Text Ads are a beautiful thing. There are now many fine purveyors out there for you to choose from: Google’s AdSense, Yahoo’s YPN, BrightAds by Kanoodle, BlogAds, and I’m sure a bajillion others. The aparent thought process among many out there is “if one text ad good, two must be great, and 4 would be perfect!” I think the opposite is true.
Text-based advertisements on the web work so well because
- They’re almost always targeted well. Text ads are powerful because of their context.
- They don’t “get in the way.” You don’t have to punch the monkey.
- They often add value to the surrounding content. If they’re well targeted (see #1), the ads may provide the exact information a reader is looking for.
- They don’t make my eyes bleed (see previous reference of punching the monkey).
The problem with text ads is that you can’t just cram them in to every nook and cranny of your weblog and just sit back and cash your checks. Actually, I guess you can, as I discovered in a post by Barry at Search Engine Journal (via Jeremy). Barry has 3 rather large AdSense blocks in his main content pane (they’re all of the square/rectangle variety) and a BlogAd on the left column. At first glimpse (after I cleared the blood from my eyes) I had a hard time discerning content from advertisement. I hate to pick on Barry, because he’s definitely not the only one doing it.
Please, use text ads sparingly. I know there’s a lot of temptation to just fill ‘er up, but while that might bring in more money, it’s going to start costing you readers. I tend to shy away from eye-bleeding websites be they big or small. I’ve grown far too acustomed to tuning out annoying ads on sites that I value, but I can only tolerate it up to a point.
In the interest of full disclosure, I use and love text ads on this weblog. I do try to use them sparingly and I also try to shield my regular readers as much as possible. Most of my regular readers catch content via my RSS feed, in which no ads appear. Anyone who types postneo.com in to their browser will see nothing more than one small text ad below the header. Internal referres see the same. I show a much bigger ad to people coming in from external referrers, since a vast majority of those are via search engines, and they tend to be big clickers.
I’m never going to become a millionare by using text ads as sparingly as I do. I may even experiment with another ad in the sidebar or below the main content. These little ads do however cover my hosting costs, with a little extra on the side for the “gadget fund.”
So please, think twice before making my eyes bleed.