New Ad Formats Released! HTML5, Flash, Responsive, Bar Ads, Text Ads, More…

TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read summary)

Sometimes a demo is worth a thousand words. Check out the demo at https://www.adplugg.com/demo.

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We just released a whole slew of new ad formats! AdPlugg now includes the following formats:

  • Image Ads – These are the standard display ads that you are probably already using. Previously you had to upload the ad image to AdPlugg, by request, we now allow you to upload the image or to link to an image hosted on your own or a third party site.
  • Bar Ads – (Pro Level Only) This a new responsive ad format. You can choose the text, image, colors and add a call-to-action button. You can also choose a launch event such as “after scrolling a little”, “after reaching the bottom of the page”, or after a set number of seconds. You can position the bar ad fixed to the top or bottom of the screen or relative to your Zone.
  • Flash Ads – (Pro Level Only) Flash ads are a widely used format for rich media ads. Most Flash ads include animations and text effects. We’ve added support for industry standard clickTAGs which allow you to use AdPlugg tracked click URLs within your Flash ads.
  • Text – (Pro Level Only) Text ads are similar to ads shown on popular seach engines such as Google. Our text ads allow you to choose a headline, two body lines and a display URL.
  • Image + Text Ads – (Pro Level Only) As the name implies, Image + Text ads combine Image and Text ads to create a format that makes an impact and performs.
  • Text Link – (Pro Level Only) Text link ads are simple links that you can place on your site. They are both subtle and effective. We allow you to set the display url to whatever you want while the actual url is an AdPlugg click tracked link.
  • Dialog Ads – (Pro Level Only) Dialog ads are a responsive ad format where the ad is displayed in a “popup” dialog. This format allow you to choose colors, text, image and a call-to-action button. It allows for the same launch events supported by bar ads (see above).
  • Slide-In Ads – (Pro Level Only) Slide in ads are a responsive ad format where the message slides onto the screen. These allow for the same content and launch events as our Dialog ads (see above). You can position them to slide-in from the top left, top right, bottom left, or bottom right corners of the screen.
  • Interstitial Ads – (Pro Level Only) Interstitial ads are the same as Dialog ads (see above) except they take up the whole screen. Interstitial ads are used to display a message before the user is able to view the page content.
  • Video Ads – (Pro Level Only) Video ads are display ads similar to image ads except instead of displaying an image, they show a video.
  • Custom/HTML5 Ads – (Pro Level Only) Custom ads allow you to insert custom HTML/HTML5, JavaScript, CSS/CSS3, SVG etc. This can be used to create your own custom ad format or to insert ad tags from third party ad sources such as third party ad servers, Google AdSense, Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, etc. You can also upload a zipped/packaged ad that includes HTML5 source code.

We’ve also added a new Demo section to our site. A demo of each of these new ad formats can be seen there.

Most of these formats are only available to Pro Level users, so if you are not already “Pro”, sign up today!

We will likely be writing more here on the blog about each of these new formats in the coming months so check back for more info. If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas please post them to the comments section below.

Blogging for Money: Top 4 Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Making Any

Blogging for Money

Around a year ago I posted How to Make Money Blogging – In Six Easy Steps. In that post, I gave five easy steps toward making money blogging. In this post, I’m going to look at it from the other side. So you are already blogging for money, what are the most common reasons why your blog isn’t making any of that green stuff?

1. You Need More/Better Content

Engaging, high-quality content is key for any blog. Write from the heart and pick topics that will be of interest to your intended readers. Don’t just write about what you want to say, also think about the reader and about what they might want to learn or hear about. It has also been found that sites with more content do best. If you are only blogging once a week, try stepping up the number of posts that you publish. It’s unfortunate, but two medium quality posts tends to outperform one high quality post.

2. Your Site Isn’t Search Engine Optimized

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a requirement at this point. The days of SEO being a science are over and now it’s more of an art. If you use WordPress, the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast is a good place to start. The Yoast Plugin will get your site optimized but getting quality backlinks from other sites is just as crucial.

3. You haven’t Done Enough Promoting

It’s pretty common to think that you can put up a website and instantly get tons of traffic. Even after having been through it before, everytime I launch a new website, I can’t help but think that this site is what everyone is looking for. The reality of it is that there are close to a BILLION websites out there. To get web users to take notice of your site takes some serious effort. Don’t know how to promote your blog? Check out our recent post, How to Promote Your Blog – 5 Simple Steps.

4. You Need a Better Monetization Strategy

To be a monetarily succussful blogger, you need to know online advertising. The AdPlugg service makes it all a lot easier. Also check out these posts:

Have any questions or other items that you think should be included in this list? Post them into the comments section below!

Timed Rotate Feature Added

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You asked for it you got it! We just added a new timed rotate feature. The timed rotate feature allows you to set your ads to rotate after a specified number of seconds.

Adding a timed rotate feature had become the highest ranked suggestion on our Feedback and Ideas Forum. Adhering to our Democratic Design principles, we’ve made it a top priority and are excited to be releasing it to you today!

How it Works

The timed rotate feature works basically the same as our other rotate configurations but with timed rotate, the ads rotate after a set number of seconds instead of on page refresh. Only the ads set to “timed rotate” will rotate, any other ads will stay put. The newly displayed ads will have their impressions tracked the same as if they were loaded after a refresh.

How to Set it Up

If you haven’t already done so, set up the ad rotator. In the placement settings you will see that we’ve added a new field called “Rotation Interval”. It’s under the “Content” heading. If this field is blank (the default), the ads are only rotated on refresh. To enable timed rotate, simply enter a number into this field. The number is the number of seconds that you want the rotator to wait before rotating the ads. The number can include decimals, so you could set your ads to rotate every 3.5 seconds, for instance. The minimum interval allowed is 1 second.

Please note that this function can dramatically increase your impression counts (and your bill) so use caution when enabling it and do carefully consider which ads you want to rotate and at what interval.

We hope that you enjoy the new feature. Please add any questions or comments about the feature to the comment section below.

If you don’t already have an AdPlugg account, Sign Up today and try out this awesome new feature!

Best Affiliate Network? Our Top 4 Compared

Recently we were asked “which is the best affiliate network?”. We’ve used all of them and in this blog post I’m going to make both an affiliate network comparison and give some opinions as to which ones are best and which ones you should use.

Affiliate networks are advertising networks that connect advertisers with publishers. The publishers promote the advertiser’s sites and products and in exchange get a commission on any traffic that they refer to the advertiser. Different programs earn the publisher different commission rates. Commission rates vary but are typically around 5-8%. You can use AdPlugg to manage and serve all of your affiliate network ads.

Here are our top affiliate networks:

1. Amazon Associates

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Amazon Associates is a great affiliate network to get started with. Amazon Associates allows you to promote specific products or Amazon in general. If one of your readers clicks a link to Amazon on your site and then buys something from Amazon, you receive a commission. It doesn’t matter what they buy, it could be the product that you were recommending, a competing product or something else entirely. Amazon’s commission rates work on a sliding scale – the more business you bring them (per month) the better the percentage is. The commission rate starts at 4%.

2. Rakuten LinkShare

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LinkShare is different from Amazon as it is an affiliate network made up of a number of affiliate programs. Each affiliate program is from a different advertiser and works similarly to Amazon. Any publisher can sign up with LinkShare. Once you’ve signed up, you can apply start to apply to the different programs. Whether or not you get approved will depend on whether the advertiser likes your site and on how picky they are. LinkShare has a really nice interface and programs from some major retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstrom.

3. ShareASale

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ShareASale works almost identically to LinkShare but offers a different selection of advertisers. Many of the advertisers cater to smaller niche markets. Some examples include Gymboree (childrens clothing) and One Kings Lane (furniture). I find the LinkShare interface nicer and easier to use but ShareASale includes some good programs that are worth the extra effort.

4. Commission Junction

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CommissionJunction has had a major presence in the Affiliate network space for a while now. They have some of the best technology (most features) but it can be more difficult to use than the ones mentioned above. Commission junction has a lot of middle sized retailers such as the Gap and Toys R Us.

Conclusion

Each of the above affiliate networks is free to join and each have different pros/cons. Which is the best affiliate network for you will depend on the Advertisers that you are looking for. The best way to see which advertisers are part of an affiliate network is is to go ahead and sign up. Once you have an account you can see which advertiser programs they have and apply to them. If you don’t like the programs or don’t get accepted, you can close (or just abstain from using) your account.

As previously mentioned, all of your affiliate ads can be managed using AdPlugg, so sign up for a bunch of them and rotate them. Then remove the ones that aren’t making money.

Have any comments or know of other affiliate networks, add them to the comment section below.

Blog Income – How to Maximize

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Blog Income is easily one of the most crucial factors for measuring the success of any blog. To realize your blog’s full potential you need to:

  • Maximize the quality and frequency of blog content – Produce lots of quality content for your readers to read and for the search engines to index.
  • Maximize blog traffic – Efficiently and effectively promote your blog (see How to Promote Your Blog – 5 Simple Steps).
  • Maximize blog income – Read on…

Blog Income Maximization

The goal of blog income maximization is to earn as much as you can from each unit of ad “inventory” on your site while keeping your site free of ads that might be off-putting or annoying to your readers.

To maximize your blog income, you need to look at all possible sources of income available to your blog. These potential sources of income include:

  • Display Ads
  • Text Based PPC Ads (Such as Google AdSense)
  • Affiliate Ads
  • Paid Links
  • Sponsored Posts

NOTE: See How Do Bloggers Make Money? for more details on the above blog income sources.

To maximize your blog income you’ll want to utilize all available channels and always go with the best paying channel (when you have a choice). You’ll also want to try to keep mindful of the user experience (UX) and keep your ads beneficial to the user and tasteful.

You’ll quickly find that display ads pay the best. Furthermore display ads where you’ve sold directly to the advertiser pay the best within the display ad channel (versus network ads).

So in general, to maximize your blog income you’ll want to sell as much of your ad inventory as possible to advertisers who will run targeted display ads on your site for a premium price. Ad inventory that hasn’t been sold directly can be filled with ads from other channels/sources. Our recent blog post, How to Get Advertisers for Your Blog – 4 Steps, teaches you how to get this type of advertiser.

Once you get the advertisers signed, you can manage and serve their ads with AdPlugg (it’s what AdPlugg was designed to do!). If you have AdPlugg Pro, you can then generate reports to send to your advertisers to keep them happy and excited to continue advertising with you.

Have questions or want to share what you did to maximize your blog income? Please use the comments section below.

Democratic Design: New Feedback and Ideas Forum Launched

Feedback and Ideas ForumIf you haven’t noticed, AdPlugg has been growing, rapidly. Every month we are adding hundreds of new users. A large number of these new users have reached out to us with suggestions about what features they would like to see added to AdPlugg.

We definitely have goals and a mission for our software but we don’t want it to be our software, we want it to be your software. Bum ba da bah!!! We bring you…AdPlugg’s Democratic Design!

The AdPlugg system is your advertising system and we want you to have a say about what we add, what we change, what we take out, etc. That’s why we’ve just added a new Feedback and Ideas Forum. Using our Feedback and Ideas forum any user can post ideas, give feedback, make suggestions, etc. Each post can then be voted up or down and commented on by other AdPlugg users. We are going to work to get the ideas that get the most up votes into the software.

We’ve kicked the system off by adding a bunch of the ideas that you’ve already submitted to us. Check out the forum and vote on the ideas that are already posted there. You’ll need to be logged into AdPlugg (get a free AdPlugg account) in order to vote on the ideas. Once you’ve read and voted on the ideas that have already been posted, post any other ideas that you can think of. This is what democratic design is all about. Get heard, give your ideas the opportunity to gain traction and support from the AdPlugg community and see them added to the system.

We are very excited to bring your democratic design. Don’t want democratic design or don’t like how we did it? Post your suggestion or ideas to the Feedback and Ideas forum. Use democracy to change democracy.

Follow the AdPlugg Blog with Bloglovin!

Follow the AdPlugg Blog with Bloglovin

Follow Adplugg With BloglovinFollow the AdPlugg Blog with Bloglovin! Bloglovin allows you to aggregate all of your blogs into one easy to read feed. No need to regularly check on dozens of blogs, with Bloglovin you will be able to see of the new posts of the blogs that you follow in your feed.

Bloglovin also has a really great mobile app that allows you to read your blog feeds anywhere you go. Bored waiting at the laundrymat, DMV or dentist office? Pull up your Bloglovin feed and read up on what’s new with the blogs that you follow.

Click the below link to follow the AdPlugg Blog with Bloglovin:

Follow the AdPlugg Blog with Bloglovin

You can also follow sites and pages other than blogs if they have an RSS feed. Want to know anytime AdPlugg posts a new press release? Follow our Public Relations RSS feed on Bloglovin by searching for and following https://www.adplugg.com/public-relations/feed.xml

We want to hear from you. Got some tips or comments about Bloglovin? Post them to the comments section below.

We’ve Just Released The Pro Plan

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AdPlugg just launched the Pro Plan! We’ve been hinting at it for a long time and put out a press release about it last week. The Pro Plan is our premium offering designed for large high-demand sites.

Made to scale up to billions of ads per month the Pro plan can handle any size site from a popular blog up to a massive media outlet. Don’t worry, we still have our Free Plan and intend to keep it available. In addition to massive scaling, the Pro Plan includes additional features designed for professional and enterprise level customers. For example, the Pro Plan comes with additional reporting functionality.

If you look at the top of our site, you can see that we’ve added a new Plans drop down. From there, you can go to pages that describe the available plans. Please check out the Free Plan and Pro Plan pages. We’ve also added a new Plans page where you can see both of the plans in a side-by-side comparison.

To sign up for the Pro plan, start out by creating a free account from the Sign Up page. Once you’ve signed up and are logged in to your free account, you’ll see an “Upgrade to Pro!” button at the top of the screen. Just click the button and follow the onscreen instructions to instantly upgrade your account.

The Pro Plan comes with a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try it out with no risk. Just downgrade your account (from the Account Settings menu) before the end of 30 days. We’re really excited about it and hope that you’ll try it out.

If you have any questions about the Pro Plan or about anything else, please post them to the comment section below.

How to Promote Your Blog – 5 Simple Steps

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Overview

So, you’ve started a new blog…or you have an existing blog that hasn’t achieved as big of a readership as you would like. Well, in this post I’m going to show you how to promote your blog and grow your readership through five easy steps.

It should come as no surprise that most of these techniques involve social media. Social Media is a great way to be heard by a large audience. If you present yourself and your content effectively to the various social channels, you can drive large amounts of traffic to your blog. So let’s get stated…

1. Share Your Post on Facebook

Facebook is a great way to promote your blog. After you’ve published your new blog post, copy the url and open your facebook account. Just paste the url into the status update box and press the Post button. Facebook will automatically create a nice looking post including a picture (make sure you use pictures in your blog) and teaser text. This post will go out to all of your Facebook friends. You’ll be amazed how many of your friends will take a look and each like you get will promote the post to all of your friends’ friends.

2. Share Your Post on Twitter

Another great social platform for promoting your blog is Twitter. To promote your blog post to twitter, past the title of the blog post along with the URL. Also include hashtag keywords such as #football or #weddings, these hashtags will help your post be seen by more people.

3. Pin it on Pinterest

You should always have pictures in your blog post and if they are interesting, your should pin them on Pinterest! This is especially true if your blog targets women readers (68% of Pinterest users are women). There are some great plugins that put a “Pin It” link on all of your images. These plugins are usually free, easy to install, and make it easy for people to pin your stuff. You should also try to make and include infographics in your blog post. Infographics are very popular on Pinterest and are sure to get lots of pins. Lastly, you should pin all of the images in your post yourself to help get them started.

4. List Your Blog on Bloglovin

Bloglovin is a popular blog post aggregator. It allows people to follow your blog but also helps you promote your blog and makes it easy for people to find it. Getting your blog listed on bloglovin is free and easy to do.

5. Promote Your Post through Paid Services

If you have a budget that you are working with, you can pay to promote your blog post on major sites such as CNN and Mashable. Services such as Outbrain and Taboola allow you to pay to have your blog post show up in an “Around the Web” listing on major sites. This will quickly get you readers but can be very expensive.

Conclusion

So hopefully now you know how to promote your blog and increase your readership. If you have any questions, comments or other ideas; please post them in the comment section below.

Advertising Questions Answered Here!

Advertising QuestionsYou’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! We just launched AdPlugg Question and Answer system! The new Question/Answer system allows you to post questions and have them answered by AdPlugg reps and/or members of the AdPlugg community.

Highly inspired by StackExchange/StackOverflow type sites, the AdPlugg question and answer system lets the community work to solve problems and answer questions. Any AdPlugg user can post questions, answers and comments. You can also up vote and down vote questions and answers.

When a question is asked, it shows up on the Question/Answer page. Users can then up or down vote the question. Popular questions bubble to the top, while less popular questions sink to the bottom. At any time, you can edit and modify your question. You and other users can also add comments to the question by clicking the “Add Comment” link.

Once the question has been posted. Users can post answers to it. Answers can be up voted and down voted based on how good they are. Answers can also be commented on.

The goal was to make a place where any and all advertising questions could be answered. So ask away. As more questions and answers get posted, the system becomes more useful.

You can access the AdPlugg Question/Answer system by going to Support and then Question/Answer and can use your existing AdPlugg login to post questions, answers and comments. Don’t have an AdPlugg login, why not sign up, it’s FREE.

We may be expanding on the system in the future and are considering additional features such as:

  1. Allowing users to accept answers.
  2. Views of answered, unanswered, etc. questions.
  3. Points for good questions and good answers.

Have a feature that you think that we should add, post a comment with your idea in the comments section below!