A topic that we’ve approached so many times on this blog already is how you can go about making money from blogging. There are countless ad networks that you can use to insert a variety of banner ads and display ads, as well as all the affiliate networks where you can promote a variety of affiliate offers to earn sizable commissions. That’s not what this post is about.
You see, while joining a number of ad networks can be a good idea for any number of reasons, they all suffer from the same fatal flaw: the ad network has to make money too. What this means is that they will always take a cut out of your earnings and this cut is oftentimes as much as 50%, if not even more! The only way that you can truly retain all the advertising money that your blog earns is to sell private advertising instead. This can take some legwork, but it can also be incredibly lucrative.
And one of the most important steps you take in this process is to publish an appropriate advertising information page on your blog. This way, potential advertisers can know exactly what to expect and you won’t have to deal with endless inquiries asking the same questions over and over again. So, what do you need to include?
Naturally, a great example of a simple yet success advertising page is the one right here on John Chow dot Com. You can access it by clicking on the Advertising link at the top of the site. That’s step one: make sure your advertising page is obvious and easy to access, regardless of where the visitor is at the time.
You’ll also notice that John’s advertising page puts the site stats front and center. Any advertiser who is worth his weight will want to know what kind of return on investment (ROI) he’s going to get when he pays for advertising on your site. The exact numbers and metrics that you offer are up to you. That said, some of the basics include your monthly page views and your monthly unique visitors. In addition to this, you might include your Alexa ranking, your Quantcast numbers, your RSS readers, your Twitter followers and any other metrics that can help bolster your chances of landing an advertiser.
The next thing you’ll want to include are all the advertising options that you have available on your blog. Here’s the example from Blogging Tips. For each potential ad placement, you’ll want to offer a brief description of what the ad entails, like where it will be placed or the dimensions for banner ads.
Not surprisingly, a banner ad “above the fold” is more appealing that one that is buried somewhere near the bottom of the page. You can also note whether an ad will appear both on the site and in your RSS feed or whether a paid review includes a complimentary tweet or Facebook share. Sell those benefits!
And perhaps even more importantly, include a direct link for the advertiser to buy an ad spot right then and there, directly from your advertising information page. Once they’ve made the decision, you don’t want to lose them through e-mail tag. PayPal buttons are a great way to do this.
While they are completely necessary, a couple of other sections you may consider including are a series of testimonials from past advertisers and links to examples of past or existing advertising. With the latter, links to old paid reviews can be useful. And even better feature would be case studies, demonstrating how placing an ad on your site directly resulted in increased conversions or sales for a particular company.
If you don’t want to deal with the logistics and administration of direct advertising, there are number of services and plugins that can help automate the process too. But that’s another topic for another day.