Tutorial - Create Ads on your Sidebar + A Passionfruit Giveaway!

Passionfruit Ads is now offering FIVE annual memberships for Kitty & Buck readers  to win! Just leave a comment below to enter. If you've already purchased your membership, you can still enter for the chance to win, your fee will be refunded if you're one of the randomly selected winners. We'll announce the winners on September 1!

Today I'm going to do a quick tutorial on how to set up your own ad widget on the sidebar of your blog. The instructions are for Blogger, but the HTML code that we use will work on any platform. Since Passionfruit Ads announced their new pricing plans, there's been some questions about whether the new plans are right for 'you'
As a quick intro, up until now, Passionfruit Ads has been 'free'. As in, it's been free to use the service and set up your ad shop. However, whenever you sold an ad, Passionfruit would take a $1 service fee, plus the paypal fees from the cost of your ad. This means, if you sold 20 ads per month you would be paying Passionfruit fee equal to $240 a year. If you choose to subscribe to the new system for a year, you'll be saving $190 in potential fees. As a matter of fact, if you sell just 4-5 ads per month, you will be better off under the new system (with a year subscription, the monthly service costs more and would be equivalent of you selling 9 ads per month under the old system.)

Now, if you're selling ad space on your blog, that's all well and good. You have the numbers to consider and you can choose to sign up with the new system if it will be beneficial to your current sales/projected ad sales. You should also keep in mind the convenience factor.

Before Passionfruit came along, I was conducting my ad swaps (at the time I was not selling ads) manually. There is a lot of emailing back and forth, remembering when you have to put ads up and take them down again, rotating the ad spots manually (if you want to rotate them) and processing payments yourself. When I joined Passionfruit, I weighed up the amount of work I did for one ad, compared with paying them $1 per ad and it made sense. It was a much more effective way for me to manage my advertising.

If you are currently using Passionfruit Ads, you have until September 1 on the current system. Then you need to decide whether you'll pay for the service, or strike out on your own. All new signups receive the first month for free, if you're not currently signed up and would like to try it out.

I understand there are a few alternative as networks out there, but I don't have any experience with them, so I'm just going to show you the way I used to do ads, in case you'd like to do it on your own, with no fees or commissions from an ad service.

❤ You still need a price list/ad shop. It's really important to show ad sizes that you offer and their prices, plus your statistics. Even for an ad swapping blog, potential swappers will probably like to know how many followers and pageviews you have, it's a good way of finding a similar sized blog to swap with. This is not a rule, it's just a great starting point!

❤ Along with your 'ad shop' information, you need to include a contact form or email address for potential buyers/swappers to contact you through.

❤ When someone emails you to enquire about an ad, you'll need to collect from them an image in the correct size for the ad space they want, plus a URL of their site. If you're selling ads, you'll need to send them a paypal invoice or similar so they can send you money.

❤ Once the purchase is complete, you need to upload the ad to your sidebar. You can do this by adding a new gadget to your sidebar in the "Layout" tab of your Blogger account. Use the HTML/Javascript gadget.

❤ The ad image for the ad needs to be hosted online somewhere, I use Photobucket. There are a few options for free and paid image hosting, so have a little poke around the interwebs and see what works for you.

This is the code you will need to display the ad, I've broken it into pieces for you:
This is the advertiser's URL
This will open the link to the advertiser's site in a new window, so that your blog remains open too!
Read more about nofollow tags here, especially important if you are selling ads
This is the URL of your image, which is hosted on Photobucket, Flickr or similar.

You simply need to repeat that same set of code, one after the other, for each ad space. Then, set up a spreadsheet, calendar reminder, or similar system to help you keep track of durations, payments, ad rotations and the like. Unless you have some kind of super-memory!
I hope that helps you out, if you're looking at setting up your own ads from September 1. If you'd like to try Passionfruit, or sign up to the new plan, I have two FIVE (!) one year subscriptions valued at $50 each to give away to some lucky readers! All you need to do is leave a comment below letting us know what will do with all of your spare time saved by using Passionfruit Ads.
Limit one entry per person. If you have already paid for a membership, you can still enter, and if you win, you will be refunded for your paid membership.

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