“It practically pays for itself!”
When someone is trying to sell you something, this is often a phrase you will hear. By using their widget, you will end up saving so much money that it actually offsets the original cost of the widget. It’s a phrase that can make you instantly skeptical, and sometimes with good reason. That’s why I almost hesitate to use it here about website monetization. Almost. The truth is that while monetizing your website may or may not enable your website to completely pay for itself, it can definitely be a financial boon to your business when done well.
What do we mean by website monetization? Simply put, it’s turning website traffic into dollars. There are multiple ways to accomplish this. Here are a few.
1) Banner or Side Ads – Once you have the analytics to show that you have a steady stream of traffic to your website, you may be able to convince potential advertisers to “rent space” on your website. The higher the number of daily visitors your analytics can show, the more you will be able to charge for ad space.
2) Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) Ads – PPC or CPM program are generally free to join. Once you are approved to participate, the ad networks will send ads related to the content on your website. With PPC, you earn money when your visitors click on those ads. With CPM, you get paid every time an ad is served regardless of the number of clicks.
3) Premium Membership Content – Depending on the type of services or products you provide, this method could be a viable solution for your business. Begin by offering some free information on your website to interest your readers, then ask them to sign up and pay for a subscription to your more in-depth information or specialized service.
4) E-books – If you choose to write a book related to your business, consider making it an e-book. This would enable customers to purchase and download it from your website, saving you a lot of money in publishing costs.
Regardless of the methods you choose to employ, monetization should be done deftly, and not in an excessive or heavy-handed manner. Remember:
-Your website content must not be eclipsed by ads. Be sure to keep meaningful content on your website. After all, that is why people are there. Do not stick in ads to fill up empty space. Your visitors, seeing little worthwhile content, will drift away… something that will show up in your analytics, resulting in your ad sales drying up.
-Keep any monetization relevant. Whether they’re advertisements (banner, side, PPC, CPM, etc.), memberships, or e-books, they should be relevant to your target audience. They will only be truly effective if they are of some value to your visitors.
-Do not sacrifice your website’s style and design. Make it a priority to keep any ads you will use in the same areas on each page. This sort of consistency is more pleasing to the viewer’s eye and creates a less “cluttered” look on your website.
Try experimenting with different monetization methods to determine which ones work well with your visitors. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. With a little testing and analysis, however, your website may be well on its way to practically paying for itself.