Whilst the blogosphere provides many opportunities for free promotion, sometimes free doesn’t always cut if your aggressively seeking to achieve high targets in a competitive field. As the blogosphere has matured and advertising has become common place on blogs, blogs and bloggers have also become the advertisers as well. The good news is that it doesn’t always cost a lot of money either to give your blog a leg up by advertising it on other sites and blogs. What follows is a brief guide to a number of advertising options you can employ to give your blog a leg up, including my own person experiences where appropriate. It is by no mean a complete list, but its a good reference point if your looking at ways to provide further exposure to your site.
That’s right, Google isn’t just about making money from contextual advertising, it can also be about spending that money promoting your blog as well, and its not hard at all to get up and running. Google has 2 options now, the first option being the more commonly known contextual program, and a second option being site targting.
This is advertising your site at its best, and although I don’t spend huge amounts on money on advertising, when I do I do it in this program because of the great way its structured. In as few words as possible you nominate the site you want to advertise, you nominate the maximum amount per click (visit) you are willing to pay, you nominate your maximum spend for a day, and you nominate the topic areas (keywords) you want your blog to appear with. As simple as this. I’ll will warn though that this advertising alone won’t make your blog successful, but I find it does bring new visitors to the site who often can become repeat visitors, and in this regard it becomes a good, steady way of increasing traffic.
This is a relatively new feature of Adwords that allows you to target your ad to a particular site, in the same way you would with more conventonal advertising options, but with a twist: you can target any site you want that features Adsense advertising and it doesn’t require approval or sign-off by the sites owner (although that site’s owner can then block your ads using the Competitive Ad Filter within Adsense). Its a great service if you want to target sites with similar audience profiles to your own site. But heres the down side. It isn’t cheap, in fact its down right expensive. The minimum amount you can specified as the maximum you will pay for ads is $2, so potentially you could end up paying upto $2 for each click thru to your site. I’ve used it once for a new blog, but only for a short time because the cost was high, but the returns were also extremely good because I knew the people visiting the blog were actually really interested in the subject.
In the past I’ve been critical of BlogAds because I just couldn’t see the value in them as an advertiser. I was wrong, but only partly wrong, because truth be told BlogAds doesn’t work for everyone. From watching advertisers and their ads here, as well as having advertised sites of my own using Adsense, this is what works best
– T&A, and the bustier the better
– T-Shirts/ Humor
– Gizmos when done properly
– relevant political and current affairs material
outside of these 4, and combinations there in, don’t spend a lot of money on BlogAds unless you’ve got a drop dead gorgeous and well endowed model. Having said all of this though, there can be exceptions to the rule, and in terms of costs its not a lot of money on most sites for a 7 day placement, and you just never know.
Smaller advertising firms
Adbrite, Pheedo, CrispAds are some of the names that come to mind here in relation to smaller firms. You’ll find straight away that the levels of customer service you can get from these players is superior to Adsense (although I’d note not to BlogAds: BlogAds still has wonderful customer service). The smaller networks can also offer bargains in relation to the traffic they deliver, but do your homework first.
This is both difficult and easy all at the same time, because buying direct advertising on a blog can be a frustrating experience because most bloggers don’t know how to price their ad inventory properly, and I’ll admit that I’m still not an expert in this regard as well (although I’m getting better). One observation straight away, you find more often than not that you’ll get back an extraordinarily large figure when you ask about advertising, because most bloggers value their blogs more than the traffic into the site would dictate would be a reasonable price to pay. You’ll also find that people have difficulties qualifying their traffic as well, although I’d note that this isn’t entirely the fault of the blogger either, because the industry tends to vary in its terminology and measurements depending on who you talk to, or what tracking programs you use. But having said all the bad stuff, you’ll also from time to time pick up some real bargains as well, and because your paying the blogger directly you’re also cutting out the third party charges as well. At the end of the day though, it never hurts to ask.