How much should we charge for website advertising?

I run a website for our local neighborhood organization. We’re a historic neighborhood with around 800-900 families, with fair name recognition in the local area. The website has a lot of information for residents, as well as some general information of interest to other people in the Detroit area. In other words, the website isn’t a huge thing, and never will be, but it does have a well-defined viewership, and a number of people access it.

We’ve already had some interest from local businesses who’d like to advertise (roofing companies, cleaning service, piano tuner, etc), and we’re ready to take them up on the offer.

Does anyone have suggestions on pricing? Presumably, this would be dependent on size, placement, and length of time it’s up. Where should we start?

You can’t start anywhere without an idea of how many people visit the website per day and per month.

After that, it sounds like you have people courting you to post ads, that puts you about 12 steps ahead of every other website out there.

It’s pretty much what you can get them to pay you. Since you have a small website, and you seem to know these people personally, charge them something simple like $25-50/month for a six month agreement. Are you designing the ad? If so, charge them $100 for the design.

I wouldn’t worry so much about traffic metrics except for basic reports, hopefully available from your ISP: you’re going to be selling the “neighborliness” of your site, not the swarms of eyeballs.

However… don’t forget: Google is your friend. Is your site SEO’d? If you type in the most obvious keywords needed to find your site, does it show up on the first page? If not, then it’s not SEO’d and you need to tweak the code/design a little bit. Or get a better hosting service. If you’re selling ads, you want to reassure people that newcomers can find your site (and by extension, the ad), merely by typing in “neighborhood name, MI” or “Organization-type, Detroit MI” in Google/Yahoo/etc.

According to the basic stats from our ISP, we’ve got 85 unique visitors per day this month, and about 6000 hits per day (there are some heavily-visited pages with 10-20 pics apiece).

I think we’re doing pretty good there. We’re the top hit on Google for “neighborhood name” (even sans quotes), on the top page for “Detroit historic neighborhood,” and on the second page for “Detroit neighborhood.” (from which information you could figure out which neighborhood I live in).

Thanks to both of you for your answers.