In my recent post on simple ways to increase your traffic, encouraged you to experiment with free advertising on Project Wonderful. Creative Zone Online commented suggesting that I share a post about using Project Wonderful, so here goes!
Project Wonderful operates on a bid system. Advertisers choose sites they like (or have a campaign automatically bid in set categories), place a bid in the auction, and the system automatically assesses competing bids on a continuous basis. If bid is the highest at any particular moment (even if it is $0), your ad is displayed on the site. The first step to using Project Wonderful is to create an account. It is free and easy - just follow the steps. Once you are in, you can advertise where and how you wish, and keep track of your bids, status and stats in dashboard format. But we aren't ready for that (yet!) - first it is time to create an ad and start bidding.
Creating You Advertisement(s)
To advertise, I strongly encourage you to use a custom image. Project Wonderful publishers (people who have ad slots on their sites) offer different sized ad blocks. The 125x125 square is common, but you can get great value with some of the other sizes that may not be routinely bid upon. Project Wonderful has templates or there are some great free photo editing tools out there if you don't already have a program. Note: Some sites allow animated images, others only allow still images. Log in to Project Wonderful, head to "Advertising" and select "Create a New Ad" to get started, and simply follow the directions.
You can search for places to bid across a number of categories to find sites that suit your subject, which will help to ensure that you get some visitors from the ads you place via Project Wonderful. Note: Websites offering ad space can choose to have minimum bids, still or animated ads, rated rates, and right to review new bids before an ad can be shown. Read the "bids accepted" details before you bid to avoid disappointment.
Bids are based upon cost per day (CPD) - i.e. if you bid $1 you need to be willing to pay up to $1 a day to have your ad displayed. You can bound this with dollar values (spending limits) or time (schedule limits). You pay only by time displayed, no matter how many visitors click through your ad to your website. Your ad is displayed only when you are the high bidder for an ad block. The great news is that, unless a minimum bid has been set by the publisher, bidding starts at $0, which means free advertising if there are no competing bids. Because Project Wonderful operates on a pay-when-displayed system, you only pay against competing bids from $0 up to a maximum of your bid amount. No matter what your bid, if you're the only bidder, you advertisement will display for free until another bidder enters in competition for the space.
To help new users, Project Wonderful has examples showing more about bidding and auctions in action, so you can get a feel for how bidding works in real-world situations. Note: $0 bids are a great way to start using Project Wonderful risk free and get to like it. The only difference between a $0 bid and a "real" bid is that you can't have you bid last for longer than two days before it expires and would need to be renewed at $0 for another two days (duplicate bid in the "Expired Bid" section of "My Bids").
Bidding with a Campaign
With automated campaigns, you can even bid across thousands of sites at once. You set your parameters and the campaigns do your bidding for you, all according to your directions and within your spending and performance limits. I have never used a campaign (I like to hand-pick my sites), so I can't help past the service description. :)
Other Wonderful Stuff
If you are interested in becoming a publisher, you can read more about it on the Project Wonderful website. Where does the money go? Wherever the publisher chooses. Many Project Wonderful users redistribute the love by using any funds their ad block sell to advertise elsewhere.