Well, I’ve purposely saved this one for last.
For a couple of reasons:
First of all, I have often said I feel like Blogging is the new “get rich quick” scheme. And advertising is partly to blame for that. People think, “I’ll start a blog, I’ll throw some Google PPC ads in my sidebar, and voila! I’ll just watch the cash roll in!” Um, yeah. It doesn’t really work that way. Mostly because in order to make money from PPC ads, you need to have quite a lot of traffic, otherwise your “income” will be miniscule.
Secondly, and I apologize in advance to those of you that already have ads in your sidebar, but there’s something about it that makes me feel, well… dirty. I have no problem with selling ads in the sidebar that are related to what your blog is about. For example, I see a lot of ads these days for the Square, and I’ve already written a post (for free) about how much I love it. I’d happily run those ads in my sidebar. But many people just use Google’s PPC ads, which can be random. Do I want an ad for Viagra in the sidebar of my blog? No, no I do not.
So, I have NOT chosen this particular method of monetization for my blogs.
Let’s look at some different ways you can run ads on your blog, and still not feel like a schill.
Create your own Ad policy. These usually work on a flat-fee structure. What that means is, the advertiser supplies you with the ad and the graphics (many people do square sidebar ads, but you could also do long, thin, banner ads on the top of your page), and then they pay you a flat fee for a certain time period, say, a month. This fee is negotiated between the two of you. You may want to create a rate sheet for your blog. Rates are often calculated based on how much traffic you get on your blog, and what the market will bear. As a rough estimate, you can charge between $.50-1/1000 page views, although the going rate I see on a lot of blogs in Vancouver is more in the $50/month range. You can also throw in a few tweets or a FB update, as well. A great way to see what the market will bear is to ask other bloggers what they are charging for their ads. Next, you’ll want to create a rate sheet that potential advertisers can download or visit. The downside of this method? You’ll likely have to go out and drum up business, rather than having it come to you.
PPC or Pay-per-Click ads are probably the ones that you’re most familiar with. Basically, how it works is, you sign up for Adsense (which is basically an advertising broker), and then insert a bit of code into a widget in the sidebar of your blog. Google algorithms will do their best to try to tailor the ads so that they fit with the niche of your blog. Then, whenever someone clicks on the ad from your blog, you get paid. It is usually a tiny amount, like a few cents, but can, in fact, be as high as around $2.
With this kind of ad network, you take your chances. You don’t have any control over the kinds of ads that will end up in the sidebar of your blog.
CPM or Cost-per-Mile are ads that you get paid for based on impressions, not actual clicks. The “M” also refers to the roman numeral for “1,000.” So, you’d get paid after every 1,000 times the ad appears on your site. This kind of format is most often employed by ad networks, and the price can be higher: I’ve seen rates at $2, and I’ve seen rates at $18. The downside of ad networks is that the really good ones can be very hard to get into. Check out this article on ad networks by Julie Nowell.
PS: I Pinned a whole pile of resources about this week’s topic to my “Monetize Your Blog” Pinboard.
Next week: now that you’re rolling in dough (!!), how do you keep track of it, report it to the government, and write off blog-related expenses?