Earn Money

The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Your Site with Ads

If you’re looking to make money off your website, then it’s likely that you’re ready to start placing advertisements. These ads can either be your ticket to a passive income, or they can frustrate your readers and sink your website’s potential.

Earn MoneyIf you’ve looked into monetizing your site using ads, then you’ve probably realized that the path to income from your website is not simple. There are many choices that you’ll have to make when setting up ads on your site, from where they’re placed to how you make money from them and more!

Here, we’re going to discuss all of the basic information that you need to be aware of when putting advertisements on your website. After reading this article in its entirety, you should feel ready to embrace the world of advertisement and start making real cash through ads!

Methods of Making Money Through Ads

It’s time to decide how the ads you place on your site will make money for you. Once you answer this question, it will put you in the right direction for the rest of your decisions. So let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method to monetization through ads.

·         Cost Per Click (CPC) Ads

Also known as Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads, this method is probably one of the most common. Basically what this means is that you place the ad on your site, and get paid an agreed-upon amount every time someone clicks on that ad.

If your ads are well placed, and if the targeting is correct (which we’ll discuss in detail below) then you have a very good chance of earning serious cash with this. Your price ranges significantly depending on your website and the traffic that you produce, but it’s possible to earn anywhere from $0.05 to $5 per click, or more.

Pros:

  • Being the most common online advertising method, you’ll find plenty of advertisers willing to work with you.
  • It’s very simple to set up, as most ad networks work with this method.
  • There is very little risk to the publisher (i.e. you) as long as your site has enough traffic.
  • It’s easier to get the going market rate.
  • Good for beginners in the world of ad publishing.

Cons:

  • Your end payout varies greatly, and can change month by month.
  • Your site must have a good amount of traffic, otherwise you could be booted for not meeting the minimum requirements.

Despite its faults, it is generally accepted that this is the best method for publishers who want to put ads on their website, especially those who are new to the business.

·         Cost Per Mille (CPM) Ads

This method is also known as Pay Per Mille (PPC), and is based on the number of impressions generated by the ads placed on your site. Basically, you as the publisher would get paid a set amount for 1,000 views of the ad. This means that when the ad is on your site, the traffic that you drive to each page is earning you money.

There are fewer ad networks who will work with this method, but many advertisers still do. It is not as widely used as CPC ads as mentioned above, so the pay is likely to be less.

Pros:

  • Includes very little risk to the publisher.
  • CPM ads are a fast way to easy payouts, with very little work involved.
  • It doesn’t matter whether the people click or not: just the fact that they’ve seen it means you’re getting paid!
  • As long as the traffic to your site is relatively consistent, then the payouts stay consistent as well.

Cons:

  • There are fewer advertisers willing to work with you.
  • The payouts, although consistent, will include less money.
  • Very high traffic is required to make this worthwhile.
  • If people click, you won’t be paid more.

CPM is still a viable option, and it is possible to earn a significant income from CPM ads on your site. However, it’s important to remember that monetizing your site with CPM ads will only be worthwhile if your site has heavy traffic.

Depending on the amount of traffic that you have and the type of ads that are placed, it is possible for CPM ads to bring more revenue than CPC. But again, your site would need to have a very high amount of traffic.

·         Cost Per Action (CPA) Ads

In this method, also known at Pay Per Action (PPA), you will only get paid if your readers take some sort of action in regards to the advertiser. This means that your readers will not only have to click on the ad, but will also have to do something on the advertiser’s website for you to get paid.

The ‘action’ is usually up to the advertiser’s definition. It could mean making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, etc. The pay for each action is higher than the other methods discussed above, but it is there with inherent risk to the publisher

Pros:

  • There is the potential for high payouts.

Cons:

  • This is a high-risk option for the publisher, but a low-risk option for the advertiser.
  • It’s very easy for an advertiser to cheat the publisher out of their commission, by not specifying well the action that must be taken, by creating an action that can’t be tracked by cookies (such as a phone number to call), or by cookie expiration.
  • Payouts are few and far between, although the rate is higher.

Out of the options that we’ve discussed, CPA ads offer a higher payout but with a huge amount of risk. Of course, going through a CPA ad network is possible, and since this includes a middleman there is less risk of fraud from the advertiser.

However, this option is not recommended for publishers who are just starting to put ads on their website, as it’s harder to set up and get revenue from. If you’re looking for fast cash with low risk, I recommend choosing between CPC or CPM ads.

·         Paid Reviews

This is a different type of advertising, but still a legitimate one. Instead of just placing the advertiser’s ads throughout your site, you’re basically creating the ad for him. This means that the income is less passive, but it can bring in a good payout.

Just remember: when sending links back to the advertiser, make sure to use ‘nofollow’ links to stay above board with Google.

It goes without saying that writing only positive reviews for products you’ve never used is unethical and dangerous to your site’s reputation. Stay within your site’s niche and review products or services that you feel you can give an honest opinion for. There are different networks that connect bloggers and advertisers to do sponsored posts or reviews, and often it doesn’t matter whether you give a positive or negative review. What matters is that you are honest.

This type of advertising on your site brings you a one-time commission for the review itself, but you could be paid anywhere from $150 to $500 per post, depending on certain factors involved.

First, advertisers will look to your rank and incoming traffic. If you get a good amount of traffic, your review will be worth more to them. The higher your rank in search engines, the more people will see the review, and thus you’ll be able to command a higher price per review.

The other factor involved is your site’s niche. Obviously, if you’re reviewing a $1,000 product, you’ll be able to command a higher price than if you’re reviewing a $5 product.

Pros:

  • It’s a great way to earn fast, easy money.
  • Involves little to no risk for the publisher.
  • Payouts per post can be pretty high.
  • As long as your site has a good amount of traffic, there will always be advertisers looking to work with you.
  • You have control over the pricing.

Cons:

  • Involves regular work on the publisher’s part in writing the review.
  • If done dishonestly, this method can ruin your site’s reputation and Google rank.
  • It’s possible to frustrate your readers if done badly.
  • The moment you stop doing sponsored posts, you stop making money.

There is a lot involved with making sponsored posts or paid reviews work for your blog. One main factor is making sure that these posts fit seamlessly into the framework of your blog. For example, if your blog is about photography, don’t start including paid reviews about toothbrushes. It will confuse and annoy your readers, making them turn away from your site.

Another important factor is fully disclosing that this is a sponsored post. Don’t try to fool your readers (or Google!). Transparency gives you credibility, as does honesty. Making sure that your post is completely honest will uphold your reputation and allay any concerns your readers may have.

The key is this: Write your honest opinion, whether it be positive or negative.

Selling Privately vs. Working with Advertising Networks

Now that you know the method of payment you prefer, it’s time to choose how you’ll get those ads on your site. Will you go directly to the advertiser, or will you work with a middleman?

There are pros and cons to each option, and ultimately it depends on your preferences. Are you ready to do the legwork to find advertisers yourself? Or would you prefer that someone else do the hard work for you?

Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both selling ad space directly and using an ad network.

Selling Privately

You’ll need to find and pitch to advertisers directly in order to get them to choose your site to place their ads. In this way, you’ll be cutting out the middleman brought in by ad networks and taking the entire commission for yourself, but the higher revenue comes with more work.

If you have regular, high traffic and an audience that is targeted to a niche that sells, then your site is valuable to an advertiser and it will be easier to find someone to work with you.

How to do it:

First, gather information that advertisers will want to know. Who is your audience? Are they unique to certain advertisers? How much traffic does your site have monthly, and what is its search rank?

Next, find advertisers that are relevant to your site’s niche. There are many ways to do this, including looking at your competitors’ websites to see what ads are there. You could also use resources such as LinkedIn to connect with people directly.

Then, reach out! Keep your proposals short and packed with relevant information. Tell them why they should work with you, and show why your site is valuable to them.

Once you have advertisers willing to work with you, you can choose your rates and how you would like to be paid. For example, you could use the methods such as CPC, CPM, or CPA as mentioned above, or you could simply charge a flat monthly fee for the ads placed on your site. Selling directly gives you the freedom to choose.

Pros:

  • You cut out the middleman, meaning you keep all of the commissions.
  • As the publisher, you get to pick and choose who places what advertisements on your site, ensuring that they are relevant to your audience.
  • You build long-term relationships with businesses that could lead to other opportunities.
  • If things go well, word of mouth could bring in other advertisers within your niche.
  • The rates and the method of payment are entirely up to you.

Cons:

  • There is a large amount of setup necessary on the part of the publisher.
  • Time spent contacting advertisers and convincing them of your worth goes unpaid.
  • You need to have very high traffic on your site to be worthwhile in the eyes of advertisers.
  • Managing and placing ads will all be up to you. If you can’t handle the task of managing many different advertisers, you may need to end up paying someone to take care of this for you, which will cut into your profits.

If you’re a very proactive person or you already have a sales force that could do this legwork for you, then selling directly could be for you. You will be getting higher revenue this way, and depending on the rates that you set, you could easily be earning more than with an advertising network.

Advertising Networks

Ad networks are basically a supermarket of websites that ad agencies can choose from, thus purchasing ads on various sites all at once. This saves everyone involved a lot of time and effort. Going through an ad network means you get revenue right from the start, and that revenue is constant. However, any commission that comes from the advertiser must be shared.

How to do it:

Finding the right ad network for your site is entirely up to you. One of the most common ad networks is Google AdSense, and using this particular site will open you up to a huge number of advertisers to work with.

Basically, the process goes like this: First, you submit your website to Google AdSense. Once you’re approved, you will get a special code to copy and paste into your website. The Google team reviews your site, your audience, and your traffic. Then, they match you with advertisers that fit your site’s niche. You do have some control over the ads that are placed, but Google keeps most of the control. They also keep a hefty commission.

There are other alternatives to using Google AdSense in case you don’t get approved, but the process is more or less the same.

Pros:

  • The ad network will gather all the relevant information about your site and present that to advertisers.
  • Since the ad network has direct access to many advertisers, they will do the legwork of finding relevant advertisers for your site.
  • You can start making money almost immediately.
  • There is no need for a sales force on your part.

Cons:

  • You could be paying up 50% of the revenue to the ad network.
  • The rate for the ads will be lower.
  • You will still need to work to manage the ads that are placed on your site.

Obviously, it depends on your personal situation as to which method you will choose. What some publishers choose to do is a sort of hybrid method. They place ads mainly by working directly with advertisers. However, for the spaces that aren’t filled, they work with ad networks to make sure they’re optimizing their site’s revenue.

Targeting Ads to Your Audience

Whether you’re selling ad space directly or working with an ad network, it’s important to ensure that all the ads placed on your site are relevant to your audience. If these ads are not well targeted, they could be hurting your reputation and annoying your visitors.

More than that, if you’re getting revenue from CPC ads, your income would be significantly lowered if the ads are not relevant to your audience.

In this case, it’s important to analyze the people that are coming to your website, and how they fit into your niche.

For example, if you blog about travel in Asia, then find some advertisers that are relevant to your niche. Perhaps ads for hotel chains in the area, tours through Asia, or airline websites would be helpful to your audience.

When using an ad network, most of this legwork is done for you. However, you’ll still want to manage the ads that are going on your site and ensure that they are well targeted.

The more targeted the advertisements, the more revenue you’ll see.

Design and Placement

When placing ads in your website, these two points are extremely important. Although publishers normally have very little control over the design of the ads, you have the right to block ads that you feel are disruptive to the design of your blog.

Aside from this, you as the publisher have full control over where you will place ads on your site. So what kind of placement will earn you the most revenue from ads? How can you be sure that the ads are seen, but not in the way of your content?

Here are some points to consider when placing ads:

Consider Your Audience

Think about the people that visit your website. What are they trying to accomplish while there? When they’re viewing a particular page, where do their eyes go?

Finding the right balance is key. You want the ads to be seen, because likely that’s how you’ll make your revenue. However, you don’t want the ads to push out content, or to get in the way of users.

Above or Below the Fold?

When you open a web page, it’s normal that you can’t see everything that’s there unless you scroll down. The invisible line that divides what you can see from what you can’t see when you first open a web page is called the fold.

So where should ads be in relation to this invisible line? Logically, whatever is above the fold is what will first be seen by readers. Thus, it makes sense to put ads above the fold.

However, there is a precaution to take here: When placing ads above the fold, be very careful not to push your site’s content below the fold.

Why? Simply put, because your readers didn’t click into your site to see advertisements. They came for your content. If the ads get in the way of the content, they’re likely to get frustrated and leave.

The F and Z Layouts

These layout theories come from evidence that shows how people’s eyes move across a web page.

Imagine drawing a giant letter Z across your page. That is generally where people’s eyes will go when they look at a page. To take advantage of this with advertisements, you could place an ad on the right sidebar, just at the second line of the Z.

Using the F layout theory, you might place a small ad at the top cross bar of the F, or at the second cross bar.

Again, these are just theories, and you will probably want to try experimenting with different placement on your web page to see what converts better.

Frequency

How do you react when you open a web page that is full of flashy and cluttered advertisements? Most readers react the same: they’ll leave the page immediately.

When placing ads, you want to make sure that there aren’t too many on a single page. Otherwise, you’re interrupting the reader’s experience and likely frustrating him. In this case, more does not equal better.

Leaving your pages uncluttered with easy access to your content is the perfect recipe for success with ads. Although it can be tempting to place many ads in the hopes of higher revenue, well-placed ads often earn more than a large quantity of ads.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to monetize your website, placing ads within the site is one of the easiest and most common ways to do so. You could be making money within a short period of time, and likely that income will be passive and long-lasting.

Setting up a niche site is a great way to earn a passive income, and ads can be your ticket to site monetization.

About the Author

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a freelance writer who loves to travel. She has spent over 4 years living abroad and has loved every minute of it. While traveling, Amy has supported herself through freelance writing, honing her skills in online marketing and SEO. She runs a successful travel blog with her husband and writes across a variety of topics all over the internet. She is a self-proclaimed book nerd and coffee addict.

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