How you can evaluate and improve your site’s strategy and user experience with an eye toward long-term gains:
1. Boot spam comments from your site
Did you know that spam comments can lead to Google flagging your site for questionable content, which could impact your long-term ability to earn money on your ads? Even though YOU are producing high quality, family-friendly content, one spam comment loaded with unsavory words (even in another language!) can trigger those red flags.
We recommend installing a spam filter (like Akismet) and being extremely careful with the comments you approve on your site. Be ruthless about deleting any comments that don’t seem directly related to your post, or comments that are in a language you don’t understand. It’s always better to be safe than sorry with the content you choose to approve on your site!
2. Keep an eye out for sneaky ads that undermine your hard work
Although we don’t require exclusivity on the ads on your site, we do have a word of warning on running ads from other sources -- AdThrive’s ads adhere to strict quality standards and operate within our special technology to prevent malicious redirects, but ads from other sources can open your site up to potential vulnerabilities and undermine your site’s reputation with advertisers. Even though your AdThrive ads comply with all of Google’s best practices, other ads on your site may be sabotaging those efforts.
From related post or content exchange widgets: Some seriously sketchy ads can sneak onto your site through related post or content exchange widgets (like content.ad or taboola). Even though these types of widgets can seem like a great idea for boosting traffic or bringing in some extra ad income, they may actually be hurting your site in the long run if they involve sharing links to questionable sources or running objectionable ad content.
We’ve seen Facebook filter links to pages containing this type of ad content from the News Feed, and Google refuse to run ads because of suggestive content -- all from one tiny ad unit, rather than anything include in the page content itself! We strongly suggest removing/replacing those widgets or turning off their monetization options to avoid having these types of ads on your site.
From plugins: We’ve also seen social sharing, recipe, and commenting plugins sneak their own ads onto your site and make it hard to find the setting to turn them off. Check the “advanced” or “monetization” settings within plugins to make sure you’re not unintentionally running ads from those sources.
3. Evaluate and improve the user experience on your site
Remember: engaged readers are your ideal readers. By spending time on your site, they tell Google and advertisers that your site is valuable real estate! You want to set up your site in a way that encourages readers to stick around - and you definitely don’t want to have anything on your site that actively chases them away.
We recommend experiencing your site the same way a new reader would by opening your site in an incognito window on your desktop, then doing the same thing on your phone.
Pay extra attention to the reader experience on mobile: that’s how the majority of readers are likely interacting with your site! Minor annoyances on desktop can be major roadblocks for mobile viewers.
- Open a new tab in a Chrome incognito window. (Incognito mode lets you visit your site like a brand new visitor.)
- Right-click somewhere on the page and click “Inspect.”
- Click the “device mode” button to turn it on. (Click here to see what that little toggle button looks like.)
- Click on the “responsive” drop-down and choose the device you’d like to emulate. (Click here to see what that drop-down looks like.)
- Finally, navigate to your URL to see what your site looks like on that device.
These tend to be the hot-button elements that readers complain about the most frequently:
- Over-pagination - having to click too many times to finish reading one post. Readers tend to drop off, and advertisers bid less for each successive pageview, so a paginated post may not earn as well as an engaging, optimized long-form post.
- Pop-ups - especially if the pop-up is not easy to close (it’s good to check this on multiple mobile devices) or if there is more than one on a page. It’s a good idea to make sure that any newsletter opt-ins, social media pop-ups or other extra widgets you use on your site conform to the standards laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads.
- Too many ads - affiliate banners, Amazon widgets, and newsletter subscription boxes are all different types of ads - even if they are advertising your own content. Any ad on your site should be bringing significant value to the table, so we’d suggest evaluating these other ad sources to make sure they are worth the space on your site. Your AdThrive ad layout is already optimized, so we’ve got you covered there!
Consider the desired user path on each page of your site. Where do you want the reader to go next? Do you want them to buy something? Subscribe to your newsletter? Leave your site for Facebook or head to Pinterest? Visit more pages on your site? Give your readers ONE clear path to your desired outcome.
How AdThrive is Playing the Long Game on your Behalf
- We’re incredibly selective about the quality of sites we accept, and have the highest traffic and content standards in the industry. We turn down 3 out of 4 sites that apply for our network. If you’re here, it’s because you’re contributing to the internet in a positive way. We’d rather each of you earn max income than have masses of low-quality sites in our network bringing down the value of your ads.
- We’ve never offered invasive ad types like pop-ups, even when all the other networks were pushing them hard for the short-term benefits.
- We run light, reader-friendly ad layouts. Instead of going for the maximum ad density permitted by the Better Ad Standards, we're maintaining conservative spacing for your content ads so there's never more than one on screen at a time, and setting hard maximums on the number of ads that can appear on even your longest posts. We make sure your most loyal, engaged readers don’t have the poorest ad experience. A light ad layout also means scarcity, which is increasing competition for your ads and driving up RPMs!
- Our team is constantly watching the performance, viewability, and value of every ad unit in your layout. We proactively remove ads from AdThrive sites every day if they no longer bring value to the ad layout as a whole.