How to monetize a website properly
[toc]So you want to know how to monetize a website. Well, there is no hard and fast rule unfortunately. One method of monetization may be perfect for some websites but disastrous for others. There are many different things that you have to take into consideration when trying to monetize a website. First, let’s talk about what website monetization means.
Alright so what is Website Monetization?
To put it in broad terms, it means that you turn the traffic that your website gets into a means of making money. So, before you consider doing any real kind of monetization, you need to have a steady flow of traffic coming to your website. Otherwise, you’re not going to be making much money at all. In fact, some forms of monetization will actually hurt your website’s traffic.
As a whole, people don’t enjoy going to websites where ads are everywhere on the page. It’s obnoxious and distracting, and many people will feel like you’re just trying to screw them over and get money out of them visiting.
Now you might not believe that, which is fair. So, let’s use a comparison. If you’re like many people, you probably hate commercials on TV. Some people will outright not watch TV because they hate the advertisements so much. Online entertainment services like Netflix are quickly becoming more and more popular for many reasons, but one of the most important ones is the fact that there are no commercials involved. You might understand commercials importance for the network. I mean, TV has to be profitable some way right?
Well, a website that’s flooded with advertisements just feels awful for the visitor. It can feel like there’s some annoying salesman constantly telling you, “Look at this product and all its amazing features! You’d be crazy not to want them!” While not all forms of advertising are that obnoxious, there are some that definitely are. When you’re considering how to monetize a website, you want to think about which method is best suited for your website. So, since we’ve talked about what we don’t want when we’re thinking about how to monetize a website, let’s talk about primary types of monetization.
If you’ve been on the Internet for more than an hour, chances are you’ve encountered more than a few banner ads. Banner ads are basically flashy images, which when clicked redirect people on your website to the advertisers chosen destination. The full banner size is the most popular among Internet advertisers, but banners come in different sizes and vary greatly depending on the advertiser. To put things simple, the goal of the banner ad is to get a person who is visiting the host site, or in this case your site, to click the banner and have the visitor go to the advertiser’s site and then go onto purchase something on their site.
Banner ads aren’t always images though. Banner ads can sometimes involve having a video automatically play when someone loads the page. Some banner ads are just very badly programmed flash games. While not so common anymore, there are banner ads that would play an audio file that say something like, “Click her to claim your free iPod!” When you’re trying to understand how to monetize a website, you should be aware that these types of ads are what will kill a website’s traffic, which will result in less money made from the website overall.
As already established, the main goal of the banner ad is to get a sale for the advertiser. However, it can have a secondary objective depending on the person who is running the ad and what their long term plan for their business is, which is to help create a brand and get brand recognition. Branding can be a powerful tool and asset for businesses. You probably have a couple of popular brands in mind right now without even actively trying to think about it. Banners ads can help businesses establish a long term presence in a given market.
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Why Does This Matter?
Alright, so you’re probably wondering what this means to you then. When you’re trying to figure out how to monetize a website, it’s very important to think about the placement. Basically, banner ad placement is extremely important. It’s important to consider what the banner looks like and what the page that you’re going to placing it on looks like. Remember what we talked about earlier, you don’t want your website to feel like one giant advertisement. That drives people away and means less traffic, which in turn means less money. For example, say that the background of your webpage are HD images. You don’t have a solid color background or a normal layout. Some banner ads may not look good on your website and seem out of place.
Next, we have a close relative of banner ads. The pay per click ad.
Pay Per Click Ads
Pay per click ads are the most common form of advertisement on the Internet today. Put very simple, they are they ads where the publisher of a website is paid each time that they are clicked on. Banner ads and pay per click ads are basically the same thing. There is a slight difference between the two though. While banner ads usually are large, they do come in vary sizes. Banner ads also usually have many different kinds of media involved in their usage. Whereas, general pay per click ads just have text and a hyperlink that lead to another webpage. However, they both have the same basic mechanics involved. Someone clicks the ad on your page, you get paid.
Depending on the ad network, ads may be displayed on the webpage corresponding to its content. For example, Google’s AdSense program does this. When google uses spiders to figure out what the content of the website is, it uses the information that it gathered to help generate the ads that will be placed on the page. Again, different pay per click ad services sometimes work differently. So far our only revenue forms we’ve talked about when trying to find out how to monetize a website have just involved pay per click ads. However, there are two other main forms, which brings us to affiliate marketing.
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Affiliate marketing is slightly different than pay per click ads. It’s method of advertising where there the advertising forms a sort of triangle. Try to stick with me, it can seem a little confusing at first. As with all forms of advertising, you get someone who wants to have their business advertised. That’s the first party. There is a publisher, who is the person who will help the advertiser by promoting the business’s products or services. That’s the second party. Now, they can do this in several different ways, but the most common way is by reviewing the product on the website. You can also talk about the features and the benefits you will receive if you use the product. This means that when a consumer visits your website, they see what you wrote and, if all goes well, visit the advertiser’s page and purchase the product or services.
Since you helped the advertiser get a sale, the advertiser pays you in some way. This can either be a set amount of money, or a percentage of the sale profit. It depends on the agreement you work out with the advertiser beforehand. The way that an advertiser tracks where the sale comes from can vary. Sometimes the visitor will download cookies from your webpage, which will show that they came from your website to the sale. Other times, they will fill out some referral information on your website and then be sent to the next page.
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How to Utilize Affiliate Marketing
When you’re trying to figure out how to monetize a website, the applicability of affiliate marketing is pretty hit or miss. Some websites can utilize it, and some websites cannot. This is because affiliate marketing relies heavily on promoting another relevant business’s service or products.
Just as an example, say there is an entertainment website that hosts funny videos on it. That website is probably going to have a hard time promoting another business and still having the promotion be relevant to its content. Remember, people don’t like to feel they’re a commodity. Endorsements for other businesses and products should be relevant to the website that it is on.
Affiliate networks can be hard to join and may have stringent requirements for what sort of websites can join their network. Instead of joining affiliate networks, you can try to work out a straight agreement with a related business. Well, this brings us to our last form of common form of monetization.
Promoting Your Own Services or Products
For many people, this form of advertisement is the most difficult. You have to have a service or product to offer in order for this to be pertinent. When people think of monetization, they usually just think of advertisements for other businesses. However, if you’re creative and have a steady audience, this can be your best option for when you’re trying to find out how to monetize a website.
credit photo: Denis Stefanides
Examples of Products
Say, that you have a blog that has a large reader base. Maybe you’ve coined a few quotes that recur in your blog posts or you have images that go along with your blog. If you do, you can make find a company to make T-shirts for your website. There are a great deal of businesses that make it easy for you to sell products that are relevant to your website. A good way to approach this is by being seasonal.
If you’re a humorous writer, try marketing seasonal gift cards with funny taglines. Sell Valentines Day cards or other Holiday cards using the same tone or style of writing that you use in your blog. Come out with new cards every year. Try to general gift shop apparel that utilizes things that recur frequently in your blog. This can also help grow your website’s brand and help increase your presence. However, if you do this it would be a good idea to not have ads to other websites. It’s usually one way or the other. You either advertise your own products and services or somebody else’s. Selling products that relate to your website’s content is can be a very effective way of website monetization. This is especially true if you have a website where other forms of monetization just aren’t applicable.
Choosing the Best Monetization Method for Your Website
All of the monetization methods above have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Some websites are perfect for banner ads. Other websites will benefit from small pay per click ads like the ones that come from Google’s AdSense program. Every website out there can fill an advertising niche.
The underlying rule when you’re choosing the best monetization method is to have a good sense of balance. When you’re trying to find out how to monetize a website, your primary goal should never be turning your website into one giant advertisement. It has the potential to hurt your website far more than it has the potential to help your long term money generation ability. If you use an affiliate marketing method, be sure to use more content that is relevant to your webpage than content that is just plugs to other services and products. If you utilize pay per click ads, then don’t just try to throw re-designs to the wall to maximize your revenue and see what sticks when placing ads. Don’t change around your website constantly to accommodate ads. Make sure that your website is made for people. Knowing what the goal of your website is and why people visit it is key to finding the monetization method that’s ideal for you.
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Dos and Don’ts for Monetization
- Put polls on your website to see how your user-base feels about changes
- Think creatively about the best monetization method for your website
- Offer smart service options like the ability to remove ads from your website if they pay a subscriber fee.
- Force obnoxious ads on people
- Treat people like a commodity
- Rush into monetization
- Try to trick people into click on ads
The Key Take Away
When you’re trying to figure out how to monetize a website, you need to think and be patient. You also need to have fairly significant amount of traffic to make money. You’re not going to slap some pay per click ads onto your website that only has a 1,000 monthly visitor and come out making a few hundred additional dollar a month. No method of website monetization will help you get rich quick. However, if you’re patient and work hard, then you will see positive results.
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The success of website monetization depend on you. Choose the right method for your website. Here you have few ways to monetize your website properly