Finding advertisers for a website is often a critical step to keeping funding for the site. But this step can be difficult. The Web is still young and advertisers are still trying to determine their niche. Web developers need to learn more than just HTML to keep their site viable. Marketing and sales are just the start.
Marketing Your Site
The first key to getting advertisers is to make them aware of your site. This is more than just telling people about your site. You should:
- Include a link to your site's relevant features in your email signature. For example, my Web Design Guide email signature looks like this:
About Guide to Web Design and HTML
FREE HTML class: http://webdesign.about.com/library/beginning/bl_htmlclass.htm
FREE newsletter: http://webdesign.about.com/library/blnewsletter.htm
- Request links back to your site from all the sites that you link to. This is especially effective when you've already linked to their site. Often they will be happy to link to you when they find they are reciprocating already. Getting links to your site on other sites will increase your popularity rating on web search engines and advertisers will be more likely to find your site.
- Find innovative ways to market your site. Many companies use small, inexpensive items with the company name on them as gifts and marketing aids. These are especially effective if they relate to your website in some way. For example, Kathy Hamlin, the Cocktails Guide at About had shot glasses created with her site URL on them. These worked as marketing aids, as every time someone uses it for a cocktail, they remember they could get recipes from Kathy at her site.
- Search engine placement is important, as advertisers use them just like anyone else. So, you should be sure to optimize your site for search engines.
- Adding your site to advertiser directories is a good idea. Sites like AdBase.net list websites that use online ads as a revenue stream. Adbase provides the lister with a way to solicit advertisers directly and get the advertising information out to them directly. This service is easy to use, and for a limited time, basic listings are free.
Selling Your Site
Once you have started marketing your site, then you need to start selling your site to advertisers. You should create an information sheet for your advertisers. This sheet or Web page will detail what your site covers, the target audience, and how your potential advertisers can get more information. For example, if you are interested in advertising on Web Design at About, I would send you to this page, which is linked at the bottom of every page on the site.
Advertising Services Are Easy
One easy way to find advertising for your website is to use an advertising service like Google AdSense. These networks provide you with targeted ads without you needing to connect with the advertisers at all. The number one reason to use a service like AdSense is that you can get the ads up and running on your website in a matter of minutes. But remember that the targeting is very loose, and you could end up with advertising that is less paletable or even offensive if you aren't very careful. But many bloggers and website owners use AdSense and other tools like it every day.
Don't Give Up
The key to generating revenue through advertising is to not give up. You need to continue to create a site that is valuable and useful to your readers. Advertisers will be attracted to sites that are successful, and readers will be attracted to sites that contain valuable information. So don't spend more time marketing and selling your site than you do creating valuable content. Ultimately, that is what will generate advertising revenue and keep customers returning to your site as well.
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