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.
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.