Banner Advertising: Viable Make Money Blogging Solution?

Banner Advertising: Viable Make Money Blogging Solution?

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banner advertisement traffic generation cafeCall it what you want: banner advertising, paid advertisement, sponsor advertisement, selling ads – all roads lead to Rome.

It wasn’t that long ago that I never gave banner advertising a second thought.

However, most of us are here to make money online and, if this is a good way to do just that, why ignore it, right?

So off I went to do research on the topic.

My first order of the day was to ask some of the bloggers I know and respect why they do/don’t use paid advertising on their blogs.

Here’s what I found out.

Banner Advertising: Thumbs Up or Down?

Yaro Starak – Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

“Advertising on my websites is the longest and most stable income stream I have ever had online.

Back in the year 2000 with my very first website I sold banner advertising at $50 a month. From that time forward every single month I have had some form of income coming from sponsors on my websites. That’s over 10 YEARS of stable income.

One of the key things I wanted from advertising is to make it as close to passive income as I could get it.

Initially I was very hands on, negotiating prices with every advertiser, handling their banners manually, etc. This all required too much time, which is why I came up with a few systems to make the process as close to passive as possible. With help from an assistant to approve ads, my system became completely passive for me and has been for several years.

Of course it’s important that your sponsors get value too, otherwise they won’t stick with you for long. Finding the right kind of sponsor is just as important, so don’t get too caught up in the “easy money” aspect. You will need to find the right sponsors to make the relationship win-win.

Every month for the last five years I’ve had anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 a month coming in from sponsors. I consider this my “salary” that no matter what other project I am working on, I can count on this money.

I strongly recommend you consider adding direct sponsorship to your blog too. At the very least give it a try for a few months and you may be surprised who is interested in reaching your audience.”

Pat Flynn – SmartPassiveIncome.com

“I’ve definitely has success with paid advertising in the past on my previous sites (http://www.greenexamacademy.com, for example), although I took it down on that site for one particular reason – I wanted people to buy my products (or products that I recommended) instead of the products of my competitors.

Affiliate marketing was more profitable than renting out space on the site.

On SPI, I don’t do paid advertising because, again, I can make more money through affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, I’m more in control of how much money I make.

The more traffic I drive through those affiliate links (and the better my lead in to those links), the more money I can make.

With paid advertising, at least in the traditional “rent this space for X dollars a month” model, the money I can make is capped, and I could possibly earn less than I could with affiliate marketing.

Plus, I only recommend products that I’ve used and have helped me somehow in the past, and I’m not comfortable, at least on SPI, with promoting things for an advertiser just because he or she paid me money to do so. I think the recommendation becomes much more powerful when it comes directly from me instead of from an ad, where the payment to recommend is implied.”

Kristi Hines – Kikolani.com

“I think sponsored advertising on a blog could be a viable stream of income if you have a lot of traffic. Traffic is the key to getting advertisers.

If you look at the Design & Development websites looking for advertisers on BuySellAds, you will see that sites with higher traffic can charge the most.

IconFinder, for example, is making $5,283 per month in ads based on the number of spots they have, cost per spot, and what is currently available. If that is their average, then they are making over $60,000 a year in ads.

Definitely a viable income IF you have the traffic and niche to demand that kind of pricing.”

Lisa Irby – 2CreateAWebsite.com

“I actually tried selling ad space on my blog for awhile.  The click through rates were soooooooooo dismal no one ever renewed.  So I dropped AdSense AND paid ads.

Then I discovered how well the 728×90 AdSense unit converted when I redesigned my blog, so I just decided to make money with AdSense.

I think if I had sold a larger ad spot that was more prominent like my 728×90 AdSense unit on my blog it would have done better, but I didn’t have that design setup then.

I was selling 125×125 in the right column.  Terrible click-throughs.  I even dropped the price way low… still no one renewed.  The click thrus were that bad.

I sell paid ads on my static site 2createawebsite.com and it goes over a lot better because of the traffic.”

Successful Banner Advertising Breakdown

Before you say “Great, sign me up!“, let’s see if your site has what it takes to become a successful advertising income-churning machine.

5 Things You Need to Consider:

1.   TRAFFIC

Understandably, advertisers want to make the most of their advertising budget and invest into the blogs that might bring the biggest return.

How much traffic is enough?

I’d say that you need close to 500 unique visitors per day to make any decent amount of money with advertising.

Sure you can make some with less and it’ll be up to you (and your potential sponsors) to decide.

2.   BANNER PLACEMENT

This is something you’ll have to test on your blog – one size doesn’t fit all.

For Lisa Irby, 728X90 spot at the top of her blog and site performs the best.

banner advertisement lisa irby

 

You can also add banner advertisement within the content of your home page or posts, like Yaro Starak does.

banner advertisement yaro starak

Yes, it’s true that readers can develop “banner blindness” for 125X125 ad spots in the sidebar, but I think it all depends on how you do it.

A couple of successful ingredients to great click-throughs for those spots are clean and uncluttered sidebar, limited amount of ads, and yes, the blog authority.

For instance, Pat Flynn does NOT do paid advertising, but makes a killing in affiliate marketing.

He has no ads or any ad-looking banners on his blog, except for these affiliate product banners in his sidebar:

banner advertisement pat flynn

Combine that with his reputation and insanely loyal readership and no wonder he makes thousands of dollars a month in affiliate marketing.

If my blog did that well with affiliate marketing programs, I might not be considering paid advertising either. Just saying.

And here’s one more example of a great ad spot, but this time it’s for text links.

Take a look at how John Chow is using the banner strip at the top of his blog to draw attention to his advertisers.

banner advertisement john chow

It’s the first element to load and the first thing readers see when visiting his site. The ad is locked to the top of the browser so it’s visible at all times.

I bet it gets killer click-throughs, especially for this one that mentions “Playboy Mansion”. I need to get me one of those… LOL

Moving on.

3.   RELEVANCE

So obvious, yet so often ignored.

I see many of my clients advertise products that don’t relate to their niche in any shape or form.

Like placing a CommentLuv Premium banner on a weight loss blog.

Really?

4.   QUALITY

When you do paid advertising, you don’t necessarily vouch for the products advertised, but the quality of advertised products still reflects on you and your business.

After all, if your reader ends up purchasing a product through an ad on your blog and it turns out to be a flop, guess who will hear all about it and possibly even risk loosing some readers over it?

Click to TweetPut your readership above making a quick buck; it’ll pay off in the long run.

5.   GO THE EXTRA MILE

Banner advertising income is fairly passive, but not hands-free.

If your advertisers are not getting the click-throughs they expect, they won’t renew, just like Lisa Irby mentioned above.

Keeping your present advertisers happy is much easier that getting new ones, so make sure you do just that.

Here’s a great tip I got from one of Yaro Starak‘s newsletters on how to attract blog sponsors:

“Depending on the results you deliver to sponsors, you might consider taking extra steps to ensure your sponsors stick around for a long time.

Making a “thanking the sponsors” blog post once a month to send additional traffic and links to your advertisers is a good practice, and/or highlighting a specific sponsor with a dedicated post about their business.”

Simple and brilliant.

How to Attract Advertisers

This was one of the questions I struggled with when considering banner advertisement at Traffic Generation Cafe.

Would I have to send out dozens of emails, beg and plea with product/service vendors, prove that my blog is worthy of their advertising budget?

Then Kristi Hines told me:

“I know the way you are supposed to do it is to reach out to advertisers (companies that advertise on similar blogs, for example).  I really don’t pursue my ads… I just put them up if someone asks and get rid of the whole block if there aren’t any.  Having an advertise page really helps too so people know you are open to (almost) anyone advertising.”

Yes, it was as simple as that.

LETTING everyone KNOW that you are open for advertising business is the single most important thing you can do to get the ball rolling.

How to Choose Advertising System

Unless you are a coding genius, you would need some help getting your ad spots set up on your blog.

There are plenty of plugins to help you do that (most of them are free).

I personally use Datafeedr Random Ads V2 to power my rotating affiliate banners located right under the related posts section; however, setting it up is not very intuitive.

I am also planning on testing MaxBlogPress Stripe Ad and Max Banner Ads to add more spots throughout the blog. Both plugins are free, unless you want to remove their branding link from the ads (which I strongly recommend you do).

Now that you’ve got your ad spaces all figured out, you need to find an advertisement management system.

Do you need to have one? No. However, it’ll make your life a lot easier and I am all for easy.

What are the choices?

Kristi Hines already mentioned BuySellAds.com – one of the most popular advertising systems out there. Then there’s AdvertiseSpace.com and plenty others.

The way those systems work is they charge you a percentage of the ad revenue from your blog in exchange for acting as a middle man between your site and advertisers. Their commission can range anywhere from 25% to 50%.

Personally, I chose to use CrankyAds.com – Yaro Starak’s very own advertisement management system. Why?

  • Yaro has been advertising on his blog for a while now, so he knows what both advertisers and bloggers need.
  • It’s free. If you find your own advertisers, then you keep the entire take. If Yaro helps you find an advertiser and you accept the proposal, then Yaro gets his commission.
  • The plugin automatically creates a cool looking Advertise Page for you.
  • Video ads: the plugin offers you an option of adding video ads to your sidebar; I haven’t seen anyone else offering this feature.
  • I can also add text links in the sidebar.
  • Easy PayPal payment system.

How’s Traffic Generation Cafe Doing?

I spent about 2 days doing research on the validity of banner advertisement as an income stream, researching different advertisement systems, plugins, setting up my “Advertise” page, and getting opinions from other bloggers as to whether I should do any of the above to begin with.

I really wasn’t sure if those 2 days were to be written off as a complete waste of time, but I saw it through.

Result?

My Advertise Page went live on December 1.

By December 5, I sold a text link and a banner ad in the sidebar, as well as landed a sponsored review.

All in all, I made $775 from my advertising within the first five days. If you ask me, it’s not that bad.

Will it be smooth sailing from here on? We shall see.

It is my goal though to do everything I can to make this work for both my readers (continue to offer quality products through paid links) and advertisers (make sure I do all I can to drive more traffic to their sites.)

Marketing Takeaway

I am sure I’ll be doing a follow-up post on banner advertising soon. After all, it takes longer than a week to see true results.

However, for now I am pleased with the results and will probably remain in the ignorant bliss that this is a great money making strategy for my blog… until that is I run out of advertisers. LOL

Stay tuned!

traffic generation cafe

Image credit: http://www.facebook.com/CoteLLC

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Google+ Comments

129 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. There was a study that surfers are ignoring banners nowadays, and that text links are more efficient in terms of their click through ratios. Is there any truth in these claims?

  2. Visiting this blog for the first time and I’m glad to find useful posts here. I’m new to blogging and this post would definitely help me in understanding and running advertisements in my blog. Thanks!

  3. Excellent post as always. I have some questions about CrankyAds and Yaro immediately answered me on Twitter. Now I just have to find the time to email him. Great find, Ana, and thank you so much for sharing it.

      • Hi Ana,

        Are you still having any database error issues? I’m working on diagnosing an issue that is looking like CommentLuv Premium or a CommentLuvvers plugin issue, but it appeared after I started using CrankyAds and I remembered you had similar error messages so I’m just covering all the bases.

        Do you happen to know if CrankyAds using mysql queries? Servint Hosting says my blog is hanging the server due to too many mysql calls.

        • Ana Hoffman

          No one has reported any errors lately, Gail, although doesn’t mean that they are not happening, of course.

          I don’t know the answer to CrankyAds question…

          Let me know if you find out anything.

          PS I AM getting a LOT fewer comments than I used to though.

  4. Hi Ana,

    Another great article, cheers.

    I was curious, do you ever worry about a google slap for obviously advertising the fact that you sell ads? I’ve never been able to reconcile the fact that google are directly against paid links, but so many sites on the internet make money in just that way, often overtly. Do you know what the situation is here? Is paid advertising ok?

    Cheers,
    Colin

    • Ana Hoffman

      Good question, Colin.

      What Google is against is passing link juice and authority through paid links.

      So as long as you prevent that from happening by adding rel=”nofollow” tag to all your paid links, you’ll be fine.

      • Interesting!

        Don’t you find that paid advertisers require a do-follow link? I’ve always assumed that the do-follow was the main factor that they’re paying for as they could get a no-follow just by putting a decent comment on the site.

        Cheers!
        Colin

        • Ana Hoffman

          They can’t require that, Colin; they know about Google requirements.

          They are paying for the traffic, not the link juice.

  5. The biggest advantage to this kind of advertising is the steady flow of money. You can make contracts on a month or 6 months, setting yourself up for a relatively long time regardless of what happens to your blog. You can take a break and not worry your earnings will go down.

  6. I think this is the most comprehensive piece I have come across on banner advertising. $775 from banner advertising is pretty good – hats off and congrats (and wishing you more where that came from).

    I agree that relevancy is key factor. Personally, I have stayed away from banner advertising – I mostly focus on niches where there is commercial demand. Adsense/amazon works quite well on them. Even with adsense, when the ads are not relevant (happens very rarely, but does happen), the CTR drops drastically.

    • Not when it comes down to banner ads; however, you might try AdSense and see how you do.

      You probably won’t make much money, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

  7. Hi Ana,

    So far I had no success with advertising and with passive income generation. For the past year, I tried it couple of times with No success. I’ll try it again with CrankyAds and see, hopefully with more success.
    Great, informative tutorial as usual.
    Merry CHRISTmas and Happy new Year.
    Boutros.

  8. Another superb post highlighting the range of considerations. There is no “one fits all” method and obviously the key here is to do what is appropriate for each site you are managing. What works well for one marketer could be a disaster on your site if you were putting a square peg in a round hole so to speak. You should repackage this post in a 7-15 page report and offer it as a OTO on your “7 steps” thank you page. Happy Christmas.

  9. Lauren

    Hi Ana. Is it beneficial to have paid ads on your blog since day one of the blog or I should wait for getting a fair amount of traffic first and then place paid ads? I am new to blogging world and I am confused in this regard. I came to know about many useful plugins from the comments in this blog and I am planning to have a couple of them. Can you please suggest me which plugin would be better for me in the initial state?

  10. Hi Ana,

    Really great advice thanks. I am in the process of restructuring Sevensentences.com and I really need to look at my advertising policy.

    For me the less time it takes the better. So I will check out the systems you mention.

    Thanks
    Geoff

  11. Azhar

    Earning through adds is one of the best and recommended way for passive income.I am doing home work for this type of income and soon will launch my own blog.

  12. Very informative Ana. I run banner ads on my site, but when I started out I was all over the place and didn’t have a real niche I was going after. After some time I realized how crucial it was to only promote what you use (duh!) and showcase products and services that relate to what you blog about. I think it has to go hand in hand or it won’t work. I haven’t really dug deep into selling advertising, but I will now. First I have to get CrankyAds to work on my site…something about an error with the server. Thanks Ana!

    • Sometimes, a little common sense goes a long way, doesn’t it, Sonia… Took me a while to see these seemingly simple things. LOL

      And thanks to Yaro for answering your question about CrankyAds; they are working on it as we speak (or I type, I should say).

  13. Hi Ana,

    Let me come out straight, this post is worth a $97 ebook! You only need to add in a few details here and there and many will fall head over heel to get it. With those inputs from such revered bloggers and your insigthful details, there is really nothing more many a blogger need to know what it takes to make money with banner ads. Great job!

  14. Anna your post is really enlightening. i don’t have the traffic yet to start trying out paid advertising on my site,but i am thinking of placing some ads on big traffic site.
    may i ask if you site will allow advertisement about amazon store?

  15. Hey Ana,
    Wonderful! This means that Blogger can really make money from Banner Advertising and 728X90 spot at the top of blog is perfect idea. I am going to implement. Nice piece of discovery
    Thanks…

  16. I think it’s good to have multiple income streams from your blog. I do affiliate marketing as well as selling advertising on my blog. While, affiliate marketing suspasses advertising as far as income, I still generate passive income from advertising. I use a free service called komoona that takes care of all the selling of adspace on my blog, so it’s an easy source of income.

  17. Hey Ana,

    Thanks very much for sharing this. I found the post very informative as I have been researching banner advertising for my blog.

    Congratulations on your success in just 5 days!

    Much continued success,
    Mavis

  18. I think that choosing relevant sponsors is critical. Not only will it help your advertisers to get more site visitors, but it will also help your readers. I appreciate ads sometimes as they can lead me to other information or products that I might enjoy. Targeted and relevant sponsorship will be appreciated by your advertisers and readers.

  19. Ana, this post (including the comments) is so fascinating. I read every word. In my case, a video on Yaro’s site was an initial impetus to blog and to monetize. My experience with AdSense has been good from day one. They let me have ads on a brand spanking new blog with almost zero content. And darned if I didn’t get a couple of clicks from confused readers. That was so exciting and motivational. My little blog is hardly pulling in 500 unique visitors a day but it’s headed in the right direction. I can hardly wait to see the results of your ongoing experimentation.

  20. Very detailed post Ana. It’s great for those bloggers to share their experiences too. Yaro’s statement, “it’s important that your sponsors get value too” and Kristi’s “if you have a lot of traffic” pretty much explains why the timing is perfect for you and why a newer or less popular blog would probably suffer from banner ads.

    I just wrote on our last newsletter that Ad Space on a blog can affect search placement in Google with the wrong advertiser, too many and certainly too soon. My traffic is already at the point where I can sell ads but I need work before I can offer that value Yaro is talking about. I believe your ads will provide value, just like everything else here. :)

    BTW, I just have to say every time I see one of your posts I’m just blown away. Seriously, you leave nothing out, do incredible research and explain everything perfectly.

    • First of all, thank you, Brian.

      I think if I left things out, I wouldn’t have the readership I have. LOL

      You are so right: many considerations go into making the paid advertisement step and anyone considering it should do the same kind of research I did to see if it works for their situation.

  21. This was a really good, thought out post and I am glad you mentioned the minimum traffic suggestion of 500 clicks per day. That gives us a good threshold to build toward prior to adding this income stream. Kudos, again!

  22. Lisa Irby’s comment is spot-on in my experience. Trying to tuck and squeeze buttons into white space on your site will not generate results. The 728×90 leaderboard or a 250 rectangle featured near the headline of the page are consistent top performers for online advertisers. I spent years managing interactive campaigns (both B2B and B2C) and those two ad units were invariably the top traffic generators.

    For bloggers to make the most of their sponsorship opportunities, your site design must include one or the other, or both, in my opinion.

    Great post!

  23. I use Adsense on my site which is performing well enough; the only problem is that given that everyday more surfers use ad blockers not everyone sees ads. It seems that CrankyAds are a viable alternative to Adsense but I’ve heard positive things also about Share a Sale. I’ll think more about it when I’ll go over the 500 treshold. :)

      • Yes, there are extensions which prevent ads from appearing in browsers so that no one sees them, reason why ads revenues have dropped; but given how many ads some sites have it’s pretty understandable that to surf and read content you need no ads. Images with links instead show up normally at least most of the times, even if the link might not be clickable. Probably after a while better go to sell own stuff or affiliate links.

        Have a great day!

  24. Danielle Parsons

    Great share Ana! I have used many of the mentioned advertisers and have had a little success with paid advertising on my sites. I use Amazon ads on my sidebars of all my sites and that is a nice stream of income. Being creative with ad placement and traffic are the biggest factors blog owners should strive for to increase income from advertising.

    • I agree, Danielly – it’s passive and it’s something worth looking into.

      Glad Amazon products work nicely for you; I think it would be true for many product/service oriented blogs.

  25. Ana Hoffman

    As Pat Flynn showed us, some sites can do very well or even much better with affiliate links alone, Dan.

    I haven’t seen the same return as Pat has, but working towards it.

    Meanwhile, paid advertising seems to be a good middle step.

  26. Ana, it’s always fun to read what others have done or not done with advertising. I don’t have the entry fee of 500 visitors days, but I would love to experiment with OIOPublisher, which seems like CrankyAds. (Only it’s not free.)

    My favorite part of this post was that I got to find out about Village at the Edge of the Sea!!! I love hearing about new books to read!

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  27. Hey Ana,

    This was very interesting to read, the no go with Adsense from Lisa except for that big banner she has right now and about the dreaded 125×125 boxes which I always thought nobody clicked that work amazingly great for Pat.

    I just recognized one of the advertising services you mentioned (haven’t really been interested yet in that as I’m still learning on how to drive traffic myself first).

    So my question is what about the automated OIO Publisher service that all you have to do is either approve the ad or deny it?

    Is it too newbie oriented?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sergio

    • Ana Hoffman

      I’ve never used OIO Publisher myself, Sergio, but some other commentators mentioned it as well.

      It seems like it’s very similar to CrankyAds from what I saw on their site.

  28. This is a great article Ana. All your articles are very thorough and helpful. However, I do wish there was a print button so we could easily print the article. It is difficult to print articles that are framed without a print button.

  29. I love your advertise page. It says it all and everything is very clear. I did try to click on the ‘borrow mine’ link but it’s not working for me. I’ll come back later. Maybe everyone is trying to click on it at the same time.

  30. Ana, the best point you make on your advertising page: “Average comments per post: 50+” – that means people are sticking around on your site, commenting and what-not. But even bloggers with 5 visitors a day and Zero comments can make money via banner ads. Look at Southeast Asia’s “nuffnang” network. They embraced the concept that there’s power in collective numbers!

    My opinion: every blogger should add banner ads! You might make $775 and I $7.75, but a dollar is a dollar and a nickel is a nickel… (and nobody is being forced to click on the ads!)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very true, Dave – money is money, and a smaller site might not make as much, but still successfully use banner ads.

  31. I’ve never really considered banner advertising. I think that’s solely because my blog still needs some major work.

    I’m a subscriber to Yaro’s newsletter and I must say, it’s paid off in some ways. I’m still learning from your too. For now, I’m still giving Adsense the benefit of the doubt, but I think I’ll stick around more often. I learnt a lot from this post.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I didn’t think you were allowed to make advertising revenue from a free platform like Blogspot, Lanre. Was I wrong?

  32. Congrats on the great amount you made Ana …

    The post really shares some great tips to gain sponsors. I like Yaro Starak’s and Lisa Irby’s words over the importance of direct advertising and blog design

  33. Ana, you stated that you need at least 500 unique visitors a day in order to make some money with banner advertising.

    I have a fairly new site that doesn’t get that many hits. I am going to bookmark this post and come back to it when I hit that mark or start to get close.

    Thanks for all of the great advice.

  34. Congrats on the amount you made so soon Ana. Banner advertisements are fine as long as they are not over-done. I guess we need to have a proper disclaimer somewhere on the site implying that its customers responsibility to check the authenticity of the products offered by the advertisers, before buying them.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks, Raj.

      Yes, my affiliate disclaimer does say that my readers are ultimately responsible for checking out the products for themselves; I hope they understand the same applies to paid sponsors.

  35. sam

    Hi,

    Nice post Ana from my point of view if we are really very serious about make more money via our site/blog post then first of all we should need to convert much traffic and visitor on our site/blog post. Because this is understood if good number of traffic as you mentioned in your blog post like minimum in 500 figures then “”Banner Advertising”” will prove useful for us.

  36. The crankyads plugin advertising feature looks appealing. I wish I could integrate something like it with another non-Wordpress site. I have a different platform in my home root directory and WordPress in /blog. If it were possible to use it in both locations that would be great. One thing I didn’t see unless I missed it was pricing. Is there some kind of industry standard or minimum besides the 500 daily visitors you recommended? Along the lines of what is the going rate per advertisement or size? That part I really don’t know about.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I couldn’t find any industry “standard” as far as what to charge for advertisement.

      As I mentioned in the post, I checked how other blogs similar to mine priced their ads and came up with a price in-between.

  37. Ana, first of all thanks for the mention. I’m honored to be listed among these A-list bloggers. As everyone has already said it comes down to experimenting what works for you so I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    Also, the comment are turning into a nice resourceful thread. I’ve read about a few things here that I may try in the future. Wonderful post!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thank you so much for taking your time to give us your input, Lisa.

      It’s always great to hear from others what works and what doesn’t before we start experimenting with our own blogs!

  38. Great post Ana. Congrats on your early success with banner ads.

    I’ve been experimenting with the HelloBar on some of my sites with good results. Although, I mainly use it for list building instead of for advertising.

    I’m interested in testing out your MaxBlogPress Stripe Ad suggestion though. If it’s a viable free alternative to the HelloBar then I’ll probably switch to it.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I am not a big fan of paying yet another monthly fee for a strip on my blog, Chris. LOL

      Good to know it’s been working well for you.

  39. Chukwuka Okwukwe Chukwuka

    Hi! Ana,

    I noticed the banner advert on your blog, I think a week back – it feels good to know you are planning ahead and getting on top of the game.

    Well, everything boils down to testing and you’re already on it – I pray it works out real good for you.

    For now, I can’t try this till my blog gains a huge following.

    Wishing you the best always,
    Chukwuka.

    P.S: How is the Xmas preparation going?

  40. Hi Ana,

    First a big thank you (and to Pat) as well for your support of CrankyAds.

    We are still in a BETA testing process and learning about why people choose one ad manager over another is very interesting to me. We’ve created something very simple to use with some unique features, but of course knowing how others use the tool, or other similar tools, and why they do, is really important to me.

    As for advertising on websites, as I wrote I have found it to be the most reliable source of income long term – even more so than affiliate marketing – as long as you continue to have traffic.

    My first website on the card game Magic: The Gathering only had about 500 visitors per day, but combining banner sales and newsletter sponsorship I was making as $500 to $1000 a month, which for me as university student running a small niche site was pretty good.

    I did $2000 a month with a miniature motorcycle forum website, combining adsense with direct banner sales.

    Not everyone likes banners, and click through rates can be terrible for advertisers as well, so finding the right mix can be tough. Like Pat does, affiliate banners are great options, however in my experience affiliate marketing in blog posts and newsletters works best for me.

    Everything is a test, so like people said above, try it out in your mix to come up with a balance that works for you.

    If people want to use CrankyAds.com to run a test, we’d love your feedback.

    Thanks for the writeup Ana – and if you are reading this and want to reach a traffic-generation/SEO orientated audience, why not give sponsoring Ana’s site a try?

    Yaro

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very good point, Yaro, and something that many blog owners forget – one size doesn’t fit all, whether it’s advertising or any other income stream.

      What works for one audience might not work for another.

      As you can tell, I am testing waters here with paid advertising to see how it does on my blog. As far as affiliate marketing is concerned, blog posts is where most of my affiliate income comes from, just like on your blog.

      So far I found CrankyAds to be very easy to use and will definitely let you know if I come across anything that might need tweaking.

      Meanwhile, thanks for giving my readers a great feedback on what works for your blog and jumping in to comment as well.

  41. Lou Barba

    Hi Ana,

    I can’t thank you enough for the way you talked up my book. I know your niche is much different than mine, but I still feel included in your large, large group of readers and admirers. May you and your husband an daughter have a blessed Christmas, filled with His Spirit!

    Lou

    • Ana Hoffman

      I feel the same about you, Lou – you’ve been a part of my blogging journey from the very start and I truly appreciate you hanging in there with me!

      Blessings to you as well.

  42. Hi Ana,

    I have finally added paid advertisements on my blog as well. I’m currently testing BuySellAds, and I got two paid ads during the first five days. I was thinking about doing more affiliate marketing like Pat Flynn, and I might end up doing more niche marketing from January, but I need to find a good course. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Ana Hoffman

      I haven’t taken any niche marketing courses myself, Jens, so I can’t tell you which ones are worth the money. I am sure Pat Flynn could help you out though.

      I think I am getting more into affiliate marketing this coming year.

      • I’m also going to test affiliate marketing more next year, but I’m not sure if niche marketing or “traditional” affiliate marketing is the right thing for me.

        I’ve bought Steve Scott’s Affiliate Marketing without the BS, and I’ve learned a lot from it, but I’m still a newbie :)

  43. Ana,

    Great insights here from some of the experienced bloggers.

    It does come down to the traffic. 500 unique visitors a day…That is a target I have yet to reach (O:

  44. Great insight Ana. I’ve always been hesitant to really offer advertising on my blog for fear that it makes it look weird. However, it might be something I start looking at in 2012. Maybe a little bit at a time! :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I definitely think it’s worth a shot, Larry; and starting small is always a great idea. Start with a couple of banners and see how they do; you can always add more in the future.

  45. Hey Ana – thanks again for featuring my answer in your post. I think Yaro’s got some strong arguments though, and I have checked out CrankyAds and it’s a genius service.

    Again, I’m leaning more toward no ads on SPI, but on other sites I have I can definitely see the benefit and would definitely use CrankyAds to manage that for me. Back in the day when I still did banner ads I did everything manually, from the transaction with the client to putting up the advertise here page and even installing the images they send to me.

    What do you think? Am I leaving money on the table?

    • Not considering your blogs unique selling point Pat, given that it’s so “how-to” based, affiliate links for products you show how to use would do much better than some random banners plastered up in your site.

      In fact, I’d argue that it would really cheapen the experience of your site.

      On a different niche, these work well.

      For instance, I run an electronic music blog, it would be hard to do affiliate marketing in this niche, BUT it’s really easy to find artists/groups who want paid promotion, so setting up space and finding advertisers in that niche is easy, and doesn’t hinder the site experience.

      In a nutshell: banner ads seem more natural to me on entertainment sites, on a site where I’m getting specific how-to information, they aren’t welcome (I usually block them via AdBlock for Chrome) and I’ll support the author via an affiliate link if I like their work.

      But hey, that’s just me.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Thanks for your contribution, Pat.

        If you take a look at the 125×125 ad zone in my sidebar, it’s actually a mixture of affiliate banners as well as paid advertisement.

        Yes, CrankyAds allows you to mix those two!

        I think it might be worth your time (considering how easy Yaro made it to do this) and see how your site does.

  46. I would like to do ads on my Blog but I think I’m going to wait until my blog is well established before I start selling ad space or doing affiliate marketing. I just stared mine a few months ago and I’ve actually had a decent amount of traffic for it to be so new but not a lot of interaction..so that’s my first goal before making money. I want to get people talking to me. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think that’s a great approach, Ashley.

      It’s way too easy to turn away potential readers with ads; however, when your blog is already well-established, they for some reason don’t mind as much. LOL

      I suppose it comes down to perceived value – the more you give, the more you get in return. An old cliche, but very true.

    • Ashley, why wait for traffic until you put in affiliate links (especially if it can be done in a non-intrusive way and is helpful to your readers)? P.S. I don’t know if you’re aware, but your website’s currently down.

      I don’t know if I’m ever going to sell ad space (banner ads), but I do have affiliate links. My reason for not selling ad space is because I plan to save that valuable sidebar real estate for my own products (mobile apps, online courses, etc.). I don’t want to dilute the effectiveness of my own ads.

      BTW, thank you for the mention, Ana!

      Having read every single one of your posts and know how valuable your information can be, I did not hesitate to advertise on your site.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Thanks for the thumbs up, Jeanne!

        Saving space for your own products is very wise. If and when I find the time to write my own, I might change my advertising strategy.

  47. Ana,

    Right now I only use AdSense and it pays for my VPS which is fine. I have tried BuySellAds and though I think the service is fine and easy to use I don’t currently have the Traffic for those kinds of Ads yet (just recently crested 5,000 unique for the month).

    Ads are not a turnoff for me if the Blog is delivering value. We all have to get paid and I will even click on an AdSense banner once in a while just to help out the cause. I know it’s a small thing but whatever… And I definitely try to buy through Affiliate links of bloggers I enjoy when I need a product.

    All and all I’m certainly Pro-Ads if done tastefully.

    Thanks for a great article on a topic not enough people dig into this deep.

    Ryan H.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Glad to hear that AdSense pays for something on your blog, Ryan – I know many bloggers don’t get much at all.

      I agree with you. I am all for supporting fellow bloggers by buying through their affiliate links (if somebody will make money off those sales, I’d like them to be people who consistently deliver value) and wouldn’t mind checking out paid ads if the product looks interesting.

      Congrats on your traffic stats; nothing to sneeze at!

  48. Hi Ana,

    “Don’t have your own readership yet? Don’t worry.
    You can borrow mine.” <= If that's not enough to make people want to advertise on your site, I don't know what is!

    I've been using Datafeedr Random Ads for awhile, but with affiliate products. I'm thinking about trying a top stripe so I'd love to hear your results if you try this.

    I like how you do a lot of research, then give us the highlights of what you find. Thank you!

    Peggy

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so very welcome, Peggy. It’s always easier to test these kind of things when you have a lot of traffic, isn’t it?

  49. Great points Ana! Relevancy of ads is key. I recommend even showing different ads for different posts. Oh and you need to split test ads. Some will work far better than others!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Different ads for different posts is a GREAT idea, Nick.

      Unfortunately, it requires a whole lot more technical expertise than what I have right now. LOL

  50. Money is money. The more ways you can figure out to make it, the better :) Selling some banners ads is probably always a good idea.

    Darren

    • Ana Hoffman

      The only way it can be a bad idea as if it’s distracting you from making more money doing something else, like in Pat’s case, Darren.

      If I can make more money placing aff banners in the sidebar, why do paid ads, right?

  51. I like how you reached out to top bloggers for their insight…You can’t argue with results like Yaro’s and Pat’s haha

    It all comes down to traffic.

    I have used Datafeedr Random Ads for about a year, great plugin.

    MaxBlogPress Stripe Ad I have used on and off for 2 years and have to say with the right message and colors it does it’s job well of getting clicks.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Traffic is really what will make or break this, John Paul; you are so right.

      I still need to test MBP Stripe Ad; I know many bloggers use it very successfully.

    • Like John I too have used Max Stripe Ads and had high ctr but not much money conversions which probably had more to do with the affiliate landing pages than the bar. I decided to replace it in favor of ViperChillBar which collects subscribers for list building instead and have far better conversions. ViperChillBar even allows you to split test different variations of a subscription ad at the same time for free ;)

      And although I do use DataFeedr Random ads to promote aff offers, I haven’t tried it for selling outside for advertising space as about a year ago I naively tried selling advertising space but the traffic was not big enough. But nowadays who knows :idea:

      Congrats on the $775 as that alone should be able to take care of a bill or two :)

      btw,
      Mark of theBitBot shed more light on the preset email series discussion you and I had that you might want to check out Ana..

      thebitbot.com/are-autoresponder-series-becoming-outdated