I’d like to preface this article by saying that blog ads are one of many different ways that you can make money from your blog. Ad revenue can fluctuate a lot, and generally speaking the only way to increase your bottom line is to add more ads or get more creative with how you use them, which can be frustrating for your readers. We’re a lot more keen to things like affiliate marketing, selling a product or service, public speaking, or even building your own membership site. All that said, there are still a lot of bloggers using ads and making good money with them, so we asked Kristi to break down some of the ways to get the most out of the ads you do have running on your site.
If the revenue generation model for your blog includes advertising income, then you need to get the most ad impressions possible from your visitors. If you browse marketplaces like BuySellAds, you can get a good idea of how much you could be making in your niche based on the number of impressions you can generate for your ad buyers.
In this post, we’re going to look at how you can optimize your blog ads to get more impressions from your blog readers and increase your income from ad buyers.
1. Place your ads site-wide.
This might be an obvious one, but it’s a necessary one. Make sure that your ads are shown site-wide. This way, no matter what page people land upon on your website, your ads will receive an impression.
2. Use a magazine or news design.
What can you learn from the sites with the highest ad impressions on BuySellAds, besides that they make a boatload of income from their advertisers?
Because these sites have a lot of content, many are using a magazine-style theme or design on their website. While these sites are using custom-built themes, you can emulate their look by choosing a magazine-style for your own website.
WordPress users will find many, many options for magazine-style themes for their websites. WordPress.org’s theme directory has over 150 magazine themes. Generally speaking you’re going to want themes with homepages that can showcase 10 to 20 articles or more. We’ve put together a solid guide for choosing a WordPress theme that will help you find one that works best for your website.
How do these designs help you get more ad impressions from blog readers? It’s simple. While minimalistic blogs are nice, they only allow first-time visitors to see a few stories at a time. Blogs with magazine and news themes will show first-time visitors dozens of stories at a time, making it more likely for them to find something they are interested in. So instead of one impression, you now easily have two. In the following tips, you’ll find out how to get even more impressions.
3. Make sure your design is responsive.
Speaking of design, you need to make sure your theme or design is responsive. This will allow your entire website to be displayed on any mobile device. Generally, it will put your website’s header at the top, followed by the main content, followed by the sidebar, and ending with the footer.
There are plugins that allow you to convert a WordPress design to mobile, such as WP Touch, but that plugin will remove a lot of areas where you would commonly have your ads. A responsive design will ensure that no areas of your website will be hidden on mobile devices, but rather rearranged. That way, you will get your ad impressions from mobile users as well as desktop users. Shout out to our customer Averie Cooks for rocking a solid mobile design that still leaves room for blog advertising.
Additional Reading: Getting Your Mobile Site Right With Google
4. Optimize your content for search.
Another obvious point for most, but one worth mentioning for beginners looking to earn income from advertisers. Every piece of content on your blog should be optimized for a popular keyword phrase. Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find the best keyword phrase for each of your blog posts. Then include that keyword phrase in the post’s title, meta description, first paragraph, a header tag, and image filename and ALT text, and in the last paragraph.
Install the free plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast to help you with the title and meta description optimization on your blog’s homepage, static pages, archive pages, and posts. The rest can be entered into your post as you add images and content.
If you didn’t do this in the past, go back to your best posts and make sure they are optimized as best they can be for great keywords to help boost their rankings in search. Just don’t change the permalink for the post – this can affect your current search rankings and social sharing count.
5. Split articles up into multiple pages.
Do you enjoy writing long articles or lists? Don’t let these long pieces of content lead to only one impression. Depending on the length of your article or the number of items on your list, you may be able to split it into two or more pages. Forbes, for example, splits 1,000-word articles into two pages. When they have a two-page article that attracts 9,000+ readers who go from start to finish, the ads on that article get 18,000+ impressions.
Another popular way to get more impressions from one article is by using slideshows or galleries. Posts with slideshows or galleries can easily be two or more pages, up to the length of the number of slides or photos you have. Hence, you could have a slideshow that attracts 5,000 visitors who go from start to finish that nets you 25,000 impressions if you have five or more slides / pages.
WordPress users can insert the <!–nextpage–> tag within their posts, lists, and slideshows to split them into multiple pages. This works automatically with most newer WordPress themes. If it does not with yours, you may need to contact the theme developer to see how you can get post pagination support for your blog’s design.
The key to multiplying your ad impressions using this approach is to make sure that each page of your article, slide, or photo makes the entire page refresh, including the ads.
6. Link to additional pieces of content.
It’s tough to hold people’s attention, no matter how great your content is. That is why you have to give them more content to read on your blog. You can link to additional content in the sidebar of your content or, better yet, right in your article itself like Lifehacker does.
This approach allows you to keep your visitor on your site longer by piquing their interest in content related to the one they came to read, and other interesting pieces of content that readers would similarly enjoy. For each article that your visitor clicks through, you’ll get a new ad impression.
Another way to link additional pieces of content is by using the slideshow or gallery approach. When people hit the last slide, it should link them to a great, related piece of content.
7. Never stop promoting your content.
When people publish content, one big mistake they make is not promoting that content enough. Each and every blog post you write shouldn’t just be promoted once. It should be promoted again, and again, and again.
CoSchedule, for example, suggests sharing your post a total of 12 times in two months across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr. They also shared their results nine shares within two weeks.
If you’re publishing a new piece of content every couple of hours, you may not have time to promote each piece of content multiple times. That’s one of the reasons we ❤️ CoSchedule and and are constantly using it to promote our blog. Not only is it a great editorial calendar, we can use it to automatically share out our content too. If you’re only publishing one piece of content each day, however, you have the time to promote your content multiple times. To make it work, you just need to promote it with variety.
Of course, you don’t have to stop at social media for content promotion. Email your content to your mailing list subscribers, and do it more than once if they don’t open the initial email. You can look for opportunities to post your content in relevant social media groups, Q&A networks, and forums. You can reach out to bloggers in your niche to see if they will link to your content.
The point is, do whatever you can to promote your content. More promotion leads to more traffic and more ad impressions.
8. Allow discussion.
There has been a trend lately on the top blogs of closing off comments or sending them to social media networks instead. For blogs looking to generate ad revenue, this is a bad idea. The reality is that blog comments matter.
Why? It is the discussion keeps people coming back to your article. Here are a few scenarios.
- Someone is subscribed to your blog using an RSS reader like Feedly. They can read your post in Feedly without having to go to your website. The only reason they would come to your website is to make a comment on your post, leading to an ad impression.
- Someone reads your blog post and leaves a comment. You comment back and ask them a question in response to their comment. They return to answer your question, leading to a total of at least two ad impressions.
- Someone reads your blog posts and leaves a controversial comment. Other readers start a heated discussion in reaction to this comment, all leading to many, many more ad impressions.
Make sure that your blog comment system notifies users of replies to their comments. Postmatic has become a popular commenting system of late to keep conversations going.
In addition to blog comments, you can also start a forum on your website and make sure that your ads display on your forum pages as well. Similar to blog discussions, people will return over and over again to your forum to start and reply to discussions by others. All of these new posts and replies will boost your ad impressions. Forums aren’t the easiest thing in the world to setup, but if you have a community dying to have conversations on the regular, they can be a huge catalyst for generating ad impressions.
9. Track your results.
As you implement new ways to get more ad impressions, make sure that your strategies are working by looking at your Google Analytics. You should see the overall results in your Audience Overview by looking at your number of sessions versus your page views.
If your ads are site-wide, then your number of page views should be close to your number of ad impressions. You’ll still be missing views that come from inside certain mobile apps as well as those from visitors who block Google Analytics in their browser.
Your number of ad impressions may differ from your ad platform’s count. For example, BuySellAds offer several reasons why their count of ad impressions is different from your analytics data in their support section. These reasons include ad code not being properly installed and some visitors to your website using ad blockers that still allow Google Analytics to track their visit.
You can also visit your All Pages report under the Behavior section to see which pages on your website specifically get more page views than unique page views. If you are trying various approaches throughout your website to see which one results in the most ad impressions, this report will show you the posts that get the best results.
If you follow all of the tips in this post, or even just some of them, you should see your number of pageviews increase, and thus, your number of ad impressions should increase as well. Start with the foundational tips of making your ads display site-wide and updating your design to a magazine or news style. Then continue the on-going tips of optimizing your content for search, splitting content into multiple pages, promoting your content, and tracking your results. Before you know it, life’s gonna be really nice.
Do you have any tips to help get those ad impressions up? Hit us up in the comments.
P.S. If you like the look of our images when you click them, be sure to check out our latest WordPress Plugin WP-Featherlight. It’s got a slew of five-star reviews 😎