1. Make it
Blend. Some people swear that their ads perform better if they
blend with the page. I don't doubt that this is true, but it has a caution!
When people really enjoy your site, they'll respond to links that
blend with the site. BUT, they also won't know the difference sometimes between ad content, and YOUR
presentations. So if you are concerned about people getting accurate information, this strategy might
sometimes harm your credibility.
If your site has a specific theme, then ads that blend also will
tend to do better, because they coordinate with the site. People who respond to themed designs don't like
things that interrupt it - it appears obnoxious.
2. Make it
Contrast. Other people will swear that contrasting ads do best!
And this is very probably true, because certain types of sites rely on attention getters, and
If your site uses a lot of animated graphics, bright colors, or
other elements, then contrasting ads really AREN'T contrasting ads! They are merely an extension of your
strategy. When you rely on distractions to attract, you must then rely on distractions to attract to the
The other time when contrast works well is when you have a poor
quality site (and many of the people who say that they work best are marketing poor quality sites) - A
contrasting Ad them represents an alternative to bad content, rather than a continuation of your
I use contrasting ads for another purpose: When I have a site with
a sensitive theme, I use ads that are easily identifiable as Ads. In other words, I make them contrasting
on purpose, so that it is more clear that they are NOT part of my site. This allows people who don't like
what I have to say, to find alternatives quickly, but also sends a subtle message to those who DO like
what I say, that those ads are NOT ME.
3. Make the Links
Blue. This strategy is based on the internet standard of hyperlinks
defaulting to blue. Over half the sites out there do use some shade or other of blue for their links. So when
you choose ads with blue links, the message is instantly "Blue means click this!".
Now, this may work BETTER, or WORSE, on a site that uses other
colors for the site links. This goes back to the "blend or contrast" options, and your link color should
follow whichever rule you choose to use.
4. Make the outline
invisible. The epitome of blending - Set the border and
background colors to the same color as your page background. This means that the links will appear to be part
of your site, without a border.
Good if you want the ads to appear as part of your content, not so
good if you want to separate your content from the ads.
Whether or not you want to try this depends largely on what your
purpose is in your pages. If you subscribe to the "blending" theory, then this is the ultimate way to do
5. Put Images Above the
Ads. Now this one is sort of dumb. Not for the reasons you think
The strategy is that you put an image above each ad in a
horizontal ad display, and that it will increase your clickthrough rate. People who do this make the
background and border invisible. They will put 2-4 generic images above the ads, in the positions they
think the ads will show up in, and they choose to ONLY show text ads.
The problem is twofold:
First, because the ads and the images have NOTHING to do with one
another, it makes you appear deceptive. The ads are blended into your pages, remember, making them look
like YOU put them there. So when you get a picture of a water tower and an ad for infant vitamins, it makes you look either
stupid, or dishonest. Ok, so that was an extreme example, but even if you target the ads to your site content, you cannot be sure
they will match because you do not control the content of the ads.
Second, Google does not always show the same number of ads! The
long horizontal ad box sometimes shows 4 ads, and sometimes it shows 3 ads. Again, it makes you look sort
of stupid to have images that don't match! There is no way you can predict this, because it is Google's
choice, not yours.
I think that this strategy is really just a waste of time, and
supposed to outright encourage people to click through any deceptive means. This is deceptive in spirit
if not in words.
6. Stick the Ads in the
Way. Now, some people feel that you have to put the ads where
people cannot avoid them. This VERY much depends on your target audience. Some visitors will be put off by
this, feeling that you are being obnoxious. Others will accept it as the price for free stuff, shrug, and go
Ad placement is very much something you have to test and see what
works best with YOUR visitors. The thing is though, if you are placing ads where they are obvious, you
are bringing people in to your site just to ask them to leave. If the ads are more noticeable than the
content, they won't bookmark or come back. You have to keep getting new visitors.
I'd suggest that you test placements, and pay attention to small
details, like whether you place them on the left, or on the right, top of the content, middle, or bottom,
7. Make the Ads
Optional. Some people prefer the "Oh, and by the way, if you did
not find what you wanted here, or want more info on related topics, you might try these" approach. In other
words, ads are in predictable places where they may be either looked at, or ignored, depending on the mindset
of the individual. Common placements are at the bottom of the page, and in the left or right sidebar. Sometimes
they may also be at the top of the page, above the content.
I, personally, subscribe to this method with many of my sites. And
it works for my audience. Because some people are naturally prone to looking at ads, and some are
naturally prone to ignoring them. The difference really is that if the ads are obnoxious, then it will
tick off the people who do not like them, and it will make them go away and not come back. So I present
them as a secondary alterative. It works for my site viewers.
8. Make the Ads the Focus
of the Page. Ok, I am not talking about obvious placement here, I
am talking about people who build a site just for ads, and put in only
enough content to justify the existence of the page (200 to 400 words), and then they do all they can to
make the ADS the content. They weave the ads into the content in a way that makes them look like an
integral part of what they are offering. They will place a Links box below their site links or instead of
their site links. They'll put a links bar with 3 or 4 links, and then a 3 or 4 celled table below that
with descriptive text in each box, so it appears that you click the links to get the information listed
in the table. They'll put a horizontal links bar across the top of their page where most people put
static site information links.
Their whole purpose is NOT to give
people useful information, but to build a site that persuades people to click a link. This kind of
site is, in my opinion, over the line as far as clean ethics and honesty are considered. This is
not a strategy I'd recommend to anyone, because of these
It gives someone else the power to
control your reputation. Your reputation becomes an extension of the ads placed on your
It offers very little of value to
justify its existence. It is not likely to rank well with search engines since it is weak on
It runs the risk of being banned
by AdSense, because of a lack of content, and because they forbid you to build a site just for the
purpose of using AdSense (this does not mean you cannot build a quality site for the purpose of
earning with AdSense while providing good information, just that you cannot build a site JUST for
AdSense and no other real purpose).
At best, it would be a "flash in
the pan" site, because without quality, it is difficult to sustain
Do it right instead, and use option 9. It will get you
9. Focus on Quality
Content, and Make the Ads an Afterthought. This is my philosophy about
AdSense. Everything comes secondary to quality content - AdSense, SEO, Bells and whistles on a website, etc.
High quality, honest, and useful content is first. Get that, and you'll not only get good clicks from people
who want to be there, but they'll bookmark your site and come back, even if they do click
This strategy has nothing to do with whether you choose to blend
your ads or contrast them, or what color links you choose, or even whether you place your ads in obvious
places or in predictable places. It has to do with whether or not you are giving your visitors a reason
besides Ads to come into your site, and with whether you respect the intelligence of your site visitors
to know what they want, and their freedom to them choose what they want for themselves. Respect for your
site visitors is apparent in subtle messages, and whether a person can define it or not, they KNOW when
they feel good on a site, and when they feel belittled.
Respect is the defining factor with many advertising and income
generation strategies. If you respect your visitors and don't try to trick them, they can feel that. If
you desire to impart knowledge, as well as to earn, they will know that too. If you care about the
wellbeing of others, and refuse to put your own wellbeing above theirs, it is obvious in how you do
business. And it IS possible - not only possible, but powerful! - to set a high standard and to earn very
well while doing so.