How to Generate Revenue from Ads

Selling ads space on your website or blog is one of the most popular ways to monetize your site. But if you’re new to building websites, you may not know how to go about the best way to set your ads up in order to maximize their return.

So through hours of research, testing, and trial and error, I learned the best ways to set up and manage ads, so today, I’d like to share those secrets with you.

Selling Advertisements

One of the most popular methods of monetizing a site or blog is selling advertising space because it allows you to make money from your existing traffic and has the potential to produce a lot of income.

When I started the Vandelay Design blog, I started out inserting ads manually on my site and managing each partnership myself as well. I quickly found this to be extremely time-consuming, and since it didn’t produce much revenue at first, it wasn’t worth my time. Since most websites and blogs have advertisements, I knew they were seeing a good return on their investment, and since I hadn’t yet, there had to be a more efficient way of selling ads.

That’s when I discovered ad networks. Ad networks allow you to automate the process of finding advertisers, optimizing ad units, and paying commissions, much more easily than doing all of the work manually yourself, so I would highly recommend using them. Another advantage is they can be a source for passive income once the initial ad placements are set up and optimized.

With most ad networks, you set a price per an amount of impressions from your ad unit, and then advertisers purchase the ad placements. Keep in mind, ad networks receive commission from your ad sales, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when setting your pricing. But since ad networks work on a much higher ad volume, the commission you’ll pay is well worth it.

There are thousands of ad networks available, but the ones I found to work best for my business are BuySellAds properties and Google AdSense (more on how AdSense works in a bit).

Here are the top-performing ad networks I’ve found:

  1. BuySellAds – A popular ad network for both publishers and advertisers.
  2. BuySellAds Pro – A professional-grade advertising solution from BSA. This option is a bit pricier at $499/month, but that includes up to 25 million ad impressions. So this option may be the more profitable option for high traffic sites.
  3. Carbon – An invite-only ad network owned by BSA with a niche in the design and development industries.
  4. Fusion Ads – Another invite-only ad network from BSA which targets the creative community.
  5. Yoggrt – An invite-only network from BSA that also targets the creative community.
  6. The Deck – An long standing invite-only ad network that targets the web design industry. Although this ad network isn’t a part of BSA, it has a strong ad network presence.
  7. Smaato – A mobile advertising network. Again, this one isn’t owned by BSA, but it’s included because of it’s unique niche in mobile advertising.

Google AdSense

Google AdSense is another ad network, but it’s set up a bit differently than typical ad networks. Instead of selling ad impressions in bulk for a set price, their ads are setup on a cost-per-click (CPC) payment structure, so you receive commission whenever someone clicks on the ad. Similar to ad networks, Google will also receive a commission of the revenue your ad generates. However, you have very little control over which ads are shown and the CPC rate your ads receive. These are just a few things to keep in mind, but it’s worth testing various types of ad networks to see which produces the most income for your website.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate programs are similar to ad networks in that they connect you with thousands of advertisers that are categorized by niche. But they’re set up a bit differently–you first apply to each advertisers’ affiliate program, and when approved, you work on a commission basis. The commission structure is different for each advertiser, so you need to aware of the advertisers’ payment structure before partnering with them. And the affiliate network receives a portion of your commission as payment for their services.

There are a couple of advantages to affiliate networks. Affiliate networks allow you to see your advertisers, links, and stats in one place, and they combine payouts for all of your affiliates in one payment. So affiliate programs are often easier to manage and optimize.

Also, affiliate programs offer more options for advertising placements. In addition to selling your typical banner ads, you can also promote affiliates by adding links to your affiliates’ websites in your blog articles. But a word of caution, only add affiliates links where it makes sense in the article, and don’t add too many in the same article. Otherwise, search engines will see this as spammy content which will decrease your SEO ranking.

So here are a few of my top picks for Affiliate Networks:

  1. ShareASale
  2. ClickBank
  3. Commission Junction
  4. LinkShare
  5. Neverblue
  6. ClickBooth – Unique in that this affiliate network offers CPA and CPC options.

Hosting Affiliate Programs

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that managing your affiliate partnerships manually can be time-consuming with little profit. But joining a hosting affiliate program can be an easy way to produce supplemental revenue for your site. You can simply join the affiliate program for the your hosting provider, and place a link in the footer of your website that says “hosted by Example Company.” Additionally as with affiliate network partners, you can promote your hosting affiliates by adding links to their site in your blog posts when it makes sense to do so.

If you’re looking for a new host for your site, here are a few hosting providers with excellent affiliate programs.

  1. WPEngine – Our current host, they specialize in managed WordPress hosting and offer high affiliate commission for referrals.
  2. Bluehost
  3. HostGator
  4. MediaTemple
  5. Eleven2

These are just a few suggestions of how you can earn revenue from your website. As with any type of business, it’s important to test various revenue streams to find what works for your site. Also, establishing a few different revenue streams will provide balance to your business and a cushion if any one of your revenue streams sees a significant drop in performance. So tomorrow, I’ll tell you another way to produce revenue, and the secret is right in your own hands. Stay tuned…