Advertising choices affect your site’s credibility

by Martin Reed on 6 April 2007 in Articles

A lot of people setup a website in order to make money. A good way of monetising your website is through advertising – but be careful when implementing advertisements as they can affect the credibility of your site.

Always remember that your website is a brand. You work hard at building this brand, so do not make the mistake of ruining your credibility through bad choices when it comes to advertising.

How can advertising affect your brand?

Let’s say your website is looking to position itself as an authority on share trading. You have worked hard building a serious, business-like design and have packed your site full of authoritative articles. You decide to add advertising to your website, and now your visitors are greeted with banners asking you to ‘Rate Paris Hilton’ or ‘Download Speaking Smileys’. I am sure you can imagine that this does your credibility no good at all.

Ensure advertising complements your website

You are looking to make money by placing advertising on your website, right? Advertising works best when the ads served are relevant and appropriate to your audience. A website offering advice for recovering alcoholics should not really advertise online alcohol venders! Similarly, a website aimed at children should not contain advertising for online gambling. Keep adverts relevant to your website – they should always complement your content.

Choose your ad formats carefully

I am sure we can all think of ads we have come across that are so intrusive you end up leaving the website they are on. You don’t want this to happen to your site. By all means place your ads in prominent positions but ensure they do not distract your visitors from your website’s content – that is after all, what your visitors came to your site to see.

Avoid pop-ups at all costs, and consider avoiding those banners that flash and flicker so fast they can trigger epileptic seizures.

Avoid advertising on your index page

I carry absolutely no advertising on the index page of Just Chat. Sure, it costs me money by keeping that page ad-free but the last thing I want to do is send visitors to other websites before they have given my one a chance!

Think carefully before adding adverts to your index page – remember, this is the first page a visitor to your site will see. The last thing you want to do is lose them before they have seen what your site has to offer.

Conclusion

Be sure to think carefully when placing ads on your site. I recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does the advertising add any value for your site’s visitors?
  2. Is the advertising complementary to your website?
  3. Is the advertising appropriate for your website?
  4. Does the advertising distract from your website’s content?
  5. If using an ad network, do you have the ability to block undesirable ads?

As long as you think your advertising strategy through, advertisements can add value for your users and yourself through advertising revenue. Always remember that advertising revenue should be seen as a bonus for having good content, not as a substitute for it!

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Smiley April 9, 2007 at 1:01 am

Oops. I have adverts on a few websites, as soon as you log onto the site.
http://www.goodvids.co.uk
http://www.goodclips.co.uk
http://www.goodconfessions.co.uk

Should I take the ads off these main pages?

Martin Reed April 9, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Hi Smiley – having ads on your home page is completely up to you; I prefer not to have them there as I want people to explore my website rather than leave for a competitor’s site before even venturing past the index page!

Smiley April 10, 2007 at 2:25 am

Well, in the case of Clips & Confessions, there really isn’t any other pages, as they’re scripts. Just the one page.

I’m keeping them off our main site though, and took them down off the main pages of others!

Good tips. I’ve been enjoying reading through, and spent all day & night making the changes suggested.

I’m glad you’re good enough to share your wisdom on building communities with us! Many would keep their secrets to themselves!

Smiley April 10, 2007 at 2:27 am

I have to admit, it’s a lot harder than I first thought it would be. I appreciate how much hard work JC has been for you now, and why it took so long to get where it is.

Advertising alone is costing us an arm and a leg!

I don’t think people know how hard it really is until they try for themselves.

Martin Reed April 10, 2007 at 11:24 am

Smiley: When your site is small you have to question whether carrying advertising is worthwhile. After all, your page impressions will be so low you will earn very little yet at the same time your site will contain ads which are potentially distracting from your content.

In this article I was referring to carrying advertising as a publisher. Advertising your own site can indeed be expensive – you have inspired me for a future article on effective advertising techniques for forums though!

Fabian Defoin October 22, 2007 at 6:45 am

Very interesting article about advertizing credability. I personnally do not allow others to promote thier brands or websites on my site…..good work…thanks for the info

fabian

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 23, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Fabian – Thanks for your comment. So do you keep your website completely advertising free?

Jon March 5, 2008 at 8:55 am

You make an interesting point regarding choice of advert. However, I find that the choice of ads is often limited.

I make frequent use of a couple of large trading forums, and find that many of them advertise services from disreputable firms and get rich quick scams. I therefore have a feeling that the pool of quality adverts is either very low, or that the quality advertisers aren’t willing to pay enough to make the forums advertise them.

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

Martin Reed - Blog Author March 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Jon – It sounds to me like the forums you visit are more interested in making money than creating a positive user experience. Unfortunately many websites do this – if you act more ethically, you already have an advantage over the competition.

Money is great, but not at the expense of ruining your credibility – that is priceless. Yes, I have also come across websites that advertise dubious sites and services. It leaves me with a negative impression and as a result I lose a little bit of respect for both the administrator and the website as a whole.

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