5 Effective Ways to Maximize Ad Revenue on Your Blog

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How to maximize blog ad revenue? We’ve all read articles telling us that we can make millions from our blogs if we just buy product x or subscribe to service y. What these articles never tell you is that none of this stuff works, that you’re not going to get rich quick with your blog. It takes time, patience and hard work to raise your site’s revenue to a level where you might – just might – consider quitting your day job.

Now that I’ve got your attention (and hopefully you haven’t left this article already in despair), I can tell you from personal experience that blogs can and do make money, just not overnight and not in the millions of dollars as some folks promise.

With a strong amount of patience and smart decision making, anyone can begin to make money with their blog and raise their site’s income to a reasonable level over time. Here are 5 effective ways to maximize revenue on your blog that I’ve found have worked for me.

1. Less is Always More

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to placing ads on their site is thinking, “If I have more ads on my site I’ll make more money.” While the math in this statement seems to make sense, the psychology doesn’t always work out this way. Often having one ad, directly related to the content on your site, can get more clicks than twenty “generalized” ads on the same site.

Think about your ads from the perspective of a reader. When you land on someone’s blog, or even a commercial site, don’t you hate it when there are more ads on the screen than content? I know I do. Also, if you’re reading an article about guitars, would you really be enticed to click an ad about laundry detergent that was sitting next to the article?

Because of this, it’s always better and more lucrative to have fewer ads that are directly targeted at your readers than a bunch of generic ads cluttering your site. If people find their eyes wandering from your article to the sidebar, you want them to see a relative ad that will compel them to click on it.

2. Text Links

Text links are another great way to advertise on your site. Here’s a little experiment you can try right now. As you’re reading this article, do you even notice that there are ads on the sidebar and in other places across this very website? Most of you will answer no, because your attention is focused on the article and not the periphery.

With this knowledge in hand, you can now place ads directly where your readers are looking, in the text of each article you publish.

There are many ways to do this, but what I find works well is to use an affiliate site, such as Amazon, and link to product pages directly from the text of your posts. So, if you use the following sentence in an article you could attach a link to the word “Lost” and have it send your readers to the DVD’s of the latest season of that show on Amazon.

“I loved the season finale of Lost last night. It was truly captivating television.”

There are many ways to link to affiliate programs within the text of an article, such as linking from pictures of products, names of products or descriptions of products. Try a bunch of different ways at first, see which links your readers are clicking through, and then figure out which approaches work best for your site.

3. Calls to Action

A call to action is when you ask your readers to perform a specific action within the context of an article or post. A good example of this can be used with the Lost DVD’s from the previous example. If you’re writing an article about a certain subject or product, say Season 1 of Lost, you can insert a call to action inside the text of that article like so:

“Click to buy Season 1 of Lost from Amazon.com”

You would be surprised how many more clicks you’ll get just by asking your readers to click on a particular link in an article. I’ve also found that by bolding a call to action and using a bright color, like red, helps it to stand out from the rest of the article and draws more clicks than just using plain text.

4. Reviews

Reviewing products is not only a great way to advertise on your blog, but it also helps build your reputation and a level of trust between you and your readers. I’ve found that my most successful in-article ads come from products that I’ve reviewed.

By reviewing a product, if it’s a positive review of course, you’re not only asking your readers to click through on a product link, you’re also telling them why you liked said product and how it will positively affect their lives.

Writing reviews can also be a slippery slope, especially if you write a positive review and ask your readers to buy a product that turns out to be a scam, doesn’t work or causes any hardships for your readers. There’s no easier way to lose a readers than by telling them how great something is when it’s really not. If you lose your reader’s trust this way, you’ll lose them forever.

Avoid the pitfalls of only writing positive reviews to sell a product. Write a positive review because you truly like something and believe that it will be enjoyed by your readers.

5. Direct Ad Sales

While most people who are in the early stages of their blogs might want to focus on the four ad strategies mentioned above, if you’re getting 500+ unique visitors per day you’re probably in a position where you can approach companies directly to buy advertising space on your site’s header, footer or sidebar.

The best way to go about doing this is to approach companies that sell products that are related to the content on your site. For example, if you write about flower arrangements, then flower delivery services would be your best bet as companies to start selling ad space to.

Though don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. That same website could also sell ads to wedding planners, greeting card companies, gift basket services etc., basically any company that deals with flowers and flower arrangements.

What Do You Think?

If you’ve tried some of these ideas out yourself, or have come up with your own successful ad technique, let us know about your experiences by commenting below. (See how I snuck a call to action in there?)

Guest author Dr. Matt Warnock is the Editor in Chief of GuitarInternational.com, a digital magazine that provides readers with well written and entertaining reviews, lessons and interviews with guitarists from around the globe.  

This is a guest article and represents opinions of the guest author

30 comments on “5 Effective Ways to Maximize Ad Revenue on Your Blog

  1. Harsh Agrawal says:

    Matt some nice tips and I would rather say this article is more on the line of best way to promote your affiliate product..
    Well here are my 2 more cents:
    1. Come up with a monthly thank you sponsor post: I did it and my ad sales doubled
    2. Ad placement around body of the article perform great.. This tip work for direct advertisement or for affiliate banners.. Make sure don’t over do it.. I use buysellads 125*125 around my post and they always sell like hot cake….
    3. Monetize RSS footer: I often add some promotion link to my RSS feeds since many bloggers love to read blog via RSS. Mostly it is:
    Sign up for Elegant theme and grab all 46 theme for 39$

    • Matt says:

      Harsh, thanks for the extra tips, trying to keep this article to only 5 words of advice was tough because different approaches work for different people/sites.

      I’ve tried RSS ads but haven’t had that much luck, but it’s definitely worth looking into for many blogs.

      I think people could learn a lot from your monthly sponsor post, could you post a link so people could see what you mean first hand?

      Thanks!

    • Saket says:

      Wow thanks for the tip Harsh, I didnt knew about it.
      Well i haven’t started showing direct ads on my website yet, all of them are google ads but will keep this tip into my mind when I’ll start it :)

  2. Michael says:

    This is great. I have tried a few things but monetizing hasn’t been a huge priority for me…that is about to change so this will certainly helped. Have bookmarked for future reference.

    Thanks for sharing

    Michael

    • Matt says:

      thanks for reading Michael! I would say the biggest mistakes I made early on were trying to over monetize, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just pick the right time to begin monetizing your site and then start to make a plan of attack. Figure out what works and stick with that, but also experiment over time with new ideas as your blog and readership grow and change.

      Good luck!!

  3. Patricia@lavenderuses says:

    I came over to your site via a recommendation of this post on Twitter. Being new to blogging I am just commenting on other people’s blogs, getting to know others in the blogging community and building up trust with my visitors. When I monetize my blog I will be taking into account all these helpful hints you have shared here. I have already bookmarked so I can revisit.
    Thanks so much for such a great post.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Matt says:

      Patricia: Thanks for checking out the article. I think you are doing the right thing, building up trust and readership before monetizing your blog. That’s the most important thing, if readers trust you and like what you write, they are much more likely to click on an ad or buy an affiliate product from your site.

      Good luck and keep us posted on the results!

  4. Tom Wilkinson says:

    Looks like you are also teaching traffic methods: have a guest poster who draws traffic which can help your ad revenue.

    Good Job!

  5. Josep says:

    Hello, there are many ways do money with the blog. The blog do more modern not to be like in the 2005 year old at present itself this innovating a lot of the subjecte matter no longer be a referring one of the previous, really a blog is a business where to be able do a lot money the same as place of e commmerce of all categories with its want ads advertising links, auctions to buy combine with Ebay. All payment by click or fixed annual, the system Adsense and Awords not is good for the blogger all the money go for Google, the blogger is different have more psicology for create other system with innovation for your target is more good. A blogger can make money the year an average of $150,000.00 net or more money.
    Greetings.

  6. Robert says:

    This is good stuff, after how much unique users would you heavily focus on monetizing? My blog is motivation material that keeps pushing me for more success in business.. I started it just as an archive of things that motivate me but decided that other people could benefit from it as well. Burntheships.org , thanks!

    • Matt says:

      Robert: I think it’s different for every site. I think you could start using google ads right away, as long as they look good and fit with your site. A lot of affiliate programs, such as Amazon and Ebay have very specific rules about who they allow to use their ads. Programs like that want to see that you have several writers on your site, that you have a good number of articles and that you are easily searched via google and other browsers.

      I say start with google ads, then as you get to about 250 or so visitors a day try applying for Amazon and go from there.

      you can also try programs like Commission Junction, www.cj.com, which allows you access to dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses that you can apply for to advertise on your site. Since my site is guitar related, we use Musician’s Friend and Guitar Center through Commission Junction and find that it works very well.

      Hope that helps!

  7. jDesai says:

    For those just starting up, Google Adsense is the default option because many sites like buy-sell ads have some prerequisites like attaining certain popularity. Direct ad sales are also of the similar kind. I say revenue generation though blogs is an exponential process. You may earn nothing in your first six months, then earn a little in the next 3 and may triple the amount in the next 3.

    • Robert says:

      what is the best way to bring traffic to your blog? I know there are tons of sites on the internet with different suggestions.. But what are your best experiences? My blog is burnthehsips.org , any help? I run a sales team, and created this mainly for them but figured that many ppl can benefit form it. Do you think the topics are to vague to be a profitable blog?

      • Robert says:

        oops meant. burntheships.org spelled it wrong^^

        • Matt says:

          Robert: I checked out your site. You are already doing the google ad thing very well, I would say now you should focus on doing article specific amazon ads. For example, you have an article with a video of Tony Robbins. If you were an amazon affiliate you could put a link in that article to on or more of Tony’s books. You could even put a link to all of Tony’s books on Amazon with a sentence, and link, such as:

          Click to Visit the Tony Robbins Library at Amazon.com

          That way you are putting a call to action, and an article inlink, in the same sentence. If you do this with your articles I think you would see a nice rise in your ad income fairly quickly.

    • Matt says:

      I agree, patience and determination are the biggest factors when monetizing a site properly. It takes time, but it definitely can be done.

  8. Soan says:

    I liked all the 5 points and they really do make sense. I also feel that the overdoing the ADS is not a good way and it never works too.

    I have never tried the ads from Amazon but would like to try them after reading your article.

    Thanks again for the simple yet important tips.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Soan, I agree, one of the easiest traps to fall into is putting too many ads on a site and turning off readers. Sometimes just a single, well placed and relevant ad can bring in more business that twenty ads scattered across a site.

      Good luck with Amazon, it’s slow at first, but as your traffic builds, so will your affiliate income.

  9. Swamykant says:

    Nice Post Matt.. I need to implement these things on my blogs too..

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Swamy! The most important this is patience, you might only get a few trickles when you start as far as sales, but over time if you use these approaches consistently, you’ll see a slow, steady rise in revenue from the site.

  10. Elias says:

    I am still a fan of Google Adsense, if you keep testing you will be able to to find your gold position for the ads. I found that 250×250 ads, just top of the main action link ( file download, article post, blog post etc.. ) can give huge ECPM.

    Elias

    • Matt says:

      Elias, yeah Adsense seems to work well for some sites, but not for all. Our site doesn’t really do much with Adsense, though we’re a niche site and the ads don’t always look great, or are very compelling to click on etc. For use, Affiliate programs have worked the best so far in terms of ads, but you’re right, Adsense can be a good source of revenue. The only thing I would caution people about is making sure they don’t take away from the layout of their site, sometimes those Google ads can just look awful, which can negatively affect a site through no fault of the owner.

      • Elias says:

        Matt,

        Indeed, googleadsense look ugly, but in our case this did not affect the performance at all, i guess it all depends on the content, on some work on some does not.

        Elias

        • Matt says:

          Yeah, I think it also depends on whether you use text or picture ads, we’ve gone to pic ads as they tend to look better on our site.

  11. Eamon Diamond says:

    Reviewing products is not only a great way to advertise on your blog, but it also helps build your reputation and a level of trust between you and your readers.

    • Matt says:

      I agree, though that’s also why I think we have to be careful about the products we review. If we publish a good review on a bad product it can drive away readers. Also, it’s not always good to only do positive reviews, sometimes giving a bad product a bad review is the best way to build trust with readers rather than only writing positive reviews.

  12. Maker says:

    I have ads on my blog but i don’t get clicks. i have put rectangles above post and in sidebar.

    I get maximum of one click per 500 views.

    And that too luck by chance.

    Can you give some tips how can i improve my CTR,
    other than these five point…

    • Matt says:

      The best thing to do is to use multiple ads, so try something like the amazon affiliate program. That way, if your readers don’t click on an Adsense ad, they might click on an Amazon ad.

      Diversity is the key to a lot of this success with ads, multiple, targeted ads give you the best chance that someone will click on an ad and possibly buy the product that was show to them.

      So try using multiple ads on your site and see if that increases your clicks and commissioned sales.

  13. Rahul says:

    Yeah, I think it also depends
    on whether you use text or picture ads,
    we’ve gone to pic ads as they tend to
    look better on our site…….

  14. Akash Gurnani says:

    Comment of Harsh Agrawal is true and i followed him it works out great.

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