Ads should match your blog
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 :)
Actually, clicking on the ads to “thank” the blog owner is a very grey area and I am pretty sure Google frowns on it. If you write good content, the ads would usually be relevant. And if the ads are blended in well, the clicks will happen because readers would want to read more about a relevant topic.
Just don’t go around treating adsense clicks as tip jars. ;)
I just have to put ni a warning about borders on ads. Make sure you OK the border with the advertiser, and also give the border a color fitting to the ad. Just having borders that generally match your site will, sooner or later, give you a border-ad mismatch that will put needles in the reader’s eyes.
Nice post Ben! Ads and ad placerment are an import aspect of design today.
Check out my ad placement and integration… would appreciate some comments and ideas.
Very, very true. This is the mentality we’re taking as we prepare BlogKits for launch. Big things coming, lots of money to be made for bloggers soon!
Separating advertising from content is definitely important, but something that I think is equally important is the actual content of the ads themselves.
For example the Blog Herald is all about blogging…
I imagine the majority of people that visit the Herald are interested in the blogging industry. Why then do you have huge sports betting ads/sponsors other than they have offered you the most money to sponsor the space? CEO’s of major sports betting companies are even being arrested as we speak as they enter the US…. but that’s another topic entirely.
The Blog Herald should realize that they are alienating their own core audience by placing betting ads on the site. Your betting ads have nothing to do with your site content. Gambling ads? Come on guys!
So beyond clearly separating ads from content, perhaps the Blog Herald should take their own advice and support advertisers that relate to your core audience/industry. Maybe you haven’t had any complaints about betting ads yet, but believe me — People have noticed….
Good stuff. I hope you’re in a good mood right now because in a few hours you are going to be a slobbering mess when your Buckeyes get the a$$ kicking of a lifetime.
Jim – BlogKits sounds interesting – if you’re looking for a private tester send me an email ;)
Josh – When the Longhorns lose at least you’ll be able to say you lost to the likely national champions :)
And to Curious Blogger – I agree that the gambling ads on Blog Herald seem a bit out of place as far as the content goes, but they don’t detract from the content.
Which is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen the government do in recent years.
I disagree – I doubt that we’re alienating anyone. I, for one, hardly pay attention to any ads anywhere…
In any event, we made a major deal with an advertising firm for the next 90 days, thus the ads that you see here and some of our other sites.
I’d be happy to support advertisers in our core industry if 1) they could pay our rates 2) they were knocking on our door.. but they can’t, and they’re not.