There is only one reason you would join an ad network – to make money, of course. But before you go jumping into all sorts of ad networks in an attempt to make the most money out of your blog, there are a couple of things which you are going to need to consider here:
Will the ad network be able to offer you the guaranteed CPM rate you are after? Be mindful of the fact that many ad networks are guilty of enticing new or struggling bloggers with promises of great returns, but remember that if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Do you have a contract? An agreement in black and white is always the way to go, and if an ad network is reluctant to offer you a concrete agreement, best to walk away from it to avoid finding yourself getting stuck in a bad situation.
Will you have any sort of control over the ads that are run? Ideally, the ads that are going to be featured on your blog should be in sync with the content that is being talked about on your blog. You do not want an ad that is in contrast to your content because it is going to send mixed messages to your readers and your blog runs the risk of losing credibility among your followers. When signing up with an ad network, get it in writing that you have the right to request any ads you deem inappropriate for your blog to be removed without issues.
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Joining an ad network has its pros and cons. Ad networks basically work like advertising brokers, whereby you offer an available advertising space on your blog for purchase, and they will do their part trying to sell the space for you for a cut of the sale.
The pros of working with an ad network are:
There is less effort on your part in the sense that you are not stuck being a one-person show doing all the legwork selling and setting up your advertising. By joining an ad network, all you have to do is sign a contract and place an HTML code on your sidebar, and you are set.
Ad networks can sometimes earn more than private advertising can, although how much you make would vary depending on several factors.
Ad networks do more than just sell ads since they work with multiple bloggers and have more connections. They can attract a bigger pool of prospective clients, some of which may have big advertising budgets they can work with, an opportunity that may otherwise be harder to score if you were working on your own.
And now, the cons of working with an ad network:
You may not have as much control over the ads as you would like. Ad networks are often reluctant to relinquish control over the ads that get displayed to the blogger, although there are some exceptions. Do not work with an ad network unless you are prepared to give up control and let them have full run of the kind of advertisements that show up on your blog.
It may be difficult to secure an ad network to work with. Getting in with a network could require months of pushing and persistence. Having connections and contacts in this instance would definitely give you a leg up. Otherwise, it can be a challenge getting in immediately with these networks and very often you may find yourself waiting for months before an opportunity shows up.
Average advertising is easy enough, and noticeable. It is the sidebar ads that very often go unnoticed in most blogs. But sidebar ads also have earning potential for your blog, so they should not be ignored. One great thing about selling sidebar ads is that you have complete control over the ads that get displayed on your blog at all times, which may not necessarily always be the case with regular advertising through an ad network.
So, how do you get the most out of your sidebar ads? By following these simple rules for monetization:
Emphasize on Making It Obvious – If an advertiser is looking to advertise on your blog, they may not notice that there is an option to advertise on your blog unless you make it loud and clear to them, plain and simple. Make it clear that you have advertising spots for sale by putting an advertisement tab in your header, for example, that will link advertisers to your advertising page. Remember a lot of these advertisers are most likely very busy people who simply do not have the time to comb and sift through your blog wondering if there is any advertising opportunity available. It is up to you to make it obvious.
Clarity on Your Advertising Page – Once you have directed advertisers to your advertisement page, make things even simpler for them by being as detailed as you possibly can. Typically, the kind of information that advertisers would be after include page views and unique visitors to your blog, what your blog’s demographics are, and what are the advertising options and prices they can expect. And if you have any testimonials from former advertisers who have worked with you before? Even better! Throw that into the mix too, because it adds credibility to your blog. List down every compelling reason you can think of as to why advertisers should choose to work with you and you will be in business in no time.
Offer Special Rates – Nobody can resist a good discount or a bargain. If you want more advertisers to sign up with your sidebar ads, offer them a deal that they simply cannot refuse. For example, offer your sidebar advertising rates at 50% off the original price. Limited time offers are a great gimmick to entice these advertisers to sign up for your deal, and they will be a lot keener to take up a sidebar ad subscription on your blog if they feel that they are getting a bang for their buck.
Throw in an Extra Treat or Two – Companies love feeling like they are getting the most out of their money, and sidebar advertising is a great opportunity to make the companies who work with you feel special. Seal the deal with your new partners by offering to mention the company on your Facebook or Twitter accounts for example, which is a free form of publicity for the company. You could even offer to write a free blog post for the company if you love what they are selling and you are comfortable promoting their products or services to your readers.
Do not Leave Blank Spots – If your sidebar ads are empty, it gives the impression that your blog space is not quite up to par yet for people to want to advertise on your blog. This could be the kiss of death for your money generating attempts, so avoid leaving blank ad boxes even if you do not have any ad deals signed up. Fill those spots with affiliate ads or work with friends who run their own blogs and give them free advertising for example. Anything to keep up the appearance that your blog is interesting enough to advertise upon and this will, in turn, attract other advertisers if they see there is already an interest built on your blog.