Blog Advertising Networks

You don’t have to blog for long before you start thinking about monetizing—Regular blogging takes time and energy, so it’s only natural to want some compensation for you efforts. The only problem? Nowadays, the Internet is filled with so many advertising networks that choosing one is tough.

How do you know which one is right for you? Where can you find more info? What should you do? To help answer those questions, here’s a look at various ad networks and what they offer. Use this research to decide which advertising to pursue.

BlogHer

One of the most popular advertising networks for bloggers of various sizes, BlogHer caters mostly to female bloggers and/or female audiences. It has specific requirements for its publishers (posting a minimum of twice a week, keeping ads above the fold) and asks writers to sign contracts when joining. On the plus side, BlogHer is an established network with a variety of perks for its bloggers; on the downside, it usually has a waiting list for acceptance and sets standards bloggers must follow. 

Federated Media

Federated Media is a San Francisco-based marketing company offering ads to websites that deal with living, business, and technology. A website must have high traffic to qualify for this network, but in return, Federated Media provides the established reputation of a network that’s catered to sites like Dooce and Apartment Therapy.

Lijit

For smaller blogs, Federated Media offers the Lijit advertising network. No traffic minimums are required to join, so any blogger may begin displaying ads immediately. What’s more, Lijit is not exclusive, so you may run other ads at the same time. While the payment rates are not as high with Lijit as with Federated Media, payments come conveniently via Paypal at the end of the following month.

Izea

Izea is an ad network offering advertising to blogs with a minimum of 2,000 page views per month. If your blog meets that requirement, you can apply to the network to begin displaying advertising, as well as to learn more about sponsored posts.

Google AdSense

Google’s content-targeted advertising network is non-exclusive, with a variety of options for implementation. Choose from text ads, media ads, or a combination. Your ads may appear anywhere on your site, and you don’t have to sign a contract to participate.

How Do You Pick?

After you’ve taken a look at the above advertising networks, what should you do next? How do you select which network is best for you? Here are a few key questions to consider to help guide your choice:

  • Who’s using these networks, and what do they think? Before signing up with a network, talk to others who uses it. Are other publishers happy with the network? What complaints do they have? This gives you a good idea of what to expect if you join.

  • What is the quality of the ads? Take a look at the ads from a given network as they’re displayed on other blogs. Do you feel comfortable with the way they look and what they advertise?

  • What are the requirements? Some ad networks require you to sign a contract of exclusivity; some do not. If you must be exclusive to a particular network, consider whether  you are comfortable committing to one network only. Likewise, certain networks require you to place ads at the top of your website; others are more flexible. Think about whether you are more comfortable with one option over the other.

  • Do I qualify? If your blog doesn’t meet minimum traffic requirements, you won’t qualify for some networks. If this is the case, focus your attention on the ones whose qualifications you meet—or wait until you can join the ones with restrictions.

Top 3 Reasons to Allow Guest Blogging on your Blog

 The 3 top reasons to Allow Guest Blogging on your Blog

If you’re a dedicated blogger, you may resist the idea of allowing guest bloggers to write posts. You may even view guest bloggers as intruders attempting to benefit from the hard work you’ve put into building an audience for your blog.

However, you’re missing a wonderful opportunity to improve your blog and your own professional standing by taking such a position.

Rather than posing a threat, high quality guest blog posts from the right guest bloggers can actually improve your blog.

What is Google's view on guest blogging for links? AJ Kohn, SF, CA Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this?

Expanded Reach

By allowing guest bloggers to post your blog, you increase your network. This is especially true if you encourage posts from subject matter experts or individuals who are not full time bloggers but who hold positions in companies or fields related to your blog.

Additionally, by allowing guest bloggers, you will almost certainly draw some of their readers to your blog. This is because guest bloggers often publicize their guest blog posts in their own blogs. It’s natural that at least some of their readers will read their guest blog posts.

At least some of those readers may find themselves reading your posts and become at least semi regular readers of your blog as a result.

One Hand Washes the Other

One of the best ways of enhancing your credentials as a blogger or as a subject matter expert is by writing guest blog posts for respected blogs.If you have a reputation for being generous in allowing other bloggers to write guest posts on your blog, you may receive a warmer reception when you make a pitch to write your own guest post.

On the other hand, if you never allow other bloggers to post on your blog, you may find it difficult to persuade other bloggers to allow you to write guest posts.

Enhanced Content

Of course you launched your blog to establish your own voice and because you wished to express your own messages and opinion. However, unless you’re on a complete vanity trip, you also intend for your blog to provide meaningful information to your readers.

High quality blog posts provide enhanced content from a different point of view. You can engage your guest bloggers as well as your readers in meaningful discussion about important issues through blog posts, comments and replies.

Guest bloggers can also ensure that your blog retains a consistent high quality by allowing you to take breaks rather than writing when you’re feeling fatigued or suffering from writers’ block.

Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Guest Bloggers

Just because you accept guest bloggers to post on your blog doesn’t mean that you have to accept every guest blog post.

If you intend to accept guest bloggers as a regular practice, post guidelines for guest bloggers to establish standards for what you will and won’t accept. Even if your blog hosts posts from guest bloggers only occasionally, be wary of accepting guest blog posts that are very short or filled with back links to the guest blogger’s own blog or affiliate links – your own blog may be “punished” by search engine administrators as carrying low quality content.

Most Popular Blog Subject Ever

What is the most popular blog subject ever?  What category gets the most draws the most traffic?  What topic generates the most revenue? Answer: Whatever is the most original at the time.

Since the earliest days of blogging, the most popular sites have always been the most original.  I do not necessarily mean the most original writing, pictures, videos, or designs.  Although, that certainly helps.

The most popular blogs have always been the ones with the most focused, original subject matters.

Until the early 2000's, there were no such thing as a "politics blog" or "tech blog."  That meant that early political blogs like DailyKos and FireDogLake were extremely popular.  Why?  There wasn't anyone doing it at the time.  As crazy as it sounds, a politics blog was something that would have been considered niche for a pseudo news site. 

Once political blogs started to surge in popularity, they became a dime a dozen.  In order to compete, sites like DailyKos had to continue to improve the quality of their content since they were now competing for a share of each user's attention.

Today, all the major subject areas are saturated with sites all writing about and saying the same things.  The more niche, focused, and original your subject is, the better the chance of standing out.

It is almost impossible to launch a general interest, cooking, mommy, gossip, political, news, or sports blog and actually expect to get huge traffic.

You've got to take your subject layers deeper in search of originality.

If you want to start a general sports site, don't.  Instead, pick team.  Pick a sports town.  Pick a player.

The more niche you are, the easier to make a name for yourself.  The tent will be much less crowded while you get up and running.  This will help you actually get the initial traction you need to build an audience.

Speaking of audience, don't be afraid that being too niche will limit your audience.  First, you would be surprised how many people are searching specifically for content related to that niche.  Secondly, users appreciate a site with clear focus.  They like it so much that they come back often.

Overall, it doesn't matter what subject matter you are passionate about, just pick one.  Then, dig deep. Take ownership of your own little corner in that subject.

Be original.  Do it well.  The traffic will follow.

Top 10: Web Analytics Platforms You Should Know

I was invited to speak at the College Media Association conference in New York City by my good friend Colin Donohue.  The CMA is similar to any other professional media consortium, but focuses exclusively on college and university media organizations. This year, I was asked to speak about the importance of web analytics platforms.  One of my sessions featured my Top 10 web analytics platforms that I believe everyone should know.

The Top 10 Web Analytics Platforms are in no particular order.  Also, it is important to note that I do not think that you should use all of them.  Instead, you should pick your favorites, and go with it.  But make sure you know a little about all of them.

#1 - Google Analytics

google.com/analytics

Shockingly obvious, yes.  However, the analytics beginner may not fully appreciate the power of this platform since it is ubiquitous to the industry.  This fall, we saw GA release realtime analytics (finally!).  Realtime analysis makes the platform more appealing to "newsroom" style publishers.

#2 - GetClicky

getclicky.com

Still my favorite all around analytics platform.  I've used it for years, and it has never let me down.  GetClicky has offered realtime analytics since virtually day one.  The platform has continued to evolve including rich extensions such as an app for iPhone and iPad.  For "newsroom" applications, they have released a big screen mode that basically takes over the full screen of your machine with realtime site traffic.  Also has a robust solution for advertising and marketing tracking with no-fuss reporting.  

#3 - Chartbeat

chartbeat.com

The undisputed leader in realtime traffic analytics.  Since its debut, Chartbeat showed the power of understanding how your content was being consumed at the very moment it is consumed.  With the release of Newsbeat (for newsrooms), Chartbeat positions itself squarely as the homepage of digital news directors everywhere.  No other platform will help you to make data driven changes to your group of lead stories like Chartbeat can.  A must for news, gossip, and "immediacy" focused content publishers.

#4 - Klout

klout.com

Today's digital ninjas need to go beyond the data provided by their owned and operated domains.  Understanding you and your brands social influence is critical for successful digital professionals.  Klout will help you understand, track, and grow your digital influence in any number of categories.  Anyone with a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Four Square account has a Klout Score.  At the time of this posting, mine is a healthy 48 (of 100). One of the most impressive social media products launched to date.

#5 - Quantcast

quantcast.com

In keeping with the natural evolution of digital data geeks everywhere, you want to know how your site ranks compared to its peers.  Quantcast acts as one of the Internet's premier "freemium" ratings and ranking services.  All sites with statistically significant traffic find their way into the Quantcast database.  Proactive webmasters can place a free Quantcast script on their site to allow direct measurement.  In addition to tracking and publicly reporting your site's overall reach, Quantcast breaks your traffic down demographically and geographically.  Publishers can quickly and easily see what mix of gender, race, incomes, and education levels visit their sites.  And so can potential advertisers.

#6 - Compete

Compete.com

At its core, Compete is similar to Quantcast in its tracking and audience aggregation methodology.  However, it focuses more on being a resource for advertisers to looking to target specific audiences with their ads.  Compete offers a suite of advertising planning tools to its customers that help evaluate overall campaign efficiency.  The focus is no surprise since it is owned by Kantar Media, the data geek nerve center for worldwide advertising conglomerate WPP.  Both Quantcast and Compete are important reference points for publishers because these are the tools that your advertisers (aka the ones keeping the lights on) use to evaluate your site.

#7 - Sitemeter

Sitemeter.com

Ahhh Sitemeter.  Ohh how those of us that have been in the industry since the dawn of blogging love you.  You were there for us when there was nothing else [free] available.  Sitemeter is one of the older free analytics services.  It offers a standard but thorough analytics dashboard that provides everything the startup publisher would ever need.  They also aggregate and rank publishers that use the service.  Your Sitemeter ranking used to be something that bloggers bragged about.  Those were the days...

#8 - Sprout Social

sproutsocial.com

As mentioned earlier, social media now finds its home in the wheelhouse of every serious publisher.  When publishing content, you must now understand how to market it in the social graph, and analyze what comes back.  In addition to providing a truly comprehensive suite of social publishing tools, Sprout Social also analyzes every aspect of every tweet and status update.  Keep track of every new follower, every retweet, and Facebook share with Sprout.  You'll quickly be able to track what content you publish gets shared the most.  Before long, you'll be a viral publishing machine.

#9 - SEO Moz

SEOMoz.org

Arguably the best one-stop-shop for every SEO tool you could ever need.  In addition to understanding visitor site traffic and social media, great publishers understand how the Google overlords view their content.  Publishing great content is the most important thing you will ever do in this game.  Sadly, that does not always bring the eyeballs.  SEO Moz will give you actionable advice on how to structure your site overall as well as analyze the Google-mojo of every content post.

#10 - comScore

comscore.com

It is with mixed emotions that we place comScore on this list.  For most publishers, comScore will never factor into their day-to-day activities directly.  However, it will be the bane of your career every time your advertising sales managers come down to your office to discuss this month's comScore ranking.  comScore is the default advertising rating service that the vast majority of online marketers utilize.  With billions of dollars being spent advertising online, the industry needs a common set of benchmark evaluations.  comScore will rank your site's traffic, reach, page views, and demographic makeup in order to provide a rating".  Your site's comScore profile will often mean the difference between gaining or losing advertisers.  Again, it will not factor into the day-to-day activities of publishing your content.  However, a positive comScore story can mean serious revenue wins.

That's not all...

There are dozens of other great services that did not make this list.  By no means would I consider this list to mean anything other a grouping of services I have grown to respect, and in some cases, cannot live without.

If you feel I've made an egregious mistake by leaving a certain platform off of this list, please post it in the comments below.  Let's start a discussion!

Facebook Timeline Coming to 'Pages' on March 30th

Facebook Timeline for Pages and Businesses You officially have 29 days to prep your business' Facebook page for the conversion to Timeline.  That's right, Facebook has officially announced that current Pages will be converted to "Timeline" mode on March 30th.  No, the change is not optional.

Timeline has been controversial.  Ironically, there is a Facebook Page called "Facebook Timeline Sucks."  Little do they know how goofy that will look in 4 weeks.

If you have a Facebook page for your blog, you have until the end of the month to preview, prepare, end edit your page for Timeline deployment.  If you are ready to go, you can even push it live ahead of time.  However, after March 30th, it will automatically switch to Timeline mode forever.

Love it or hate it, Timeline does offer Page owners some handy new features.

You will now be able to take advantage of the large "Cover Photo" across the top of the page that you see in personal profiles using Timeline today.

Messaging is finally coming to Pages.  In the current (old) version of Pages, users were unable to send the brand a private message like you can to real people.  Now, users will be able to communicate directly and privately with the Page/Brand.

In the new version, you will also be able to "Pin" things to the top of your page such as maps, events, calendars, etc. giving your page admin some more control over the organization of content.  Pinned posts will also appear a bit larger than the regular status update.

There will also be an enhancement made to the admin dashboard that shows additional usage statistics such as likes, unanswered comments, and other performance indicators all from one page.

Log into your Pages today and see how your brand Page will look in preview mode.  Then get to work!