The Best Places to Put Ads on Your Site

When it comes to monetization, ad placement is definitely important. I’ve heard from many people that after changing their ad placement, earnings went up significantly.

Update: As Mandi so wisely pointed out in the comments below, and I completely failed to specify in the post here, this mainly applies to PPC/CPC ads (Paid Per Click or Cost Per Click) where you get paid when people click. (Read my Affiliate Marketing Explained posts for more about ads.)

Here’s a handy tool from Google that gives you a good idea of the best places to put ads on your page.

This is called a heat map. The darker the orange, the best spot for ads (in general).

google heat map

My tips:

  1. Your ad placement must work well with your design. Garish, gaudy or assaulting is never good.
  2. Your ad placement must not turn off your users. This is a delicate balance and you won’t please everyone. You’ll need to experiment to see what works for you.
  3. Just because a spot is bright orange doesn’t mean you should put an ad there. Ad-heavy sites are a drag to visit. Too many ads will work against you in the long run.
  4. Don’t make it hard to find your real content among your ads.
  5. Be careful about how many ads you place above the fold. Google recently announced that sites with a lot of ads above the fold won’t rank as highly:

    Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

  6. Not sure what’s “above the fold” on your site? Here’s a tool that will tell you.
  7. As always, experiment, experiment, experiment. These are general guidelines to get you started but take note of what your readers seems to respond (and not respond) to.

When it comes to ads, what do you think? Got any more hints or tips?

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Comments

  1. says

    I think it’s best not to overload any website w/ too many ads and building an e-newsletter is the best solution for all affiliate marketing.

  2. says

    Hi Amy,

    Big thanks to you.
    Other web pages says that placing ads at various locations like inserting below title, in between post and so on will improve earning, but thanks to you; like you said ad placement depends on our page design and more. Even flooding the webpage/blog with many ads will have negative impression. This is what I get to know after reading your article.

    Anyway, I wish you would have written more about this topic :)

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing where to place ads… I needed some help as to where to place my Adsense ads… I watched a video earlier today where a guy made over a million dollars in one month on Adsense… I’m not sure how the individual received enough traffic in 1 day to make over $24,000.00 in a day… I made over $123.00 in 1 day using fixed advertising that I paid for on this website… http://www.neobux.com/?r=msbii

  4. says

    I’m struggling at them moment, the info about google’s above the fold ads being punished is important as i’m guilty of that, and my site has been in decline for a few months. Time to find the balance between ad placment and pleasing google

  5. says

    This article is awesome. Ad placement is very tough, actually we should experiment everyday by placing in different spaces. Thanks once again.

  6. says

    Thanks Amy, I personally find this very helpful. I’m just starting out, so naturally I’m doing some research about ads, and here I came across right what I need to know.

    Thanks again for all the info! Keep up the good work! ;)

    Den

  7. says

    I am using a minimalist design so to me, image ads look too loud on my site. Still, I try to make them look nice but I can’t seem to be satisfied with the placements. Using the tool, I don’t have any ads above the fold.

  8. says

    Awesome post thank you so much for sharing this info. I AMA newbie blogger and am following ypu I love the easy to understand writing thank you

  9. says

    I love how you used the term “assaulting” on your first tip!

    That’s a very powerful way to think in terms as to whether you’re welcoming the visitor or scaring them away. And a pure text ad can do this just the same as a flashing talking ad can. It’s so important to get in sync with the conversation your perfect prospect has with themselves and is open to getting in with you now that they see you speak their language.

  10. says

    I know you’ve done lots of posts on monetizing, Amy.

    Have you ever come up with a minimum number of page views a blog needs in order to make CPC or PPC ads worthwhile?

    I have ads from local businesses in my sidebar, but I haven’t done CPC or PPC yet because when I calculated it seemed like I wasn’t likely to make more than a few dollars a month, which just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Feel free to direct me to a post where you’ve addressed this already.

    I guess my input is not to risk alienating readers or making your blog less readable unless you’re confident of the potential pay out. I think there is a misconception out there that you can start a blog, throw up some CPC ads and start raking in the dough! I know you’ve tried to clear this up, but I still hear this. I only wish it were that simple!

    Thanks very much on the advice on determining what ads are above the fold. That helps me a lot!

  11. says

    Okay, so this question probably ranks as a dumb one, but I’ll ask it anyway. I currently have ads on my site, and according to your “heat” map, my advertisements mark the frozen tundra. Anyway, I have a WordPress blog and don’t see a means of changing where the ads show up. How do I change one from the Antarctica to the Sahara? :) (By the way, I only have a couple of small ads, affiliates with Answers in Genesis and Christianbook.com)

  12. Kelly Welch says

    My question is slightly different, but definitely related to topic. I was reading a Christian blog, and one of the advertisements (one of those ever-changing ads) that appeared was for gay and lesbian adoptions. When you choose to monetize, how can you be sure appropriate content will appear on your blog?

  13. says

    Hi Amy,

    I have a question for you about switching a blog to self hosting so I can eventually monetize it with adds.

    I started my Blog on WordPress.com and bought a domain. My goal is to get consistent with blogging, before I monetize it. Can I switch my WordPress.com site to a self hosted site when I am ready?

    Or do I need to scrap the WordPress.com site and self host now while I am still just beginning?

    I tried to search for this answer, but didn’t find it on your site. If I missed a post where you already answered this already just simply post the link please because I don’t want to waste your time. Thank you.

    Angela

  14. says

    I think it’s important to note that this refers to CPC ads that pay per click. You won’t get the same type of increase just by moving an existing network ad to one of those orange spots because ads are sold network-wide and the payment is the same across all sites. However, if you have a network selling ads on your behalf, those premium spots will certainly earn more than others.

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