Feb 22, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Monetization
BuySellAds, an exemplary ad marketplace that I joined a few weeks ago, has just come out of private beta. You can now join the ad network and sell banner space without having to be approved into their closed beta program like before. So if you’re looking to monetize your website effectively, without alienating your users, now is the time to sign up and try out BSA.
BuySellAds makes it easy to sell banner ads of all sizes on your website. They make it easy for advertisers to find you, and they handle all the dirty work that cuts into the time that would be better spent working on your site. Your ads appear in a directory alongside noteables like NETTUTS, PSDTUTS, CSS Elite, and of course, Webmaster-Source.
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Feb 4, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Marketing
One way to give your site a boost is to advertise. Chances are, you probably already know of some options to do so, but are they good ones? If you’re on a budget, what are the best places to advertise?
Personally, I don’t think globally buying AdSense PPC ads is the way to start. You want to target your ads a bit better than that. I have a few suggestions to try if you want to get the most for your investment.
Want to get a leg-up over your competitors? Try advertising in Google results.
Now unless you have a lot of money, you probably won’t be able to afford premium placing, which is quite pricey apparently, but you could buy some keyword-targetted pay-per-click ads to the left of the results. Not everyone looks at the ads, but more than enough do.
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Sep 12, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
The WordPress 125×125 ad management plugin has just got better. I’ve just released version 1.1.0, which improves performance, adds several customization options, as well as a few major features.
New is version 1.1:
- Setting to change the widget title.
- Option to remove the default ad styling, enabling you to use your own CSS rules.
- Settings are no longer stored in a database table, but in WordPress’s built-in Options system. This reduces database queries, and improves performance.
- Admin menu functions are no longer included outside of the WordPress Admin (hehe ).
- A few other tweaks were made of efficiency and security nature.
- Major feature: If you supply an email address in the options page, you can opt to receive email notifications when ads expire, allowing you to easily send follow-up emails to advertisers, or simply just stay in the know.
- Major feature: Placeholder ads! If an ad slot is empty, instead of not being shown, a placeholder ad (a.k.a “Your ad here” image) will be shown, linking to your sales page.
Download the plugin here, or just use the WordPress 2.5+ automated plugin updater.
If you have any suggestions, or if you find a bug, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.
EDIT: Everyone using 1.1.0, please upgrade to 1.1.1, unless you don’t mind your ads being unclickable. A stupid mistake on my part caused the issue in 1.1.0. It’s been patched now.
EDIT: Arg!!! I made another mistake. Version 1.1.1 is identical to 1.1.0, and therefore didn’t get the fix. Please use 1.1.2.
ANOTHER EDIT: Another bug squished. 1.1.3 is out, everyone. Fixes an issue with the slot dropdown on the Add/Edit page.
Jul 30, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Performancing has just launched a new ad network, by the name of PerformancingAds, with 125×125 ads in mind. The network aims to sell blogs’ 125×125 ad inventory to advertisers in one-week increments, and split the revenue. Your blog is shown in a self-service marketplace, where advertisers can easily browse the network sites and buy ads, and according to the email they sent me they have “full time ad sales representatives selling 125×125 ads” for the network blogs.
Apparently the revenue split so you get a minimum of 60% on ads the network sells, and 100% on ads that you sell. You control the pricing of the ads even. Payment is handled through PayPal and is transferred at the end of every month.
The network doesn’t have any apparent traffic minimum to join, though there is a “premium” option for those with over 250,000 U.S. monthly page views, where they handle other ad formats, instead of just 125x125s.
This looks like a good new ad network for smaller blogs, as well as the large ones. Be sure to take a look at their FAQ.
Jul 10, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
After a few months of planning and work, I’ve finally released my new WordPress plugin. I’d had the idea sine around the time I started selling 125×125 ads on Webmaster-Source. I thought it was a bit of a pain to hard-code ads in and manually take them down after their run was over. And I don’t like figuring out end dates by counting ahead on a calendar either. That’s why I put together WP125, a WordPress plugin for easy 125×125 ad management.
I built the plugin to simplfy the management of 125×125 ads, and lower the barrier to get started selling them a little. Some of the features include
- Custom ad layout options.
- A widget to drop into your sidebar to make it easier to set the plugin up. Or you can use a template tag if you’re pro-code like me.
- Click tracking.
- Ads are automatically taken down on their end date.
- The plugin can figure out an ad’s expiration date automatically, based off how many days you say the ad should run for (no more counting forward on your calendar!). It took a bit of time and effort to get this feature working, but it was certainly worth it.
Try the plugin out, and tell me what you think. It’s a first release (1.0.0), and it’s barely been out tweleve hours, so it may have some bugs or interface oddities that need fixing. (It’s not on WordPress plugin site quite yet either, but I’m working on that…) Tell me what you like, what needs fixing, etc.
I think WP125 is off to a good start, but I had to shave off a couple features I’d originally planned in order to get it out the door in time for the WLTC WordPress Plugin Competition. Sadly, that means I’m unable to use it on Webmaster-Source to manage my ads. I built the plugin to work the way I figured most people woud prefer, and pushed my preferences to the side for now. I handle my ads a little differently than other people, and it would have taken too much extra time and work to build support for that into the plugin. Hopefully I’ll have the time to include the settings I’d like at a later date.
Enjoy the plugin, and send your feedback along!
May 7, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Right from the start.
If you have ads on your site from the beginning, your readers aren’t going to complain when you add them in. (Though my advice to the whiners would be to read the article in their RSS aggregator.)
Unfortunately, when you’re starting out, there aren’t a lot of options for ads. You have the ubiquitous AdSense, then you have affiliate programs, and a sprinkling of smaller ad networks.
My advice: Use AdSense in the beginning, and see how well it works with your site. Use some affiliate programs lightly as well (for products you recommend, not just because it’s an affiliate program). Eventually, when your site gets to a reasonable level, transition from AdSense to direct-selling ads (e.g. 125×125 ads).
Apr 20, 2008 by Matt | Posted in General
I just thought of an interesting idea.
The standard RSS icon is available in a 128×128 pixel size. Using Photoshop, you could reduce it to 125×125 easily, and add a legend to it. Put the name of your blog, or something describing your blog (in my case, “Webmaster Resources”) over the bottom of the icon. Make it visible, but don’t cover-up the antenna symbol. (I’d give an example, but I don’t have a copy of Photoshop on this computer yet.)
Next, purchase a 125×125 ad slot on another blog, give them your ad creative, and tell them to link it to your RSS feed.
What do you think? Would it work well? Obviously this would work better with FeedBurner feeds, since clickers will get a list of recent posts. Some bloggers could reject your ad though, out of fear that viewers would confuse your ad for their feed link.
Apr 4, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Featured, Monetization
When you think of monetizing a blog, what immediately comes to mind? Google’s AdSense, right? AdSense is easy to set-up, and pretty much all legitimate sites are accepted into the program, so it’s the method most bloggers use right away. However, AdSense has it’s shortcomings, as do other monetization methods. It doesn’t work well for blogs in some niches, less and less people click them, etc. Luckily, there’s a better option.
The 125×125 ad, used by “big blogs” like ProBlogger, TechCrunch, and ReadWriteWeb, they are a great way to monetize blogs. I’ve been using them for a couple of months with great success. It’s taken me a year and a half to reach $100 in AdSense earnings; meanwhile I’ve made over $140 so far by direct-selling ads.
125x125s are, as their name suggests, square ads of one hundred twenty five pixels in both directions. They’re fairly unobtrusive, unlike monstrous leaderboard banners, and they’re less susceptible to banner blindness problems. They are the Bloggers’ Ad Format, thought-up by bloggers, and suiting their style of site well. The ads are sold directly to advertisers, cutting out the ad network middleman, and leaving you with more work on your part…but the difference in income is much greater.
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