Tag Archives: advertising

Blogging Strategies: The Great Ad Network Debate

Perhaps you’ve noticed that some blogs are using every bit of their advertising space as efficiently as Times Square.  Ad space, ad dollars, ad revenue – the truth is, we all just want to make money.  If you haven’t joined an ad network yet either because of lack of information or indecisiveness, you’re not alone.  Even if you are monetized to the hilt, there’s no guarantee that you’ll turn a profit, even though advertisers are being seen on by your readers.

Ad networks compensate publishers using one of three methods:

  1. CPM – Cost Per Thousand.  For every one thousand ad impressions, publishers are paid a flat rate.  One challenge publishers face with CPM deals is the ad servers that power the advertisements often use different metric systems to determine impressions than the blogger’s own metric system.  
  2. CPC – Cost Per Click.  Publishers are paid on a per-click basis.  This is the least desirable method of payment, as a very small number of users actually click ads (read: less than 10%), especially if they visit several blogs running the same ads (which often happens when blogs in the same genre belong to the same ad networks). 
  3. Flat Rate Advertising. Publishers are paid an agreed upon flat rate for an agreed upon time.  This is also known as brokering your own advertising, it is often the best option for those who are interested in advertising, yet would like to keep the organic feel of their blog.  The only downside of selling your own advertising is that the opportunities aren’t always consistent. 

Ad networks aren’t right for every blog, especially if you pride yourself on originality. Additionally, another problem with ad networks is that publishers cannot select the advertising displayed on their page, and ad networks also require premium placement on it’s partner’s sites.  

How have your experiences been with an ad network? Do you broker your own ads?

    Discussion: Pay Per Post “Advertising”

    Blogging etiquette is always a hot topic swirling amongst bloggers (and one we’ll discuss in an upcoming BlogTalk Radio segment).  Everyone is looking to turn their online venture into the next cash cow, but would you accept money to write a post on a topic, even if you weren’t interested? 

    This is the premise behind such websites as PayPerPost and ReviewMe.  PayPerPost offers products, websites or services to review on a flat fee basis, whereas ReviewMe allows companies to bid on a post appearing on your website.  

    Similar to sampling etiquette, the ethical question remains whether or not to disclose the motivation behind your posting.  

    Would you take part in pay-per-postings sites? Have you and would you again?

    Blogging Strategies: Making Money

    The “blogging success stories” run rampant.  It’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the thought of making money off your blog, but monetization isn’t the best option for everyone.  As we’ve lightly touched on before, there are many methods of advertising, but before delving deep into advertising strategies it’s import to decide if advertising is right for you. ProBlogger offers an informative post on how to decide when and where to advertise.

    Pros of advertising:

    • Motivation – We all find ourselves slipping into a blogging slump, but advertising can keep you motivated.  If you don’t write new posts, your regulars won’t have a reason to visit your site.
    • Funding to grow your blog – Every blogger has ambitions, from a redesign to becoming a full time blogger, expanding your blog can take capitol.  Advertising can provide you with the means to create the blog of your dreams.

    Cons of advertising:

    • Reader backlash – Readers are more perceptive than we give them credit for. Advertising can cause reader distrust in your motivations and intentions.
    • Layout problems – If your site’s layout wasn’t initially built for advertising, you might experience organizational issues.  
    • Same old, same old – Chances are, most bloggers in your genre are utilizing the same ad networks as you, which means your readers are seeing the same ads on all the sites they visit.  Additionally, in ad networks, publishers generally don’t have approval of which ads are displayed on their site.  Choose wisely. 

    Let us know what type of monetization you’ve considered and what options you’d like to learn more about. 

      Blogging Tools: PicApp

      One issue fashion and celebrity bloggers face is the access to affordable celebrity photos.  Mashable recently introduced us to PicApp.  PicApp is a service which has recently partnered with Splash News to offer bloggers free celebrity photos.  The only catch is the script required to insert the photos also inserts an advertisement below each photo.

      The required advertising is, of course, the tradeoff. Are you willing to subject your readers to advertisements you have no control over? Are free celebrity photos more important? Additionally, the embed code runs off script instead of html which could affect your load time.

      Staying out of legal trouble can be treacherous when posting about celebrities.  Photo rights, liabilities, slander – the list goes on.  How do you feel about services like PicApp?

      Essential Blogging: Building Your Brand, Part One

      What brand do you think of when you see the color combination of red & yellow? McDonalds or Shell gas stations.  How about the slogan “Don’t leave home without it”? Even though American Express no longer uses that tagline as their main slogan, it is still instantly synonymous with the brand.

      While your blog probably isn’t going to turn into an international media conglomerate, it is important to make your site instantly recognizable across all platforms.  The more web savvy we become the more we should fully control our online identities and turn this presence into a strongly recognizable brand.

      About.com’s Guide to Marketing lists the following 5 good branding objectives:

      1. Clearly delivers the message
      2. Confirms your credibility
      3. Connects your target prospects emotionally
      4. Motivates the buyer
      5. Concretes user loyalty

      Marketing and branding strategies aren’t always applicable in the blogging world, so we’ve created our own top 5 list.  Here are our top 5 beginner’s tips for solidifying your brand:

      1: Create a unique look

      Upon visiting your site, your readers should immediately get a sense of what your blog is about. Create unique graphics like banners and icons using a consistent color scheme and unique graphics. In our previous post on banner exchanges, we discussed the many free ways to create your own graphics.  Find a vibrant photo representative of your blog for little to no cost on stock photo websites such as iStockPhoto. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even create your own font using tools like FontStruct and FontForge. The key is to make your site as distinct as possible while keeping your reader’s focus on your content.

      2: Connect with your readers socially

      Even if you have your own personal Myspace, Facebook and Twitter accounts, create one specifically for your blog.  Use the graphics, logos and color schemes to instantly associate these spaces with your brand.  Using these tactics will create a level of comfort and familiarity with your readers.  

      3: Spread the word

      Actively promote your site(s) in your email signatures, and place links to social sites in your sidebar. Also make it ridiculously easy for your readers to subscribe to your site. Do everything short of placing a blinking arrow pointing at your subscription options.  Customize your feed and email options to include as much of your blog’s look as possible.  Consistency is key. Don’t forget about reaching out to other bloggers for link and banner exchanges

      4: Give them something to look forward to

      Have a passion for lipgloss? Write a review of a new gloss product every Thursday.  Are you a music junkie? Feature a new artist every Tuesday.   Readers love consistency, in your look, your voice and your posts.  Another way to draw readers in is free stuff.  Readers love a good giveaway, and free stuff blogs love to link to them.  Encourage your blogger friends to promote your giveaway by offering them additional entries for promotion.  

      5: Get to know your readers

      If a tree falls in the forrest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if you’re writing a blog and no one reads it, what are you doing wrong? Daily Blog Tips offers 5 strategies to get to know your readers. Reader loyalty is one of the most powerful tools your blog can have, but it’s not easily earned.  Ask your readers questions, get to know them on and off your site, and make them feel important.  If ad dollars, notoriety, and/or community are what you crave, your readers hold the key.

      Everyone’s approach to branding is unique.  What strategies have worked for you and what have failed?