Web Lexicon

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Many websites make money by showing advertisements for other companies on the screen alongside their content. For some websites, this is the only way to monetize the content creator’s work because the market has made it impossible to charge for the content itself. For other websites, it is a supplement to other income-generating activities conducted via the website. Many websites are essentially advertisements themselves. This is especially true for brochure sites showcasing a single business or products sold by a single business. If you are building a website like this, you must tread carefully about implementing adverts, as they may dilute the core message of your website. You may be better off forgoing advertisements entirely.

The way most web advertisements work is by encouraging a web visitor to click on the advert. The advert is essentially a big link which directs the visitor to the advertiser’s website.

Web adverts come in a variety of types. They range from a small horizontal banner at the bottom of a page, to a full-page flyover ad that prevents visitors from clicking any other content until the ad has played. Generally speaking, the more intrusive an ad is, the more effective it is. This is a difficult balance to strike because if you make the ads too intrusive, visitors can get annoyed and leave your site or they may install programs which block ads on their web browser entirely. Adverts also increase the loading time of your web page; if you have too many, it can slow the load-speed to a crawl. You should also consider the different situations of mobile web users and PC users. A popup ad that doesn’t bother a visitor on a PC, can ruin the day of another visitor on a small phone screen.

To make any real money with advertising, you need to establish significant traffic. As a rough guide, you will need at least 1000 unique visitors to your website per day before you can make any real money. Any less than that and you should be focusing on building your audience. That means writing content, engaging on social media, optimising for search engines and so on. This is not a get rich quick scheme.

How do I advertise?

There are many ways to advertise on the web. If you have a direct relationship with companies that want to advertise on your website, you can place the ad manually as if it was any other content on your website. This requires a lot of manual intervention. There is a plethora of WordPress plugins to aid placement and management of web adverts. Arguably, the best one is the AdRotate plugin. A basic version is free and comes with all the features necessary to place a large variety of ads.

You can place ads automatically by using a variety of online systems (developed by advertising companies) that available for online sign up. The most popular and well known of these is Google AdSense. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to place some custom code into your website as directed by the ad company. Alternatively, there are often WordPress plugins to assist with implementing these systems. Other online advertisers include

If you are planning to advertise on your website, you should plan the website layout around it. For example, if you are going to have a sidebar where you intend to place adverts, make its width match the standard width of the ads you are planning to use.

Learn More

This is just a brief overview about web advertising. Read more about web advertising at the How Stuff Works web advertising series.

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