These are all good questions that get asked again and again. Let's look at some options for the first question, "How do I find advertisers for my blog?"
First, read yesterday's post to determine who your best advertisers will be and how much to charge. It may be necessary to start small – perhaps with friends who sell product. Offer a free ad to them to familiarize yourself with the process of having an ad on your blog.
Once you've had one or two free ads, move up the ladder to local companies that sell online. Help them understand the power of an ad on a blog – especially your blog. You might be more successful if you can get to them when they're offering a sale or a new product. Don't be greedy. Start at a reasonable price and negotiate higher if the company wants to place a new ad when the old one expires.
Many folks have a page on their blog that describes their advertising offers. It may list some of the important stats we mentioned in yesterday's post, or it may just say, "Contact me for more information." Use a form or email for that. Hardly anyone will call you on the phone.
While you're gaining knowledge on how your blog can serve ads, do some research. Due diligence is important. Visit other blogs that have ads. They don't have to be pet blogs. But, they should be relative to your own blog. In other words, check out folks like TechCrunch and Mashable but understand that those sites are highly trafficked, and command a big number when offering ads. You can learn from them, but you are not likely to match them.
When you find a blog that serves ads, and that is relative to your own blog (they post as often as you do, they have a comment stream, they write intelligently, their blog is fresh and informative), think about contacting the blogger for advice. You know bloggers love to share advice, right?
Now, on to the second question, "Where do I display the ads?"
Ads are, most generally, served in the sidebars of a blog. However, there are options today that allow you to serve ads IN your post. Or, between posts. I don't know how to do that – I only know it's done. We'll try to cover that at BlogPaws 2011 – so make sure you register today and have a chance to learn from the experts. Note that everything you place on your blog is a reflection of YOU.Also note that most advertisers will want space above the fold – in other words, in the area immediately visible when someone clicks into your blog. Below the fold can work also, since folks generally scroll down as they read.
Which brings us to the last question, "Who creates the ad?"
Generally, the advertiser. You give them the specs (what size ad fits in the space you'll be putting it in) and they do the creative. "Creative" is an industry term for graphic design. They also provide the landing page link and have it embedded in the ad. Make sure you check where the link goes – again, you'll be judged by your readers so don't get fooled into serving an ad that patently goes against your core purpose for having the blog.
If the advertiser wants YOU to create the ad, and you're able to do that (you're a graphic designer, or you can hire a graphic designer) charge extra. Graphic design is a skill – advertisers should pay for it.
Once again, this is an overview of how to find advertisers and monetize your blog. Share your thoughts and expertise, if you have more insight than I've presented here.
BlogPaws' early bird special ends May 31st… so, get over and register today! We'll have this kind of education and more – plus, a LOT of fun and frivolity!