Owners of small sites will probably find it impossible to sell advertising space, but, advertising can be used for an equally profitable aim, increasing the number of visitors to your site. By using a advertising exchange your site can enjoy a great increase in the number of visitors, and hence potentially increase the sales of any products or services you are offering.
What is an exchange scheme – For a small site advertising space exchanges offer a far better deal than straight commercial advertising since they can be used to bring visitors to your site. In theory a advertising exchange simply means that your ad is shown on some participating sites whilst adverts from those sites are shown on yours.
On some non-profit advert exchanges the ratio of the number of ad displays you give away compared with the number you receive is set at 1:1. However, on commercial exchanges the ratio is usually 2:1. Commercial exchanges use this 2:1 ratio to allow them to add commercial adverts of their own, and this is where they make the money.
The mechanics of using an exchange scheme are quite simple. The exchange provides you with a small section of code which you insert into your web page and which will then insert a banner advert image uploaded from the exchange scheme’s server into that position on the web page. The code also allows the scheme’s administrators to keep a record of how many times banner advert have been displayed on your site, a number which will then be used to calculate how many times your banner will be displayed on other sites.
The schemes usually offer you a choice of using one of a number of standard banner ads which they can offer or of simply using a link to a banner ad image file stored on your server. This latter method does, of course, mean that you will have to design your own banner ads, see the article on ad design.
The statistics produced by such exchange ad schemes can be very useful since they allow you to analyse where your site’s visitors are coming from, and what they are interested in. These figures will also allow you to more accurately target your advertising to ensure that your ads only appear on the right types of sites and that your site only carries suitable adverts.
However, there is one thing which must always be remembered with online advertising, whether commercial, or through a banner exchange, the response you get will only be as good as your advert. If you are going to advertise then it is well worth spending time and money making sure that your advert not only looks professional but also inspires people to click on it and visit your site.