When I visit a site that has matched the advertisements to their design I appreciate that the owner took the time to think about that detail. I am not tricked into clicking the advertisements. I don’t feel like anyone is trying to be sly. I just like that the ads aren’t taking away from the rest of the site.
Make your ads blend in. Not because people will click on them, but because they won’t take away from the content you’re trying to highlight. The first thing I want to notice on any website, especially a blog, is the content. Not the advertisements.
So how do you go about this? (Keep in mind, these aren’t techniques that will necessarily make you more money – they are techniques that will keep me at your blog longer than 4 seconds)
If your advertisers will allow you, design banners that match your site. Use your colors, use borders that match the rest of your blog, and use the fonts that you have used on any other graphics.
If your advertisers won’t allow you to design custom banners, you can at least put a border around the advertisements so that they aren’t floating in the middle of no where.
If you’re using AdSense, make sure the colors you use match your site. If your links are yellow on your site, make the links in AdSense banners yellow.
When I used to promote 6 Figure Blogging I designed a custom, “plasticy” button to put on College Startup. I didn’t do it because I wanted a higher CTR, but I did. My goal was to make the site look complete. I wanted everything to flow together nicely.
Check out the AdSense implementation at Karen Cheng’s site. She was mentioned in Darren’s post about designer AdSense implementations.
Know of any other well implemented advertisements? List them below in the comments. Get some ideas flowing on how to integrate ads so that they don’t take away from the user experience. Maybe your users will appreciate it and click your ads to say thank you :)