For independent bloggers or authors whose publishers don’t provide marketing, purchasing an Internet ad may be a good way to broaden your scope. While it can be a challenge to find affordable advertising opportunities, it’s not impossible.
Kay B. Day
Before you begin to consider ads from big vendors like Facebook, do a little homework. Conduct a simple search using your topic or keywords to find other sites that publish content aimed at your audience. Be sure to vet the site by checking for full contact information.
Contact the webmaster or author and ask what it would cost to place a small banner ad. Prices vary, but fellow bloggers have told me they’ve placed ads in the $25-50 per month range at indie sites. I didn’t fact check them, but I have quoted the same price for others who’ve asked about placing ads on my blog.
Note: A good way to pay for anything on the Web is PayPal, so ask about the payment method up front.
When you check rankings for blogs you’re interested in advertising on, bear a few things in mind. Most blog-rank sites value backward links, traffic and content updates. Some sites require that users install a toolbar. A homespun way of checking rank is to note the rank of the blog you’re targeting when the search results pop up. Some smaller blogs may have higher quality traffic than mega-blogs, so bear that in mind as well. Most site owners will gladly share their stats with you.
I’m afraid not to say this. Be careful when you deal with any site on the Web. Make sure it’s a credible site and make sure to crosscheck the mailing address—you can do this via a search—to be certain you’re on safe ground.
A member of my family who is a musician favors ads through a site for indie musicians. The site, Reverbnation, provides a Facebook ad package that costs her about $25 for a week of ads. She received approximately 100 “likes” and even more visitors as a result of that ad. She re-runs her ad periodically to promote her performances and her forthcoming CD.
Sites and organizations for professionals may also include ad packages, so be sure to check sites or orgs where you’re a member for that sort of benefit.
Facebook has one of the friendliest setups for advertising. The link appears at the bottom of your Facebook page, under the header "Advertising." You can follow links from there and you set the amount you want to spend. You can get an estimate once you create the ad and you make no payment until you’re finished creating it. I’m thinking about doing this myself because I think Facebook is probably the best for my money since I can pinpoint my audience fairly easily.
The site Blogads also offers many choices, enabling you to specify the blog you’re interested in advertising on. From the popular entertainment site JustJared.com to the less expensive site for women, YourLifeAfter25.com, Blogads offers a wide range of choices and prices and, like Facebook, enables you to see what your ad will cost before you commit. This site appears to be popular because I see their ads on many sites where I read.
And let’s not forget The Writer. Our fav writing magazine places advertising information handily online, and the rates for online ads are budget-friendly. Those who write about writing, publishing and other related disciplines have a wide range of choices to reach new readers. I’m mentioning this because it’s obvious—no editor asked me to include it.
As you expand your writing business, you should be able to earmark a small amount for advertising. If you’re eager to attract new visitors to your website, a small ad may help you meet that goal. Bear in mind, however, that an ad is not equivalent to an overall marketing campaign involving a mix of efforts like public speaking, blogging, writing guest articles for large blog sites and sending news releases containing pithy quotes with a tie-in to breaking news.
Most bloggers place ads on their own sites. It’s productive to ask yourself whether you should be doing the same to promote your site.