As part of our ongoing WTF Blog Design Clutter article series, let’s look at people’s attempt to inspire advertisers on their blog, and where it falls down as a design element.
The empty ad space that sits there with the note “Your Ad Here” isn’t very inviting. In fact, it’s just wasted space. If there are no ads there, then there is a lot of wasted space in your blog’s sidebar.
Moving from affiliated to self-initiated advertising puts you in the role of an advertising company slash billboard. You want to encourage people to pay you to blog through their ads which you host on your blog.
If you are a billboard company and seeking advertisers willing to send their message to the masses on your billboards, they are looking for some very specific information before making their decision.
- How much traffic will pass by the billboard?
- When will the traffic pass by the billboard?
- Who passes by the billboard?
- What’s the history of the billboard’s traffic and conversion?
A blank “Your Ad Here” doesn’t answer those questions for a potential advertiser. In fact, it says, “I got nothing now, and probably don’t know much, so why should you invest in my blog?”
Here are some ideas on what you can do to remove the WTF from your blank ad space on your blogs.
Replace the Blank Ads With Your Ads
Why not put up some ads in the blank space that promote your blog, advertising on your blog, and information that answers the questions about your blog’s traffic, exposure, and demographics. If you have a history of ROI on past ads, why not promote that?
By showcasing your own blog in the blank space, you show the potential advertiser that you:
- Welcome advertising.
- Have the answers to the questions.
- Understand the importance of positive advertising.
- Know how to design a good ad.
You can use static ads or rotating ads that promote different aspects of your blog’s demographics, traffic, and content. For example, if your most popular category is related to the Apple iPhone, then why not promote your blog as a destination for those interested in the iPhone, part of your demographics.
Why not promote some of the most popular articles you’ve published? If advertisers aren’t interested, then at least your readers will be encourage to find out more and dig deeper into your blog’s content. It’s a great way to revitalize your old, still relevant posts, too.
Replace the Blank Ads with Worthy Causes
A blank ad panel doesn’t say much about your blog or your advertising history, so why not replace them with ads for worthy causes?
A worthy cause can be non-profits or associations you want association with or support. For example, if your blog is a literary blog, why not promote the blogs or sites for libraries and publishing associations? If your blog is about WordPress, why not put some ads in to support the WordPress Support Forums and your favorite WordPress Plugins?
A worthy cause is also other bloggers, especially those you are support and recommend. If you blog on other blogs, why not promote that blog?
Change the Words
“Your Ad Here” doesn’t say much, so if you want to leave the area blank and not put up dummy or temporary ad fillers, then why not change the words so they really say what you mean.
You don’t mean “Your Ad Here.” You really mean “Advertise on my blog” or “I’ll help you make money with your ads on my blog.” While things are an improvement, why not really actively promote the valuable design space for ads with something like, “Place your ad here for maximum exposure to iPhone customers.” Or “I reach 20K visitors interested in the iPhone. Want to reach them, too?”
Find a way of changing the words so they are more inviting and link to a Page that explains your ad policy and process.
Remove the Ads
Until you have ads, why bother displaying the blank space? Why not put it to better use like promoting your most recent blog posts, comments, or some other feature.
If you are actively seeking advertising customers, then blog about it and include a text widget or ad that explains that you are seeking independent advertisers. Link to a Page on your blog that explains your ad policy and provides contact information for those seeking to place ads on your blog. When you get an ad, then make space for it.
When you leave a big white “WTF” space for advertisers, you are leaving a whole in your blog that could go to more valuable navigation and information links. Fill up the space with incentives and examples and you will find advertisers more willing to sign up then they will to a blank space. Blank space isn’t much motivation.
WTF Blog Design Clutter Articles Series
- WTF Blog Design Clutter
- WTF Blog Design Elements: Are Blog Archives Working for Your Blog
- WTF Blog Clutter: Pictures of Our Bloggy Friends
- WTF Blog Design Elements: Most Recent Comments and Shout Boxes
- WTF Blog Design Elements: Twitter, Tumbler, and Microblog Babble
- WTF Blog Clutter: Unrelated Ads Angst
- WTF Blog Clutter: Feed Clutter
- WTF Blog Design Clutter: Incoming Feed Clutter
- WTF Blog Clutter Design: How Many Feed Icons Do You Need?
- WTF Blog Clutter: How’s the Weather on Your Blog?
- WTF Blog Clutter: Where Are You?
- WTF Blog Clutter: Video and Pictures
- WTF Blog Clutter: What to Call Your Feeds and Ads
- WTF Blog Clutter: Are You Ignoring Your Uncategorized Category?
- WTF Blog Clutter: The Death of the CAPTCHA
Author: Lorelle VanFossen
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.