Get To Know Ben Ilfeld
Ben is Lead Audience & Revenue Strategist at 10up, a full service digital agency focused on creating amazing web and content management experiences with a passionate team of 125+ full-time strategists, designers and engineers working around the globe.
Ben has 10 years of experience as an entrepreneur, publisher and innovator, that make him well suited to 10up’s monetization, content conversion, and ad ops business. He has led product development, analysis and iterative design processes, while overseeing all business operations at The Sacramento Press and AdGlue. Ben has consistently stepped over the edge to experiment with new models for creating healthy media ecosystems.
In 2008, Ben launched The Sacramento Press as a new breed of local publication dedicated to rethinking how media interacts with a local audience. In just a few years, his team built an army of over 1,500 volunteer community contributors. During this time, Ben built the first independent online local ad network (SLOAN) that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for over 60 publishers. He was also a founding board member of the Local Independent Online News publishers (LION).
We’re thrilled Ben will be speaking at WordCamp Sacramento 2015 on ad revenue 101: making money from ads on your WordPress site
Why do you think advertising is important?
Advertising. It is the undisputed engine of the content economy, but who understands how it actually works online? I intend this as a primer to online advertising, so this will be a practical guide for those wishing to monetize their sites. But it will also appeal to folks interested in discussing privacy issues, ad blocking, or other hot topics — with a better fundamental understanding of the industry and technologies.
What is your history or experience with advertising?
Currently, I’m Lead Audience & Revenue strategist at 10up. I work with medium to large WordPress publishers to make more money.
Back in 2008, as a founder of The Sacramento Press, I helped design and implement an ad strategy from sales to building a custom ad management tool. Later, we launched the first local online ad network, SLOAN and an ad technology called AdGlue.
How did you get started with WordPress? Why WordPress?
I was part of a team which built a custom CMS from scratch. Though I think we contributed to the overall discussion of how media should work — it was a significant investment!
Within a couple of years, the WordPress community had a platform capable of handling 90% of our needs. Better yet, it was flexible, robust and secure. We made the decision to hire an agency to help move The Sacramento Press onto WordPress so we could focus on other areas of development. We hired 10up.
Little did I know that a few years later I’d end up working at 10up and consulting with almost exclusively WordPress based clients!
What is your favorite thing about WordPress?
The community of developers who support the core and build custom sites for clients. I just love seeing the flexibility of the system grow as the core tools become easier and easier to access. It is a beautiful dichotomy.
Can you share a couple WordPress plugins that you love or recommend?
Not plugins, no. I can however recommend looking for a good tag management system. I’ve noticed that for sites big and small, managing the extraneous tools which live on your site, but outside of WordPress is a huge struggle (e.g. Google Analytics, conversion code, Marketo munchkin).
Resources or recommendations?
Since my expertise is around audience & revenue growth my suggestions aren’t specific to WordPress. I’m I huge fan of Ad Exchanger for news about the ad industry.
For some general information about online ads, look no farther than the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
If you’re an independent local publisher, please join LION (note that while their website isn’t WordPress most of the publisher members are). This is the best group of people you could possibly meet.
Check Out The Speakers
WordCamp Sacramento 2015 is bringing you an awesome line up of speakers from not only our greater Sacramento region, but throughout California and beyond. Check out our speakers page to see the 2015 WordCamp Sacramento Speakers, and be sure to follow them on Twitter.