Friday, December 19, 2008

Contextual Advertising – Yahoo Publisher Network

Article Series: Blog Monetization

In the previous article, we looked at contextual advertising in general. This one will take a detail look in to one of those schemes, the Yahoo! Publisher Network.

Yahoo’s Publisher Network (YPN) is pretty much similar to Google AdSense in operation. Content Match is the AdSense counterpart and, in addition, YPN offers RSS ads. To get started, you need to sign up for a publisher account.

Displaying ads is just like in AdSesne, where you have to select from one of many ad formats and color schemes. Then you can attach an optional Reporting Category (similar to AdSense Channels) to that ad unit. Once defined, all you have to do is to copy the given ad code in to your blog or web site. In Blogger, the ad units can be easily incorporated with the use of an HTML/Javascript widget.

Unlike AdSense, Content Match does not impose a limit to the number of ad units that can be displayed on a page. One caveat, however, is that you cannot display ad units from another publisher in the same page in which YPN ads are displayed.

Earnings are on a Cost-per-Click basis, so your income potential depends on the numbers of visitors and the number of clicks they make. There are 4 payments methods and PayPal is one of them, allowing for convenient and quick receipt of earnings.

Compared to AdSense, availability of easy ad filtering by way of ad categories and sub categories is a plus. Additionally, ability to receive payments via PayPal is another important advantage over AdSense.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blog Monetization – Contextual Advertising

Article Series: Blog Monetization

In this article, we will be looking at one of the most popular forms of web advertising, contextual advertising. Contextual Advertising refers to the mechanism of displaying advertisements relevant to the content of a web page currently viewed by a visitor. This is done via automated systems that scan the page content looking for advertising keywords and then display relevant ads for those keywords.

The contextual ads come in two main types; on-page ads such as Google AdSense or pop-up ads such as Vibrant Media. The payments are either based on the number of clicks (Cost per Click – CPC) or the number of types the ad is displayed (i.e. impressions) (Cost per Impression – CPM).

The two terms CPC and CPM are named from the point of view of the advertiser and not that of the publisher of the ad. For example, each time a visitor clicks on a contextual ad, the corresponding advertiser has to pay some amount to the ad network. That is the cost the advertiser has to pay the ad network for that click. The ad network pays a portion of that cost to the publishers.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of currently available contextual advertising schemes


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog Monetization

This one marks the beginning of a series of articles on one of the hottest topics amongst the bloggers all over, monetization. Much has been written about monetizing blogs, but the bitter truth is that it’s very hard. Nevertheless, the message from the people who have succeeded is that, if you have the commitment and the determination, making money blogging is not impossible. This series is an attempt to look at the state of the art of blog monetization and to enumerate the current know-how in the blogosphere, by looking at both the successes and the failures of others.

First of all, let’s have a look at the current income generation schemes available for bloggers. (This is a summarized listing of such schemes and the follow up articles will elaborate on each one.)

There are two primary types of blog-based income; direct and indirect. Though no standard definitions of these two types are found, we can describe direct income as those income generated in relation to the content of your blog. Indirect income can be described as those income generated through means other than in relation to the content.

Exploring further, we find today, the following popular direct income schemes.

  • Advertising – like in other types of media (TV, radio, newspapers etc.), advertising is a prime source of income for bloggers. This scheme can be further categorized as below.
    • Contextual Advertising – Display of ads relevant to your content (e.g. Google AdSense)
    • Search Advertising – Displaying ads for searching within your blog (e.g. AdSense for Search) or when you get visitors via search engines (e.g. Chitika)
    • Sponsorships (aka Targeted Advertising) – Getting vendors related to the content of your blog to display ads for time and size based (i.e. not per-click or per-impression) rates
  • Affiliate Schemes – this is where you earn commission when your readers buy items advertised in your blog. This differs from contextual advertising in that clicking on an affiliate ad alone will not give you any revenue. Amazon Associates is a famous example in this category.
  • Selling Your Content – Thirdly is the means of selling your own content in various print and electronic mediums. Books, ebooks, CD/DVDs etc are examples here.
In the indirect income type, we have a more variety of options.
  • Services (aka Consulting) – Once you build up a good readership and an image as a reliable source for professional help, you can start offering services at a charge. It could be advice on technical matters, search engine optimization, graphic designing, Internet marketing etc.
  • Sales of Goods (aka Merchandising) – This refers to selling materials such as T-shirts and caps to your readers, at a profit.
  • Paid Writing – You can write sponsored reviews about various products. PayPerPost is an example in this category. Writing for team blogs, doing outsourced writing for corporate blogs are other options here.
  • Donations – Offering genuine help to your readers and getting donations in return is another means of income for bloggers.
  • Selling the Blog – Lastly, is the act of selling out your blog. It could be a hard decision if you’ve put lot of hard work in building it up, but some people develop blogs with the intention of selling it.
All schemes above are not applicable for all types of blogs. Selecting what is suitable depends on factors such as the niche of your blog, your readership (e.g. merchandising is good if you have an established base of returning readers) and availability of advertisers.

In the coming articles we will be exploring each of these schemes in more detail.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting Better

Since its inception, The Blogger Guide has had a more technical focus. I’ve written about the basic of the Blogger template, explained the intricacies of converting to 3 columns and how to add custom CSS styles to Blogger. Then, there are the extremely popular step by step guides for three column conversions and wider post areas for many of the famous Blogger templates. And recently I completed a detailed series of posts looking at the internals of the Blog Widget.

Being a Computer Engineer, it’s no wonder that I have been writing articles with a technical focus. One of the primary objectives of this blog was to explain the technical details of Blogger, for the average non-technical user, in clear, simple English. Looking at the reactions from my readers, I can safely assume that I’ve been successful in doing that.

Starting from today, The Blogger Guide will expand its scope beyond the technicalities of Blogger. As the first step, I will venture in to one of the most sought after topics by bloggers, blog monetization. In other words, I will write about how you can make money blogging! But, without being a yet another listing of money making tips, I intend to offer a more complete guide including what those avenues are, how to incorporate them to your Blogger blog and their income potentials.

That’s not all. Tips on search engine optimization, Blogger templates and template design tips are all in the pipeline. And rest assured, I will continue to offer the technical assistance that you all found useful so far.