If you could leverage your blog to present the right advertisements to your readers based on the content they have come to read, would you do it?
Well, you can. And you don’t have to wait for Google to do it for you.
Start With Great Content
First, you need to write some great content.
Nothing brings people back to your blog quite like good content. You don’t have to be a professional, you just need to be interesting.
You need not write long posts, you just need to post frequently enough to get people involved and, with time, your blog’s impact will increase.
Which means you have to write consistently. Once a month won’t do the trick. Once a day might be too much, but at least once a week (preferably three times at least).
Once you have found your voice, and developed a community of people who come back often enough, and once your writing gets indexed well by Google (you need to follow the general rules related to SEO — Google it to learn about it), you will find that people are coming to specific pages many times.
It might not be the same people, but it is enough to take your impact to a new level – the mythical “next level” if you will.
I realized this was happening about a month ago. And the result has been I have done a rethink on my approach to advertising. For most of 2012, I have written multiple times a week. And over time some of my content has been popular enough to cause it to be repeatedly visited, having shown up in search engines.
How do I know that?
The Jetpack plugin for WordPress tells me which key word searches have resulted in people showing up on the blog. It even creates excellent summaries of which words are “trending” and which ones are most popular over time.
Information Is Power
With so much information available to you, you need to make adjustments to your blogs layout and, especially, to advertising.
Of course, most bloggers want to secure advertisers.
You do that by the same process, “Great content, great content, great content”. Nothing gets people interested in paying you to place their ad on your blog quite as much as growing readership.
Until you reach a certain level, however, you have to be sure to do the things that will cause people to click on whatever ads you happen to have.
It is a good idea to join affiliate networks. There are many. They aren’t all created equal. Some are huge (like Commission Junction), others are just getting started.
Some, like AvantLink will actually allow you to “share the affiliate love” at a nice commission.
But how do you use the information about what people are coming to your site for into ads that get clicked?
Here’s what I have done.
1. Use a good theme framework that lets you do a bit of code customization. I used and can recommend Thesis Theme for just this need. In another post I will give you some code snippets you can use to add this functionality. The short version: I leveraged the power of WordPress, and the ease of Thesis, to present specific ads into specific posts.
2. Use AdRotate. The more I use this tool, the more I like it. I hope you’ll take a look at a post I wrote about AdRotate recently. The short version: I can chose ads from affiliate networks based on the category of the post.
3. Use logic to present ads that fit a post’s category. I have chosen to do this with two tools, one being Thesis Theme, and the other being a plugin for WordPress called WP Logic, and AdRotate’s short code functionality. This means I am targeting ads specifically related to a given post’s major topic/theme using higher values ads that have a better pay out rate.
4. Apply ruthless methodologies on pertinent ads based on metrics. AdRotate lets you track clicks and presents you with a metric you can use to evaluate how many ads are getting clicked on. The specific application of this discipline is a topic for a future post. Bottom line: if a given ad is not getting any clicks, can it.
5. Find ads that fit what your blog is about. This has been one that took me a while to understand. I don’t have a degree in advertising, and chances are you don’t either.
People who read specific articles on your blog do so because they appeal to them in some way. Providing advertisements that address the same question or appeal have a higher likelihood of being clicked.
Developing a disciplined approach to advertising on your blog takes time and, well, discipline. You should be working to improve what you do with advertisements over time.
As you do, and as your PR improves, so will revenue.
That’s some of my thoughts on the matter. What do you think?
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