Online advertising is probably the life blood of the online world. Hundreds of thousands of online entities pay to advertise on other sites and this is matched a hundred times over by the number of websites (blogs included) that publish these ads. Whilst they can be income earners, there are several pitfalls to look out for.
It is a little puzzling to understand why so many use, or publish, banner advertising. There is a popular term thrown around – banner blindness – that implies that banner advertising doesn’t work. Where banners do have an advantage is in helping to develop a brand identity. These ads are certainly not as effective as they used to be unless they stand out and really attract the visitor’s eyes – and therein lies your first major pitfall – if the banner ad attracts the visitor’s eyes, they are not looking at your content. If the attraction is strong enough they will click through and you have lost another visitor.
Of course, not all banners, or ads in general, stick out and attract your visitors’ attention. This means they may not even notice the advertisement and if they don’t notice it, they wont click through. Over time, your advertiser will stop paying for an ad that is not drawing any traffic. Admittedly, not all ads are banners, however the same applies – if no one is clicking through – why publish them?
There is an even bigger issue. Your web page is like a prime piece of real estate. As the town planner, you place your content where it makes the biggest impact. Paid advertising generally demands a prime piece of that real estate. That’s not so bad if you are being paid by the month to display an ad. If it is a pay-per-click type advertisement, you will at some stage need to assess whether or not the income received is worth the real estate it is using. Let’s face it, if you owned a beach side property, you wouldn’t accept bottom price for someone to rent the prime position – or would you?
Online advertising can work when it is done on a reciprocal basis with a business that is complementary to yours. If your visitors cannot find what they require on your site then perhaps they will find it on the advertised site – and hopefully the reverse will happen as well. In this situation you will not earn any income from displaying the ad – the benefit is in the traffic that may flow your way.
When it comes to accepting advertising on your site. Consider what the reward is, what the possible cost is, and which piece of real estate they want. A win-win situation is fine, however, what you don’t want is either a win-loss or a loss-loss situation. Online advertising can be a tough income earner, particularly if you have to sacrifice a prime position on your page – think carefully before accepting.