Anyone who has been reading blogs for than a few days will notice that there are two common types of ads in blogs. Those two types are Google adsense, which is essentially a bunch of text with links and banner ad blocks, which often comes in the size of 125 x 125. Then there are three places it often gets placed, the sidebar, inside of a post, or at the bottom of a post.
Advertisements are a nice way of making money with blogs, but where it often goes wrong is the implementation of these ads into blog designs. Most blogs tend to just stick the advertisements right into the blog design without a second thought. This often results in making the blogs distracting, ugly, and less usable. But this does not have to be the case, there are many ways of integrating ads into blog designs without making it worst.
There is pretty much nothing you can do about the design of the ads themselves, besides rejecting the advertisers, which will only end up hurting your earning potential. Therefore the only thing you can do is to ensure that the integration of the ads into your blog design is done well.
1. Give the ads their own real estate
By creating separate real estate for the ads, it makes it clear that they are separate from the actual content of the site itself. This makes it easier for your readers to navigate and use your blog.
An easy way of doing this is to group the ads into a separate container or area of the blog and styling them different from the rest of the blog. Noupe did this in the above example by making the background color for the ads different. You could also try creating a thick but subtle border around the ads.
2. Label the ads as ads
Why bother labeling ads? Because it makes it easy for the reader to know that they are ads at a quick glance. Also by labeling the ads as ads, this decreases the likelihood that the readers will confuse the ads as actual content of your blog.
Ads in the sidebars usually don’t need labels because the sidebar is already separate from the content, but the labels are still helpful. Ads inside of posts should always be labeled as ads, because it is more likely that the reader will confuse them with actual content and get distracted.
An easy way of labeling ads inside of posts is by creating tabs that say “Advertisement” as WebDesignerWall has done above. Simple and to the point, it doesn’t need to be fancy at all.
3. Design for content over ads
In any blog design, there is a hierarchy of elements with varying levels of importance. In general, it is a bad idea to make it so that advertisements appear to have a greater level of importance over your actual content. When you make ads appear more important in your design, it shows the reader how little you value your own content. If it seems like you don’t value your own content and just want to make some quick money, your credibility will drop. Along with your credibility, it decreases the chance that the reader will actually read through all of your content because the ads will be distracting.
Basically what I am saying is that anytime the ads are too distracting or taking way too much attention away from your actual content, then you are designing with ads over content in mind. Ads are often already jumping off the page, there is no need to add to that. Macalicious does a great job of designing with content over ads in mind with their blog design.
As you can see from the above examples, advertisements don’t have to be ugly or distracting. Now that you don’t have any more excuses, make those ads pretty!
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1. For more on blog design, check out my massive guide on Blog Design.
1. Top picture is by Steve Webel
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