It’s important to consider the following before setting up a media kit or sending out a pitch letter to a potential advertiser:
Where will the ads be located on your site?
It’s really important to designate ad “zones” on your site. Doing so actually accomplishes several things. First, it shows you’re offering a limited amount of space on your site for advertising, which means the value of each ad is increased. It also shows you have discerning taste. Making every single spot on your site that isn’t your content an ad is tacky and makes it look like you’ll accept any old ad. So, pick one to three areas on your site that are to be used solely for ads and don’t go beyond that. Common choices include a section of the sidebar, the header, and the footer. You can sometimes get away with ads in the middle of posts, too, but please don’t overdo it.
What will you charge?
How much you charge for ads depends largely on what you’re offering your advertisers in return. If your site gets a lot of traffic, you can justifiably charge more. If your site is new, you’ll probably want to keep your rates lower so advertisers won’t be taking as much of a risk if they don’t get a huge return on their investment. Take a look around at the advertising pages on other sites in your niche or by your competitors to establish a good range for your ad rates.
Will you sell ads directly or use an ad network?
This is a tough decision. Selling ads on your own means you get to keep all the revenue for yourself, which is a pretty sweet deal. But that also means you need to manage everything yourself, from processing payments, placing the ads, and renewing contracts. Using an ad network means you have to fork over a percentage of the cash but everything is pretty much managed for you. If you’re super busy (and honestly, who isn’t?) it might be worthwhile to use a network, at least to start.
What will your advertising page include?
Before you can sell ads, you need to figure out the terms and conditions of doing so. You also need to establish what’s in it for the advertiser. Why should someone choose your site over another to place an ad? You should answer these questions at the very least on a dedicated advertising page on your site. You might also want to create a media kit so advertisers have a clearer sense of your site’s demographics and traffic. Putting as much information out there as you can ensures advertisers get to make informed decisions. And an in-the-know advertiser is a happy advertiser.