If they have a design which matches your already existing design, then that is fine. If suddenly pop-overs start flying across the screen if the user accidentally mouses over them? That’s probably a mistake.
This is also true even if it is a call to action for your own product or site. You don’t want to push people to buy before they know what the product is; you will likely lose them.
4. Control the flow
With many of the above ad block plugins, you can choose where and when ads will appear. Make sure that readers do not think this the end of your content. Calls to action are great, but not necessarily if they are a call-to-action for someone else before the user has finished reading your content. Small text blocks within the text, possibly right or left of the content may be better than blocks which cause the user to lose their train of thought.
5. Allow users to override the view
Of course, you want them to look at the ads – however, forcing someone to look at something for which they have no interest may cost you that reader. Allow the user to close or collapse the content in the ad.
6. Allow click-through ads to open in a new window
Unless it is a direct call to action (e.g. one of your affiliate sites), if it opens in a new window or tab, the reader can always find their way back to your site if they choose.
7. Check your stats
See what works and what does not. Pay attention to what causes a user to click. If you want to get granular, use the data provided to you by your plugin and see if you can identify if there are specific ads that have a higher rate of causing people to leave your site in the wrong way. Pay attention to those that work. Test it, and test it again. Many of the above-mentioned plugins can help on that.
Appropriate ads placed within your ad blocks are a great way of adding to your revenue. If you do it right, it can be extremely helpful, but it’s very important to recognize that there are many pitfalls. Good ads do not drive users away, they interest the user. They add to the user’s experience.
The best ads provide value to both you and the advertiser. For these reasons, unless your content is extremely unique, valuable, and interesting at a level which cannot be easily found elsewhere, be very careful not create intrusive ad blocks. There are a lot of great opportunities here. If you’re careful, you can see a distinctly positive effect on your bottom line.
Jay is a web guru with nearly a decade of experience building and hosting websites of all kinds. He is an online consultant and founder of How To Get Online – helping small businesses learn about web technologies and getting their business online.
(This is a guest post. View guest posting guidelines.)