Many bloggers focus a great deal on getting traffic, which is obviously very important if you want to have a successful blog. Yet there is another issue that is equally important --monetizing the traffic that you do get. This is not as simple as randomly putting up ads, as you may have discovered already.
There are quite a few factors, which determine the profitability of a blog. First and foremost, you need quality content to keep visitors on your site. Ads alone will not monetize your blog, as you must provide people with content that they can't find elsewhere. The overall appearance and layout of your site also matters, as you must provide an appealing and user-friendly interface.
When it comes to advertising, it's essential to display ads and offers that target your particular audience. This is somewhat difficult, as most of the ad networks manage the ad inventories themselves. So it becomes even more important to carefully analyze your data and do plenty of split testing to determine which ads perform best.
Apart from using ad networks, there are also other creative ways to monetize a blog, such as by creating premium content areas on your site, using exit popups or, as we will see, even monetizing CAPTCHA codes. There are several tools on the market that can help you monetize your blog more effectively. The following are five of the most effective ones.
Outbrain is a service that recommends personalized links to website visitors. It works with some of the world's most popular sites, including Slate, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and many others. It suggests links that are relevant to visitors based on their content preferences.
Outbrain can be installed as a free widget on your blog. It analyzes your site using many different metrics and motivates visitors to visit either other pages on your blog or sponsored external links. The widget is designed to blend harmoniously with the existing style of your site.
You can control what types of recommendations are produced by Outbrain. For example, you can block certain domains or keywords if you don't want them featured on your website. Revenue can be generated if your site receives enough page views for your sponsored recommendations.
You have access to a dashboard where you can see detailed statistics regarding click through rates, page views generated by recommendations, amount of revenue generated and other metrics.
Outbrain can help to monetize your blog by providing visitors with a more relevant and personalized experience on your site. Readers on your website/blog are already consuming content and you are merely giving them access to other relevant content. This is easily the most unobtrusive way to monetize traffic.
One of the most essential tasks for increasing revenue on a site is knowing exactly how well each ad is performing. AdPushup helps you conduct A/B testing on your ads so that you can generate higher RPM (Revenue per thousand impressions) on existing traffic.
A/B or split testing is generally agreed to be the most effective ways to determine the profitability of an ad unit. Yet this can be a tiresome and complicated process, as there are many variables to compare, such as ad size, placement and styles. There is also the matter of comparing different ad networks you may be using. AdPushup makes it simple to calculate these variables so you can generate more revenue for your ads.
You can conduct A/B tests that compare ads of different sizes and placements. You can compare the effectiveness of image vs text ads on your site. You can also determine which ad networks are worthwhile for you to use and which are not giving you good value.
You can manage ads using the visual editor. This requires no html knowledge and if you are using WordPress, All you need to do is - install a plugin.
AdPushup is a tool that simplifies one of the most vital aspects of site monetization. The only way to really gauge how well ads are performing is to conduct comprehensive testing. At this time, AdPushup is still in beta and is planning its full launch in the near future. (DISCLAIMER: I’m a co-founder)
WPBounce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to monetize your bounce traffic by selling products on Amazon.com. To make use of this, you must have a WordPress blog and also be registered as an Amazon affiliate.
Bounce traffic is a problem that every website has to deal with. These are people who land on your site and quickly decide they don't want to stay. They count as visitor, but they normally don't do you any good. WPBounce gives you a way to monetize many of these visitors by redirecting them to relevant Amazon ads.
The plugin automatically analyzes your site and comes up with keywords that link to relevant Amazon ads, so you don't have to worry about searching for products to list.
You have a choice of several templates to customize the popup that visitors see. You can split test these templates and find out which converts best on your site.
Another useful function is that the plugin is set up to send people to Amazon sites internationally, based on their location. For example, UK visitors will be sent to Amazon UK. This is determined from the visitor's IP, so they will automatically be directed to the appropriate Amazon site.
WPBounce is a useful tool to monetize traffic that would otherwise provide no value for your site. Amazon contains such a diversity of products that there is something that is relevant to just about any visitor. It is also a highly trusted site, which means that you can expect good conversions from this plugin.
CAPTCHA codes are useful for enhancing security and cutting back on spam, but they can also cause your site to lose visitors. If people have too much trouble solving the CAPTCHA questions, they are likely to give up and abandon the site. Confident CAPTCHA provides a solution to this and also gives you a way to monetize CAPTCHA.
Traditional CAPTCHA images involve letters and numbers that are often difficult to read. Confident CAPTCHA, by contrast, uses puzzles that anyone can instantly recognize. For example, rather than making the visitor try to decipher barely recognizable symbols, he or she may be asked to click on a car, apple, dog, tree or other image. This is much faster and easier for visitors, and it will help you retain visitors who might otherwise abandon your site.
But Confident CAPTCHA takes this a step further and allows you to use sponsored ads as well. Companies are willing to pay to have their ads displayed in websites' CAPTCHA area. This makes sense, because visitors are forced to pay attention to these images in order to solve the code. This is very good for brand recognition, and it also provides websites with a tool to monetize their CAPTCHA codes.
Using Confident CAPTCHA can help your blog in two ways. Firstly, it makes it easier for visitors to solve CAPTCHA codes, which means people will not abandon your site. This will increase conversions on your site in it self. Secondly, you can monetize these CAPTCHA codes by accepting advertisements for them.
Confident CAPTCHA is an innovative tool that turns something that many people find to be an annoyance into a profitable tool for your blog.
Tinypass is a tool that allows you to charge your visitors for your premium content.
It can be integrated into your site's existing structure. There are plugins for both WordPress and Drupal.
There are many ways to use Tinypass. For example, you may have certain articles or videos on your site that you'd like to monetize. Artists who create music or films can charge visitors to gain access to these items.
One of the tools offered by TinyPass is Applause, which allows you to raise money for your site or for a particular project. This is like having your own crowd funding campaign on your site, where you explain why people should donate. You can give people different options, such as enjoying your site ad free by donating a certain amount, or gaining access to special content by donating more.
Tinypass allows you to monetize your site, or specific content in any manner you choose. You can set up recurring billing so people are charged by the week or month, like a membership site. Metered Browsing gives your visitors a certain amount of free access before they must pay if they want to remain on your site.
Time-based Access let you sell passes that last an hour, day or week. You can also use Tinypass to partner with advertisers and affiliates. The Split Pay feature allows you to split revenues earned on your site. For all of these options, visitors will be able to pay using their local currency.
Tinypass is an extremely useful tool for monetizing a blog. It gives you the ability to divide your site between free and premium areas. It's up to you to decide what you want to charge for. You can experiment with different structures and see which is most profitable.
Conclusion: Decide How You Want to Monetize Your Blog
We have looked at a few of the many possibilities for monetizing your blog. You may want to employ one or more of these approaches. You may also have some other ideas you'd like to implement. Monetizing a site is something that can be done in many ways, and it's up to you to come up with the ideal set of strategies.
Remember that you always must strike a balance between monetization and providing value to visitors. You must give them a reason to visit and remain on your site.
About the Author: Ankit is a co-founder @ AdPushup, where he is building an A/B Testing & Optimization tool for online publishers. This tool will allow publishers to increase ad revenue from their websites from their existing traffic. Ankit is a programmer, online marketer, webmaster & growth hacker.