Finances. It’s not pretty to talk about money, but it’s a fact of life we all have to deal with. While for most of us blogging is a beloved hobby, it’s not a free hobby. I spend hundreds of dollars a year putting together awesome giveaways, sending happy mail, paying for my domain hosting (having an actual blog domain makes you really stand out and seem more professional), advertising on other blogs to get more readers, etc. Paying all of that money out of pocket for a hobby can cause some burnout-but being able to finance your hobby with your hobby-it’s fantastic; and if someday you can turn that hobby into a career that you actually enjoy-that’s even better.
The next thing you’ll want to decide is what sizes to offer, how many of each size, and where in your sidebar you’re going to put them. If you look at my right sidebar I have them off to the far right, but still at the top of the page so they’re easily seen. When potential advertisers look for a place to put their button, they’re going to consider where your ads are placed (I hardly ever sponsor anyone who has them at the bottom of their blog so you have to scroll all the way down to see them) and they’re going to look for nice large visible buttons.
After you’ve decided what ad sizes you’d like to see in your sidebar, you’ll want to decide what you’ll want to offer with each ad size. Generally the larger the ad, the more that is offered with it (and ultimately the more it’ll cost to purchase-but we’ll get to that) so you’ll want to decide what you have time for and can promise to your sponsors.
- Followers & Page Views: Take a look at the amount of followers (both blog and social media) as well as your page views. If they’re low, keep your prices lower to match. You can always change them in the future (I recommend giving current sponsors notice and/or a discount when doing so) to meet your growing blog.
- Sizing & Offering: Larger Ads with more perks should be more than smaller ads with less perks, but having different sizes/prices is great since people want different things for different budgets.
- Cover Your Costs: The whole idea of accepting sponsorship is to be able to “keep the lights on” for your blog. Consider what you pay for your space: hosting charges, advertising on other blogs/sites, the fee for using an ad service (if you go that route), etc. Make sure you break it down and factor it into your ad prices too so you can make sure what’s coming in is more than what is going out.
Now that you’ve decided how you want it all set up and what you want to charge, it’s time to start attracting sponsors to your blog. When you’re first starting out, this can be very difficult. Have you ever heard the phrase “You have to have a dollar to make a dollar?” The same can be said for advertising. You need to have ads in your sidebar in order to attract more ads-people want to see what it will look like if they decide to put their ad their.
- You don’t have to accept every ad. It’s totally up to your discretion! If you feel a potential advertiser doesn’t fit with your blog or that you can’t support their product for some reason, you can reject the ad.
- Communication is important! Always communicate with your sponsors. Email them welcoming them when they advertise, gather information from them (I like to create a Google form for them to fill out), comment on their blogs often, respond to their inquiries, etc. No one wants to sponsor someone who doesn’t communicate.
- Don’t overestimate your limits. I do this. I try to offer too much and sometimes can’t always follow through. I always try to make it up to them (adding free months, etc.) if I feel I haven’t done my best, but it’s still never good to offer something and then not do it.
- Reward your return sponsors. I love offering advertisers a hefty (sometimes 30%-70%) discount for renewing their ads, and people who return often and continue to support me will often find I automatically extend their ads for free months here and there to show my appreciation.
- Learn from other bloggers. Pay attention to how other bloggers run their ads. It can be very useful as you narrow down what you want to offer and the kind of blog you want to be.
- Have fun with it. Not only is this an opportunity to make some extra money, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for you to get to know new bloggers and shops and not only find amazing things but make new friends.