One of the ways bloggers make money on their blogs is by selling ad space to advertisers. There are several different ways you can go about doing this. Here are 3 of the most common ways, to help get you started with ads on your own blog. No way is inherently better than the others, what’s best is what works for you and fits your blog and your goals.
Use a Third-Party Ad Provider
This will usually take the forms of Google Adsense, or a specialized ad network like BlogHer. Either way you start by signing up for an account. Once approved you’ll be given guidelines to follow and codes for ads to place on your site. Some ad networks will tell you where to specifically place your ads. For example BlogHer want you to place them above the fold (even though that’s an outdated idea), while Google Adsense will let you place them where ever you want. A key to remember here is that you may have limits on how many ads you can put on one page. Google Adsense will limit you to 3 ads, and 2 of the text bar ads. Place more than that and they won’t show up! So be sure you are familiar with the guidelines of your ad network.
Ad networks also limit the control you have over the ads that run on your site. Google Adsense ads are usually based on the cookies that your visitors have on their browsers (you “collect” these from sites you visit and advertisers often use them to give you targeted advertisements. That’s why you’ll see ads for Target after shopping on Target’s site.) You will be able to block or exclude categories of ads, but sometimes ads you don’t necessarily want on your site will slip through! If you are worried about ads clashing with your beliefs or content on your blog, choose your ad network carefully or consider one of the other options.
Another drawback of these sorts of ads is that they generally only earn you revenue based upon clicks, not views or impressions. That means you only get paid if someone clicks on your ads. Unless you have high traffic this can mean you don’t make much from your ads (like pennies or maybe a few dollars). Some ad services also have monthly pageview requirements, so getting into the most lucrative ad services as a new blogger or blogger with low traffic might not be possible.
Run Your Own Ad Shop
This is a great option that gives you full control over the ads you display on your site. You get to control the pricing, placement and content of the ads. You also get to determine the payment terms, so you can set it up so that your advertisers pay you a flat fee each month regardless of clicks or impressions. No matter how they preform you will still get paid as soon as the ad is set up. Of course, if your ads don’t provide value to your advertisers they probably won’t stick around! So this option does have its drawbacks. It’s much more labor intensive and you are responsible for the success or failure of it.
Use a Third-Part Ad Service
There are two ways you can run your own ad shop. The first is to run it through a third-party like Passionfruit or Adproval. Both services take care of a lot of the back-end stuff for you. Of course this comes with a price tag. Passionfruit charges a flat fee while Adproval will take a percentage of your revenue with no upfront costs. One of the benefits of these services is they offer a built-in source of advertisers. Bloggers love to advertise on other blogs, and chances are there’s someone looking to advertise on a blog just like yours on Passionfruit and Adproval! These services also make it easy for advertisers to upload and mange their advertisements and for you to create ad spaces, manage your pricing, learn how your ads are preforming, and get paid.
The second way is to do it yourself. With a little knowledge, some WordPress plugins, and some effort on your part, you can cut out the middle man and run your very own ad shop on your blog. The trade-off is that instead of paying for a third-party service, you’ll be doing all the setup and management work yourself. There are tools to make it easier, but it still will be slightly more work on your part. However, the benefits are you get all the profits (after you pay for your payment processor fees of course!). So you can potentially make more money this way.
Who says you have to go the normal route? Sites like Patreon make it easy for creators to monetize themselves, while offering their fans special services or deals. It works like this: after you sign up and get your account ready to go, you can select your payment options. You can either have weekly or monthly pay options. For example you could have a set of smaller ads on your site in your sidebar for your $1/month supporting patrons, then if someone supports at $5 a month they could have a larger ad space, or for $25 a month get an ad after every post! Or be more creative than that! Maybe you can offer a printable for your supporters at different payment levels. Or a service or product you offer. It’s a very flexible system that’s not normally used by many bloggers, but it can be very successful.
Which is best though?
That depends. If you want complete control over your ads, you are probably better off going with running your own ad shop. If you want a steadier income stream that might also be the way to go. However, if you are a new blogger, or one with low traffic you might have a hard time attracting advertisers and making money. In that case Adsense or another similar ad service might be better for you. While you may not make that much money from it, you will still probably make something. Like thinking outside the box? Don’t want ads on your site? Go the crowd sourcing route! This is a great way for those with a really strong fan base to go! It’s also a great way to get really creative in how you can give back to the fans that support you. Don’t be afraid to try new things, or change. Blogs will change over time, so will the ways in which we monetize them.