If you have a website that attracts a solid amount of visitors, the idea of earning a few greens off of it probably crossed your mind already. And it’s a realistic idea – virtually every website has the potential of being transformed into a rewarding business. This, however, is easier said than done. Your first step, as you probably imagined, is to monetize your site through ads.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to allowing advertisers space on your site, so make sure you spare a few moments and learn what needs to be done in order to turn your website into a thriving business.
Know Your Options
First off, let’s talk about your advertising options. It’s like a buffet system out there. The essential feature is the same: you can directly see and instantly select which ad type to place, as well as decide how much of it. And just like a buffet, ads are more than effective for serving large numbers of people at once.
Just like using some of the best blog title generator tools out there when first starting out, text ads can be your starting point, or hors d'oeuvres if you want, to keep the analogy going. They’re pretty basic, featuring a headline, a few lines of text, and a CTA (call to action) with an URL. Banner ads are evolved text ads in standardized sizes, using images and rich media instead of text. As an entrée, they look good if done right and get the point across. Then, you have native ads, a form of seamless content infiltration. This can be your main course, as they appear just like the content. There are many forms, from in-feed promoted posts to giveaways. Here’s how Facebook uses them (we’re absolutely positive you’ve seen them hundreds of time):
Source: Facebook screengrab
As a dessert, you can serve pop ads. These will pop either up or under the user’s browser window, fully customizable by size.
And that’s just a small sample of the overall selection. There are more side dishes like shadow boxes, buttons, bars, and additional types for you to peruse, both for web or mobile placement. Ok, we are done with the whole buffet thing and also, a bit hungry.
How to Go about It?
Now that you know a great deal about the different options for ad placement, your next step is to choose how to actually get in the ad business. Basically, you have a couple of options here.
One of them is signing up with an ad network. These networks assume the role of a middleman between businesses that want to advertise and people like you that have the means to make that happen (an audience) and want to make a business of their own while at it. The top choice when it comes to picking an ad network is typically Google Adsense. It’s huge, simple, and effective. Being the go-to option for many, it’s also highly competitive and daunting for those just starting out. However, there are also lots of alternatives to the Google’s omnipresent network, so there’s no need to feel limited to the big names. That’s not to say that every network deserves your attention. Only a few have enough advertisers and credibility to make it worth your while.
Here’s the deal: the process goes far beyond signing up and placing ads on your website. You have to think about the network’s practices. Are they transparent in everything they do or do they cloud certain aspects of their business? In the case of former, some type of fraudulent activity is likely, either through bot traffic or low-quality ads. You also need to pay attention to how an ad network deals with payment and pricing issues. Early payments, proper reporting, and pricing transparency are the pillars of a sound, professional ad network dealing with its financial aspect. With some networks having a better reputation, the client’s trust can be further strengthened by having readily available support. By support, we mean a special section where users can find information and guidance about performance, most important or frequent issues, as well as a whole range of other inquiries. This also includes a dedicated support team or a manager that will provide personal counsel via tailored solutions and assistance in optimization.
For instance, RevenueHits is one of those available premier alternative options on the market. The network will display only the most relevant ads pertaining to the target audience. There is a wide selection of banners with different dimensions, as well as pops, interstitials, and many other formats. In addition to lots of ad options, the platform uses multilevel tracking and reporting systems.across a variety of verticals, serving 2 billion ad impressions on a daily basis.
If you don’t fancy ad networks, the DIY approach is the second option. In this instance, you cut out the middleman (ad networks) and go straight to the source by offering ad space to private advertisers. As a publisher, you want complete control over the advertising material that appears on your website and this option allows that, unlike with the ad networks. This allows for a more flexible deal-making where you can charge a higher ad rate, thus resulting in a higher profit margin. Still, you need lots of traffic to meet advertisers’ demands or even interest them in the first place. While getting to know your client up close and personal forms a relationship that could benefit you in the long run, making that first contact is often an unbreachable barrier. It also costs money and resources, especially if you seek to hire professional help in the sales department or just somebody to help with campaign management.
Notable mention goes to the affiliate marketing business, which gets you a percentage of sales (usually) of your client’s products that are advertised on your site. There is a number of quality programs you can join or opt for the direct route here as well, contacting specific businesses and other advertisers with products relevant to your niche and audience. The balance between the content of your blog and the relevant products offered are the key driver of success.
As with any performance-based business, its success is based on numerous factors, some of which are entirely up to the publisher itself. These include the ever-important website content, ad positioning, thorough audience understanding, and others. To create a thriving business out of your website with ads, a lot of it rides on the right business model you choose. You need to identify what suits you best and go for it, making sure you are ready to engage this venture in the long run through continuous testing and optimization of ad performance.