If you’re hoping to make some money from your website, you might consider allowing adverts to generate some revenue. This approach isn’t for everyone, but it can be very effective to help support running costs of your site. Numerous big sites on the internet do this including many forums, hobby sites and the popular dating site, PlentyOfFish. This approach of allowing adverts to display on your site for revenue is frequently called monetizing.
The amount of revenue you could possibly generate for your site largely depends on the amount of traffic your website carries and the type of visitors that come to your site.
Consider your competitors
If you’re a business that sells through their website, it is very likely that competitor’s adverts will display on your site so you’ll need to think of the implications of allowing this:
- You could block specific advertiser URLs to prevent competitor ads from showing
- Earnings per click would potentially be low due to lack of advert relevance
Option 1 – AdSense
Google offers two separate programs for advertising on websites, AdSense and DoubleClick. You’ll need to think about which one will work best for you.
Google serves advertisements primarily based on website content and the user’s location. Those wanting to advertise with Google’s targeted advertisement system may enroll through their Adwords program.
AdSense allows other companies to advertise on your website and has a number of benefits:
- Ideal for smaller sites that don’t have the resources for advertising sales programs
- Easy to implement
- Low maintenance
- Text is often considered less intrusive to visitors than graphics
Option 2 – Banner advertising with DoubleClick
DoubleClick allows graphical banner adverts whilst AdSense allows both banners and text. Banners are a good way of establishing brand identity. Be careful with your choice as you don’t want to drive away regular visitors to your site with too much focus on advertising.
- You can target audience type and match with more relevant advertising
- You effectively sell your ad space inventory to advertisers
- Potentially difficult sell to advertisers if site visitor volumes are relatively low
- Defaults back to AdSense if inventory isn’t sold
Option 3 – Direct Selling of Adverts
You can always offer to sell advertising space on your website yourself; many forums do this themselves with a “classified” section. Members of the forums pay to advertise their own businesses in these sections and some sites allow the adverts to appear as banners within other pages of their sites.
With this approach you will have the overhead of selling and managing your website advertising space yourself. This may be quite a headache for some small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to manage this.
The fees you may get may be small and you may have a hard time convincing other businesses that advertising on your site is worthwhile, particularly if your number of visitors is relatively small.
Option 4 – Affiliate advertising
You may consider affiliate advertising whereby commission is paid to you for any potential sale brought about by a referral from your website.
Commission Junction www.cj.com is a very popular company that offers this kind of service. Current example of commission percentages are:
- keepit.com online backup (30% commission)
- envelopes.com (5-15% commission)
- vistaprint (3-16% commission)
- staples.com (6% commission)
Advantages of affiliate advertising
- Requires some initial management but generally low maintenance
- You have complete control on who you target and what assets you use e.g. banner ads, deep links etc
- You earn commission on sales
Allowing adverts on your website isn’t for everyone and you need to consider how your visitors will react to the adverts. Many modern web browsers do have options and extensions available to hide adverts on websites. Personally I’d recommend trying either the AdSense or DoubleClick options first as they are easy to implement and easy to remove. If you find these are successful, you can always consider selling your own advertising space or affiliate advertising later on. Many visitors now accept the fact that websites have to be paid for and adverts are on one of the few ways of ensuring that popular websites stay free.