AskPat 67 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 67 of AskPat. If you have questions about online business, I will help you answer those questions. Super stoked to hear.
Now, I want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. I use FreshBooks and it makes everything easy. If you don't know what FreshBooks is, you're missing out, because it's the best cloud accounting financial software that you can use to help keep track of everything related to what's going on with money in your business. From what's going in to what's going out, and create invoices on the spot. Nice-looking invoices for your clients. And gosh, I just only wish I got started with it sooner. You can go and get it for 30 days for free if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and then head on over to the referral section, or whenever you check out, put in AskPat, and you get that 30 days for free. Thank you again to FreshBooks for being a great friend of the show. Now speaking of ads, which that was of course one of them, let's head on over to Carlos' question, and see what he has to say about ads and incorporating them on your site.
Carlos: Hey, Pat. This is Carlos Reyes, and I've got a blog over at MillennialLeader.org. If I remember correctly, you started off with some AdSense on your site to generate a little revenue. I'd kind of like to do the same thing, but I'm really not sure how to do it in a tasteful, good way. I don't want it dominating my site, and I'd love your advice on the subject. Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Carlos, thank you so much for the question. And this is a very important question, because a lot of people, when they start to do business online or they create a blog, and they see other people making money from it, they see other people using ads, they immediately just dump ads on their site, and it just ruins everything, I guess you could say, because they aren't approaching it in a very smart way. So, I'm really appreciative that you asked this question for yourself, and for everybody else. Hopefully, after this you'll be able to understand how to best incorporate ads on your site so they are tasteful. I think that's a great word: you want them to be tasteful. And what does that mean? Well, a number of things.
First, you want the ads to be relevant and actually useful to your audience. That's one of the things that I like to tell people when approaching ads. You want the ads to be actually useful for your audience. Almost as if it's a resource that you are sharing with your audience that will help them. That's, for instance, why I share FreshBooks at the top. GetFreshBooks.com is just something I'm happy to share, because I know if people use that, they will benefit from it. A lot of people have since picked that up and have thanked me for that. You want your ads, you want people to thank you for the ads on your site. Think about it that way. That's the best case scenario, of course, when you can hook up with a company that you know is going to provide value for your audience. It's a win for everybody. It helps your audience out, it helps you out, because you're making money, and it helps the relationship that you have with that company you're promoting as well. So, the ads should always be relevant. And of course, if they're not relevant, they're not going to get clicked on. It's only going to dilute the other messages on your site, and the main purpose of what you're trying to do on your site.
Now, secondly, as far as placement, it's tasteful when they're integrated nicely on the site, and it's distasteful when they just get in the way. You have to really think about what the ads are doing. The ads are actually taking attention away from your site, from the content that you've spent time writing. It's actually taking people's eyes away, and these ads are typically written or have illustrations that are meant to capture people's attention and refocus the attention on those ads, and then hopefully get those people to go to those companies whose ads they're for. That's a very important thing to think about, because what is the primary purpose that you want on your site? This is the hard part. You want these ads on your site to be clicked on, because that's going to help you make more money, especially for a pay-per-click–type advertising, like on AdSense. I'm going to talk about AdSense–specific strategies for you in just a second, Carlos. But we want these ads to be clicked, but we also want people to stick around on our own site.
When people click on these ads, oftentimes they go into another wormhole away from your site, and they forget about your site, or they don't come back. Now that's the tough part when it comes to ads and there are different ways to incorporate ads to make sure that it is part of the discussion. I think that's the best way to think about it. You want to think of the ads as a part of a discussion. Now, for my site at SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, which makes about $3,000 a month specifically off of AdSense ads, the discussion I'm having with my audience there is, “Hey, I have a site that can help you become a security guard, I can help get you connected with security guard training companies around you,” and AdSense happens to do that for me. My conversation is, “I want to do this as fast as possible for you.” If these ads happen to show these resources for you, and AdSense will automatically generate ads based on location, based on the content that's on your site, it's a win for everybody. So, on that site, my conversation is, “Hey, I'm here to help. If you find something that's helpful, click on it. If that helps you, great, and you don't have to come back.”
Now, there's other sites, like SmartPassiveIncome.com, where I want to have a conversation like, “Hey, welcome to the site. This is what I can provide for you. This is some of my content. This is some stuff that'll be helpful.” In that conversation, I'm building trust, and then at the end of that conversation, or within, I will say, “Hey, there's this helpful resource that helped me do this.” Or, “Here's an ad for this, which is something I used.” That's the conversation I want to have.
Now, there are some cases, like with this podcast, where I'm required to say the sponsor at the top of the show, and that's per the agreement of the advertisement agreement. But I think that's okay, because people understand that sponsors are required for the show in order for the show to happen. I think that's another important thing, that's my third point. You want to make sure your audience knows why they're there, and also get direct feedback from them as well. I've gotten a lot of feedback from people about sponsorships here on this show, and all my other shows, and it's all been positive. I think people have an understanding that this show would not happen, it literally would not be here if it wasn't for the sponsors, because the sponsors are helping to pay for my lovely assistant Mindy to put everything together for me. And she's not cheap, but she's not cheap because she does an awesome job, and she's amazing. Mindy, I know you're editing this right now, you're awesome. But we're both very thankful for these sponsors to come onboard, and it's a win for everybody again, because I'm able to create this show, I'm able to pay Mindy, and the show is able to get some leads, targeted leads, because they're coming from a relevant audience, which is mine. But I'm also providing value to my audience at the same time.
Those three things are really important. One, the ads should be relevant. Two, they shouldn't get in the way; they should just flow with the conversation or the goals that you want for your audience. And you want to try and put yourself in the shoes of those in your audience as well. So, go to your site, and ask yourself, “Am I being distracted? Can I find my way around? Or are these ads just distasteful, or are they not?” And then thirdly, you want to make sure people realize why they're there. That's why on SmartPassiveIncome.com, a lot of people actually look for my affiliate links, because they know that that's how they are able to support me, and pay me back for, again, the information that I've given them up front.
Now, when it comes to AdSense specifically, there's just a couple tips I want to give to you. One, you want the ads to actually blend in, as far as the colors are concerned. I use text-only ads, meaning there's a link and then a little description underneath, and then a little tiny, smaller font that shows the URL. Those ads do really well, and I always match the color of the title of the ad, or the part that gets clicked on, the link part, I match that color to the links that are on my site as well, so there's continuity there. I used to, and I used to test this, I used to just do big, bold, red letters, and big orange letters that on a blue site that just stood out, and those never performed as well. You want them to almost blend in, and still be there as a resource for people, but also be a part of the site, not something that just sticks out like a sore eye. Because when it sticks out like a sore eye, I think we're so used to seeing those on sites now that we kind of just block them out. Now lastly, as far as size is concerned, the best one … I mean, I recommend you go to SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, if you can. I've optimized that site for the perfect placement and color scheme for that particular site in terms of color scheme. But as far as placement, the upper right hand of new blog posts work really well. There's also the link text ads, which you can see at the top in a very, sort of thin, horizontal row of links. That works out really well too.
And test. That's the big thing you want to do is you want to test. You don't have to start out very big, you don't have to just plaster ads all over your site. What I would recommend is put one in the side bar, a box, maybe 250 by 250 will work, or find your most popular posts, and just try some AdSense ads there. You can try the bigger rectangular boxes; those are the ones that work really well too.
I hope that helps you, Carlos—some information about how to keep your ads tasteful. With AdSense, as long as you're writing good content, since AdSense will automatically pull those ads for you, you can't really choose specifically who is advertising on your site with AdSense, and that's the tricky part with it. Because I actually had AdSense on Smart Passive Income before, and the ads were for get-rich-quick stuff, which I'm totally against all that stuff, so that's not the kind of ads I want to show. So, when you have ads on your site with AdSense, it pulls out information from the content that's on that page, and it finds ads that are relevant to that content. If you find that those ads over time, and you want to give it a few hours, because sometimes it takes a while for the systems and the algorithms to work, after half a day perhaps, check those ads, see if they're in alignment with your message and the content that's on that page. If not, then you'll probably see that you're not going to get a high click-through rate, and it's not going to work out very well. But if they are perfect, like they typically are on SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, and I'm very lucky that there are a lot of advertisers paying for ad spots for keywords related to my industry there, you'll see it does really well.
So, again, test, check out, make sure it's relevant, make sure it blends into the site nicely, and it doesn't get in the way or is distracting, and just let your audience know why they're there. Sometimes people will want to support you. Obviously, you don't want to tell people, with AdSense it's against terms and conditions to tell people to click on those ads, but you can say, “Hey, you know, I have ads on this site to help support the site,” and that's it.
So, Carlos, I hope that helps. Thank you so much for your question. If any of you out there have a question you'd like answered here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com. Remember, our sponsor for today's episode is FreshBooks, something that is a win for everybody, I feel, which is why I have them on here. It's a win for me, because I get paid to have them come on as a sponsor, but it's a win for them because you are the perfect target audience for this, and it's a win for you because it's the best accounting software you could use to help you keep track of finances in your business. You could try it 30 days free, if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the checkout section. Again, GetFreshBooks.com and then “AskPat.” You can track your time with it, you can capture expenses, and get real-time business reports with just a couple of clicks. It's awesome.
And lastly, as always, I'm going to end with a quote of the day. Today's quote comes from Sir Thomas Watson, and he says, “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” So, you really have to have a true passion for what you're doing and why you're doing it. I think in terms of ads, that helps. In terms of providing value, that obviously helps. You want to love what you do too, you want to have fun with it. So, I hope you are having fun with it. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of AskPat, and I will see you in the next one. Have a good one.
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