Friday, July 31, 2009

Ad revenue tips for the casual blogger

Not long ago, a few exchanged comments on Lori Widmer's blog got me thinking about advertising revenue and blogging.

I started putting ads on my blogs about two years ago (I think). It took me an entire year to reach the $100 minimum for a check. After that, I started putting ads on more of my blogs, and now I'm getting on average about $30 a month — which works out to a check for $100 every three or four months. Not bad pay for something I would be doing anyway (I love blogging!).

I also have an affiliate account with Amazon, but I find that one's not very lucrative. I've gotten perhaps $40 in gift certificates over the past couple of years. I keep doing it simply because it's a good way to post an image for the books I review on Livre du Jour (which, again, I do simply because I like to!).

All this to say that I'm by no means an expert on earning ad revenue from a blog. I can, however, provide a few tips for others who want to make a little money on the side, but don't really care about turning their blogs into a full-time money-making endeavor.

1) Plan your ads. Google Adsense only lets you put three ad units on one page. That means you have to plan out your ads very carefully on your main page. Also, certain locations on the page are more desirable, and therefore bring you more money per click.

2) Left to right, top to bottom is the way most people scan online. So theoretically, ads in the top left will be the most successful. I'm not too careful about this, but I do like to use a header ad — an ad just under the blog header, and before the text.

3) Make use of individual post pages. I also put a footer ad on my blog posts, just before the comments. I usually make this a rectangular graphic ad, rather than a text ad. (Graphic ads earn more per click.) I also change the "# comments" link to point to the individual post page instead of the Blogger comment page, so that more people see the ad.

4) Limit sidebar ads. Bloggers who don't want the ads to be intrusive often stick a few skyscraper text ads at the bottom of all their other sidebar stuff, and then wonder why it doesn't work. Actually, I think small, tastefully placed ads in other areas (such as the header and footer ads I just described) are less intrusive than having a ridiculously long sidebar. As a result, I prefer the small square graphic ad, placed higher up in the sidebar, as an alternative to the long rectangular text ads.

5) Don't expect much from AdSense search. In my opinion, it doesn't work. I have it on one of my blogs as a courtesy to my readers (the template doesn't allow me to use the regular Blogger search bar), and I've only gotten a couple of clicks on that in about a year's time.

These tips aren't much, and like I said I am no expert, but there are still a few things I've learned from running ads on my blogs. I hope this will help at least a few of my fellow writers who would like to earn a little extra cash from their writing blogs!


Kathy@TheFlawlessWord said...

Well, you're way ahead of me. Almost a year and a half into my Adsense experiment and I haven't even hit the $50 mark, let alone the $100! Admittedly, I haven't experimented. I can earn much better money devoting that time elsewhere. I think your variety of blogs on a wide span of subjects is one of your secrets to success. I pretty much see the same ads on all writers' blogs. And really, how many times is someone going to click through to an ad they've already seen elsewhere?

Kathy@TheFlawlessWord said...

I forgot to mention that I love your new photo!

Katharine Swan said...

Actually, you're probably right, Kathy. The ads that appear on freelancers' blogs are kinda lame. And come to think of it, my wedding blog accounts for probably 90 percent of my earnings.

I might try to work this into a follow-up blog post.

Glad you like the new photo. It's one of the ones I had everyone vote on a year or two ago. I finally made a decision! Yes, I know, I'm way behind -- you can see why I keep saying I need to make more time for marketing!


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