Big Question: How much is an ad on my site worth? Maybe $50 for three months?
Maybe $50 for a year?
What about $50 for a month? A week? A day?
The answer isn’t easy. I’ve been contacted by a number of our blog community members asking the question: How much should I charge for ads on my blog? And, to each one, I gave the same answer…
It depends on your blog focus, your writing, your purpose, your readership, and your understanding of what the advertisers actually hopes to achieve. Let’s go through them all one at a time.
Your blog focus
What do you write about? Health? Nutrition? Pets stories and information, in general? You should be marrying your ad possibilities with the focus of your blog. Don’t accept advertising for dog beds, if you write about cats. Don’t accept ads for doggie daycare if you write about shelters. Do accept ads for dog beds if your primary focus is dogs, but you occasionally write about cats and other pets. Do accept ads for doggie daycare if you write about the health and welfare of man’s best friend. The ads you show in your blog sidebar say a LOT about who you are – almost more than they say about the brand who paid to have the ad put there.
Do you post three times a week? Every day? Once a month? Most marketing professionals will advise you to post at least three times a week. Every day is best, if you’re truly committed to your blog topic and to convincing brands to advertise. Once a month CAN be okay if your blog is so unique and focused on a topic few other people write about that it attracts traffic every day, regardless of how current your writing is. Make sure you follow the best writing advice: Chicago Manual of Style, for instance. Poor writing never attracted anyone to advertise.
Why do you want to serve ads on your blog? Is your blog intended to be your main source of income? Is it a side hobby you would like to make a few bucks on? Or, is it a labor of love and you are considering ads because there are a few really great brands you’d like to promote? This is a key part of helping you decide your ad pricing. Main source of income and making a few bucks means…you should be pricing yourself according to industry standards. Labor of love can mean you’ll post ads at a discount for that fab brand you love.
Who reads your blog? Surely you’re tracking that. Readership is important in so many ways. First of all, it gives you a better sense of how successful you are. Using tools like Google Analytics can uncover a wealth of valuable information on which posts are popular and which posts are not making the grade. Yes, numbers count. Brands want to know how many people visit your blog on a daily basis, and they want to know the “unique visitor” number. Learn how to report your traffic stats with confidence. Don’t think low stats immediately mean you cannot offer ads. If you have 500 visitors a week, and 400 are unique; that’s 400 truly targeted readers. Many brands recognize the power of that targeted focus.
Engagement is what happens when the conversation you start by writing your post moves into your comments. Good engagement is shown by a variety of comments, from a variety of people. A blog that regularly attracts comments is more likely to serve up the eyeballs advertisers want, than one that has no comments. Comments from a variety of people count a great deal, as the more diverse your readership, the more people the advertiser can reach. This does not mean every post has to have comments. It does mean, comments from the same people, all the time, begin to seem stale. Variety is the spice of life, they say.
Your understanding of what the brand wants
It’s up to you to get the brand to tell you what they’re hoping to achieve. Here are some things brands want to get from blog ads: clicks, visits to a landing page, announcement of a new product or service, likes on Facebook, twitter followers, and sales. It’s up to you to determine whether or not your blog can deliver – and whether or not the ad the brand shows you, will deliver. If not – don’t go forward. You’ll just serve up a lot of disappointment to yourself and the brand. Always strive for excellence. If your blog isn’t suited to the brand purpose, at that time, suggest a blog that is. The brand will love you and the blogger will do the same for you, down the road.
Now…how much is an ad on your blog worth? You tell me.
Great post! Do you have any tips on how to determine the “industry standard” for pricing?
Thanks for this article…it gave me a lot to think about. Still wish I knew what numbers were considered good traffic – I’m really in a niche since I’m only blogging about dogs and it’s focused entirely on the Philadelphia area…it’s also hard to compete with print ads – I’m finding that some businesses put a lot of weight into and are willing to go with print ads before web based advertising.
@Lorie – we’ll see if we can get the ‘experts’ to weigh in on this during BlogPaws 2011. I don’t think there is one industry standard for this kind of advertising.
@Rebecca – your niche blog should be VERY popular with local vendors; remember that even though you’re local, your blog is international, so that counts to folks who sell online.
Thank you, Yvonne 🙂
I loved this post! I don’t know why this wouldn’t accept my original comment.