When making your own website you are free to design it however you want. If you try to be too different, however (and for example put your menu on the bottom of each page), you will soon learn that people will feel confused and your traffic will struggle as a result.
This is because the internet has somewhat standardised itself over the years by evolving to give users the best experience possible. We now expect sites to look and behave within certain parameters, and it works the same with online advertising. This “Preparing My Site” section, therefore, aims to let you know what you need to do to make your site standardly ready for online advertising.
Following the rules and guidelines set up so far in online advertising should help your site to make the most money for the least effort. There are still many problems with the system of course and online advertising has certainly not finished evolving yet, however, the lessons learned so far are still valuable. Ads work more often than not nowadays, are generally more effective and less annoying, and that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
To be clear – we’re not in any way suggesting that you completely change your site so that it’s more suitable for advertising, as that would be somewhat ridiculous. There are however many ways you can make your site just that little bit more ad-friendly.
It’s nothing too complex, just the where’s and what’s of how to use online advertising most effectively. You’ll notice most successful sites follow these basic rules, so you probably should too.
Use IAB Standard Ads
The Online Advertising Guide recommends you use IAB standard ads, as it makes the whole ad buying/selling process much easier. Imagine if every website made random sized ads that only ran on their site. The cost of running a large online ad campaign would be astronomical as web designers would have to design ads to fit every site.
To combat this problem, the online advertising industry has standardised ad sizes over the years so that advertisers and publishers don’t need to work so hard to run ad campaigns.
A standard ad is what you see on most pages on the internet now, and they come in three main sizes: 728×90, 300×250 and 160×600 (or sometimes the 300×600). These measurements are in pixels and are horizontal and then vertical – see below (or on this site) for examples:
These are the most profitable and widespread ads out there, so add them to your site to enter the online advertising world with the least effort and most reward.
For full details on all of the most prevalent ad sizes currently in use, please take a look at our convenient Ad Size Guide.
To maximise your revenue, you should position ads differently depending on whether a page is loaded on a desktop computer or mobile device. This is to ensure the best user experience either way. The last thing you want is for your ads to drive away users, as that will end up costing you money.
Putting ads on your site so that you lose money is, of course, the opposite of what you’re working towards!
To increase the amount of money you make from the desktop version of your site, you should use standard ads. To maximise the amount of money you make, position them so that the 728×90 and 300×250 are “above the fold”. This means that when a page loads you see them immediately and don’t have to scroll down.
If you have a lot of very long pages on your site (and the technical knowledge) a 300×250 can be placed within the content to break it up. Ideally, this should be done so it only loads when it needs to, and no more than once per two screens. This means a user should be able to scroll down fully twice before seeing an ad again.
As well as the 728×90 and 300×250, you should probably include a 300×600 (or 160×600 in a pinch). These are tall ad units intended to go down the side of the page to be seen while you scroll. They, therefore, do not need to be placed above the fold, as they cannot be seen more than 50% when the page loads. They should be placed at the top of a page, however.
The reasons you want ads to be seen immediately are:
- Above the Fold ads perform better. This means if you are paid for performance (such as clicks or engagements) these ads will pay out more.
- Ads are increasingly being bought on a “viewable impression” basis (CPvM). This means you will only be paid if 50% of an ad is seen for at least 1 second.
Mobile Sites should have minimal ads to ensure a fast loading speed. Ad platforms like AdSense have ad units that only appear to mobile users only when their algorithms expect that ad to make money. This usually means some type of engagement.
The three types of ads generally seen on mobile webpages are:
- An overlay. This ad will cover the whole page and last for a few seconds. Google frowns on these and now penalises sites that use them in search results. Therefore unless you are using AdSense they are not recommended.
- A full-width rectangle. These often appear at the bottom of the screen and be closed via a swipe or button. They are also often placed at the top of a page as a static standard ad.
- An MPU within the content. Like on desktop sites, if you have a lot of long pages then 300x250s can be used to break up content. This should only be done if you have the technical expertise to implement it correctly. Best practise is once again that they only load when they need to, and no more than once per two complete screen scrolls.
What it looks like
In case you are wondering – we have positioned our ads on this site to demonstrate where the best place for yours are.
Consistency is important
You should make sure you have the same ad units on every page of your site, and in identical positions on every page too, so that anyone planning an advertising campaign for your site knows exactly what they are getting.
If an ad campaign relies on displaying both a 728×90 and 300×250 on the same page and the person planning that campaign sees one page on your site which doesn’t have both ad units, they will most likely just move onto the next site and forget yours.
There are infinite sites for planners to choose from out there, so you should do everything you can to make sure your site isn’t overlooked for seemingly meaningless reasons.
Do not overstuff your site with ads
WARNING: You can put the same ad size on a page many times if you like (like a 728×90 at the top and bottom of every page), but it is not a very profitable idea for the following reasons:
- The above the fold ad slots will make you the most money and any further down the page will make you considerably less.
- Having multiple ads on a site will annoy your users, and decreasing your user count will decrease the amount of money you make.
- Advertisers/networks usually don’t like having the same ad appear many times on a page, so unless you have safeguarded against this (which is difficult) some campaigns will be pulled from your site altogether to avoid this possibility, which will lose you money.
- The more ads on a page, the more likely it is that one will be broken and ruin all the others on the page, and therefore lose you money.
- The further down the page an ad is, the less likely a user is to interact with it (that is why the above the fold ad slots are most valuable).
- Ads are often quite ‘heavy’ and will increase the amount of time it takes for a page to loads. Even one second of extra load time can drive away a lot of users, and therefore harm your site significantly.
Don’t Use Iframes
Iframes are a way to speed up the loading of your webpage by creating smaller virtual webpages within each page.
As much as they sound like a good idea to web designers, they are a terrible idea in terms of monetizing your site which is why The Online Advertising Guide. recommends Don’t Use Iframes!
Iframes make many types of ads not work properly. If you want to make as much money as possible from your site, you don’t want to put unnecessary barriers in the way of ads being served on it.