Baseball Toaster Fairpole
Designs for Ads?
2005-08-09 15:37
by Ken Arneson

Hey folks,

We're gonna be (finally) making some changes here at the Toaster pretty soon. Among other things, we're going to put up a few ads to see if we can make some money.

I'm having a little trouble, though, designing the pages. If I make the pages look nice, the ads aren't noticeable. If I make the ads noticeable, the page looks like crap.

So what I'm looking for right now are some examples. Do you know of any well-designed blogs with noticeable ads?

2005-08-09 16:20:47
1.   HomeDePo
Ken: It is more of a chat room but Yahoo!'s Fantasy Baseball Leaderboard looks OK. It is kind of hard to make a good-looking add.
2005-08-09 16:21:54
2.   Yakface
You might want to try one of those click to continue ad's, or try they have adds on the sides that are a little over done but not total crap.
2005-08-09 16:22:29
3.   Yakface
try they have a click to continue add that isnt all that annoying.
2005-08-09 16:22:35
4.   Mark

An idea for adding a Google text ad box would be between the "Hot from the Toaster" and "Members" section. In order to make it stand out a bit, you can drop it into a div with a lighter background color/border, sort of like the "Pardon Our Crumbs" section but a different color.

Text ads are the way to go-- graphic banners won't look good under any circumstances, considering most of the pages are all text anyways.

2005-08-09 16:26:31
5.   HomeDePo
go to they always have an add between the articles and you could put your adds between messages. the push to continue thing is good too.
2005-08-09 16:28:04
6.   Xeifrank
A few Qs:

1. Are all Baseball toaster blogs required to use the same blog design and ad design?

2. Don't mind ads as long as they aren't popups and don't slow down the site. There is already a noticeable delay after hitting the submit button when adding a new comment sometimes.

3. Good luck with the ads, you guys deserve to make some $$$. Have you considered selling merchandise? T-Shirts, hats, etc..., I'm sure your loyal viewers would help out in that area.

vr, Xei

2005-08-09 16:38:30
7.   Jim Hitchcock
Disagree wholeheartedly about the click to continue ads; they're every bit as annoying as popups.

Might want to check out the book ads at The sight has a similiar layout to this, with the exception of an additional sidebar...something that is probably inevitable if you want to add ads.

2005-08-09 16:45:44
8.   JSN
I could live with a sidebar on the left like at Athletic Nation or an ad in between main posts. However, as weird as it may sound to some I'd almost rather pay some sort of annual fee to keep the site clean. It would have to be structured so that newcomers could access the site for a limited amount of time, or lurk without paying or something. 2 cents of mine.
2005-08-09 16:49:28
9.   dzzrtRatt
There's a lot of white space on this site, and your type font is huge. Why not just maintain the basic design, but shrink everything down by, say, 20 percent to create a leftside column that would be available for advertisers. Most other blogs I read have fonts 2/3 to 1/2 your size, and they're quite readable.
2005-08-09 16:55:36
10.   Loogy
Agree with #7 on "click to continue" ads. I just want to get to the article or comment and are more annoying than pop-ups since I can block most pop-ups.

I think the horizontal bar ads are most effective to get noticed. They may seem intrusive at first but one learns to tune them out and I often don't know what was advertised even though one could say the ad was "in your face".

2005-08-09 22:45:35
11.   Ken Arneson
No popups, no click-to-continues. I hates 'em.

I'm skeptical about horizontal-at-the-top ads. I never, ever look at them, on any site, let alone click on them. I think there are more effective places to put them.

I agree the font is too big on IE. Looks fine on Firefox.

Well, I have some ideas, and we'll try out a few different things, and see how effective they are...

2005-08-09 22:55:41
12.   Ken Arneson

1. Yeah, same design, because it makes less work for me.

2. The publishing delay: we're getting so much traffic now, especially during Dodger games, that the architecture is running into its limitations. I'm working on a new software design, but it's not ready yet. Alternatively, I could move the site onto a faster computer, but that would just be delaying the inevitable.

3. We're thinking about selling merchandise, yes, but ads are the first step.

2005-08-10 08:01:46
13.   Sam DC
Ken - this couldn't be more nitty, but having noticed I feel compelled to pass it on. Have you noticed that sometimes the total number of comments listed in parens at the very beginning a the comments section of a post doesn't match the actual number of comments. Right now, on Jon's Infernal Machines post, the counter says 580, but there's actually 582. This only seems to happen when a particular post is opened all the way up for comments. The small counter, next to the word "permalink," on the main page seems accurate.
2005-08-10 08:08:20
14.   Sam DC
13 -- you know, looking back at that, I hope it doesn't seem obnoxious. My thought here was just to pass this info on cause it's sort of odd and might help you best understand your program; not suggesting this matters or that you need to change it or anything. Anyhow, thanks for running such a cool site.

Personally, I don't mind internet ads, although, as is the case for most people, I expect, click throughs get pretty bothersome. What I do find to be problematic are ads where, after you click through, you can't click back -- the prevalence of that sort of thing makes me shy away from clicking ads at all, which is too bad 'cause I know you need clicks to get paid.

2005-08-10 08:20:41
15.   Kayaker7
I don't mind ads. Shoot, they're everywhere theses. However, I'd ask that it not be one of those ads that follow you around as you scroll up and down. No popup ads neither. Thanks.
2005-08-10 08:22:42
16.   Kayaker7
15 "theses" should be "these days." :)
2005-08-10 08:52:54
17.   Ken Arneson
Sam DC: that's a strange bug. The numbers are coming from two different places, but they should match. But I'm rewriting that code anyway, so I'm not worried about it.

Kayaker7: yeah, none of those scrolling ads either. We want to make some money, but not at the cost of annoying everyone, including ourselves.

2005-08-11 12:25:32
18.   sparky
I wouldn't mind the ads...a necessary evil. However, I would not be likely to click on one. I would be likely to drop 10 or 15 dollars for a Toaster shirt or some other sort of Toaster-related paraphenalia (sp?). I know I'm just one person, but something to consider just the same.
2005-08-11 13:42:44
19.   Sushirabbit
My personal preference would be to include a banner ad up in the fairpole banner (to the right). I know does soemthing like this and then rotates the banners around... so when you go to the first page you see one banner, then when you go down into another page, it loads another (different) banner. Then you could ad smaller ones as Mark suggested in number 4. I would also buy "branding" mechandise. I'm mainly a Dodger Thoughts reader, but I've enjoyed visiting the other places when I can. I'd think you could get MLB to sponsor something!

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