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How to Sell Advertising Space on Your Website

Many marketers don’t know how to sell advertising space on their websites.

Which means leaving money on the table.

It’s not that difficult though.

David Murton of Wireless Internet has some great ideas on how to sell advertising space, so I’m publishing his extensive guest post today.

An effective way to earn a passive income is to sell advertising space on your website, but it can be confusing for those with little advertising experience.

Advertisements are one of the easiest ways to make money online, but they often generate relatively little profit. To maximize your money-making potential from selling advertisements, you should familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of online advertising.

Online Advertising Basics
There are a few different kinds of advertisement revenue models:

Cost per Impression (CPM)
Cost per Click (CPC)
Cost per Action (CPA)
A CPM advertisement awards the host every time the advertisement is viewed. Alternately, CPC’s pay out each time the advertisement is clicked, while CPA’s award money when a user completes a special action such as filling out a survey or purchasing a product.
Each type of advertisement comes with its own advantages and setbacks, so choosing one that works for your website is crucial.

For instance, you must decide what type of person you plan on advertising to. The demographic you select should inform your decisions regarding what kind of advertisement you sell and whether it should come in text or banner form.

If you can estimate how much bandwidth you will need to handle extra traffic based on your demographic, you should select an advanced hosting plan that meets those needs.

You should also present some advertisements on your site before you actually start selling them, even if you must use mock-ups. Doing so shows potential business partners that you are already prepared to sell advertisements and have considered how you plan to do so.

Visitors and Advertisement Profits
No matter how carefully you plan your approach, you will not earn significant profit from selling advertisements if your website does not attract enough visitors.

However, the level of traffic needed depends on the nature of your website, the likelihood of visitors clicking on an ad and how much advertisers will pay you per click.

An advertisement on an especially popular niche website can often generate $100 after a few thousand page views while an ad on a more general, less focused website may not see a comparable sum until the number of page views hits 50,000 or even 100,000. Consider where your website falls on this spectrum to best estimate potential advertising profits.

Advertisement Format and Placement
Where you place an ad and the size and format you use can have surprising effects on how much profit the ads generate.

Current trends in online advertising see ads most frequently appearing on the top and right side of a page, although Google suggests that website owners place them directly under the navigation bar as well as on the bottom and upper left side.
Consider the layout of your website and pick a spot that provides visibility without becoming annoying to visitors.

The most popular format for advertisements is a thin, rectangular banner. The exact dimensions of a banner ad can vary, but 468×60 and 728×90 are particularly popular sizes.
After banner ads, medium and small sized rectangles are the common format, appearing in sizes such as 300×250 and 88×31. Again, you should plan the size and format of your ads based on the layout and design of your website.

Advertisement Pricing
Figuring out how much you should charge for advertisements can be difficult. Expecting too much can prevent you from attracting any advertisers, while charging especially low rates can significantly cut profits.
Before you can easily settle on a suitable price, you should consider the factors that commonly determine advertisement costs.

Perhaps the most important factor is the number of visits that your website gets. A website that enjoys over 1,000,000 hits every month may be to able to sell a moderate sized advertisement for $1,500 while one that gets 300,000 monthly visits would likely be unable to sell the same advertisement for much over $500.

Factors such as a website’s Google PageRank, Alexa rating and RSS subscribers also affect potential advertising prices, generally serving to increase a website’s visibility and total number of hits.

Being the most authoritative website in a specific niche helps boost advertisement prices as well. Advertisements on a website with many highly-trafficked competitors is typically much less lucrative than those on a more targeted, well-regarded website.

Crafting an Advertisement Page
Once you have prepared your website to start selling advertisements, you need to start making yourself known to advertisers and informing them that you have ad space available.

One way to do this is to simply contact your potential clients directly. Explain to them why your website is a good fit for their advertisements, detailing your website’s niche and the type of content it contains. It can also be helpful to contact your website’s competitors in order to understand their relationship with advertisers and gauge their ad pricing schemes.

You should not rely exclusively on direct contact to sell ad space, however. Consider adding an advertising page to your website that is focused on persuading potential clients to advertise on your site as well as providing them with useful information.
This page should begin with a description that provides a brief overview of the topics, concepts and goals involved with your site. The page should also plainly tell advertisers why they should buy your ad space.

Explain how your site can help target their advertising to a desirable consumer group. Make your unique visitors and page view data clearly visible to provide advertisers with a sense of your website’s traffic.

A good advertisement page should also include such information as available ad space, accepted sizes and formats, and pricing options. Be as exact and descriptive as possible. For instance, you could display a screenshot of one of your pages.


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