You might have noticed I’ve been a little quiet over the last couple of days. Here’s why:
Yesterday, Passionfruit Ads moved to a new subscription based model. This means that if you use Passionfruit Ads, starting September 1st 2013, you will now have to pay a $9 monthly fee to sell, swap and maintain your ads. Goodbye Passionfruit Ads !
For larger blogs that sell lots of advertising each month this probably seems like a reasonable sum for the great service that Passionfruit Ads provides. But for smaller blogs like mine who use Passionfruit Ads to swap and sell the odd banner this presents a huge problem. To be clear, I enjoyed using Passionfruit Ad and would recommend using them – if you are selling enough advertising each month to justify spending $9 per month for the use.
Last Friday I spent hours pouring over options for alternatives to Passionfruit Ads. I came across some options that charge as much or more than Passionfruit Ads which was very disheartening and then I came across Adproval which is a great alternative to Passionfruit Ads and even has some additional cool stuff to offer but then I hit a snare – Adproval only accepts payment through Amazon Business which only accepts signups from people residing in the United States. I tried out a couple of the plugin options for WordPress that I read about here but for one reason or another they just were not right for what I was after.
So my search continued on and off over the weekend. I eventually learned that it was possible to build my own forms and Paypal buttons and install plugins which will rotate banners much as Passionfruit Ads do. And apart from Paypal fees this is an entirely free option.
If you use WordPress you can follow my method to set up your own advertising/sponsorship forms, checkout and banner scheduling. I followed a post from runastartup.com and I’m pleased with the results so far.
Be warned this is a time consuming process and requires some knowledge of html coding and a reasonable level of confidence with plugins, and the like.
If you blog with another platform like blogger.com you should be able to build table, create buttons, create forms and create Paypal buttons to offer advertising/sponsorship on your blog. Yes, this is going to take time but you’ll have total control and you wont have to pay fees and charges to a third party.
Here’s some Advertising/Sponsoring Guidance
If you are thinking of paying for advertising but are feeling a little clueless about your options and what it’s all about in general – here’s an explanation.
Advertising or Sponsoring on a blog is when you pay a blog author to place your banner (that links to your own blog or shop) on their sidebar. If a blog is displaying lots of banner they may rotate their banners which means that each time a page is opened or refreshed the banners in the sidebar will change. Sometime blogs may also offer some added extras like social media shout outs and feature articles.
Every blog has different priced packages so look around to gain a good idea of what’s available and what’s going to give you the most value. No matter what your budget you will find something for you. Some blogs offer banner swaps for free (like me). Doing a free swap means your banner is placed in their sidebar and in return you place their banner in your sidebar. Banner swaps are only going to be an option for you if you have your own blog or a shop on your own URL. If you simply hold a shop on Etsy you are not going to be able to display banners.
Once you’ve decided on a advertising or sponsorship option, you can either purchase the ad package on the host blogs Ad/Sponsor page or contact them directly via email to make arrangements.
Most sponsorship/advertising offers are very affordable and much cheaper than advertising with sites like Google Ads, StumbleUpon, and Facebook, so they are well worth a try. You can advertise on blogs that are a part of the global arts and crafts community and this is a huge plus because it means your customers and/or readers are likely to be reading those blogs too. Give a couple or blogs a try and then evaluate your success. Did you meet new people through those blogs? Did your traffic increase? Were you able to meet your goals? If yes, then your can say it’s worth it and do it again.
My advice – Choose blogs you read regularly and set some goals like increasing your readership, gaining new followers, and meeting new people.
Are you thinking of offering Advertising or Sponsorship on your blog?
Anyone can offer ad space. It’s up to you if you think your blog is ready. Most of the blogs that I see offer ad space have at least 250 followers and this might be a combination of Facebook likers, Twitter followers, Blog Subscribers, regular commenters, etc. I can’t see how offering sponsorship or advertising would hurt your blog or it’s future prospects in any way no matter what stage you are at with your blog. To price your ads look around at what others are doing so you can set competitive pricing. Try and add value when you offer advertising on your site by offering additional promotion in the form of social media callouts etc. Get creative!
Check out my new Advertising pages and see what you think. Let me know if you notice anything not working as expected, I’m still tinkering and tweaking. Have you found any good alternatives to Passionfruit Ads for your blog? If you want some more information about how I set up my pages I’m more than happy to share what I’ve done and help so just get in touch.