How Much Should You Charge for Advertising on Your Blog?

BlogHer Original Post

Money

Ever get an email from a potential advertiser asking you what your ad rates and sizes are? You’re excited that they want to buy ad space on your blog, but you have no idea what to tell them. Here are some tips.

What type of ads?

Do you want to run only banner ads (graphics)? Or would you consider running text link ads as well?

Banner ad sizes

Ad size is dictated by the sidebars on your blog – how wide are they? Also, if you have a custom template, you may be able to place ads just below your blog’s banner or between your posts.

Some popular sizes used by blog ad networks:

  • horizontal skyscraper 728x90
  • vertical skyscraper 150x600 or 150x200
  • box 250x250 or 160x600
  • badge 150x150

You can easily place ads between blog posts or just below the banner if you know how to tweak the CSS code in self-hosted WordPress theme files, advanced templates in TypePad, or the template in Blogger. If not, ask your blog designer or a friend who’s comfortable with CSS to help you learn how to do this. That way you can easily add or take down ads on your own.

The designer who did my self-hosted WordPress blog created special theme files for each ad space and put in directions that basically said, “Put ad code here.” That way I didn’t have to bother her when I wanted to change my ads.

Ad rates

The biggest challenge is to determine what to charge. You don’t want to overcharge and lose potential business. And you don’t want to be taken advantage of either. So how do you figure out what to charge?

One way is to find out what blogs similar to yours are charging. First, look for blogs in your niche that have about the same amount of traffic, page rank, and comments that you do. Then see if they have a sponsorship or advertising page listing their ad rates. If not, email the blogger and ask. Some bloggers will share, others won’t, but it’s worth asking.

A quicker way is to go to BlogAds.com. Click on Order a la carte, then sort by topic for your niche (for example, parenthood or food) then find blogs with similar traffic to yours. Prices are listed by week(s) or month. Also, when looking over the prices, remember to take ad placement into consideration. If the blogger offers premium ad space (the very top of their sidebar) they will charge more.

Other considerations

If you’re using PayPal, don’t forget that they’ll charge a fee when the client sends you money. You may want to add this expense into your ad rates as well.

Finally, you may want to offer discounts for multiple months, say a 10% discount if they purchase six months of ad space up front. Or if you have several blogs, you may give a discount if they place ads on two or more of your blogs.

Getting paid

After you have established how much the client will pay, what size ad they want, where they want it placed on your blog, and for how long, there are still a few things to do:

  • Review the banner artwork. Make sure it’s artwork that you find tasteful and acceptable to your readers.
  • Find out where the banner will link to and make sure it’s a site you’re comfortable with.
  • Get paid. The easiest way is by PayPal though I’ve taken business checks from clients I already had relationships with.

Should you get paid first then put up the ad? I find that clients like it better if I place the ad, and then they send you your money. Yes, there’s a risk that they won’t pay, but after you’ve both taken time to agree on terms, it’s doubtful.

Renewals

If your ad client wants to renew the ad after a month, a few months or a year, you’ll need a way to remind yourself to send them a renewal email or PayPal invoice. I use an Outlook calendar to do that, though I may look into PayPal’s invoicing services to automate the process.

Should you advertise your ad rates?

It depends. If you don’t mind everyone knowing what you charge, go ahead and clearly state your sizes, rates and payment terms on a sponsor me/advertising page on your blog.

If you want to offer tiered pricing – for example, offering a cheaper rate for a mom and pop business and a higher rate for a big corporation – create an ad sheet. On your sponsor me/advertise page, list an email address or create a form for potential advertisers to fill out. That way you can vet them to determine where they fit on your sliding pay scale.

Anne-Marie Nichols is the managing editor for Mom Central Blogger University, Mom Central Food and Mom Central Goes Green.

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