We know things are constantly shifting in the world of online publishing and there’s A LOT to keep up with, especially when you’re wearing so many different hats running your business! It’s our whole team’s privilege to come alongside to support you and offer you so much more than just high-paying ads.
We’re here as your trail guides to help you navigate the tricky world of advertising and ad optimization — a whole team of experts at your fingertips who are eager to see you succeed and help as much as we can!
If you’re considering making significant changes to your site, we encourage you to take advantage of your handy AdThrive team’s expertise to keep your site, and of course, your ads, running smoothly. The changes you make to your site are ultimately up to you, but some changes can damage your ad performance and earnings (or even take your ads offline!) — so we’d love to work together as a team to make sure everything is working properly!
These are our most important tips for any major changes to your site:
- Give your AdThrive team a heads up BEFORE you make a major change! Submit a ticket here or drop us a line at email@example.com. We’d love to share any insight we have about how the change might affect your ads and our best tips for making it seamless and easy!
- Make changes during standard US business hours (M–F, 8–5 ET). We’d highly recommend scheduling any big changes to your site during these hours, so your AdThrive team is within easy reach for any questions or tweaks that need to be made to your ads.
Additionally, we’ve compiled a list of some common ad earning pitfalls — simple site changes that can end up having a big impact on your ads if your friendly AdThrive trail guides aren’t looped in. We recommend keeping these at the forefront of your mind if you are planning any changes to your site!
Common site changes with hidden hazards to your ad earnings:
1. Changing your domain/URL
Over the years, businesses change and evolve — we completely understand. The name you chose for your site a few years ago might not feel like a perfect fit anymore. The good news is that changing the name of your site doesn’t affect your ads!
However, changing the domain of your site will almost always have a negative impact on your ad earnings.
Your domain has a “reputation” with advertisers, that determines how they decide to pay for your ad placements. Advertisers learn to trust the traffic, content quality, and audience characteristics of that root domain. When you change your domain, it can be like starting from square one with advertisers who are familiar with your site and the history they have with your previous URL — even if you redirect all the traffic correctly.
When you change your root domain, it usually leads to an immediate drop in ad earnings. You can read more about that right here.
For some sites, changing your domain may be a bigger benefit in the long term than the immediate income drop, so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons for your specific business plan. We want you to do what’s best for your business, and if you need help making that decision, we’re happy to chat through that with you.
2. Moving to HTTPS
Moving from HTTP to HTTPS is not considered a domain change by advertisers (so don’t worry -- the previous section does not apply here!), and it’s a step we DO recommend for your site! You can read more about why it’s a great idea right here.
If the transition isn’t handled properly however, installing an SSL certificate for your site can have repercussions for your ads. A good host or developer can take care of it for you (or walk you through the process) to make sure you don’t run into any issues!
A few simple steps:
- Make sure your AdThrive Ads plugin is up to date, if you’re on WordPress. If you’re using a different platform, or aren’t using the AdThrive plugin, ask us to check that you’re using the latest head code. (Side note: it’s always safe to update your AdThrive Ads plugin and we recommend keeping it updated!)
- Work with your host or developer to make sure there are no mixed content errors, where your site references an HTTP resource. Whynopadlock.com/ is a good resource for making sure everything on your site is fully secure.
- Update your URL in Google Analytics and Google Search Console, so you’ll continue to see accurate reports from both sources.
- Send a quick message to your friendly AdThrive team so we can make sure everything looks good for your ads!
3. Redesigning your site layout
Site redesigns are always exciting! It’s a lot of work, but everyone loves a good makeover, right?
We have a few general tips for you to be aware of when making changes to your site’s theme or design. Be sure to share these with your designer when you’re crafting your new look!
- Dropdown menus: It’s against Google’s policies to have anything overlap or cover any of your ads, including dropdown menus, because that could lead to accidental ad clicks. Make sure that any dropdown menu options are clear of any ads, like header or sidebar ads.
- Sidebar spacing: We’ve found that the best paying sidebar setup is at least 300 pixels wide, so many different standard ad sizes can compete for your sidebar space. Also, shoot for a minimal number of sidebar widgets, so your sticky sidebar ad has plenty of room to scroll. We don’t recommend switching to a theme without sidebars (and consequently sidebar ads), as that can have a significant impact on your long-term ability to earn!
- Limit plugins as much as possible: A redesign is the perfect opportunity to replace plugins on your site with functionality coded into your theme. It’s worth going through your plugins with your developer to see what “savings” might be available!
Your AdThrive ads look for certain elements in your site’s HTML and CSS so they know where to display. This lets us easily make tweaks to your ad layout without needing to make changes to the code on your site!
However, if any of the elements we’re targeting change due to a new design, theme, or plugin, there might not be anything prompting your ads to display. Let us know whenever you unveil a new look or change this around — we’ll make sure all your ads are loading where they should!
- Recipe plugin: If you’re running an AdThrive recipe ad and you switch to a new recipe plugin, we’ll need to make a few quick changes on our end to make sure it displays in your new recipe plugin as well.
- Post formatting: Changes to the formatting of your posts can affect your ad earnings on multiple fronts. Plugins that paginate or create slideshows (like the Theia Post Slider) can wrap your content in a special class. In order for your content ads to display properly, we’ll probably need to make a few tweaks. Additionally, if your posts are suddenly much shorter than they were before, it can impact your ads’ viewability, and consequently earnings.
4. Editing your ads.txt file
Ads.txt is a text file that lives on your site and lists the ad networks that are authorized to sell your site’s ad spaces (i.e. all of the ad partners we work with, like Google). This helps keep unauthorized advertisers from buying ad spaces on your site and prevents sketchy middlemen from representing their site as your site and potentially hurting your site’s reputation with advertisers.
We’re happy to take care of your ads.txt file so you don’t need to worry about it!
- If you’re on Wordpress, your AdThrive Ads plugin takes care of adding ads.txt to your site, and our regular plugin updates also include updates for ads.txt.
- If you’re not on Wordpress or have a unique hosting setup, our team works with you to make sure your ads.txt file is always up to date.
Important: Editing your ads.txt file can prevent your ads from working properly.
To keep your ads earning at full strength, you want to be running an up-to-date ads.txt file that includes all our premium buyers. Please don’t make any changes to your ads.txt file without consulting our team! We’re always happy to help with any changes or adjustments that are needed to ensure your ads are working as they should.
If you’ve previously run other ad networks, like AdSense, you may receive an automated notification from them about making adjustments to your ads.txt file. You’re welcome to forward any of these emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure your ads.txt file includes any necessary entries.
5. Changing Google Analytics implementation
We recommend the old school, tried-and-true method of installing Google Analytics on your site by placing the code inside the <head> section of your site, because we’ve found it to be the most accurate way to track pageviews!
Google Analytics never affects your ad earnings — your ads have their own built-in analytics based on impressions — but it does affect how we track and report your ad performance, so it’s important to make sure Analytics is accurate.
Remember, your RPM is a simple breakdown of your ad earnings per 1000 pageviews:
(Ad earnings ÷ pageviews)*1000 = RPM
If those pageviews aren’t reporting correctly, then the calculation will be off. For example, if your Analytics isn’t recording every pageview to your site, your RPM can look higher than it actually is. On the other hand, if your Analytics code is installed twice, it will report double your actual pageviews, and your RPM will look much lower as a result.
If you make any changes to the way Google Analytics is installed on your site (moving the code, changing themes, switching Analytics plugins, adding additional tracking or other Analytics codes), let us know so we can double check that everything is tracking correctly for your ads!
Anytime you’re considering a major change to your site structure or design, take advantage of your AdThrive team’s skill and savvy. We’ve got your back and we’re always happy to weigh in and help you understand any impact those changes might have on your ads!