Whether you’re a blogger in the beginning stages of your journey or consider yourself a professional, we all know that running ads on your blog is one of the best ways to make money. Bloggers rely heavily on advertisements to bring in revenue, and, if you do it right, ads can be a source of passive income that allow you to focus on what you do best: food blogging!
But how do you know which kind of ads to run, or if your current approach to ads is yielding the greatest financial benefit to you? There are SO MANY OPTIONS when it comes to ads, from PPC’s and display advertising, to affiliate marketing and video ads, and everything in between. It can be hard to know where to turn to get the best results. But, lucky for you, we’ve done the homework, and we are here to offer some guidance!
The Power of Ads
Before you can decide which approach you want to take to advertising on your blog, you first need to understand its purpose. Advertising places you (the blogger) as a bridge between a brand and their ideal customer. Without you, the brand would have to work way harder–metaphorically swimming or rowing across the water–just to reach their audience. You have a very important position in this interaction, and you should leverage it accordingly!
Next, you need to take a look at your blog and its current stats. Specifically, look at your number of page views and sessions over the past month. Analyze your traffic, and gauge how engaged your readers are with your content. This will be a key factor in helping you make decisions regarding advertising that will be in your best interest!
Once you have narrowed down which approaches you would like to take, you also need to consider the impact that it will have on the quality of your site. Will your readers be annoyed by the amount of ads that are popping up as they’re trying to read your recipe? Will the software required to run the ads interfere with your site’s speed? Can you incorporate paid reviews in an authentic way that doesn’t alter your reputation of keeping things real? Make sure that the route you decide to take aligns with your blog’s overall vision and purpose, and that your reader experience will not be compromised!
Determining Which Ads to Use
Once you have taken a look at your blog and its current statistical state, it’s time to decide on an advertising plan. To help you determine which ads to use based on your current blogging level, we’ve broken it down into 3 approaches you might want to consider: beginning strategies, intermediate strategies, and advanced strategies.
Before we begin, we want to remind you that there is NO shame associated with being at a beginner level as opposed to an intermediate or advanced one. We all have to start somewhere, and we want to give you realistic, helpful options for whatever stage of blogging you may currently find yourself in. You will be able to incorporate more advanced options as you continue to learn and grow! Similarly, there is value in revisiting more beginner-level strategies as an advanced blogger to ensure that all elements of your ad game are in tip-top shape. No matter your current level of blogging expertise, we can always improve!
As a beginning blogger, you are just starting to explore all of the possibilities that are available to you. If you’re anything like us, it’s likely that you have little money to be spending on your blog, but big dreams for what you want to accomplish. And the good news is that there are advertising options that will help you realize those dreams while costing you nothing (or close to it)! In order to do this, we recommend that you focus on:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Organic Social Media Growth
SEO is going to be your best friend in gaining organic traffic to your blog. The first step in good SEO is creating high-quality content that includes solutions to your audience’s most pressing problems. Next, you’re going to need to do keyword research to know how to title and tag your blog to ensure that your target audience sees it. Basic SEO is completely free, and will do wonders in increasing your monthly page views and sessions!
For more tips from SEO genius Jeff Hawley, you can listen to this episode of the Tastemaker Conversations Podcast!
Organic social media growth–meaning good ol’ word-of-mouth in the digital age–will also help you gain an audience. In your social media posts, utilize calls to action that prompt readers to visit your blog. This, again, will increase blog traffic, and allow you to gain the kind of stats that are required for some advanced advertising strategies.
As an intermediate blogger, you have more time, experience, resources, and page views/sessions to support you. This opens up more ad options to you, such as:
- Display Advertising
- Working with Ad Publisher Networks
Display advertising is probably your most accessible and beneficial option for running ads on your site. With display advertising, brands are able to put ads right on your blog that will redirect the reader to their site/product when clicked. There are many different formats of display advertising, such as landing pages, banners, and pop-ups. Using cookies and other data-tracking strategies, companies are able to show the reader ads that they will have the most interest in (meaning they will be more likely to click the ad and purchase the product). And you can get paid simply for having the ad on your site!
Working with ad publisher networks–like Tastemaker Conference 2019 sponsor Mediavine–is one way to make this process even more lucrative for you. In order to work with these networks, you typically have to have a certain number of sessions/page views (Mediavine requires a minimum of 25k sessions per month). This means that you also have a track record of good reader engagement. You apply to their network, and if you are accepted, they step in to optimize ads and related functions on your blog (some networks giving you more control than others). Once the ads are in place, you get a percentage of the revenue earned from them, while the network takes another percentage! They are also available as a resource to you to answer questions about all things advertising.
If you are at a point in your blogging journey where this seems like it would be a great fit, we encourage you to go for it! Working with ad publisher networks frees up time and effort on your part spent worrying about ads, which allows you to focus on creating great content. You can read more about Mediavine’s application process here.
If you have been finding success with the above strategies and are looking for ways to diversify, we have suggestions for you, too! Being at an advanced blogging level signifies that you have a large, steady amount of monthly traffic. This means that you have a high level of engagement across platforms, which is a marketable strength! To maximize the power of your blog’s reach, you can try implementing:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing
Because you do have a large amount of consistent blog visitors, you could try incorporating some PPC advertising. PPC ads pay you based on the amount of clicks that an ad receives. Most PPC ads are text links within your blog, rather than an image. This has been proven to be a very effective form of advertising in the blogging industry, and if you have the audience to support it, it might be worth a try!
Affiliate marketing is another great option for earning extra advertising income. While it does require a greater amount of effort on your part than, say, display ads, it can also yield greater profits. Affiliate marketing allows you to promote a company’s product on your blog or social (one that you likely already love and support) and receive commission on any sales made using your unique affiliate link. This is why it is listed as an advanced strategy; you have to have a pretty big audience to make significant money from this one. Once you have posted about the product, this strategy can be a promising source of passive income!
For more info on the benefits of affiliate marketing, you can listen to Episode 8 of our Tastemaker Conversations Podcast HERE
Let Ads Help You Work Smarter!
No matter what level of blogging you consider yourself to be at, having ads on your site is a GOOD move. There are so many ways to incorporate advertising into your blog. But don’t let that scare you! Do your research, know your goals, and keep in mind that the best way to use ads is the way that feels the most right to YOU.
When used correctly, ads can be an incredible tool in helping you reach all of your dreams! They are simply one more way to turn your passion into profit, and will help give you the platform you need to share more of your talents with the world.
Hungry for more? CLICK HERE for additional Tastemaker resources to help you sharpen your skillset and boost your brand!