Many publishers build audiences, and then wonder how to monetize their website traffic. In order to make a living by creating and sharing content you love, it’s important to monetize your website traffic in a way that makes sense, and doesn’t alienate your audience. In this blog post, we offer tips about how to build and measure your traffic, how to test different ad formats and sources, whether or not to sell ad space directly, and ways you can make money without using online advertising. It’s an important discussion, so let’s get started.
Building and Measuring Website Traffic
The first mission as a publisher trying to monetize your website traffic is to get website traffic, and measure it correctly. Makes sense, right? One of the first steps in this building and measuring endeavor is to get the right tools in place. Google Analytics is the easiest tool to engage right away, because you will need to be able to understand how much traffic you’re getting and where it comes from.
Here are a few common ways to build traffic through advertising your content:
- Google AdWords: Using keywords to show up first in Google searches
- Facebook Remarketing: Re-engage with your visitors on Facebook
- Social Media: Use ads on Twitter, Instagram or other platforms to build interest
Optimizing SEO to Build Traffic
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. While the days of keyword stuffing are definitely over, you still want to optimize your content around important keywords that naturally reflect the content of your website so that people find you when they search for those words on Google. It is important to remember that SEO is a long term strategy, because you have to build the content to support it. Typical SEO strategies are at least 6 months in length, and the best publishers weave SEO best practices into their content creation in perpetuity.
Use tools like SEMrush to strategize around the right keywords, and track your progress.
Presenting Strong Content to Delight Your Readers
The best way to keep your readers coming back and engaging with your site (and the ads it may display) is by presenting valuable, sharable content. It sounds easy and straight-forward, but many sites struggle with doing so, consistently. Strive to publish stories that will be important to your readers and present them with relevant research, valuable tips and tricks, and content that will continue to delight them on a regular basis. You want to win their trust and become a part of their daily/weekly routine. The thing is, you won’t unless you show an interest in what they really care about.
Here is some of our favorite recent content from Advertise.com publishers:
- Babysitter Makes a Painful Sacrifice to Save Dying Toddler
- Celebs Pose with Their Stunt Doubles and It’s Amazing
- Portraits of Dogs Across Their Years: From Playful Puppies To Old Souls
Start Testing Your Website Traffic and Different Ad Formats
Once you have built up a steady base of traffic (moderate traffic is around 200,000 monthly visitors and up), you can begin to test the effectiveness of services like Google AdSense and try PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns.
You can also test different ad formats and traffic sources. Read more in our blog post about that here.
Consider Selling Ad Space Directly
If you already have a substantial number of visitors coming to your site and consuming your content on a monthly basis, you could consider approaching advertisers directly. Taking this approach means you’re playing on the same level as websites like Complex.com, or GolfDigest, who have entire divisions of sales people working to land advertising accounts. As your competition will be strong and well-established, you’ll want to make sure you’re site is fully optimized before diving in head first.
Is it Possible to Monetize Your Website Without Online Ads?
In a word, yes. It is possible to monetize your website without using online ads. You could consider selling products or services as an affiliate, charge your readers to view specific content, or sell them your content on a subscription basis. Your choice really depends on your specific content and your audience’s expectations of you. If you know your audience is wary of being sold to, hawking the latest kitchen gadget with a thinly-veiled blog post on your recipe blog, might be a way to earn affiliate commissions, but could alienate your readers. When considering these two options, always remember why your audience is here, and consider the effects of affiliate sales or subscription fees on their perception of you and your site.
So, What Should You Do Next to Monetize Your Website?
Now that you’ve used your amazing blog or website content to build, track and understand your traffic (of at least 200,000 unique monthly visitors with a service like Google Analytics), what’s the next step towards monetizing it? You need to decide whether you want to make money by selling products as an affiliate, charging visitors for your content, selling ad space on your own, or using an ad network to help with the process.
Using an ad network is a great way to get the best of all worlds. Advertise.com welcomes you to explore our resources to see if using an ad network might be a good fit for you.