The easy way to sell ad space on your website

The simplest way to get advertising on your website is to join an affiliate programme. These are run by companies that aim to put advertisers (them) in touch with publishers (you), usually via a semi-automated website on which you select companies you think will want to advertise on your site. See also: How to use Google Analytics.

The easy way to sell ad space on your website

Your request is forwarded to the company in question, which can then either approve your site for its ads or not.

If approved, you can choose which of its ads suit your site, and the necessary code will be supplied for you to paste into your site. The affiliate company also provides a reporting website, where you can check how your adverts are doing and whether they’ve earned you any money.

Many of these advertisers have moved away from pay-per-click scenarios to a commission paid on actual web sales, which obviously suits them far better.

It isn’t so good for you, however: the most important thing for many such businesses is building a brand, and you’re effectively helping them do this for free with such a payment scheme.

The most important thing for many such businesses is building a brand, and you’re effectively helping them do this for free with such a payment scheme

If you’re happy with a commission scheme, though, there are plenty of advertisers to choose from – many affiliate companies offer this form of advertising, LinkShare being one of the biggest. Google has recently launched its own affiliate programme in the UK.

Which advertisers to choose is often a matter of guessing which will best fit your visitor profile, then trying them out. Google can help, since it provides extensive stats on each of its advertisers at the DoubleClick Ad Planner site.

You’ll find a lot of demographic information on visitors to many sites: take a look at the PC Pro site’s entry for an example of what sort of information is gathered, which includes everything from age, education and income to hobbies and interests – all useful to a prospective advertiser or publisher.

There was a serious worry that after 26 May 2012 much of this data would no longer be collected from any site with a UK presence, because new privacy laws came into effect that prohibit the placing of “non-essential cookies” without the user’s express permission.

However, it now seems that web analytics cookies will be permitted, so quite what cookies are banned on the basis of privacy is difficult to imagine. Obviously, all this information is anonymised so that facts about any particular individual can’t be discovered from the site, but it’s most useful for gaining an idea of which types of user access the site and so might be interested in your adverts.

Feeling rejected

Once you’ve selected a range of companies whose ads might be a good fit for your site and its visitors, you need to sit back and wait for the rejections to come in.

The companies have to agree to have their ads put onto your site, and they employ a variety of criteria, which aren’t always made clear; don’t expect to be able to host just anyone’s adverts.

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