The 3 Most Effective Ways For Selling Ads on Your Website

Reading time: 5 minutes

Whether you already have a blog or are thinking about creating your own website, you’re likely thinking about how you can monetize it beyond its original purpose. One way to do this is by selling ads on your website.

Selling website ads — that are both relevant and targeted — is an excellent way for publishers to create either a passive income stream or a primary one. (We’re talking quit your day job money). In a simplified context, all it really takes is displaying the right ads at the right time so they appear in front of the right audiences.

Of course, the first step is understanding how to become a digital ad publisher[9] and determining which is the best way to sell ads. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the three most effective ways of selling ads on your website as well as what it takes to get started.

Read on to learn more.

What Publishers Need Before They Can Sell Website Ads

You can’t just start publishing ads out of nowhere, whether you have a website up and running or not. You’ll need to meet certain criteria to attract the advertisers who will be buying up ad space to promote certain products or services.

These criteria involve the following:

  • Enough Traffic. The whole point of displaying targeted ads is to get website visitors to see them and hopefully engage with them. This won’t happen if your website doesn’t generate enough valid traffic (as opposed to invalid traffic). If you plan on applying for Google AdSense[5] or other related ad networks, you’ll need to attract roughly 250 genuine visitors each day to get the conversions advertisers are looking for.
  • Excellent Content. Your website cannot be a free-for-all where anything gets posted. Your content must be original, relevant, and add value to your visitors’ lives. Your best bet is to settle on a theme or specific niche, such as current events, travel, fitness, and so on. By zeroing in on a specific topic and having a large collection of content relating to that topic, you’ll attract advertisers within your niche — which is exactly what you want. 
  • An Intuitive Layout. Everything digital is all about the user experience (UX) today. Therefore, your website’s entire layout must cater to the UX by being attractive, easy to navigate, and intuitively structured. This means paying attention to everything from load time and latency to ensuring that it’s optimized for browsers on all devices.
  • Full Transparency[6]. Not only should you create your website around a specific niche but you also need to give it a “face.” In other words, you want to ensure that your business information is out in the open so that visitors and potential partners can easily find your contact information to get in touch with you.

All of the above is necessary even if all you’re doing is selling products and services. Fulfilling these criteria is what leads to higher conversion rates, and if you choose to branch out into the ad tech[10] space, this is what will attract high-paying advertisers.

Now let’s dive into the three most effective ways for selling ads on your website:

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is arguably the most direct way to start earning money by publishing ads. All you have to do is join an affiliate program to become an affiliate publisher, and you can start promoting products and services for a commission.

Affiliate marketing using ads revolves around placing affiliate links, banners, text ads, etc. to help convert your unique visitor[11] traffic into referrals for target audiences. To join an affiliate program as a publisher, you’ll need the following:

  • Your own domain name.
  • An email account linked to said domain.
  • A website layout that can support various ad formats.

You’ll also need to put in the effort and come up with a solid affiliate marketing strategy. For example, you’ll need to approach your audience in various ways which means writing product reviews or comparisons, creating how-tos in regard to using the products or services, and so on. Remember, you’ll need to cater to your audience to create a lasting impact, especially since this type of work is commission-based with several different compensation models.

2. Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising[1] (also referred to as display advertising[7]) is one of the best ways to generate revenue for your website. Programmatic advertising involves an automated process of bidding on ad impressions in real-time (also known as header bidding[8]). 

To get started, all you have to do is register as a publisher with a supply-side platform[2] (SSP). From there, you can decide whether you want to:

  • Sell your ad space in the open marketplace (real-time bidding[3] auctions, or RTB).
  • Sell your ad space in the private marketplace[4] (direct deals).
  • Sell your ad space to preferred advertisers (preferred deals).

You read more about programmatic advertising here, as it’s very detailed. For now, it’s important to know that programmatic advertising enables publishers to maximize their ad-selling strategies by analyzing real-time data to further customize and optimize their ad space moving forward.

3. Selling Ad Space Directly

The third most effective way to generate revenue from website ads is by cutting out the middleman — affiliate networks, ad networks, and ad exchanges — to work directly with the media buyers. It should be noted that while this method generates the most revenue, it takes a lot more effort and time to establish strong relationships with advertisers.

In the case of selling ad space directly, publishers agree to promote a business’s products or services in exchange for their own pricing. This means you get to name your price, payment method, and more. However, to be in the position to do that you’ll need to know the true value of your audience and what they can expect in potential revenues

Moreover, because this is a direct partnership, it’s best to have a thorough understanding of how to choose the right brands to work with and how to establish a long-lasting business partnership. Having said that, your future partners must also receive a guaranteed stable return on their investment when they agree to buy your ad space. 

Where Do I Start?

As a new and growing publisher, there’s a lot to consider, starting with your niche, audience, and the type of ad content that would best be contextualized on your website — and that’s in addition to choosing the best way to monetize the ads on your website.

Lucky for you, we’ve got the latest insights into the ad tech world to keep you up to speed on monetizing your website and more!

1. Programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising entails using machine learning and technology suites to buy and sell ad inventory with a data-driven process.
2. supply-side platform. A technology platform that provides outsourced media selling and ad network management services for publishers. The business model resembles that of an ad network in that it aggregates ad inventory, however they serve publishers exclusively and do not provide services for advertisers (e.g., FreeWheel, SpotX).
3. real-time bidding. Real-time bidding is a technology-driven auction process where ad impressions are bought and sold almost instantaneously. Once an advertiser wins a bid for an ad impression, their ad is shown on a website. Real-time bidding plays a crucial part in the digital advertising ecosystem together with other players such as ad exchanges and supply side platforms.
4. private marketplace. Private Marketplace deals or PMP is a direct deal made between a publisher and buyer for programmatic ad inventory. A PMP can also be called Preferred Deals. This practice contains much more human interaction unlike the alternative of selling ad inventory through an ad exchange. Often higher rates for ad inventory can be negotiated through this method.
5. Google AdSense. Google AdSense is an ad network that allows web publishers to monetize their website traffic with text, image, video, and native ads.

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