Web Site Monetization – A Reality CheckBy
I would venture to say that one of the leading reasons people start blogging, is the perceived potential to make money. In my first year of blogging, I have learned more about monetizing a Web site than I can possibly fit into a single post, so I will just hit the highlights for you!
Before I entered the world of blogging, none of the websites I designed for clients or myself had been monetized in any way (and none of them were blogs). I was aware of direct advertising as a means of getting a return on your investment, but I really hadn’t clued in to much else. One of my clients had started including affiliate links in her web updates and then she wanted some Adsense blocks added. I had never done any of this before so I had her tell me what she knew and I set about doing my own research to get more information.
The big names in the internet marketing world lead you to believe that all you have to do to start making money from your web site is to slap a few Adsense ads up there, buy their book or e-book, sign up for their affiliate program and “poof” – you will be an Internet Marketing Millionaire overnight. Guess what? That’s not quite how it works.
In my experience, monetizing your web site takes:
- Trial and error
- and Patience
Every web site is different and there are many different ways you can monetize a site. Certain methods work better than others based on your content, your audience, your traffic level, and your end goals.
Adsense and other contextual ad programs
Where it works: Niche sites tailored to a specific audience. Health, celebrity, consumer product, and extremely specialized niches work best. The less “tech-savvy” the audience, the better the click through rate is going to be (in my experience). Also, the higher your traffic rate, obviously the better you are going to do.
How to maximize your earnings: Use a mix of link ad and ad blocks and blend them into your design as much as possible. Try out a variety of placements using channels. If using on a general topic blog, place on single pages only for more relevant ads.
Where it works: There are affiliate programs for just about everything from specific products to e-courses and absolutely everything in between. Affiliate links work best when presented as recommendations or reviews. Landing pages or pre-sale techniques really help. Affiliate links, if done right, work well even with a the traditional non-clicking audience.
How to maximize your earnings: Do your research. Find affiliate programs for products your audience already uses or would use – especially with a good recommendation from you. Use a pre-sale technique such as a well written landing page for better conversion rates.
Direct Ad Sales
Where it works: Selling text link ads or banner ads have the highest pay potential once your site gets fairly mature and starts getting consistent traffic flows. Having a defined niche/audience helps dramatically. Also, strong content and good SEO techniques make your site more attractive to potential advertisers.
How to maximize your earnings: Have a page about advertising on your site, or at a minimum, have solid statistics on your traffic, click through rates, and your demographics on hand. Be willing to share this information with potential advertisers. You can use brokerage services as well, but keep in mind that they will take a cut of your earnings. However, this may be the easiest way to break into the direct ad arena.
Where it works: You can do paid posting through a brokerage service or you can get paid to write regularly for a network. Most of the time the brokerages that offer pay per post (or review) opportunities require your site meet some basic requirements, but beyond that, you can choose which paid opportunities you wish to write on. Writing for a network requires application for the position, but can be a great way to earn money from blogging – especially when you consider what your current blog makes.
How to maximize your earnings: Look for pay per post opportunities that you enjoy, offer some value to your readers, and ones that pay fairly well. When getting paid to blog for a network (or similar), look for a network with a solid reputation, fair pay and bonus opportunities for increasing site traffic.
The Final Word
There are plenty of people making a really good living using a combination of web monetization methods, however I doubt any of them got there overnight and without making plenty of mistakes along the way. And for the record, I didn’t make very much money my first month of monetizing my sites – or my second – or my third. Around the 4th month, things started picking up. After a year of monetizing my sites, I have gotten to the point where I can consider MYSELF as a client – allowing me to stop doing some of the client work I no longer enjoy. I know there is still ALOT more I have to learn about making money on the Internet, but we’ll revisit my progress in another 6 months.
I would LOVE to get your insights on web site monetization. What has worked for you? Am I painting a realistic or accurate picture or have I had a totally different experience than yours?