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So, you’ve just finished running a blog ad, and you’re checking out the stats. Hang on, it didn’t perform well at all! Before you jump the gun and blame the ad network for this poor performance, let’s see what might have caused this.

1. Crappy ad image.

Did you use a striking image for your ad that give people a GOOD reason to click through?

2. Bad timing.

Are you advertising in a low period? This varies from one blog to the next, and it pays to know the blog you’re advertising on if you’re buying ads one at a time. Weekends may be quiet on some blogs and busy on others. Equally, the holiday season can be either quiet or busy depending on the focus of the blog.

3. Ad saturation.

How many other ads are on the blogs where you’re advertising? One small ad in a forest of sidebar junk isn’t going to stand out. More ads might earn the publisher more money, but they don’t perform as well for advertisers.

4. Irrelevance.

What’s your site about? Are you advertising on a site where the readers will be interested in your ad? It doesn’t have to be exactly the same thing – but if you’re advertising a female-oriented site on male-oriented blogs, can you expect your ad to perform well?

5. Over-familiarity.

Affiliate ads often fall into this category. If I see the same Hostgator ads on every blog I visit, another one isn’t going to stand out any more than the rest. If you must advertise the same thing as everyone else, at least make your image original.

6. Poor placement.

How many people are going to click on an ad at the bottom of the page? Focus your efforts on placing ads where the slots are well-placed, and avoid the ones that aren’t.

7. One ad, one blog, zero traffic.

You may not be able to afford to place ads on the biggest sites on the web, but why pay $10 for a 1 month ad on a blog that only receives a tiny amount of traffic? Use an ad network such as CMF Ads to place a network ad on many sites at once – that way, you won’t spend a chunk on money on one blog.

8. Your site wasn’t ready for the traffic.

If your site gets a huge burst of traffic, will it be able to take it? Or will it go down? Also, are you advertising before your site is ready for the masses? Prepare your site before you advertise it.

9. No special incentives.

If the ad clearly shows the site it’s going to and there’s no special incentive for clicking on the ad, some people may prefer to go directly to the site by typing in the URL. Maybe, somehow, this will show people that ads don’t really work and the result will be fewer ads in the web? Avoid this way of thinking by offering a special incentive to people who sign up for a service by clicking on an ad.

10. You didn’t link to your strongest page.

Did you just link to the home page of your site? Or did you link to a special landing page? And did you ensure that the people who just clicked on an ad can quickly and easily find what they’re looking for? If not – don’t expect miracles.

Getting people to click is just the first step. Once they click, it’s up to you to convert that visitor into a registered user, a subscriber, or a paying customer. If you can’t do that – you need to review your ad strategy. Don’t blame the sites that run your ads, or the networks that put you in touch with publishers.

It’s on your shoulders.

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