Advertising Basics for Bloggers - Getting Started

Making money from a blog requires hard work. Over the next few weeks I'll share some tips. But first, I'd like to discuss some things to consider before getting started:

1. Do you have a good niche? Advertisers are always trying to target a very specific demographic. Defining your niche helps you to atract advertisers looking for exactly your niche. For example, a craft and fashion blog for new moms.

2. Is your site's subject matter clear? Is your url simple? Advertisers shouldn't have to scroll through archives to determain the topics you cover. If your site name doesn't spell it out, add a tagline. My blog name is, Say Yes to Hoboken, which means diddly squat. So I add a tagline of "three cheers for crafty and stylish living", so advertisers had a better idea of what my site was about. Before I had a tagline, I had one ad network tell me they thought my site was a tourism site for the town of Hoboken. Whoops! Also, to avoud confusion, be sure your url matches your site name and banner. This may require a little investment on your part to buy your site url.

3. Are you familiar with your blog stats? Advertisers both big and small will want to know your pageviews per month and unique visitors per month. Sign up your site with google analytics asap! You'll learn so much about where traffic is coming from and what helps build your readership the most.

4. Are you ready to commit the time? Managing ads and relationships with brands takes a lot of time and hard work! It's more than just putting up an ad. You're forming a relationship with a company that takes time and coordination to manage well. You'll need to start treating it like a real job.

5. Are you ready to handle readers that might not like advertisers being part of your site? This is always a difficult one, and I still struggle with how to find the right balance! It might be helpful to have full disclosure with your readers when you're getting started with advertising, and along the road when you start working with brands in your content. It's difficult sometimes for readers to start seeing ads on a site they've known and loved. So be sensitive to that. Be careful of moving too quickly or allowing for too much product inclusion in your content. You don't want to lose the trust of your readers! They're the reason for your success!

6. How much should you charge? Do you know what your time is worth? This question of what to charge is something I get asked the most. It's difficult to give you a number, but I can tell you that when I first started selling ads I had about 70,000 pageviews per month and was selling ads for $30 per month. I had success with this. So, I'd recommend trying something similar. A good rule of thumb is about $10 per 20,000 pageviews per month. If you do a little math, you might figure out a good point to start for your blog. This is just what worked for me though! It's important to decide what makes sense for you and what would be worth all the stuff we discussed above given your life situation and family needs (ex: like childcare!)

This post is the first in a series of posts about Advertising Basics for Bloggers, by Liz Stanley. Follow along each week to get tips and tricks to get started with advertising on your own blog. Or take my Alt Summit Channel class on July 11th. Register for it here.

Photo by Carmen Chan

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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.