You have managed to get your website to that magical point where you have established popularity, traffic, loyalty and a community of fans. Your site contains a wealth of information, resources and services that you provide free because that’s just the kind of person you are. You may not have intended to make money from your site but now that you have an audience you realise that it’s possible, or perhaps you have to start thinking about generating income because your costs to manage the site have increased and it’s starting to hurt.
In my experience once you have about 500-1000 unique visitors per day to your site *at least* before you can start to make real money. You can make chimps change from day one from your 50 hits
- Over about five years I managed a hobby site that started off as a very local site focusing on people in my area that played the game Magic: The Gathering. I wrote reports and did news coverage for the game. Later I expanded the site to Australia and eventually opened it to the world although it remained mostly Australian with a good chunk of Asians and New Zealanders.
Cost per click (CPC)
Cost per click or per impression basis. An impression is a banner being displayed to a user once, a click is someone clicking the banner and visiting the site being advertised. These networks act as a middle man between business that want to advertise and people like me that have an audience and want to make some money by displaying banners.
Unfortunately these programs display banners that often don’t match your audience. I tried a few but it was a short lived experiment that made me a few dollars if that.
For small sites they just don’t make much money. For large sites there are much better ways to make money. I’m sure there are people out there that make good money from these programs (I’m sure the program owners do!) but in my experience a little effort to find the right type of advertising can yield much better results.
- E.g. Most Adult Affiliate Advertising networks will not pay you on CPC (cost per click) or PPC (Pay Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Mile) basis. Instead, they will pay you on CPA (Cost Per Action) or CPL (cost per lead) basis.
Cost per Mile (CPM) and rates
Many companies charged by what is called CPM or cost per 1000 impressions. Back then this was by far the most commonly used scale for pricing of web advertising and you could expect to earn anywhere from $0.10 to $10.00 CPM.
I decided that in order to keep my advertisers I had to offer value so I went for a blanket approach. I started charging a flat rate of $30 per month to have a banner on my site which offered as many impressions that my traffic could provide. I signed up my first few advertisers at this rate.
- Many people are making money through Adult affiliate program where affiliates get paid per free sign up (e.g. a dating site; the affiliate can make $7.00 per free member who joins the site and $35.00 for members who turn gold).
- A dating site may be a bit too steepy. One way to start is by making blog posts, targeted to certain niche or model name for example. Buying bulk traffic isn’t going to take you far, if you don’t know what to buy and how to use it.
Banner management software
Advertising on websites was usually via a standard 468×60 banner.
In order to “rotate” different banners across my site I needed some special software that would dynamically place banners. This allowed me to have more than one advertiser banner in a single location so I could optimise my adspace and make sure my audience didn’t get too bored from seeing the same banner over and over again.
Let me save you some time, phpAdsNew is the best banner management software out there. It’s under an open source license and has all the features you could ever wish for at a price you can’t beat, it’s free.
There is a learning curve with phpAdsNew and you do have to install it on your own server. If you are like me and you do things like this yourself most of the time you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Otherwise you might try contacting your favourite ITGeek and get them to give you a hand.
Statistics are important
Before you start searching for advertisers you should be very familiar with the statistics of your site. Do you know how many unique visitors you get? How many hits you get? How many impressions? Do you even know what the differences are between these?
Most web servers come with a statistics package. Ask your web host if you don’t know. The most common are Awstats (demo) and Webalizer (demo) which often are preinstalled on many hosting packages. Become familiar with these packages so you can accurately assess your site traffic.
Increasing ad revenue
I now had the foundations laid and was serving the ads of my first few advertisers. From the point onwards I went to work attracting more advertisers by directly emailing North American online card stores and other related sites. I kept an excel file to track which websites I had emailed and their responses so I could follow up in a timely manner.
I created new banner positions and started initiatives like a newsletter to generate more revenue. I created monthly packages that combined newsletter advertising and different banner positions and offered them at $500 per quarter. I increased the top prime banner position fee to $50 per month and started offering a tower banner position for $50 as well.
At some point Google Adsense popped up and I was in with other early adopters to try it out. My results were okay. The money wasn’t nearly as good as the established relationships with advertisers I had, however the ads being displayed were a lot more targeted than banner networks I had tested early on.
Yaro Starak, Web Entrepreneur