This is a beginners guide on how to better monetize your site. If you’ve been experimenting with different methodologies, there’s probably limited value you can guide from this guide.
The topic which it addresses is HOW to MAKE MONEY online from your web property. It applies to all sorts of properties, may it be, a website, blog, free page, empty domain or wherever you control and has traffic. This guide is not about building more traction and interest into your site. For that we have our complete marketing guide. It is also not about creating websites in the most efficient way – for that we have our homepage.
* If you want to read this review and tutorial as a PDF file, you can download it HERE.
So, without further ado, how to better monetize your site:The first place to go is Google adsense . It’s probably the most common ways for websites to monetize their traffic.
Here’s how it works: an advertiser (company that wishes to buy their traffic via this system) pays a certain amount of money for each visitor that will click on his ad (we’ll refer to it as a “click“ from now on).
This amount is determined in open market conditions – meaning the more competitive the vertical is, the more money will be proposed on that click.
As a website owner (“publisher“) you can dedicate a certain portion of website for ads. You will receive a payment each time a visitor clicks on one of these ads. The amount of money you will receive is a certain undisclosed portion of what the advertiser will pay for the click.
The sum will depend heavily on the content of your website and how the Google Adsense system will categorize it. As explained before, in more competitive and lucrative verticals, the cost and payout of 1 click will be higher.
This system has obvious advantages:
1. Google Adsense will tailor the ads to your site’s content and to the likeliness of clicking on them, so you are supposedly going to get more clicks, and the ads will look less foreign to your content.
2. Google is trustworthy and always pays on time, no exceptions.
3. You don’t have to presell. You write whatever is on your mind and you integrate the ads wherever you want, in each format you’d prefer.
There are cons as well:
1. In some verticals you might experience very low cost per click, and you’ll need to generate a lot of them.
2. The policy clearly states you must put in a way that these will be obvious advertising (not too incorporated into the text) which will reduce the percentage of click-outs.
3. They do not approve many sites. Looking for original content and some depth.
The second stop would be affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is performance based advertising. Google Adsense is performance based as well (the more clicks, the more income), but in affiliate marketing the merchant (advertiser) pays by more complex actions. The most popular way of payment is on a per-sale basis. Meaning that you can refer users to a site, and for each product they buy (they will be tracked and segmented as “your traffic”), you’ll get a certain percentage from the sale, or a fixed fee. That fee in most instances will be remarkably higher than what you’ll get for each click on Google adsense, but the percentage of traffic you’ll refer onward and will eventually buy or perform the target action, is much smaller.
1. You can and should presell the product. Unlike Google Adsense, affiliate marketing is integrated into the content, and if you do a good job, you’ll be referring users after they are well-aware of where their going to, with the intent of buying (or performing actions). In Google Adsense, the ads will be presented dynamically, but with affiliate marketing you’ll be referring to the merchants of your choice.
2. If your site has high value traffic that has a tendency to buy, it is probable the value you’ll get from commissions will be higher than the one you get on a per-click basis (Google Adsense doesn’t differentiate between “natures of traffic” or other segments. It only determines the cost per click by vertical & nationality of the users).
3. You can select the products that you recommend your traffic, and actually pick out the ones that can have genuine value to your users.
1. You are dependent on trust with the merchant as he reports sales (that is why it’s important to go through big affiliate programs like CJ as a beginner). You are also dependent on his performance, if he performs worse, you’ll have less sales and less income.
2. You can send out many clicks and not get any income in return.
3. If you build your content around a product or a service you want to promote, the offer might become unavailable and you will end up with un-monetized traffic.
* Please note I’ve only mentioned a specific action (sale) but there are other actions merchant will pay you for. For example leads (getting details of potential clients) or downloads (for each person who downloaded a software) or even sign up (for a trial period). *
My third shop would be CPM.
CPM is payment per view. The #CPM refers to what would you get for viewing a certain ad for 1000 users (M stands for Mille – 1,000).
This system is mostly useful for very high amounts of traffic (the CPM will be $1 to $10 depending on the nature of your site and traffic, which means 100,000 visitors a month will bring $100-$1000 which isn’t much at all for a site of this scale).
It needs to be tested carefully against other forms of advertising as the ones mentioned above, to verify this is indeed the most effective way.
Most sites that use it are sites that don’t have that much content which can integrate contextual ads like Google adsense, or doesn’t have anything in particular to sell to match the content of the website.
The best places to search for CPM advertising are ad exchanges.
There are other ways as well that I will refer to briefly:
4. Make your own product. Think of your target audience and figure out if there’s something they would like to buy that you cannot externally sell via an affiliate program, OR if you are doing very well as an affiliate, and you believe you can make as good store/product as the one you are currently selling.
5. Sell banners individually on a fixed price – if your site is fairly well known and people showed interested in it in the past, but it’s not “huge” so you have limited banner spots, you can set contracts with individual advertisers. The biggest advantage here is that you will get 100% of the cut (not using any middle men), and that they can tailor the ad precisely to your site. You can request a pre-paid down-payment when dealing with individual companies.
6. Selling text links – this is a big Google no-no and will be get you penalized if they catch you, but if you do this wisely and sell to very relevant sites, and integrate them currently – there are very little chances you will get caught. The potential is extremely limited and it’s recommended to small-time sites that wish to get an extra 100-200 USD a month (from selling multiple ads in lucrative markets).
7. Video/in-game advertising: if you have your app, your videos, etc. – then you have the “goods”. Currently many advertisers are looking for highly integrated advertising that cannot be skipped or ignored, and pay better for it than text.
8. Pop-ups / pop-unders: you will get maximal CPM value if you add (on top of your regular ads) a pop-up or pop-under but on the other hand, you’ll be scaring away your traffic which hates this. This special way is reserved to porn and scam mainly
I hope this will initiate a discussion, I would be happy to see live URLs and make some recommendations.
Here are additional resources. If you found this article useful in anyway, we would certainly appreciate if you link to it, share it or make a comment below. We appreciate the time you took to look into this.
Additional resources (beginners):