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You know how I feel about freelance writers adding revenue streams beyond just client work--I consider it almost essential. Well one common income stream writers rely on is bloggingg. There have always been several ways to monetize blogs. For example:

  • Contextual ads (like Adsense or YPN)
  • Affiliate links (such as through product reviews)
  • Private ad sales (like banner advertising)
  • Selling your own product through the blog (like an e-book)

While having your own product to sell often brings in the highest returns, not all bloggers have that (yet). Private ad sales can take a lot of work and time (you need decent stats to build decent ad revenue this way). So many bloggers turn to contextual ads or affiliate links, or a combination of the two.

Personally, I've gotten more clicks generally through contextual ads, but higher overall returns from affiliate links. Wouldn't it be great if you could combine the two? Well now you can--sort of.

Clickbank announced a new advertising tool to publishers a while back. I remember reading that and not being able to wait for the platform to actually launch on the affiliate side (for bloggers and other Web publishers to use). Sadly, I completely missed the announcement last month and only just found out about it. Regardless, I wanted to share it with those of you who may not have heard about it yet.

ClickBank's HopAd Builder

I've started using the HopAd builder here on All Freelance Writing. Here's an example:

They look a lot like ads from the contextual ad networks, no? I'm hoping the click-throughs will be similar. The real difference is that they're not actually contextual. Instead, you tell them what keywords you want the ads based on, and it will cycle through ads on each page load that tie to that keyword.

The good thing is that you can choose different keywords for each post or keep them the same for the whole blog. The bad thing is that you have to target yourself instead of it happening automatically as you may be used to.

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There is one odd thing I'll mention before getting into the bigger benefit. It seems the tool is still going through some changes. About two days ago when I setup the AFW ad units, you couldn't control the border color (I had to manually find a way to remove it), and it did have an "Ads by Clickbank" note above the block for transparency (you could change it to "Advertisements" or whatever you wanted). Now that title option is gone, but they do have a border control option. Silly. I can manually add the titles I guess, but I'm going to wait about a week to see if they straighten out the options to include it in the actual formatting again. If not, then I'll do it manually.

OK. Now to the interesting part. The type of ad I'm using here isn't the only type you can create. Sure, you can create banners, skyscrapers, and all that jazz, but you can also create multi-keyword, tabbed ads as so:

Sadly with this ad option, you currently can't change the colors. Despite that (and I'd be surprised if that didn't change in time), these ads are remarkably customizable. In that sense, they put contextual ad networks to shame. For example, you can:

  • Choose from several pre-determined ad sizes
  • Create your own custom ad size (wonderful if you have an odd space you want to monetize)
  • Change your font sizes to match your site
  • Change the font itself
  • Choose how many ads will appear (so in the tabbed version for example, you could have ten ads per tab)

Overall, I'm loving the tool. I removed Adsense from most of my sites a while back and have turned to Clickbank as one of the tools that are helping to get earnings back on track. I'm hoping these ad units continue the upward trends. I plan to start substituting all of the YPN ads on my business blog out to be replaced by these over the next few days actually.

Anyway, I hope this was actually still new for someone, and I'd love to hear your experiences using the ad units either in place of manual affiliate links or in conjunction with them.

Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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