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Selling advertising space on your blog or website can be quite lucrative – depending of course, on the niche, your traffic numbers, and whether your site is connected to any specific location. Here are a few available options:
1. Google Adsense
Google Adsense allows you to place “pay per click” ads on your website or blog. Their system analyzes your content, and presents the best possible matching ads for it. Actually, the ads they present differ from one region to the next, according to the best possible matching advertisements for that specific region.
As such, someone visiting your blog from the USA will see different ads than someone who visits for say, Italy.
Google charges advertisers a certain cost per click, and they share that revenue with their publishers. There are many websites out there that generate most of their income (in some cases all of it) from Google Adsense.
It costs nothing to participate, but they do have some reasonably strict rules to discourage invalid and unintended clicks. The nicest thing about Adsense is that you can tailor the ads to match the font, colors and even the text sizes on your blog to make it blend into your content.
Lastly, Adsense works better for some niches than for others. For instance, it doesn’t work well for things like making money online. It works very well for any topic where people are exploring options (like travel), or searching for a solution to a pressing problem (health issues, etc).
2. Display advertising
There are many advertising networks out there who will pay you per thousand impressions (CPM – with “M” being the Roman symbol for 1,000) of ads on your blog. This works well if you have something related to news, or a blog about entertainment (or entertaining stuff), or anything else that draws a lot of visitors but without any focus to be monetized.
The downside of this is that you need quite a bit of traffic to make any real money – because you could end up selling advertising space from as little as 50c per 1,000 impressions. However, depending on the quality of your traffic, you can make anything up to about $3 per 1,000 impressions.
3. Direct selling
If you have a focused blog or website, you can do this with a lesser amount of traffic – but you can still do it with an unfocused website if you get enough visitors. You can cut out the middle man and sell advertising directly to potential advertisers. Look at the advertisers on your competitors’ websites, and contact them directly with a proposal. Or you can just put up a page for potential advertisers, and let it happen naturally (but slowly at the start).
There are open source platforms available to manage your display advertising sales – like https://www.revive-adserver.com. You can expect a bit of a learning curve, but the additional profit (and the fact that you can choose who you work with) can make it worth your while.
You can also simply set a monthly fee, and skip all the technical stuff. You can negotiate the monthly fee according to your traffic volumes, where on the page the ad will be, the size, and the advertiser.
4. Direct selling to local businesses
This option is often overlooked – but it can be incredibly lucrative for some niches. If you have a site that is geared towards a specific area (it could be a local news site, a community site, or even a forum around a local community or area), you can target local businesses.
Keep in mind that some businesses offer costly services – like medical and legal services, transport services, home improvement, beauty services, etc. For these businesses, it’s worthwhile to pay more to advertise, because every single client can be worth a lot of money.
As such, you can set your rates quite a bit higher, and charge a straight monthly fee.
If you want to sell display advertising, especially if you want to sell it directly to advertisers, you will need to know your visitors’ demographics. You can see that – in detail – over at Alexa.com (you can get a free trial if you just want to explore).
Once you have your demographics, you will know more about the spreads of age, gender, education and income of your visitors. That will allow you to see for which advertisers they will be a good fit – and in return your advertisers will stay with you for longer.
All in all, selling advertising space – in any form – is a great way to monetize your site if you don’t like selling, and would prefer your blog or site to generate more predictable revenue.