Welcome to another Mini Challenge post for the Biannual Blogathon Bash! If you have no idea what I'm referring to, click on the image below to find out more. This weekend, nearly (if not just over) 100 bloggers have signed up to improve their blogs, and to possibly win valuable prizes to meet their blogging goals this year! Want to join us in the addictive fun??
This mini challenge is based on Ad Management for bloggers. I won't be discussing how to get advertising (local businesses, PR Agencies, affiliate links, etc.), but will be talking about how to keep it all organized.
Cause if you haven't heard yet, 2013 is the Year of Organization! 🙂
If you run a self-hosted WordPress site, you're in luck.
There is an amazing ad management plugin available for all of your organizing needs. Seriously, all you have to do is input the basic info, such as the link the ad is supposed to go to, and upload the ad image, and then you''re simply dancing in the rain.
This program will then keep track, and give you stats on impressions and clicks. Heck, it will automatically create code to display your ads in blocks, such as 2 x 2 or 1 x 4, if those are display modes you're looking for.)
"What's this plugin called?" you ask.
Once installed, the simplest way to get started is by adding an ad. Just go to AdRotate > Manage Ads > Add New.
The areas that are most vital are the ones with the arrows to the right.
- Title should be straight forward, only you will see the name used. It's use is to organize all of your ads in a feed (looks much like your list of posts within your dashboard), so you can use descriptive words such as "Company Ad 125x125".
- AdCode is how the code will look once it's placed on your blog. Until you're ready to create your own code, with the options found on the right, you can use what I've been using for all of mine...
<span><a target="_blank" href="%link%"><img src="%image%" border="0"></a></span>
- Clicktracking - you'll want to check the enable check box to activate it and then paste only the url of where your ad is going to. It's also the "%link%" feature in the code above.
- Banner Image - you can either place the link of the image you have in the line beside "Media" or even upload the image to your WordPress Media Library.
All that is left is filling out the ad's schedule on your site (this info is found a little lower down the New Ad page), and your ad is good to go!
See the adrotate banner="24" in the image above? That code can be placed in any widget, post or page on my site, so I won't have to worry about copy and pasting a whole bunch of code for each ad, which make life *so much simpler*!
If you look in the text widget above, you'll see adrotate banner="7" and adrotate block="1", yes there is a bit of table code, because I wanted these ads to sit side by side, as shown in the image example above on the right. The adrotate block though, is the entire collection of small ads. I didn't have to write any code for those ads to sit on one top of each other, that was all taken care of by the plugin. Unfortunately, it's not advanced yet to place a skyscraper on one side, and a series of small ads beside it, so I had to write that out myself.
One other "con" is that "Rotate" is a big part of this widget, you may only see 5 smaller ads on the side ('cause that's the number of ads I chose), but I actually have 7 or 8 ads in that one collection. So if you refresh this page, you'll see the ads rotate and change each time. It's actually helpful so that I don't have a massively long line of ads to display all at once. And if you have an ad that must remain on your site at all times, you can specify that by changing the "weight" of the ad (though since I've updated this plugin, that has now become a "Pro" feature that needs to be purchased.)
If you run on Blogger/WordPress.com
...or simply don't want to use a plugin to manage your ads, you'll need to do some manual work.
I have your back though! I've developed a basic excel file (.xlsx) that can be used to track your ads. It will hopefully be helpful in determining when an ad has to come off your site/renewed right away, or if you should take note that this needs to be taken care of soon.
Some of the bells and whistles include colour coding the end date. If you see a date in red, that means it needs to be renewed or taken down from your site. Yellow means that date is coming up within five days. It also can keep track of earnings for tax purposes.
Also, I've added a HTML Table cheat sheet in that same file, so that you can create ad blocks more or less on the fly, to make your ads look more uniform.
This file is really simple, and if you think its missing something, please let me know and I'll attempt to edit.
My back up file is unfortunately not ready at this point (though I hope to have it ready by the end of the day), but I'm attempting to create a similar Google Drive version so that you don't have to download anything at all (and if you don't have excel, you won't need it to work on the Drive.)
And time for the Mini Challenge!
This one is basically choose your own adventure.
#1 - If you don't feel like you'll ever place an ad on your site, do nothing, and just let me know in the comments that this isn't your cup of tea.
#2 - If you're ready, download the AdRotate plugin by going to Plugins > Add New > and search with the keyword "AdRotate", it should be the first thing on the list. Comment below with any questions, or an "Yay! I did it!"
#3 - If AdRotate doesn't work for you (even if you're self-hosting WordPress,) download the excel document and either keep it for safe keeping for when you do start showing ads on your site, or fill in the blanks for the ads you currently run. If you don't have excel, please leave a comment below and I'll let you know asap when the Google Drive copy will be ready.