8 min read
As you continue to grow your blog following, you may be wondering if there’s a way to monetize your free content.
Writing, capturing, editing, formatting, and scheduling blog posts is a major time investment, so it’s more important than ever to think about ways to make money from content you’re already producing.
Just five years ago, it was common to open your favorite blogs and see advertisements within their blog content, in their sidebar, or even in their header.
While many bloggers have pivoted from relying solely on advertising revenue to focusing more on selling their own digital products, some are still interested in adding advertising as a stream of income.
If you’re looking for a hands-off way to make some extra cash from your blogging efforts, partnering with a blog advertising network may be a good fit for you.
Blog advertising networks do much of the work for you, partnering with well-known brands and letting you take advantage of their close relationships. Some ad networks also give you the chance to choose the kinds of advertisements your audience wants to see while tracking to see how well they perform.
Before we profile some of the most popular ad networks, let’s take a step back and think about what advertising pricing model will work best for your blog.
Depending on your audience size and engagement, some advertising models will produce more income for you than others.
Let’s peel back the curtain and review each pricing model. Although you may be tempted to tune out when you see some of this marketing jargon, we’ve simplified each definition so you can relate it to your own business.
The CPM pricing model is based on how many impressions a single ad gets. The acronym stands for “cost per mille”, meaning per thousand of impressions.
If you’re wondering what the word impressions means, it’s just a fancy marketing term for how many people see the advertisement. CPM works well for advertisers who are interested in raising the brand awareness of a new product or service.
The CPM model may work well for you if you have a large blog audience with a growing number of monthly pageviews. For example, if you charge a CPM of $10, that means you’ll earn $10 for every 1,000 advertisements that a visitor sees on your website.
The CPM pricing model may be the most popular, but CPC offers a unique advantage to bloggers who cultivate an audience that’s highly engaged. CPC stands for “cost per click”, meaning that each time an ad is clicked, you earn extra income.
Clicks typically tell advertisers how effective their advertisements are. This kind of pricing model is popular with ad networks like Google Adsense.
Typical CPCs can range from $1-5 depending on how well the advertisement is optimized. Before you sign up with an ad network, make sure you understand how they measure CPC and their process for monitoring clicks.
CPA stands for “cost per acquisition”, meaning the visitor must not only click the advertisement but also sign up or purchase. This action can be a hard sell, making CPA pricing models only work for those who are skilled with affiliate marketing.
Advertisers love the CPA model because they’re usually happy to share a larger commission for clicks that lead to actual sales. This is generally why you can make far more income from CPAs than CPCs, and even more than CPMs.
If you’re interested in exploring affiliate marketing for higher commission opportunities, check out our list of affiliate programs for virtually every niche.
Fixed-rate, or flat-rate, advertising can be a bit of gamble for bloggers and advertisers. When you agree to a flat rate, you end up bringing in the same amount of income if the ad performs well or poorly. In other words, there’s little incentive to optimize the advertisement.
In the early days of blogging, this pricing model was common for content creators who wanted to sell their own sidebar and banner ad space for fixed costs. Advertising on blogs has evolved since then, but this pricing model is still around.
Fixed-rate sponsorships are usually agreed upon privately with each person involved assessing the performance and effectiveness of the advertisement.
Now that you know what advertising pricing models work for you, you’re ready to dig into the benefits and drawbacks of the most popular ad networks. There are hundreds of advertising networks available to you as a blogger, but these are the ones most commonly reviewed and used.
Google Adsense is recognized as the most popular advertising network on the web. Most also agree that their advertisements are the best performing.
Keep in mind in order to receive a payment, you must reach at least $100 each month. Depending on your blog audience size, this may or may not be a good fit for you. Check into your analytics to see if you should move forward with signing up for Google Adsense.
Infolinks is friendly for new bloggers, making it a great option for those who want to get their feet wet with online advertising. If you’re not quite sure where to start, Infolinks may be worth looking into.
This ad network, which unsurprisingly caters to women, has been around since 2006. BlogHer pays their users monthly by check or PayPal as long as you reach $25, which is more lenient than Google Adsense.
Unlike many of the ad networks we’ve reviewed so far, Revenue Hits doesn’t pay based on clicks or impressions. Instead, Revenue Hits works on a CPA pricing model. This means the ad must convert to sales or sign ups in order to trigger a payout, but the income potential is higher.
PopAds has a great CPM of $5 and fast approval, but they also accept ads from highly explicit, pornographic websites. If you’re trying to build a reputable blog, you won’t want to ruin your client experience with these automatically generated advertisements.
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