Just because your website is already generating a steady stream of traffic, doesn’t mean monetization will be a walk in the park.
First and foremost, selecting the right monetization strategy isn’t as straightforward as you think — unless, of course, you have an e-commerce store.
For everything else, like niche blogs and community sites, you need to get your hands dirty on more elaborate monetization campaigns. This includes affiliate marketing, display advertising, creating sponsored content, selling information products, and so on.
While there’s a goldmine of learning resources out there for each of these endeavors, you shouldn’t expect to succeed with them overnight. In fact, you should be prepared to fail several times before you get things right.
Sure, you may see these failures as stepping stones to success, but why seek failure when you can jump straight into the lessons? It’s always best to learn them from others instead if possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss the worst website monetization mistakes that any website owner can commit.
1. Loading Up On Too Many Ads
The big elephant in the room when it comes to website monetization is the number of ads you’re willing to display.
We get it — more ads means more opportunities to sell, right?
Too bad ads can be extremely annoying to users.
Remember, as a webmaster, user experience should come before anything else. If you cram too many ads into your website, you’re not just putting off your visitors — it’ll also negatively affect your website’s loading speed.
This will initiate a chain of events that will adversely affect your website’s bounce rate, search engine rankings, and ultimately traffic or sales.
You can, of course, compensate for the slight performance loss when presenting ads on your website. Some of the solutions include:
• Use PageSpeed Insights to Detect Speed-Related Issues
Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that can provide you with optimization suggestions for issues detected on your website.
• Compressing Your On-Page Content
If your website heavily depends on visual content, the least you can do is to ensure they’re compressed and optimized for speed.
• Use a Content Delivery Network
You can reduce the latency for your foreign users by using a Content Delivery Network or CDN, which leverages multiple proxy servers that share the load of transferring web data.
• Use Plugins To Speed Up Site
There are a variety of WordPress and other plugins that can be added to your website to help speed up your advertisement loads, or other aspects of your website that indirectly keep your ads loading faster.
2. Using Intrusive Ads
Ads don’t have to be all over the place to disrupt the experience of your web visitors. Simply slap them over something that might be useful to your target audience and voilà — their experience is ruined.
That’s why you should try to avoid intrusive, interstitial ads that block the main content and other core elements of your website, especially if you care about the experience of your mobile users. Not only will you end up putting a bad taste in your audience’s mouth, these ads will also give you a one-way ticket to Google penalty land.
What counts as “intrusive” in Google’s book? Perhaps this infographic from their official blog would help:
In a nutshell, ads must never — in any way — cover content or require users to hit the “close” button just to access the information they came for.
There are, however, some instances where similar pop-ups are acceptable:
• Login Messages: For content that’s not publicly available, then a pop-up that facilitates user logins may be permitted.
• Small Screen Space: Lastly, pop-up ads will not be considered intrusive if it only occupies a reasonably small amount of screen space.
3. Relying Too Much On Ads
It’s true that display advertising is a very flexible and oftentimes reliable monetization strategy for just about any type of website.
After all, it basically gives you a free pass to skip the nitty-gritty of establishing a full-fledged online business, like setting up an online store or developing your own digital product.
However, ads alone are seldom enough to make all the trouble of maintaining a website worthwhile. What you need to do is put your eggs in multiple baskets and explore other methods of monetization.
Don’t know where to start? Below are a couple of monetization ideas that are more than doable even for one-man webmasters:
Develop and Sell Online Courses
It may seem intimidating, but creating your own online course and attracting students is actually more doable than ever. All the tools and features you’ll ever need can be found in comprehensive platforms like Kajabi and ClickMeeting.
Offering Premium Content
Once you’ve established your credibility as a high-quality content provider, you could be in a position to offer a “premium content section.” Just see to it that you won’t disappoint paid users by giving them something they can get elsewhere for free.
Sell Affiliate Products
Affiliate marketing works by letting you earn a commission each time a user uses your affiliate link to make a purchase. You can start by browsing for products you can sell in marketplaces like Amazon Associates and ClickBank.
Collect Email Addresses
Although generating leads by building a mailing list isn’t exactly a monetization strategy, it opens up digital marketing opportunities that can maximize your revenue down the road. For one, your mailing list is a great channel to promote your new online course, eBook, or what have you.
4. Monetizing Too Early
One of the main problems with monetization is that some webmasters mistake a tiny amount of traffic as the much-needed “go signal.”
Always remember that, whatever it is you’re selling, people won’t convert into customers if they don’t trust your brand.
Unfortunately, earning the online audience’s time takes time. It’s also not a task that you can juggle along with your monetization strategies.
Look at it this way: if visitors who’ve never heard of your brand before arrive at your website, greeting them with a bunch of ads or anything “salesy” won’t exactly make for a great first impression.
The example of this that stands out in my mind more than anything else was Facebook in the early stages. While Mark Zuckerberg has said he could have earned a few million bucks very early on by selling ad space and been profitable right off the bat, in the long run it could have hindered or killed his whole business. He correctly predicted that it would be wiser to hold off on advertisements to keep the “cool factor” and build up a larger community with a positive user experience. If Facebook monetized too soon then it might only be worth $500 million today instead of around $500 billion!
To earn your target audience’s trust, you must first focus on traffic and lead generation campaigns, like guest blogging, basic SEO, or building an email list. You also need to publish value-packed content that will give your audience truckloads of value and ensure that your website is secure.
Once you start getting signs of engagement, like post comments, social media shares, and organic brand mentions, you should start rolling out your monetization strategies. A tool like Google Analytics will come in handy in determining the right time to make your move.
Website monetization may be hard, but it’s not rocket science either. With the strategies above, you should have a much firmer grasp on how it all works. Just remember to be patient and execute these steps one at a time. Do you have additional monetizationmistakes that other users should watch out for? Feel free to tweet #BootstrapBusiness to @MikeSchiemer and let us know!
I hope you enjoyed this article about how to avoid website monetization mistakes and maximize your web page revenue.
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