Who else wants more advertising revenue?

by Martin Reed on 12 October 2007 in Articles

Make more money from advertising

A lot of people develop a website to make money. I would wager that most of you reading this blog are aiming to make money from your website – maybe not now, maybe not in the forseeable future, but maybe eventually.

Expressing a desire to make money from your website is nothing to be ashamed of – a successful online community is evidence of your hard work and dedication. It’s only fair that you be compensated for your time and effort.

The simple way of generating advertising revenue

The simplest way of making money from your website has to be via Google AdSense. As long as your site gets approved (it has been a long time since I heard of a site getting rejected), you throw up some code and you’re off.

Notice I called this a simple way – simple isn’t always the best. Depending on your niche, AdSense may be a terrible earner for you. You may see irrelevant ads (if I run AdSense over at Soap Forum, visitors are urged to buy fragranced soaps!), and you always need to consider just who you are sending your visitors to – quite often they will be your competitors!

Always diversify your revenue streams

Even if AdSense is working fantastically for you, it doesn’t mean you should put all your eggs in Google’s basket. What happens if that revenue suddenly drops overnight? It could easily happen – you may be earning good money right now as a few advertisers are all vying for the top few positions. When that bidding war ends, your revenue may well slump as a result.

Run other advertising in addition to AdSense – don’t just rely on Google to earn you money. Believe it or not, there are loads of other avenues for you to explore when it comes to monetising your site. Do your research, do some testing and decide for yourself what works for you, and what works for your visitors.

Consider private advertising

It is difficult for me to harp on about this too much as I have only just begun to open up Just Chat to private advertising. I have made the first tentative steps though, and will be expanding this in the near future.

Private advertising can be hugely effective – you cut out the middleman and keep all the ad revenue yourself. The downside? You need to find the advertisers yourself, and then you need to decide how much to charge. There are many ways of determining the value of specific ads on your site – my favourite way is to run a few different advertising campaigns in the spots I want to sell privately through networks such as AdSense for a few weeks. When I see what I can earn with the ad networks, I am then in a better position to figure out the value of those spots and can work out a monetary value for them.

With private advertising you are no longer at the mercy or whims of advertising networks. Should they change their terms or decide your site is no longer suitable you still have your private advertisers to keep your revenue flowing whilst you find alternatives.

Private advertising doesn’t work for everyone – you may find that you can’t earn the same amount of revenue compared to what you get from the advertising agencies or affiliate networks. It is often only the biggest advertisers that can pay the biggest money for advertising, and these tend to be with the agencies and networks. This isn’t always the case though. Remember – you don’t know until you try.

Develop relationships

Regardless of how you earn your advertising revenue, you should always strive to develop relationships. By doing this, you are no longer a simple statistic in the eyes of your advertisers. Just as it can be easy for us to forget that behind every user name is a real human being, it can be just as easy for advertisers to see all their publishers as numbers and statistics.

If you develop a relationship with your advertisers, you are far more likely to be given preferential rates – but only if you actually ask for more money! If you develop relationships, you are investing in the long term. In a fiscal squeeze, an advertiser may need to reduce the number of sites they advertise on. It is far easier to remove a site when all you see is a number. If an advertiser knows you by name and has developed a relationship with you, you are far more likely to be one of the sites spared from the cull.

Not many site owners take the time to really develop relationships with their advertisers. Even if you are stuck with a big network, contact your account manager on a regular basis – they are able to offer you advice on how to maximise your revenue, can give you new programs to try and can even put in a good word about your site with your advertisers.

It is hard to say ‘no’ to somebody you have developed a relationship with. Use this fact to your advantage and get developing those relationships now.

Your examples and recommendations

What are your opinions on this article? Have you moved away from AdSense and tried other ways of generating advertising revenue? What did you do, and how did it work out? What are your recommendations for boosting advertising revenue? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.

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Amish Handcrafted Furniture October 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Thank you for very valuable advise. Adsense is a good way to start but private advertising is where the bigger revenues will come from and you need to market yourself by generating traffic first. This is where your other advises come to play.

Amish Handcrafted Furniture October 15, 2007 at 5:01 pm

I have not gone if for advertising at all. I strongly believe that I should first build traffic and go for private and selective advertising.

Smiley October 16, 2007 at 2:24 am


I’m not too fussed about making money right now. I have a links unit from Adsense under the chat client, and at the top of the chat client I have rotating banners from private advertising.

I also sell advertising to people who contact me, 25 for a banner each month.

It’s enough to cover the site’s costs, and that’s enough for me right now.

In the future, however, I would like to sit back and make a little something back for all my work. Should I feel bad about this? I care about my members, I never want them to think I’m in it for the money or anything.

Banner rotations:


I use http://www.paidonresults.com to get my site approved by private advertisers to use their banners etc.

Patrick October 17, 2007 at 5:20 am

Hey, thanks a lot, I appreciate your advice on how to improve the viability of your blog.

Hirsutism October 17, 2007 at 5:41 am

Great post and thank you for giving us tips to earn more and more and more money.
I would like to share something that I read on other blog today was that there are some sites which tell you to put their site banners on your site on a few pages and they in turn pay you every month for doing that. And the site on which the banner is put need not be a very famous or high traffic site.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 18, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Ramana – I agree that private advertising often brings in higher revenue compared to AdSense. You should always bear in mind though, that this isn’t always the case hence why it is always important to experiment and try out new revenue streams.

I agree with your opinion of building traffic and retaining members before you start publishing advertising – you don’t want to be offering an exit point to a visitor so early in your website’s development.

Smiley – You have some good ad positioning there and I am sure they will be profitable for you. I too, have used PaidonResults in the past and would highly recommend them.

I don’t think you should feel guilty about wanting to generate revenue from your website – after all, if it doesn’t make any money then it is not in a strong position for the future, is it?

Patrick – I am glad you enjoyed the article, although it refers to generating money from all community websites; not just blogs.

Hirsutism – I think you are talking about CPM advertising; if you have good traffic levels this can be a good revenue stream as you are paid based on ad impressions rather than clicks or user actions.

Online furniture store October 21, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Can someone tell me a bit about viral marketing? How effective is that vis a vis conventional advertizing?

Smiley October 22, 2007 at 4:23 am

Thanks, Martin, that’s reassuring! I’ve kinda settled into the idea of getting money back now. Hey, it pays the bills, and will pay for that profiles script I’m after, for the members!

The only problem with my chat client is the banners have to be a non-progressive JPEG. A few advertisers have kindly provided me with such banners as a replacement to the GIFS on request.

I wanted an Adsense banner down the side of the chat client, but I can’t seem to get the client and the ad to fit on the same line :( Nevermind.

Hirsutism October 22, 2007 at 5:33 am

Try the forums. I am sure you will get someone who fits into your criteria there.

Wedding cake lady October 23, 2007 at 4:04 am

I would take direct advertising any day over adsense.
I think at current rate, it will cost publisher money in order to display adsense ads.
Good luck!

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 23, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Online furniture store – I am still not convinced about the value of viral marketing in terms of attracting quality, long term visitors. I may write an article about this in more detail in the future.

Smiley – You will always notice software limitations as you start to really use them; it’s just something we have to live with unless we want to fork out for custom solutions.

Hirsutism – Try out the forums for what?!?

Wedding cake lady – Very often, AdSense is more expensive for both the advertiser and the publisher. It is worth at least having the option for advertisers to run their ads with you directly in order to see how effective a revenue stream that can be.

Peter November 3, 2007 at 7:06 pm

Adsense (similar programs) can be a great source of income, especially for smaller websites, but it really is dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket. I’ve heard many a horror story from people who have had their adsense accounts banned without reason (in their opinion, at least).

Assuming that your account doesnt get mysteriously banned (the vast majority of users will never experience that anyway), its still risky to give all of your income potential to a 3rd party. Google’s actions depend on their best interest, not yours, and the two wont always line up.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 5, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Peter – I couldn’t agree more. It is really important that your site never relies on only one source of income. You need to diversify your revenue streams as much as possible for maximum long term security.

chris February 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what PR your site needs, or how much daily traffic or generally what benchmark must your blog must reach before you can successfully run private ads. Do you charge more for advertising if your blog is a PR6? Does it matter? Or do you need to rank high for your keywords?

Chat February 9, 2008 at 1:28 am

Hello chris

I believe All of attributes you mentioned above affects how much people will pay for ads, Some webmasters prefer a few more over the other though.

It seems these days when webmasters buy text links they want high pr over anything else. If the advertisers website is related to you site/you are targeting the same keywords then the advertiser might pay more as the text link(The keywords that they are targeting / you are ranking high for in search engines as anchor text) would give them a nice boost in search.

Personally i believe that high traffic is worth more when banners are used in prominent positions. Text links in the footer of your site are usually only good for search engines as most of your traffic will never see them.

- Cody

Martin Reed - Blog Author February 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Chris – I think you can run private ads at any stage in your site’s development. People place far too much importance on PageRank; indeed you may even find yourself getting penalised by Google for adding paid text links on your site unless you add a ‘nofollow’ attribute.

As long as your content is good, you should be able to find private advertisers. Good luck.

Cody – You’re right that many webmasters see PageRank and nothing but PageRank; this is a big mistake though and is why you need to be able to ‘sell’ your site to advertisers. Explain to them why they should advertise with you – show them how great your content is and how loyal your members are. This is worth far more than PageRank.

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