This is an extremely important question for anyone who is fairly new to blogging and would like to get their name out there by sponsoring other blogs. Paying for ad space and sponsorship can be scary, and it can be hit or miss at times. I've sponsored my fair number of blogs in the last few months and would love to offer some advice/tips/observations on what to look for before hitting that sponsor button!
#1. Does the blog fit with yours? Sure, this should be an easy question, but you should REALLY think about this one. You want to gain readers and followers that are interested in the things you write about. The best way to do this is to sponsor a blog that is similar to yours, in regards to content and style. This way any reader you gain from that blog is a fit for yours!
#2. How many ad spots do they have and where are they located? I always check to see how many ad spots they have total. I'm not comfortable spending my cash on a sidebar ad when the blog has 30+ ad spots or if the ads are SO far down the page that nobody will ever see them, let alone click on them! Blogs should always limit the number of ads, as it makes the experience both more personal for each party and allows you more visibility. Some big bloggers can handle major ads on their sidebar, and that's awesome, but I would rather sponsor an amazing smaller blog with 500 followers that has only 10 spots available each month then a top blogger with 5000 followers that has 50 ads. It just doesn't seem worth it in my opinion and past experiences.
#3. What is included? Anything extra is a bonus - social media attention, guest posting, giveaway, etc. Make sure you are getting the most value for your dollar and are interested in taking advantage of the options that are available with the ad space you are purchasing!
Bonus Tip: Very few bloggers do this, and I really think more should do it -- I've sponsored a few bloggers where the ad space cost includes entries into a group giveaway. This is an awesome idea as while I love to participate, I hate having to shell out more cash at the end of the month to participate. I would much rather fork it all over when I initially make the decision to sponsor a blog. (I will be implementing this with my ads in the coming months!)
#4. Are page views that important? Yes and no. I've sponsored blogs with over a million views a month and I've had better results from sponsoring a blog with 300 followers because they took the extra time to make it personal. They were very close to each and every one of those 300 readers they had, and as such, they trusted whatever the blogger was promoting. With this experience alone, I received about 50 followers via twitter from one tweet this 300 follower blog posted. The more important thing to look at is readership -- and the easiest way to do that? Comments. I look at how many comments a blogger averages more so then their follower count or page views.
#5. How often do they post? You want to make sure that the blog you are planning to sponsor is active, and the best way to do that is to ensure that they are blogging consistently. No, they don't need to post every single day - the key is consistency. As long as a blogger is consistently posting every week, then you know they take it seriously and won't fall off the face of the earth one week into your sponsorship.
Here are a few blogs that I have sponsored and, in my opinion, are doing it extremely well: