There are a number of ways in which you can monetize a blog, these include such things as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, email marketing, coaching and consulting, selling digital products and of course through advertising.

A blogger should diversify their income streams as much as possible. Being dependent on one income stream can prove risky. If for example, you’re just relying on one affiliate program to monetize your site, what happens if they reduced their commission rates or worse still they could even stop their program altogether? If this happened, your income could disappear overnight. This is not something you want to be worrying about.

A simple but effective way to diversify your blogging income is by using advertising. Placing ads on your site can be a passive way of earning a monthly income. Simply concentrate on creating great content and as long as you have enough visitors to your site it can prove a valuable income stream.

In this comprehensive post, we will cover all about monetizing your blog with advertising. We will go over the different ad pricing models as well as the different advertising networks that are available and how you go about choosing the right one. We also explain how you can bypass advertising networks by selling ad space directly to advertisers and how you can display ads effectively using WordPress plugins. Finally, we explain how you can optimize your ads to fully maximize your earning potential.

Let’s begin…

Types of Advertising Pricing Models

Before we go over the different ways in which you can use ads on your site, we must first cover the important concept of advertising pricing models.

The 4 most popular types of advertising revenue models include:

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

CPC which stands for cost-per-click is an advertising pricing model that allows you to earn when visitor clicks on an ad on your site.

The more clicks an ad receives, the more money you will earn. On the whole though, only a small percentage of visitors will click on your ads. In order therefore to earn a decent monthly income from CPC ads, your site will need high levels of traffic.

Cost-Per-Mile (CPM)

CPM or cost per 1000 impressions allows you to earn based on the number of impressions (page views) an ad receives. With CPM, you’re payed a fixed amount based on every thousand impressions.

For example, an advertising network may quote a CPM of $15. This means you will earn $15 for every 1000 impressions of an ad that is seen by your visitors. So, if your site receives 80,000 monthly page views, you will earn $1,200.

Just like with CPC advertisers, there are numerous CPM advertisers that you can work with. Each one will vary on the amount that they pay out. It is important to always work with leading CPM advertisers as these will generally pay higher rates as they will be able to work with higher profile companies that are willing to pay higher ad rates.

Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)

CPA which stands for cost-per-acquisition works in a similar way to CPC. The only difference is not only does a visitor have to click on an ad/link but they also must perform an action such as sign-up or make a purchase. We won’t cover CPA in this article, if however you would like to know more about it you can check our affiliate guide.

Fixed Rate

This is where a site owner agrees with an advertiser to display ads for a fixed price on their website. The price will usually depend on the size of the ad, the position of it, as well as the length of time the ad is active.

Using advertising for blogs

How Much Can I Earn With Ads?

So, you’re probably asking yourself how much can I earn if I place ads on my site?

Well, this will depend on a range of factors including the cost-per-click (CPC), click-through-rate (CTR) and the revenue per 1000 impressions (RPM).

CPC is the amount you will earn when a visitor to your site clicks on an ad.

The CPC depends on a number of factors including your niche. An advertiser is likely to pay more per click if you’re in a competitive niche such as finance, software, health and wellness, insurance etc.

Let’s say you run a finance blog, finance related keywords such as loans, and mortgages will carry a higher average CPC. CPC can range from as low as a couple of cents in certain niches to near $60 in the case of insurance related keywords.

CTR is also another important factor. The CTR refers to the number of visitors to your site that click on your ads. The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks for an ad by the number of impressions and multiplying by 100:

CTR = (Clicks / Ad Impressions) X 100

So, let’s say you get 2 clicks out of every 100 ad impressions, the CTR would be 2% (2/100 x 100).

The CTR will depend on a range of factors including the location and sizing of your ads, your site’s usability and speed and much more. The standard CTR is 1%. The higher the CTR, the more you can expect to earn from your ads.

The RPM is the estimated revenue that you can earn by delivering 1000 page views to your visitors. RPM is calculated by dividing the estimated earning by the number of page views and multiplying by 1000.

RPM = (Estimated Earnings / Number of Page Views) * 1000

For example, if you earned an estimated $250 from 50,000 ad impressions, the RPM would be $5 = ($250/50,000) * 1000. Which means you will earn $5 if you deliver 1000 page views.

Example

Now that you understand the important terminology, let’s go through a worked example:

  • CPC for your niche is $0.60
  • CTR rate for your site is 1% which is the standard (1 out of 100 visitors clicks on the ad)
  • Your site receives 8,000 page impressions per day
  • RPM is 2$

You can calculate your ad earnings using the following formula:

Earnings = CPC x CTR x Page Impressions + Page Impressions/1000 * RPM

Your daily ad revenue earnings in this case would be:

$64 = $0.60 x 1% x 8,000 + 8,000/1000 x $2

Let’s now assume that you managed to double the number of blog posts on your site, and your daily page impressions increased to 16,000.

Your earnings would increase to $128 per day which is a monthly ad income of $3840. 16,000 impressions may sound a lot, but if you have let’s say 200 blog posts, that’s just 80 page views per blog post which is doable providing that your posts are fully optimized for SEO.

There are a number of ways in which you can increase your ad revenue which we will cover later on.

What Are Advertising Networks?

An advertising network acts as an intermediary between publishers (website owners) and advertisers. They match up advertisers with websites that are interested in displaying ads.

The main benefit of using an ad network is it simplifies the whole process for both parties. An advertiser does not need to find suitable websites to advertise on nor does the publisher need to find relevant advertisers as this is all done by the ad network. This saves valuable time for the publisher and allows the advertiser to display ads on a range of sites that are targeted to their intended audience without needing to be involved in the often complex process.

There are numerous ad networks which offer a range of pricing models, typically these will be CPC or CPM. As a publisher, it is important to choose the right network which works best for you (we’ll cover in the next section the criteria which you can use to select an appropriate one).

Joining an ad network is free. Once you have been approved, you will be supplied with some code which you’ll need to add to your site so that you can display ads. The network will usually display contextual ads which means they will display ads that are relevant to your actual content. So, if you’re running a finance blog for example, they may display an ad for a credit card. Showing targeted ads will usually mean that they will receive better engagement which in turn means better earnings for the publisher.

The affiliate network will monitor the number clicks that your ads receive which will allow them to know how much they should pay you out every month.

Choosing the Right Advertising Network

Choosing the right ad network is vital and this will depend largely on your individual needs.

Before deciding on one, you should consider the following:

Relevancy and Quality of Ads Served

The relevancy and quality of ads that they are able to display is important. If the ads that they are displaying are not relevant to your content, your CTR will suffer as well as your earnings. Showing poor quality ads can also impact your brand and drive users away from your site.

Some networks will even allow you to block certain ads which you may deem inappropriate. For example, you may not want to display gambling ads if you have a finance blog advising people on how to get out of debt.

Ad Formats

What ad formats do they support? Do they support, display ads, rich media ads, responsive ads etc? Depending on your site layout, contents and audience, some formats may work better than others.

Having a range of formats to try will allow you to experiment to find out what works best for you.

What banner sizing do they support? The greater the banner sizing options that they provide, the more you can experiment with them to find out what works best for your site’s layout as well as your audience.

Pricing Options

Do they offer CPC or CPM pricing or do they support both models? For sites with a high traffic, CPM networks can work better as you can earn more from higher levels of traffic. CPM networks will usually however require a minimum number of sessions per month which means not everyone is eligible to join. For example, in order to join the CPM network Mediavine, they require that your site has at least 25,000 monthly sessions.

What are their commission rates? If they’re receiving 40% cut from your ad revenue, this could quickly add up over a year.

Depending on your site’s traffic and niche, they may offer higher commission rates.

Level of Reporting

Optimizing your ads is key to your success. It’s therefore vital that you’re able to monitor how well your ads are performing. Most ad networks will offer some level of reporting which can include click-through-rates, ad impressions, traffic stats etc.

The more detailed the reporting that they provide, the better, as it will allow you to make better informed decisions on how to improve your ads in order to maximize your earnings.

Contract Period

Some ad networks will require you to sign a contract which means you may not be able to terminate your contract for a certain period of time. Always check with them beforehand. If you’re unhappy with their service, you may want to move to another network so check to see if they may impose any penalties if you leave before your contract period is up.

Best Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Ad Networks

AdSense

Using AdSense for CPC ads

The most popular and well-known advertising network is Google’s AdSense. AdSense is a CPC network which allows you to place advertisements in the form of text, display ads, rich media, animated image and link units.

AdSense provides contextual ads which means they serve ads relevant to the site’s content. Serving targeted ads will generally mean they are more relevant to your users, and therefore they are more likely to click on them and earn you more revenue.

AdSense provides a number of ad banner sizes. The most common and best performing banner sizes as recommended by AdSense are:

AdSense Recommended Size FormatsDescription
Leaderboard (728x90)Due to the wide rectangular nature of the leaderboard ad, it’s often displayed at the top and bottom of webpages. It’s highly visible and can convert extremely well.
Half Page (300x600) Due to the large format it’s perfect to display all types of rich media and it provides plenty of exposure for advertisers. CTR for these types of vertical ads are generally high as the ad stays visible for longer as the user scrolls through a page. Half-page ads are generally placed in the sidebar.
Medium Rectangle (300x250) The medium rectangle ad can fit well within the sidebar as well as embedded within the contents of an article and is suitable for mobile devices. Due to it’s less obtrusive nature, it’s less distracting than a half-page or leaderboard ad. The size can support both text as well as images.
Large Rectangle (336x280) The large rectangle makes it more visible to users than the smaller medium rectangle ad and can therefore increase CTR. It works well placed within the sidebar as as well within the contents of an article.
Large Mobile Banner (320x100) This ad size is perfect for mobile devices and it’s extremely effective. Due to its size, the ad works well if placed at the top or bottom of a page and it’s a more discreet option than the medium rectangle ad format.

Recommended AdSense ad size formats

Large Mobile Banner

In order to use AdSense, you first need to apply to join their program. Once you have been approved, you can start setting up your ads for your site.

In order to do this, log into your AdSense account and click on the My ads tab from the sidebar and click on the New ad unit button. You will be prompted to enter a name for the ad, enter a suitable name which will allow you to quickly identify it later on.

You will now need to choose an ad type. The options you can select from include:

  • Text and display ads
  • In-feed ads
  • In-article ads

The most common ad type is “Text and display ads”, if you’re first starting out we would recommend you select this option.

Next, you will need to select a size for the ad that you want to display. Select a size from the recommended list, these generally perform better than other sizes. AdSense also provides a Responsive option. If this option is selected, AdSense will automatically display an ad whose size is appropriate for the user’s device and browser. If you’re using a responsive theme, you should probably go with the Responsive option, otherwise select a suitable size from the recommended list instead.

Now you will need to select colours for your ad. There are a selection of pre-defined ones which you can select alternatively you can define your own to match your site’s colour scheme. Once you have selected the colour scheme simply click on Save and click on the Get Code button.

You will now need to add the code supplied by AdSense to your site. In order to do this, you can add this manually using a widget or you can use an ad management plugin (we will cover this later on). In order to do this manually, follow these simple steps:

  • Log into your WordPress dashboard, then select Appearance > Widgets from the menu
  • Drag and drop the Custom HTML widget to the appropriate widget area where you want the ad to appear on your site
  • Finally paste the AdSense code provided to you in the widget (text tab) and click on the Save button

Once you have enabled AdSense on your site, it may take up to a couple of days before your ads become active, so remain patient.

Check Out AdSense

Media.net

Using Media Dot Net for PPC Ads

Media.net is the second largest contextual PPC ad network after AdSense. Media.net works in collaboration with the Yahoo-Bing network. They work with some of the major advertisers which means there is always a good supply of relevant advertisers for all types of niches.

Leading publishers that use Media.net include the NY Times, Forbes, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Reuters and many others.

Media Net Contextual Ads

They offer a range of ad size formats including custom sizes and they also provide different types of ads including in content ads, display ad units, desktop interstitial ads and mobile docked ads. The native ads which they offer (as shown below) which are also responsive, blend in with the design and layout of your site which generally means better performing ads and higher revenues.

Media Net Native Ads

If you don’t want to display certain ads on your site, Media.net will allow you to block specific advertisers and ads from appearing. You will never need to worry about showing certain ads that may impact your brand or drive users away from your site.

One of the major advantages over PPC networks such as AdSense, is you’re assigned a dedicated personal account manager once you have been approved. It is an extremely useful feature as they will help you with any queries that you may have as well as advise you on how to optimize your ads in order to maximize your ad revenue.

While some ad networks may not allow you to show ads from other networks this is not the case with Media.net. This means you’re free to use a range of monetizing options on your site allowing you to diversify your income streams.

Signing up to Media.net is a quick and a painless process, simply enter your website, your phone number and email address. They will then get back to you within 2 working days to let you know whether your application has been approved or not.

Use the below link to sign-up to Media.net and receive an additional 10% of the revenue that you generate for the first 3 months.

Check Out Media.net

Best Cost-Per-Mile (CPM) Ad Networks

Mediavine

Using Mediavine for CPM Ads

Mediavine is a popular and recommended CPM ad management company. In order to apply to join Mediavine you will need a minimum of 25,000 monthly sessions (not pageviews).

They are an official certified Google Publishing Partner which is no mean feat considering only 40 companies around the world has achieved this certification. This goes to show how reputable they are.

Once you have submitted your application, Mediavine will request that you run a Google Analytics report so that they can check your site’s traffic. Once you have been approved, they will review your site to ensure that there are no potential issues which may prevent you from displaying ads. If there are any issues that need correcting, you can either make the change yourself or you can get Mediavine to help you out.

Once your site is fully capable of displaying ads, you will be granted access to the dashboard. You will also be supplied with a script which you’ll need to add to your site. Mediavine has made this process extremely simple as they’ve created a WordPress plugin. Please note, you can’t run any other third-party ads alongside Mediavine. That’s means if you’re displaying AdSense or ads from another network, they will need to be removed.

Displaying ads can often slow down your site. In order to overcome this issue, Mediavine displays lazy loading ads. This means ads won’t load until they are fully required i.e. when the user scrolls close to where the ad is located.

While with other popular ad networks, you’re often lucky to be earning just a couple of dollars, with Mediavine this is not the case. Depending on your niche, RPM’s can be as high as $20 or even more.

The dashboard updates daily so you can check how much you have earnt for the previous day and you can also view your monthly earnings to date. The dashboard also displays a site health check which will allow you to monitor the performance of ads.

Mediavine Dashboard

Their customer service is second to none, ask a question and you’ll likely receive an answer within a few hours. They can be contacted through a number of channels including through email as well as through the dashboard and they even have their own Facebook group where you can post your queries.

Check Out Mediavine

AdThrive

Using Adthrive for CPM ads

If you run a site that has over 100,000 monthly page views and the majority of your traffic comes from the US then you should consider joining AdThrive.

Just like Mediavine, AdThrive are also a certified Google Publishing Partner and they work in a similar way.

While the requirements to join AdThrive are more stringent, the opportunity to earn more is greater. On their site, they state “the average site earns 3x more per pageview with AdThrive” and that “50% of sites saw over a 100% increase” in revenue which is extremely promising.

Once you sign-up to AdThrive, they will review your site to analyse where they think ads will perform best. They offer a range of ad types including header ads, sidebar ads, sticky sidebar ads, content ads, receipt ads, in-image ads, sticky footer ads and video ads. They also offer native ads that work on both desktop and mobile devices.

Using Adthrive for CPM ads

They also offer great support, if you have any query you can send them an email or you ask on their Facebook group page.

Check Out AdThrive

Ezoic (Ad Testing Platform)

Ezoic Logo

An alternative to using an ad network such as AdSense, Media.net or Mediavine is to use an ad testing platform such as Ezoic.

Ezoic uses machine learning (A.I.) to test different combinations of ad placements, ad sizes, ad designs and publishers to find the best ones that will make you the most money for your blog as well as improve your user’s experience. Publishers on average who use Ezoic will see a 50% increase at least to their ad revenue.

There are literally thousands of different factors that Ezoic’s A.I. will automatically test to find the best ad combinations that will work on your site which include ones such as:

Ezoic AI Combinations

If you were to perform all these A/B testing combinations manually yourself on different platforms (desktop, mobile and tablet), it would be extremely hard, and it would virtually be impossible as it would take far too long.

Ezoic are a Google-certified partner which means they are reputable and it also means they are able to display more ads than you would otherwise normally be able to do with AdSense, which allows you to increase your AdSense revenue.

Apart from being able to display AdSense ads, there are hundreds of other ad networks which Ezoic has partnered with, allowing you to display ads from different networks.

How Much Does Ezoic Cost?

You’re probably thinking Ezoic sounds great but how much is it going to cost me?

Well, the great thing is its totally free. The only thing you need to agree to is to display a small non-intrusive ad which will appear at the bottom of your page which Ezoic keeps the revenue for.

If you decide however that you don’t want to display this ad at the bottom of your page, you can sign-up to Ezoic’s paid plan instead. Their monthly fee is based on a sliding scale and is directly correlated to your ad revenue. So let’s say you make $1,000 in monthly ad revenue, you will pay Ezoic a monthly fee of $49.

In order to be eligible to sign-up to Ezoic you will need to have at least 10,000 monthly visitors.

What are the Main Benefits of Ezoic?

Apart from the benefits that we’ve already covered, there are a number of other benefits including:

No Contract

One of the great advantages is you’re not locked into any contract, unlike some ad networks. So, if you’re not happy with Ezoic or you want to sign-up to an ad network instead, you can do this with just one-click from the dashboard without getting hit by a penalty.

Easy to Set-Up and Exceptional Support

Ezoic is extremely easy to set-up and their support is exceptional. You’ll be assigned an account manager once you sign-up who’ll be able to help you with any set-up queries and advise you on any issues that you may have.

In order to set-up Ezoic on your site, you can either point your nameservers to Ezoic which is the preferred option, or you can add a script.

Once set-up, you can either let Ezoic perform everything for you on auto-pilot or you can be more involved and you can specify such things as where on your site you want your ads to be visible, the ad sizes and positon on the pages, as well as the maximum number of ads that can be displayed. 

Detailed Real-Time Reporting

Their reporting dashboard provides lots of useful information and statistics in real-time so you can see clearly what’s driving your ad earnings.

For example, you can see key information such as:

  • Earnings by page
  • Pageviews by article length
  • Revenue by page load time
  • Engagement time
  • Returning visitor trends
  • Page engagement by traffic source

Ezoic Reporting Dashboard

Different Payment Options Available

Ezoic provides a number of different payment methods so you can get paid wherever you’re located in the world:

  • PayPal
  • Cheque
  • Direct deposit (US residents only)
  • International wire transfer via Payoneer
  • Payoneer prepaid card

Check Out Ezoic

Getting Approved by Advertising Networks

When applying to join an advertising network, you will need to submit your website for review in order to be accepted onto their relevant program.

It is important before even applying to join an advertising network that you make sure that your site complies with the following otherwise your application could get rejected:

Ensure Your Site Has Enough Content

You can’t expect to just purchase a domain name and hosting and install WordPress on your site and then apply to join an advertising network and expect to get approved. If you have limited or no content, it will make it extremely difficult for an ad network to determine what your site is about. This means that they will be unable to display targeted ads on your site.

Make sure your site has good quality content with at least 20-30 posts, each of which should have 1000 words or more. Ensure that your posts are engaging and they have been written with the user in mind and not for the search engines, so always avoid keyword stuffing.

Don’t Display Existing Ads

An ad network is unlikely to want to compete with other ads that are being displayed on your site. If you’re already displaying ads, it could mean that your application gets rejected. On the whole this will largely depend on the type and quality of the ads you’re displaying.

Generally, the safest thing to do before applying to join any network is to remove any ads that you may have.

Inappropriate Content

Having inappropriate content on your site, is surest way to getting your application rejected.

Google’s AdSense states in their policies, that they prohibit adult and offensive content, copyright infringement, illegal activities that promote drug, hacking, violence, weapon related content and a range of other activities. Always remove any inappropriate content that you may have.

Does Your Site Have Good Navigation and Usability

Another important factor to consider is your site’s usability. If your site has poor usability or it’s slow to load or it’s not easy to navigate through, this could lead to a poor user experience which means your visitors won’t stay on your site for long and they won’t get to see any ads.

To avoid being rejected due to these reasons, it is vital that you invest in fast hosting as well as choose a good WordPress theme that is responsive and mobile friendly, easy to customize and SEO friendly.

Do You Have Enough Traffic

Traffic plays another determining factor in the approval process. Advertising networks will naturally want to display ads on sites that have good traffic levels. A site with barely any organic traffic is not going to prove very attractive for advertisers so you’re likely to get rejected.

If you’ve recently launched your site and your organic traffic is still relatively low, think about promoting your contents (check out our guide on how to do this) also ensure when you write your blog posts that you take into consideration SEO, this will allow you to rank better in the search rankings and therefore more people will get to see your content.

Include a Privacy, Cookie Policy and Contact Page

An easy way not to get rejected is by ensuring that your site has a privacy and cookie policy as well as a contact page. The data that your site collects, stores and uses will need to be disclosed on your privacy and cookie policy pages. These pages are mandatory by law in most countries so it’s vital that you include them. Advertisers are unlikely to want to advertise on sites that are breaking the law.

In order to create complaint privacy and cookie policies, you can use the service provided by iubenda which is recommended. A contact page can easily be created using a WordPress plugin such as Contact Form 7.

Site Not Established Enough

Ad networks can often be wary of newly established sites. They want to ensure that your site is reputable and you haven’t simply copied a load of content from other websites in order to quickly monetize your site through ads.

When applying, ensure that your site is at least a few months old, this should increase the likelihood of being accepted.

If your application does get rejected, don’t worry, you can always reapply again. Understand the reason why it was rejected, fix the issue and then reapply again.

How to Avoid Getting Banned by Advertising Networks

Once you have been approved by an advertising network, it is important that you comply with their policies. Breaking any of their policies could result in your account being terminated.

Here are a few things you should avoid doing once your account is active:

Avoid Asking For Clicks on Ads

Never ask or reward your visitors, friends, or use software to click on your ads. While it may be tempting to do this in order to artificially inflate your revenue, this is a big no-no and the easiest way to get your account banned. Google AdSense for example clearly state this in their policies.

Don’t Modify Ad Code

Another thing which you should avoid doing is modifying the code supplied to you by the ad network. If you have modified the code deliberately to improve your ad performance this could lead to your account getting terminated as Google Adsense mention in their policies.

Limit Ads per Page

It is important to also consider the number of ads that you display per page. Not only can having too many ads have a negative effect on your user’s experience, if your ads exceed the actual content on a single page, the ad network could limit them or disable them altogether. This is the case for Google AdSense, where they mention the following in their ad placement policies “the content you provide should add value and be the focal point for users visiting your page. For this reason, we may limit or disable ad serving on pages with little to no value and/or excessive advertising until changes are made”.

On the whole, you should try to limit the ads that you display to no more than 2-3 per single page, naturally this will depend on your blog’s layout and a range of other factors.

Selling Private Advertising Space

An alternative to advertising networks is to sell advertising space directly to advertisers. This can prove more profitable than using regular advertising networks especially as you’re cutting out the middleman and it can mean that you will receive 100 per cent of the advertising revenue. It also gives you more control as it allows you to set your own pricing as well as deciding who to partner with and what ads to show.

While it can be more profitable, it does involve more work especially as you’ll need to find and negotiate with advertisers directly as well as ensuring that the ads go live on the right dates and monitor when they expire.

In order to work out what to charge, you can check out other sites within your niche to see what they are charging. If you’re an authority within an attractive niche for advertisers, and you have high monthly traffic levels, you could command high prices for ad space on your site.

There are number of ways in which you can sell advertising space on your site.

These can include such things as adding an “Advertise with Us” page on your site which lets potential advertisers know the cost of advertising.

The aim of this page is to convince potential advertisers why they should advertise on your site.

When creating an “Advertise with Us” page, it is important that you can include information such as:

  • Your monthly traffic stats i.e. page views, bounce rates, demographics etc
  • Your Alexa rank, Google PageRank and domain authority
  • Your social media stats i.e. Facebook, Twitter subscribers or followers
  • Banner ad formats as well as size options and locations and their corresponding monthly pricing
  • Places where your site has been mentioned i.e. Forbes, Huffington Post etc
  • Testimonials from previous advertisers
  • Preferred payment modes i.e. PayPal, bank transfer, credit card etc

An alternative way is to use third-party banner ad online marketplace sites. These sites connect online publishers with advertisers. A publisher can list their website on one of these sites and provide details regarding pricing for different ad formats as well as important information such as monthly traffic stats, their niche etc. Advertisers will then search for suitable sites which meet their criteria where they can purchase advertising space from. An example of a third-party banner ad online marketplace site is BuySellAds.

BuySellAds

BuySellAds (BSA) is one of the leading banner ad marketplace sites.

In order to use BuySellAds, a publisher simply needs to sign-up for a free account and then enter details regarding their site. Once done, they can select the ad size and format that they want to display on their site as well as relevant pricing. In regards to pricing, this can be a fixed monthly price or it can be based on impressions.

Sell Private Ads using BuySellAds

While it does not cost anything for a publisher to sign-up to BSA, they do charge 25% commission once ad space is purchased on your site. You the publisher, will receive the remaining 75%.

One of the great aspects of BSA is it will allow you to automatically approve all ads when they are purchased or it also gives you the option to manually approve purchased ads. This allows you to reject any ads which you believe may not be suitable for your site, therefore giving you full control of the process.

WordPress Plugins to Display Ads

If you’re looking for an easy way to add and manage ads on your site, you’ll probably want to look into using an ad management plugin.

Whether you’re using an ad network such as AdSense, or you’re selling private ad space, there is a suitable WordPress ad management plugin out there for your particular needs.

Ad management plugins provide a simpler way to insert ads on your site and keep track of your advertising campaigns as well as allowing you to optimize their placement. They also allow you to sell ad space directly to advertisers and keep track of who’s bought. They can also be used to rotate ads automatically when they have expired saving you time and effort.

Here are a selection of good ad management plugins which should be suitable for most needs:

Ads Pro Plugin

Using Ads Pro WordPress plugin

Ads Pro is a premium feature rich plugin and one that is definitely recommended. It provides over 20 ways to display your ads and it comes with 25+ pre-defined templates allowing you to customize how ads are displayed to suit your particular site’s layout.

The plugin has a really useful feature which can bypass ad blockers meaning you won’t lose out on ad revenue. This is a definite plus considering more and more users are now using ad blockers.

The plugin provides a number of other useful features including:

  • It provides a frontend panel allowing advertisers to purchase and manage ads
  • Supports 4 methods of payment, including bank transfer, stripe, PayPal and WooCommerce
  • Allows for up to 3 pricing models to be set-up (CPC, CPM, CPD (cost per day))
  • Ads purchased can be approved automatically or manually
  • Provides split-testing functionality so you can verify which ads perform best
  • Provide statistics such as clicks, CTR, IP, browser status allowing to see which ads are performing well
  • Ads can be displayed a certain amount of times per user/session. They can also be shown or hidden after so many seconds
  • Ads can be inserted after a number of paragraphs within posts/pages. It can be configured to only show ads for particular categories or tags as well as devices
  • Provides geo-targeting allowing you to display relevant ads depending on a user’s location

Ads Pro Display Options

Check Out Ads Pro

Advanced Ads

Using Advanced Ads WordPress Plugin

The freemium easy-to-use plugin has powerful range of useful features. It allows you to create and manage unlimited number of ads. It supports all major ad and ad networks so inserting ads can be done with ease.

You can specify where you want to display ads. For example, you can place ads within the post content (within the contents, in the header or footer), as a widget in the sidebar etc. You can also choose when not to display ads such as on particular posts, categories, tags or pages such as 404.

You can also target relevant ads to your visitors depending on criteria such as the devices they are using, whether the users are logged in or not, the browser they are using and much more.

If you sell private ad space, the plugin has a number of useful features such as being able to schedule when ads go live as well as when they expire. You can also rotate ads depending on a weighting that you can provide.

The premium version of the plugin has a number of additional features such as:

  • It supports WooCommerce integration which allows you to sell ad space directly from your site to advertisers (as shown below). This means you can bypass sites such as BuySellAds, allowing you to save on commission which you would have otherwise had to pay out meaning you get to keep 100% of your ad earnings
  • It offers a number of additional targeting options such as geo-targeting so you can display relevant ads depending on where a user is visiting from. You can also display ads depending on whether the visitor is new and it provides a number of other options
  • It allows you to display ads on AMP pages
  • It provides additional ad placement options such being able to display ads within a certain number of paragraphs as well as randomly and it offers a range of other options

Using Advanced Ads WordPress Plugin for private ads

Check Out Advanced Ads (Free)          Check Out Advanced Ads Pro

AdRotate

Using AdRotate WordPress Plugin

Whether you’re displaying custom banner ads or ads from a network such as AdSense or Media.net they are both supported with the freemium AdRotate plugin.

The plugin allows you to easily insert ads into your site using shortcodes, PHP and widgets.

The premium version of the plugin starts at €29 for a single website and provides the following additional features:

  • Ads can be geo-targeted allowing you to display relevant ads depending on the country or state/city users are visiting from
  • Advertisers can create and manage their own ads. Once an ad has been set-up and paid by the advertiser, you can manually approve the ad before going live
  • Provides ad tracking so you can monitor CTR, impressions and clicks
  • Has AdBlock disguise technology allowing you to display ads even when users are using ad blockers
  • Provides capability to display responsive ads on mobile devices
  • Ads can be scheduled to go live and expire on set dates. Ads can also be set-up to expire after a set number of clicks or impressions

AdRotate Monthly Ad Stats

Check Out AdRotate (Free)          Check Out AdRotate Pro

WordPress Ad Widget

WordPress Ad Widget

If you’re looking for a free and easy to use ad management plugin then WordPress Ad Widget could be a great choice.

While the lightweight plugin may not have the bells and whistles that the other plugins mentioned here have; its simplicity means it’s extremely easy to use and it’s perfect if you want to display ads such as from AdSense quickly on your site in just a matter of minutes.

Once you have installed the plugin, it will create some custom widgets automatically for you (under Appearance -> Widgets (named “Ad Widget/s”). All you need to do next, is place the code supplied to you by your ad network into the widget and add that to your site’s sidebar and you’re all set up. The plugin will allow you to display both text and images ads.

Check Out WordPress Ad Widget

How to Be Successful With Advertising?

How successful your ads will prove and how much you can earn from them will depend on a range of factors including CTR and CPC.

Here are a number of ways in which you can optimize your ads as well as your site in order to improve your CTR and CPC:

Focus on SEO

If you want to be successful with ads, you need traffic. The more traffic you have, the more you’re likely to earn. In order to grow your site’s traffic you need to concentrate on creating content that is search engine friendly as well as engaging and valuable. Here are important aspects to consider:

  • Concentrate on creating valuable content and always write for the end-user in mind and not the search engine. Check out our guide on how to write a winning blog post.
  • Ensure that you write evergreen content. A post that will be out of date relatively quickly is not going to bring in much traffic over the long term.
  • When you write your blog posts aim to target long tail keywords with good search volume. These will be less competitive and they will be easier to rank for which means you will get higher traffic for these posts. There are a number of keyword research tools which you use to find relevant keywords to target such as SEMRush.
  • Once you publish a post don’t forget to promote it. Ideally you need to spend as much time promoting each blog post as you do writing it. Check the following guide which covers 38 ideas on how to promote your content.

Reduce Your Bounce Rates

Keeping your users on your site for as long as possible is vital. The longer users stay on your site, the more likely they are to see your ads as well as click on them.

In order to reduce your bounce rate, you should perform the following:

  • Ensure that your site loads quickly. If it’s slow, users are unlikely to stay for long. Make sure you’re using good hosting (check out the following web hosting companies which offer a good service: SiteGround, WPEngine, HostGator and BlueHost). Consider also using a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache or use a CDN (content delivery network) such as CloudFlare to improve your site’s speed. Also use an image compression plugin such as Smush which will compress your images once you upload them to your site without scarifying on image quality.
  • Your theme that you use plays an important part as well. Use a theme that is responsive and mobile friendly which is SEO friendly and that is easy to customize. Check out the following sites for some great themes: ThemeForest, Thrive Themes, StudioPress and Elegant Themes.
  • Don’t forget the importance of internal linking. This will this help in creating well-structured navigation throughout your site which will help with the user experience.

Ad Placement

Not all real estate on your site is equal, ads located in certain areas of a page will perform better than others. Ad placement therefore plays an important role in CTR.

You should consider:

  • Ads that are positioned in areas where the user does not need to scroll will generally perform the best. An ad that appears in the above-the-fold should perform better than one located below the fold as it’s clearly visible to the user.
  • It’s important to always perform A/B testing to verify the optimum area to place your ads where the CTR is greatest.
  • You may also need to experiment with the location of ads on different page layouts on your site. For example, for your homepage, a leaderboard ad (728×90) placed at the top of a webpage may work well as users are less likely to scroll through the page. While for blog posts, ads placed along the sidebar or within the contents may work better as users are more likely to scroll through the post.

Ad Sizing

The banner size and the ad format that you use can also have a big impact on CTR. Using a banner size that is too small may mean that the ad is not seen by your visitors and therefore they are unlikely to click on it.

  • The banner size that works best for your site will depend on a range of factors including your site’s layout so it’s vital that you experiment. If you’re using AdSense, Google recommend that the following banner sizes work best: leaderboard (728×90), half page (300×600), medium rectangle (300×250) and large rectangle (336×280).
  • Try also using a combination of ad formats to see what works best for your site. For example, Google AdSense offer the following formats: text ads, display ads, rich media ads, link units and responsive ads.

Number of Ads per Page

Showing too many ads may have an adverse effect and your visitors may simply ignore your ads or worse still you may drive them off your site altogether which is not what you want.

While ad revenue is important, showing too many ads does not always correlate with higher earnings. Your aim is display the necessary amount of ads which won’t interfere with your visitor’s enjoyment of your site.

Showing less ads on your site will usually mean they are more noticeable to your visitors which in turn means they are more likely to click on them.

Show Mobile Complainant Ads

More and more users are now using mobile devices to browse the web. For this reason, it’s important that you display mobile complainant ads to maximise your revenue.

  • Always ensure that the theme you’re using is mobile responsive before even thinking of placing mobile ads. This means your site will display correctly without issues on a range of screens sizes for a number of devices including desktop, smartphone, tablets etc.
  • If you’re using AdSense, think about using responsive ads. Responsive ads will automatically resize depending on the device being used to view the site so they work perfectly on mobile page layouts.
  • The most common mobile ad sizes include the following:
    • Mobile leaderboard (320×50)
    • Large mobile banner (320×100)
    • Square (250×250)
    • Medium rectangle (300×250)

Diversify Your Advertising Income Streams

As we have mentioned already, it is vital that you diversify your income streams for your site. This is true for advertising as well.

Let’s say, you have a site with 200 blog posts and you have a healthy monthly traffic levels. You’re displaying CPC ads on your site and you’re earning on average $100 per day.

While this is a good income stream, you could be earning much more as you could also display CPM ads as well as show private ads on your site. Instead of just earning a $100 per day, you could now be earning $200-$300.

If you combine it with affiliate marketing (check out our guide on how to monetize your site with Amazon Associates), then you could be earning a healthy monthly income by having 4 income streams instead of one.

Target Profitable CPC Keywords

A great way to earn more from your CPC ads is to find high-paying CPC keywords that are related to your niche.

Once you have found profitable CPC keywords, you can then target these by writing blog posts related to these keywords. Providing that the post has been well written and has been optimised for SEO it could bring lots of traffic and allow you to increase your CPC earnings.

Finding high-paying CPC keywords is relatively easy, all you need is a keyword research tool such as SEMRush.

If you’re using SEMRush you can perform the following steps to find high-paying CPC keywords:

1. Launch SEMRush and select Keyword Analytics from the sidebar.

2. In the Keyword Overview searchbox, enter a related keyword and click on the Search button.

3. The tool will now display Phrase Match as well as Related Keywords terms. It will display the CPC in USD as well as the monthly search volumes. Click on the view full report button.

4. Sort by the CPC column to display keywords with the highest CPC. The aim is to find keywords with a high CPC and which also have a good monthly search volume. Once you have found relevant keywords make a note of these.

Using SemRush to find high CPC keywords

Another way to find high CPC keywords is to find ones that other sites within your niche are targeting.

In order to do this with SEMRush, follow these steps:

1. Launch SEMRush and enter into the search box the URL for one of your competitor’s site.

2. The tool will now display Top Organic Keywords. Click on the view full report button to view the full list of keywords.

Using SemRush to find competitor CPC

3. Sort by the CPC column to display highest CPC keywords first. Go through the list and find ones with a high monthly search volume. Check also the KD% column which stands for keyword difficulty. This will tell you how difficult it will be to rank for the particular keyword in the organic search rankings. The higher the percentage, the more difficult it will be to rank for them so aim for ones with a lower keyword difficulty.

SemRush Competitor CPC Filtered

Check Out SEMRush

Conclusion

Diversification is key to your blogging success, the more income revenues streams you have, the less reliance you will have on a particular one.

In order to earn through advertising, you will need to have high levels of traffic. When first starting out you may not be able to monetize your blog solely via ads. If that’s the case, first concentrate on creating great and engaging posts and don’t forget to also promote your site.

Once your site is receiving a steady amount of monthly traffic, think about signing-up to an ad network that suits your requirements. Selling private ad space can also be a useful way to monetize your site especially as you get to keep 100% of the revenue.

Don’t forget to also experiment with your ads to test what works. Optimizing your ads will allow you to maximise your ad revenue. There are a wide range of things that you can test which include such things as ad placement, sizing, the number of ads being displayed and importantly you should also aim to target profitable CPC keywords.

Comment below and let me know what your preferred advertising networks are and what works well for you.

Further Reading

Image Credits

Featured Image: Business vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com

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