Build a Better Blog: Day 9 & 10 (Advertising Audit and Sidebar Decluttering)

Written by Don P on . Posted in Challenge #1 (2015)

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
Advertising Realities

Advertising on your blog takes only a few minutes to setup, a few more to optimized placement, but then those ads are left alone without ever giving it much more thought.

Take the day to think strategically about the design and how effective the placements of your ads are.

  • What could you do differently?
  • If you used a different ad size, would it make them perform better?
  • Could tweaking the colors have an impact on your audience?
  • How about placing the ad in a different spot?

Just pick one of those suggestions to work on and watch what happens to your ads performance once you have. I've heard of bloggers increasing (or even decreasing) the ad unit size of their AdSense ads and would see a jump in the CTR (click-through rate) without losing much in the way of readability.

Helpful Hints for Advertising

Here are a few basic rules to keep in mind when evaluating the advertising on your blog or website:]

  • Most often ads above "the fold" perform the best (these are ads that can be seen without having to scroll down on the page).
  • Ads that are placed closer to content tend to do better than ads in sidebars.
  • Ads placed just above and/or just below the comments section do quite well.
  • If you have a fairly loyal group of readers, try to rotate the colors, size and position of your ads to combat "ad blindness."

Ads aren't meant to piss off people, but they tend to do just that. However, advertising revenue is ESSENTIAL to a lot of blogs to cover hosting, design, and other costs. Read this previous article to find out how much money I made from advertisements during the first year of DonDoes30!

Declutter That Sidebar

Cluttered Desk

I seem to have the opposite problem by not having ENOUGH information on the sidebar. That will change. On the other end of the spectrum, blog clutter has a way of creeping up on other bloggers. Sometimes you face a big task in getting a new design together and need to decide what to remove, what to move, and what to keep.

Really take a critical look at your blog’s design today and figure out what you can live without. Use these three helpful questions when deciding:

  1. What widgets, links, buttons or tools are just adding to the clutter and which ones are actually serving a purpose?
  2. What items could you move down to your footer or even a separate page of their own (sometimes things could be more suited to a contact or about page)?
  3. What could you re-tweak in a different — possibly more visual appealing — way?


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