This is the third post in my series on making money from your website. The previous ones are The Easiest Way To Earn Money From Your Blog and How To Make More Money From Your Website: Be an Affiliate
First, do you actually want to advertise on your website?
If you’ve done the hard work to get visitors to your website, do you want to send them somewhere else?
If you have a blog or information-based website and aren’t selling a product of your own, then selling advertising space may be a great idea. If you have your own products (or services) then you might prefer to concentrate on these instead.
Twice now I have put together a page on Business Plus Baby giving all the facts that potential advertisers would need to know, like my rates, my traffic and even a ‘Buy Now’ Paypal button. Both times I’ve had my finger hovering over the ‘publish’ button but then decided not to go ahead. The first time it was because I wasn’t happy that I’d be giving my advertisers enough value. It was early days and I didn’t feel I had enough visitors to my blog.
The second time I’d decided that I wanted to create my own books and e-courses. But this takes time, so I thought about selling some advertising space to create some income while I wrote them. In the end I decided to concentrate on getting my products out there instead. That’s not to say that you can’t sell your own products from a blog and have adverts for other companies – many bloggers do this – it’s just that I chose not to go down this route (except for my Cybermummy sponsor, Smart Talkers).
Types of advertising
The advertising I’m talking about here is selling advertising space on your website for a sum of money per month (or per 3 months, or per year). This works in much the same way as selling advertising space in magazines. You can also earn money per click, but I’m not covering this here because a) it can be complicated and I want to look at straightforward ways of making money from your website and b) you usually need a heck of a lot of web traffic to make any money from it.
How much to charge
This is a tough one and the only way to know for sure is to ask. Or at least give your prospective advertiser a number and see what they say! It’s fine to negotiate.
Give advertisers an incentive to buy in bulk. If your monthly rate is £20 per advert, offer £100 for six months too.
You don’t necessarily need huge numbers of visitors to your website – businesses may be happy with a well-targeted niche site. If your site is fairly new and your visitor numbers are still low, you could start with a low fee and raise it as your visitor numbers go up. It’s worth trying to find advertisers anyway as you’ll be building relationships with businesses who may advertise in future.You could also offer a free trial or discounted rate for a few months.
If you can’t get any advertisers, you could always put some affiliate adverts on your website until your web traffic increases.
How to find companies to advertise on your website
Potential advertisers will want to know the stats for your website, such as how many visitors you have per month. If you’re thinking of selling advertising space, set up Google Analytics right now so you have stats ready when the time comes. It’s free and the only work you need to do is setting it up, after that Google Analytics quietly counts your visitors without any more input from you.
Then tidy up any loose ends on your website – if you’ve got a few graphics that frankly look a bit rubbish now is the time to update them. Sort out any links that don’t work.
Once you have your website or blog in good working order, looking nice, you have your stats to hand and you’ve decided on a fee it’s time to go find some advertisers. Look at the visitors to your website and think about what type of businesses are looking for these people as customers. Follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page. Get to know them and their customers. You advertisers will be your customers, so think about how you can offer them something of real value.
Once you know about your prospective advertisers, you can email them with your pitch. Don’t just say “I’m selling advertising space”, tell them what’s in it for them. Tell them how many visits your website gets, what your target audience is like (age, interests, why they come to your website) and exactly what they’ll get for their money (the size of the advert, that you’ll publish a blog post to announce them as your new sponsor and so on). Sell yourself.
If you already have a following, you could get the word out that you have advertising space available using a blog post, Twitter or Facebook.
We tend to think of web advertising as a graphic on the side of a website because that’s what we’re familiar with from reading print publications. But the internet opens up so many more opportunities and we’re only just starting to explore them. My Cybermummy conference pitch was a package including an advert, a featured post, tweets mentioning the sponsor and even me wearing a badge at the conference. So try brainstorming all the different ways you could give your advertisers value.
If you enjoyed this post, why not check out the rest of my top articles?