I believe private advertising is the best way to monetize your blog without sacrificing the user experience. Private advertising is now the only way I am monetizing my blog, as I recently said goodbye to CPC advertising (Adsense and Konterra) because they litter the blog with low-paying and often irrelevant ads.
Over the past month, quite a few people have asked me how I sold most of my blog’s advertising spots without using Text-Link-Ads or any other ad-brokering program. There are many advantages of selling your advertisingly privately, most importantly being that you keep 100% of the income instead of having to split it with a brokering agent.
Think Like an Advertiser
You have to look at how advertisers choose to advertise – generally, it comes down to how popular a blog appears to be. Unless the blog is already receiving several hundred visitors per day, generally, it needs at least a PageRank of 4 to make any decent ad money. I waited until Google updated my PageRank before actively trying to push my advertising.
Advertisers will consider a variety of factors when deciding which blog to advertise with. Things that advertisers take into consideration include:
- Niche of blog
- Alexa ranking
- Technorati ranking
- Number of RSS subscribers
- Number of Backlinks
- Age of blog
- Posting frequency
- Average daily visitors and pageviews
- Number of comments left by community
Here are a few hints on how to sell your blog’s advertising quickly:
1. Competitively price your ads.
The best way to decide what to charge for your ads is to visit similar blogs in your community that have similar rankings. You can also scour the Link Sales section of forums such as DigitalPoint and see how much other blogs are charging per link.
If you have to, underprice all your ads in order to sell them out initially. You can always raise the prices once you sell out all your ads – that’s the rule of supply and demand.
Generally, if you are just starting to sell your ads, a competitive price for a text link on a PR 4 blog is around $10 per month.
2. Make it clear on your blog you are offering advertising.
This is obvious for most seasoned bloggers, but include a special page on your blog dedicated to your advertising options. Mention all of your rankings (Alexa, PageRank, etc.) and add a contact form to the page.
You might even create “Advertise Here” banners for all the blank spots you are planning to sell.
3. Offer multi-month discounts.
By offering slight multi-month discounts, you are giving your advertisers incentive to stick to a longer term contract. Many advertisers who buy text links would rather do so in three-month spurts, as that is how often Google’s PageRank is updated.
4. Actively seek out advertisers.
I have had great success advertising my advertising on the DigitalPoint Link Sales forum. I copied the text on my Advertising page and mentioned my pricing and discounts. Within a few hours, I had sold half of all my text links.
One thing to note is that in order to post in the DP Link Sales forum, you must have previously made 25 replies or posts in other sections of the forum.
5. Go above and beyond by showing your advertisers you truly value them.
Once a month, I like to write a post thanking both my advertisers and top commentators for their support. Going above and beyond is not something everyone does, so this kind of extra link love really shows that you appreciate their contributions.
Hopefully, by employing these techniques you will start to sell advertising on your blog or web site. I shared some of these secrets with David Wilkinson last night and he sold most of his ad spots within a few hours.
As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to sell advertising without any PageRank. However, by competitively pricing your ads, you can sell ads on any blog. Don’t be afraid to set your prices low initially, because you can always raise them once your ad spots fill up.
Even though Text-Link-Ads and other brokers provide a great service, you do not need them to effectively monetize your blog.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.