How to Make Your Site More Advertiser Friendly—and Make More Money

Sep 27, 2010

One of our favorite things to do here at Lijit is to serve premium advertising on our publishers’ websites.  While we like to serve as many premium ads to our publishers as possible, there are sometimes reasons why advertisers won’t advertise on a website.  We wanted to pass along some of the things we’ve learned about how you can remove these roadblocks and make your website more advertiser friendly—and make more money!

Content

The first thing an advertiser looks at when deciding whether or not to advertise on a website is the quality of content.  Quality content generally means engaging text, images, and video excluding nudity, profanity, or indecency.  Most are looking for websites with content suited for all audiences.  It’s not to say that you shouldn’t take a stand about things or be opinionated—just try not to be inappropriate or offensive.  Even dated content can come up in a search and prevent us from advertising on your site.  Improving content from top to bottom is the first and most important thing you should be thinking about if you want to make money as a publisher.

Ad Tag Location

If you are thinking about where to install your Lijit ad tag on your website, install it above the fold. This isn’t always possible with varying website designs, widgets, and images.  But if you have the option, or are going through a redesign sometime soon, keep this in mind.  After content, the second question advertisers like to ask is where their ad will be served on the site.  Oftentimes, the only answer they will accept is “above the fold.”  Above the fold ad tags make it a lot easier for us to sell your ad space and make you money.

No Exclusive Contracts

When you use our ad services, you don’t have to sign any exclusive agreements or binding contracts.  You can use us for advertising and concurrently work with any other advertising network you would like to.  However, if you work with an advertiser who does make you sign an exclusive agreement, we are then limited from providing you ad services or helping you optimize your revenue by integrating with other open networks.  If a goal of yours is to make more money, you can be far more strategic by avoiding exclusive contracts.  And if you have quality content and growing readership, signing an exclusive agreement is something you should avoid.  If you have an exclusive agreement you could be getting paid the same thing for a whole year even if your traffic doubles.

Increase US Traffic

While we have plenty of awesome international publishers, it’s still very difficult to monetize international traffic.  By far, the US has the largest advertising spend in the world.  As such, US internet traffic is really the only traffic that our premium advertisers want to see.  So if you are trying to make more advertising money, just keep in mind, it’s not total page views that count—it’s US page views.

Privacy Policy

Have a privacy policy.  As a Lijit Publisher you agree to post a Privacy Policy on your homepage at a minimum.  To really do it right, this policy should have a hyperlink back to the opt-out policies of anyone who advertises on your site (you can find Lijit’s here and many more at NAI).  A good privacy policy and opt-out clause just means that your readers can opt-out from passing along cookies and other information to third parties when visiting your website if they so choose.  You can build an industry standard Privacy Policy at http://www.bbbonline.org/UnderstandingPrivacy/PMRC/createpolicy.asp.  It’s a small thing you can do that won’t change your site besides a small link at the bottom, but it will help you to be more appealing to advertisers and make more money.

These are just some things we have learned from our advertising partners about how they spend their money.  Let us know if you can think of anything else!

New Search, New Site, More Value

Sep 16, 2010

We just finished releasing one of our most ambitious software and product updates since Lijit started serving search results for bloggers back in 2006. In a relatively short amount of time we were able to create exciting new features and functionality , and completely refresh the look and feel of our website. From the features and functionality perspective we have a ton of great stuff to show off.

The New Lijit Search

Our search product has always led the industry when it comes to exposing your content to your readers and helping to show them all of the things you create online (photos, videos, status updates, and more) . In our latest update we’ve made it even easier to share who you are with your audience. We are slowly rolling these great new features out to our publisher base right now. If you aren’t seeing it yet, don’t worry, we’ll be making these features available to everyone soon.

  • Social Media Content Integrations
    • Twitter
      • Show recent “tweets” as well as including your real-time status updates.

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    • Facebook
      • Share your Facebook status updates and photos in your results

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    • Photos
      • View your flickr photos and see full size image previews inside your search results

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    • Videos
      • Share your YouTube videos and watch them inside your search results.

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  • Dig In
    • One of the greatest things about these new integrations is the ability to search for more within the different types of content. If you want to see all of the flickr results for a particular search term, you can click “More Photo Results” to see all of the photos associated to a search term. This applies to all of the new content integrations we rolled out.
  • Lijit “Picks”
    • This new search tab will now be available to all of our users. The “Picks” tab gives your readers a summary of the top search results for every part of your Lijit Search engine. It shows results from your site, your online content, as well as your extended network, all on one page!
  • New Look and Feel
    • We rewrote the search results pages from the ground up. This means better looking and faster loading results.
  • Try it out
    • Watch your “Wijits” page over the coming weeks. If you see an option for “New Lijit Search”, click the button, give it a try, and tell us what you think.

The New Lijit Website

As you may have already noticed, we completely updated the look and feel of the Lijit website. It can often  be hard to tell your story and present it in an engaging way, but we think we nailed it with our recent updates.

Check out our new publisher pages to learn more about what Lijit can do to help you better understand and engage your readers and how we can help you make money in the process.

Are you a marketer or advertiser? Check out our advertising section to learn about how Lijit can help you get your message to the right audience, in the right context , and at the right time.

New in this release

We did a lot  to bring our publishers value in this software release. Check out more of the highlights.

Viglink Stats Integration-

Viglink not only provides great stats about what people are clicking on and how they are leaving your site, but they also provide you the ability to monetize affiliate links on your site. Want to try it out? Just visit the “Readers” tab in your stats dashboard and enable it in the “Top Outbound Clicks” module. Want to make money from your affiliate links? Click the “Start Earning a Commision” button to signup with Viglink and start monetizing affiliate links on your site. It’s quick and makes it easy to amnage all of your affiliate relationships in one place.

Did you Mean?

We added a spellchecking feature to search results to help in those situations where you get a misspelled search term. Typos in your search box can now turn into opportunities to give your readers what they were really looking for.

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There was a lot of other stuff we did also did behind the scenes to make our products better, faster, and more scalable. This software update was a huge one for us, and hopefully will be for you too. As always, we thrive on feedback from our publishers. Let us know what you like, what you don’t like, or what you want to see next.

Publisher Spotlight: CatalogLiving.net

Sep 16, 2010

You may know Molly Erdman from those awesome Sonic commercials or her involvement in the Second City Comedy Troup, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out, thanks 100% to my mom (yes, I am unabashed about that), that Ms. Erdman is the mind behind CatalogLiving.net.

The site, an ode to the absurdity of mail-order catalog presentations, follows the lives of Gary and Elaine, their children and their friends, as they try to cope with why there are so many lemons in that bowl and Gary misunderstanding what Elaine meant by “putting the chairs anywhere.”

Get to know more about Molly Erdman… Read the rest of this entry »

BlogPaws WEST 2010 Recap

Sep 15, 2010

This past weekend, from Thursday, September 9th to Saturday September 11th Lijit was a sponsor, attendee and presenter at BlogPaws WEST 2010.

We had never attended a pet blogging conference before and it turned out to be an incredible experience. The pet blogging community is relatively *new* but I was thoroughly impressed with the level of interaction, engagement and interest in becoming a better blogger, giving back to causes, shelters and animal welfare groups (as part of their blogging initiative) and the amount of passion that goes into what they do.

As I blogged about last week, prior to the conference, the event was held at the Denver Grand Hyatt, a pet friendly hotel. We ran into dogs, cats (in their own strollers), parrots and ferrets that were along for the ride, with their owners. The event was very well-planned, I noticed no scheduling issue and everyone was so amicable. I felt relaxed the entire conference (if you go to conferences, you might realize this isn’t a common feeling).

During my session everyone had great questions! It was fun to interact with bloggers, learn about what is important to them and demo what Lijit does, the stats that help you understand your readers, our custom search and the advertising opportunities we provide for all our publishers. They were particularly excited because we do not have a page view cutoff and we’re extremely inclusive for publishers wanting to test our advertising (or the long tail, no pun intended)!

Read the rest of this entry »

Discover amazing products and earn money with OpenSky!

Sep 10, 2010

We wanted to take a moment to introduce our publishers to OpenSky, a new and free platform that allows you to sell products you choose directly to your audience.  Like Lijit, OpenSky helps you deepen your relationship with your readers.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Browse their catalog to discover products you’ve never seen or look for old favorites.
  • Select which products you want to feature.
  • Connect with suppliers to ask about discounts or free samples.
  • Sell products on your site.
  • (Or buy any product for yourself at a special insider’s price.)

For every sale you make, OpenSky splits the profits, 50/50. Plus, once a sale is made, you don’t have to do any work. OpenSky takes care of all the order processing, fulfillment and customer service.

OpenSky is free and easy to use. Take a test drive… join today and start selling in less than 5 minutes.

Get To Know Lijit: Kelly Mathyssen

Sep 9, 2010

Kelly is one of our Sales Directors (we have Sales Directors across every major geographical area in the U.S.) and she resides in San Francisco. Besides bringing sweet advertising campaigns to our publishers and a varied taste in delicious vino, you might be surprised to know Kelly has dabbled in Opera! Read on to learn about Kelly…

What is your Lijit contribution?

I am the Pacific Northwest Sales Director; I try to get people to give us money.

Kelly, at a bakery in Egypt

What is your least favorite word and why?

Irregardless – but it’s actually not even a word, so I’m not sure if that counts.

What is your favorite sound and why?

The high pitched squeals, gibberish and cooing of our 8 month old son. It’s fairly obvious why, but I’ll articulate it by saying it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Kelly’s feet and her adorable son, Wyatt

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt and why?

Well, I’ve already given that whole “opera singer” thing a try when I lived in New York. This may sound boring, but I have toyed with the idea of re-purposing my voice degrees to become a speech therapist. I’m fascinated with how we learn to speak and how we manipulate the sounds we’re capable of producing. But, that would require 3-5 years of school. No thanks!!

Something you’re guilty of…

I’m definitely guilty of watching too much Rachel Zoe Project. It’s my embarrassing confession. But, to my credit, I don’t watch any of the bachelor/bachelorette, housewives or wherever, amazing races, or big brother shows. Rachel Zoe and anything on HGTV or DIY are pretty much the only reality shows I watch.

Kelly and her husband, Lance

Sneak Preview

Sep 7, 2010

Things have been quiet on the Lijit product front for a while, but only because we’ve been working tirelessly to build new features and functionality that make Lijit Search even better. We are pretty excited about what we’re building and wanted to give everyone a sneak peek at what has been taking up our time and our coffee budget. Our latest features will help you better engage your readers by presenting your social content in exciting new ways (media thumbnails, real time status, tighter social network integrations…just look at the image below.). Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we start rolling out tools that will help you become a better publisher, and help your readers better engage with your content.

Lijit Is Sponsoring BlogPaws 2010 WEST

Sep 7, 2010

Can you imagine a conference, devoted to animal and pet lovers who also blog? Everyone has their dear pet in tow (on a leash, in their arms, by their side, etc.). This devoted and niche community is larger than you might think and will be coming to Denver, this weekend, September 9-11th: BlogPaws 2010 West – “the gathering place for pet bloggers for networking, learning, and fun!” And yes, you better believe that the Denver Hyatt is a pet-friendly hotel where BlogPaws is hosted. Pets are encouraged!

Not only is Lijit a proud sponsor of BlogPaws WEST, but I will be speaking in our own breakout session during the conference called–> Hands-on Blogging Tools Workshop: Using Lijit for Search and Monetization.

The lovely BlogPaws team is comprised of three passionate and dedicated pet lovers and bloggers – Caroline Golon of Romeothecat.com and Yvonne Divita and Tom Collins of Scratchings and Sniffings and Windsor Media Enterprises.

Thy have built their educational community as:

An online resource for pet bloggers to help you be a better blogger, whatever “being a better blogger” means to YOU. So whether you are blogging for fun, to raise money or on behalf of a company or organization, BlogPaws is your go-to place.

BlogPaws WEST is the second event for the BlogPaws team (their inaugural was in April of this year, BlogPaws (Columbus) with 200+ pet bloggers) and they only see the community and events growing each year.

If you’re interested in the event (quick, there’s still time to sign-up) it’s chalk full of sessions on: branding, SEO, social media strategies, book publishing in a digital world, product reviews, writing essentials and much more. You can check out the conference schedule and sessions here.

The community at large, of BlogPaws is one that you can always follow through Twitter (@blogpaws), Facebook or their blog for educational tips to navigate the pet blogging world and leverage other friends in the same space.

As Yvonne (co-founder) has said to me when she signs off in her e-mails I will leave you with with some pet lingo:

“WOOF, WOOF,” and “BOL” (barking out loud) :)

*Stay tuned for a post-conference event blog post.

New referral program for Lijit publishers!

Sep 1, 2010

Here at Lijit we get asked all the time whether we have a referral program that rewards our publishers for helping us grow the Lijit Network. Well, we finally have one and we would love to tell you more about it!

In a nutshell, the Lijit referral program provides monetary compensation, marketing support, cool Lijit schwag and other incentives for letting us tap into your network of peers. You’ve already seen the benefits of Lijit’s free site search and content discovery tools so why not get paid for spreading the word?

Publishers interested in the program should contact their Lijit Publisher Services Manager or Sonya Caprio, Director of Marketing: sonya@lijit.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The future of search

Aug 31, 2010

Seems like every day I see another article talking about the “Future of Search”. In every article “Search” refers almost exclusively to the Reader (you and me) and how we use Search. Nearly everything anyone has to say about Search seems to always relate back to the reader:

  • What am I looking for?
  • Did I find it or not?
  • Was it presented to me in a unique and compelling way?
  • Is my location taken into account?
  • My social network taken into account?
  • Images? Video? Audio? Were they also available?
  • How about maps? Or discount coupons?
  • Did the Search learn from my prior searches or click behavior?
  • Is anything going to unseat Google as the dominant search engine?

The problem is that this Reader-centric equation is only half of what Search really is. In a literal sea of websites that are NOT Google, Bing, Yahoo!, eBay, or YouTube there is incredible value in Search that appeals to the Publishers of those millions of websites.

Think about it from a Publisher point of view. Search is a powerful insight into the intent of an audience of readers. In fact, site search on all of these millions of websites is largely an afterthought. That’s crazy when you think that a little search box on your site is the place where your readers assert direct and explicit intent against your content. Search is perhaps the most interactive and data-rich portion of your site and it’s also one of the most overlooked.

  • What are my Readers looking for?
  • What are they finding? What are they not finding?
  • Are they clicking on my site content, my Twitter content? My other sites?
  • Do they engage with intent on my site? Or simply read and exit?
  • Do they see and interact with results from my social media?
  • Do they gravitate to other media content like photos, videos, audio?
  • Do I show them related content from my network of sites? And if so, how often do they click through to those sites?

The points above illustrate incredible Publisher-centric information captured from the intent of your audience. The amazing part? Lijit is the only company tackling this Publisher-side value equation with Search. We do it for free, with easy customization, with no restrictive obligations, and no exclusive contracts. We focus 100% on Publisher-side value that helps these Publishers engage and better understand their audience of readers. We feed this data back to our Publishers through real-time actionable analytics. Oh… and if our Publishers want us to make them more money, we do that too; with no restrictive obligations, and no exclusive contracts. Does it get any better than that?