Best Blogging Theme for Maximum Revenue?

What do people think is the preferred layout for maximizing adsense revenue for:

  • a blog’s home page
  • an individual post page
  • archive and category pages

We’ve got 3 ad units and 1 link unit available for use per page. Is it best to utilize them all, or will that be ad overload and cause you to lose viewship? And which ad units work best for you guys? Have you found link units to be effective, as well?

Which blogs that you’ve come across do you think have the best layouts for maximizing their adsense income?

Which of the 615+ wordpress themes that are out there are best suited for both SEO purposes, easy to read for the viewer, and maximized revenue (assuming that you insert your adsense code into the themes, of course). (check out the wordpress theme viewer to see a sizeable number of them demo’d). Which of those themes can be best monetized?

And lastly, where does everyone stand on the ‘ads blending into the site vs standing out’ controversy?

I look forward to reading people’s responses to my numerous questions 🙂

17 thoughts on “Best Blogging Theme for Maximum Revenue?

  1. Personally, I like to use them all. I recently re-designed the ad layouts in my blog and wound up with the following:
    On the main page, static ‘pages’, and archive pages, I have a links unit directly under my header (looks like it was “meant” to be there, heh). I have a half banner (468×90) on the top, above content. Between the fifth and sixth posts, I have another half banner. On the right sidebar (three column theme), I have a wide skyscraper (160×600).

    On the individual post pages, I have:
    Link unit (same place as above)
    Medium Rectangle (inline with content. At top left of post text, text wraps around it)
    Verticle Banner (to right of comments).

    I’ll likely eventually move one from each layout (the worst performer).

  2. I did try a 160-width skyscraper there for a while, but it’s pretty much indistinguishable from a left column, which I think people are much better at ignoring. I think the rectangle’s more effective, though I probably wouldn’t do it if I had to show that to our ‘best’ users too.

  3. Ok, now I get it. Clever solution as for me The idea of bothering anonymous guys more, than your permanent users sounds interesting also.

    Pigpoqm, I wonder if you experimented with a different types of the top-left ad of this kind. Is it so, that user ignore skyscrapers, because they look almost like a separate ad-sidebar, that users learned to ignore?

  4. Hi Artem – I guess it’s highly relevant if it’s requested, and the powers that be can always edit or delete if they don’t think it is.

    When I say ‘floating’, I mean as in using the CSS ‘float: left;’ rather than it being over the top of any content.

    Just go to PigPog and click on any article to see the rectangle. I’ve seen similar things done in other places. It’s more commonly floated on the right (I think ProBlogger has one like that) but I found the left was much more effective. I guess it’s right where people start looking for the beginning of the text, so they *see* the ads, which is half the battle. As I said, once a user logs in, that one gets changed to a tiny single-ad rectangle that floats on the right, so it’s out of the way.

    It doesn’t obscure any content – just left aligned in a div that floats on the left.

    The most recent post that has a couple of examples of the ads in the middle of the article is the deviantART review. Those get replaced with an assortment of different ads in order – an AdSense first, then an Amazon, then another AdSense, then more Amazon and Chitika units. It’s rare, though, for a post to be long enough to justify having more than two or three of these, and as I mentioned above, the click through rates on these are really quite low. I try to use them mainly where there’s a natural break in an article – usually just before a heading.

  5. pigpogm, could you post a link (or PM to me) to your site? I can’t get how your floating rectangle works. Is it overlapping the site content?

    Demoing themes is dropping “links highly relevant to the topic”, isn’t it?

  6. I’m using a large floating rectangle in the top left of the content, and other units replacing manually inserted tags in the middle of posts – so I can control where they appear and only put them in long articles.

    There’s no ads at all on index and ‘navigation’ pages, and removing them didn’t seem to lose me any clicks.

    By far the majority of the clicks are on the floating rectangle at the top – the ads in the middle of the posts get very few. I’m using a two column layout (similar to Performancing, really) – it’s Drupal’s default theme, just not putting anything in the left sidebar. Ads in the sidebars never really worked for us.

    The floating rectangle is a bit on the intrusive side, but it shrinks and moves over to the right for logged-in users, so it acts as an incentive for people to sign up too.

  7. I just recently redesigned my political blog from a well known WordPress theme (kubrick anyone?), giving the site a unique look and feel.

    I placed text units on top of the individual posts and peppered ad units either wrapped in the post content or at the beginning or end of the comments. I also have referral links placed in the sidebar.

    My question is would I be better suited with a three column layout? I’m not sure if this would work well or not. Have you noticed higher CTR with a dedicated left column for ads?

  8. I think it is unlikely unless you have gone WAY over the top. Give it a while before jumping into changing things

  9. Chris – I didn’t mean the theme itself, but the placement and choice of ads, as well as the number of them – could it be possible that Google finds the layout of that theme’s adsense ads spammy? Because the content’s not.

  10. I dont think a theme can affect your PR, a coincidence I think. Testing isn’t really a matter of time rather than a significant number of page views. Don’t make decisions until you can safely draw conclusions, over 1000 preferably

  11. Thanks everyone for all of the great responses!

    I’ve read a lot of adsense hype, so it’s nice to hear from some folks about their ‘real-world’ experiences.

    One of the things that has been suggested many a time is having the ad be embedded within the top right corner of your content, with the remainder of your text wrapping around it. It’s a method that’s utilized by Lockergnome – they’ve actually got two large rectangle ads on top of each other in the upper right corner of each individual entry, each of which is the center of a 3-column layout (as many of you have recommended). Have any performancing folks tried this tactic for themselves?

    Test test test — yes, I fully agree. What timeframe do you usually set aside for each comparative test run of ad layouts for a particular website to best be able to accurately track conversions (in this case, clicks)?

    A few days ago I switched the theme on one of my wordpress blogs, which had a PageRank of 5, to test out Tim Yang’s Problogger Clean Theme for WordPress, and noticed last night that the site suddenly dropped to PR 0!

    This has me nervous about whether one’s use and placement of adsense ads, which I had running on that particular site for several months during which I maintained my PR 5 could actually hurt your rankings in the search engines. I have not made any changes to the site in question other than switch WP themes, so the sudden PR drop has me concerned. Has anyone else ever experienced a similar scenario?

  12. I get about 80% on my left-hand skyscraper, 20% on my top of the column two ad unit header, and just one solitary click on my third ad unit that I place at either the foot of a single article page, under the comments box, or after the third article on multiple article pages.

  13. I have found ads units at the top of each post to perform best for my blogs so far. However, I haven’t tested left column ads too much. At some point I need to give them a longer test run. I am very happy with the performance of in content ads, especially on my wife’s olympic blog.

    Google’s adsense blog recently posted their suggestions on this topic:

    I like three columns better then 2. It gives you more room for advertising and navigation. At some point I need to convert all my blogs to three columns.

  14. Three columns, Graphical header and navigation, adsense in the left sidebar (standing out and changing colors), right sidebar for blogroll, links, imprint etc. … and optimized for 1024.

    • Ads on top are attractive but disturbing … I am thinking about a second graphical header … narrow and blended in … for ‘previous’ and ‘next’ navigation … and accompanied by ads. This might also work at the bottom.
    • Ads between Articles … I did not do it yet but I want to … but only for paid/manually chosen/targeted ads … not adsense!

    I can’t believe that adsense in the footer might work (bottom of article is different). Except it’s combined with a navigation footer (see above ‘second header’).

  15. I have created my own WP theme, which match the rest of site and forum content. I use Left ad, top ad and bottom ads. I have policy not to put ads between content. I strongly believe in my visitor’s royalty. Generally, top ads color is rotated every week via php script so fresh look helps. Moreover, yes text ads also offer little help.

  16. Hah, Don’t do what one blogger did and just copy problogger template!

    As Nick says, use the tools available to you.

    Personally I think you need to use a unique theme that fits with conventions but re-enforces your brand.

    I am a fan of three columns with a graphical header, that’s as far as it goes for me, after that whatever works. Big formats get high ctr but as I said in a previous post, I am starting to think I will sacrifice some clicks for the sake of blog quality.

  17. > Is it best to utilize them all, or will that be ad overload and cause you to lose viewship?

    Use ’em all but don’t crowd them together

    > And which ad units work best for you guys?

    Medium & large rectangles [near content], skys [on the left], and banners / leaderboards [at bottom of content].

    > Have you found link units to be effective, as well?

    Yes if cleverly implemented

    > Which blogs that you’ve come across do you think have the best layouts for maximizing their adsense income?

    My own 🙂

    > Which of those themes can be best monetized?

    This question is too far reaching…

    > And lastly, where does everyone stand on the ‘ads blending into the site vs standing out’ controversy?

    definitely blend, but don’t go so far as to blatantly cause confusion as to what’s an ad and what isn’t…

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