The Right Location, Size, and Number of Ads to Start With on Your Blog

[This is a part of the "Getting Started with Blog Advertising" blog series.]

It feels like buying a house...

I decided to combine a number of thoughts into one post here since all of them go together quite nicely!

The obvious next step once you start moving towards advertising on your blog is to answer these three questions:

  1. Where do I advertise on my blog?
  2. What size advertisement should I use?
  3. How many advertisements should I have?

These questions are quite natural and from my experience these questions can be completely beat to death with a billion-and-a-half different views and perspectives.

So, since I’m completely prone to execution I’ll keep it as simple and very actionable. Ready? Here we go:

Where to Advertise?

When you start to advertise on your new blog (and remember, we’re talking about Direct Sales) there are two spots that I suggest that new bloggers start with:

  1. The Sidebar
  2. Static Page

The first is fairly obvious and since most blogs have sidebars this is a natural fit. Not only that but it’s very typical and culturally acceptable in most blogging communities and market niches to see advertisements on the sidebar.

Learning to manage the look of your sidebar is just as important as management of the advertisements, so placement is critical and strategic. This post will not cover the strategy of particular placements on your sidebar but will cover where you should first start as it relates to the sizes (next section).

Generally when you first start advertising you should put them below other critical pieces of information, like options to Subscribe and links to particular social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Problogger.net is a good example as you can see his advertisements start right below the “Subscribe to the Newsletter” section on the right:

The second place that I suggest some new bloggers start advertising is by creating a static page or landing page that will house their advertisements.

For example, you could create a “Sponsors” page located at something like “http://abcdefg.com/sponsors” and put your advertisements there along with some copy describing the advertisements as well as your policies and other such valuable information.

For more than a few new bloggers who want to jump into the advertising model but feel a bit uneasy about suddenly introducing advertisements on their blog this is a good half-step for them.

In fact, some Professional Bloggers end up keeping this model for the life of their blog and they make do just fine!

Problogger.net has another great example where he’s created a static landing page at http://www.problogger.net/learn/ where he showcases his products:

There are, of course, many other places where you can put your advertisements long-term but I’d recommend starting out in those two areas at first.

Get your feet wet and as you grow in traffic (and especially in sales) then expand to other places on your blog!

What Sizes Should You Use?

When you start out, especially if you’re following a bit of my advice, you’ll want to make sure the sizes of your advertisements fit the areas that I’ve outlined (see above).

For the sidebar, I suggest starting with simple 125 x 125 pixel ads, but not too many (Review the Story of the Saddest Sidebar Ever if you need a reminder…)!

If you must have two 125′s at the same time I might start with one being a real advertisement opportunity while have the other one showcase a particular static page, a link to a friend’s blog, a strategic category or whatever else you’d like.

Here’s an example of an open advertisement slot and a link to a product to fill in the other slot on a sidebar:

An open slot as well as a link to a product that is being promoted.

Depending on the blog platform that you’re using it could be easy or somewhat difficult to add these 125 advertisements on your sidebar.

You can either add it manually or use a system like OIO Publisher to help manage these advertisements for you.

If you need a bunch of 125 x 125 pixel ad spots, here are a few that you can use, all optimized in terms of size:

If you need to download the set, feel free to do so here.

Finally, as you grow your blog you can begin to experiment with other sizes and begin to test conversion rates and the like. There’s so much to learn, so it’s always best to start the most simple, right?

How Many Advertisements Should You Use?

I have somewhat answered this question already in the previous section but I’ll go ahead and be explicit: Generally speaking, I’d start with just 1 open advertising slot to begin with.

Your goal is to fill that ad slot up as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t sit there and look pretty (or look sad). It just makes sense you would start with one since it may be a challenge to even get that one filled, right? Better to have one open slot instead of 10!

Don’t forget that we’re talking specifically about Direct Advertising Sales here and you may have other advertising channels at the same time mixed with this particular strategy.

Now, if you opt for the “Static Page” strategy you may have a lot more advertisements present.

Finally, let me kindly remind you that you are at complete liberty to do whatever you wish with your blog! I’m not dogmatic about any of these suggestions (and they are just that – “suggestions”) but I have been around for a while to know what generally works really well, especially with new bloggers.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there’s so much to learn about monetizing well and wisely that it’s better to start more simple and grow from there!

[This is a part of the "Getting Started with Blog Advertising" blog series.]

  • Rachel

    Once again, thanks a lot for the info. I was wondering about putting ads up on a landing page or static page. Do people actually visit these pages? When I end up on someone’s blog it’s usually in some post and I may click around a bit but a page with ‘sponsors’ wouldn’t be my first choice to have a look. So are they effective there, is what I’m wondering…

    • John Saddington

      you have to create a link both in your sidebar and other locations as well as reference them throughout your posts. you have to change up the way you make note of them, that’s for sure.

      but it definitely works!

    • John Saddington

      oh, and to put it simply: YES, it definitely works.!

  • http://thatguykc.wordpress.com ThatGuyKC

    This is great advice! As I’m planning the launch of my non-random/personal blog have been curious about advertisement best practices.

    TentBlogger is a great resource and gives ProBlogger competition. :)

    • John Saddington

      haha! not sure about that. I’m looking it a bit differently, but the ocean is wide!

  • http://www.blaneyoung.com Blane Young

    I have been using the “Monthly Site Sponsor” model and it seems to be working well.

    I still write sponsored posts from time to time but I sell one large (300 x 250) ad space each month.

    That keeps it real clean on my end and for the readers.

    • John Saddington

      sweet! i think you’re doing a great job.

  • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

    Continuing to glean your great information as I look to further monetize. Thanks for the great “suggestions.” :-)

    • John Saddington

      sure thing randy!

  • Brandon Cox

    Starting with one spot… good stuff. Gonna have to take that advice!

    • John Saddington

      sweet brandon!

  • http://www.diabeticsnacker.com/ barb g

    I’ve just started a sponsor’s page it’s going to take awhile to have time to fill it up. I think problogger is a great resource too.

    • John Saddington

      very cool! problogger.net is awesome.

  • http://reachfeedsend.com Michael Marchand

    Just a little confused. First, I totally agree with pretty much everything in this post. Nothing is sadder than seeing a page with 3 or 4 blank ad spaces.

    But my confusion comes with checking out several 8bit sites (like ChurchIT and ChurchCreate), and on the single post pages there’s like 6 or 7 “Advertise Here” blocks. What’s up with that?

    • John Saddington

      totally. those sites are going through a redesign process right now. there’s a lot of work to pull those elements down and so we’re just leaving them for the time being. good catch, and great reminder!

      remember, the context of this post is for NEW blogs jumping into the advertising game. those blogs are much more established and those spots have been filled.

  • LR

    Is there a tracking tool to give an update to clients? Or a company one can hire to do this? PS: Love your blog!!

  • E M Fulenwider

    Probably the best thing I did to kick off my ads was to trade a local design shop ad space for a logo. Even though their ad will never make me a dime, I got an official looking logo AND my first ad space filled AND now we have a partnership. The owner gives me extra discounts off of promotional materials and lots of free advice about making my website better, which is more valuable than any money I would have made off of that ad space.