How to Monetize a Website or Blog With Lots of Visitors

6 min read(Last Updated On: February 11, 2018)

In this Ask Hoz session, I answer the question: how to monetize a website or blog with lots of visitors?

The actual question was actually very precise. It was how do I monetize a website with 1 million visitors. I’m just not sure whether that number is actually real.

That said, the answer actually applies regardless of the number of visitors a site gets (as long as they get some visitors).

So let’s get to it.

Website Monetization Strategies and Models With and Without Ads for Websites and Blogs That Get Traffic

Monetising website traffic is a common goal for bloggers and website owners alike. However, choosing the right model can be confusing and, at worse, choosing the wrong model could harm your subscribers.

The secret to website monetisation is that it's not about the website, it's about the visitors.Click To Tweet

So, the way you monetize a website that is getting consistent traffic numbers is to test different monetization methods and figure out which method your audience responds to best.

Monetizing a Website With Adsense

For example, if you choose Adsense, which is a popular monetization method especially for bloggers, then your audience may get turned off by that type of ads because in many cases it can cheapen the look of a website or blog – especially if the ads are intrusive and served mid-content.

This type of delivery is a popular way of serving ads these days on many websites and one that I personally find quite annoying. Being interrupted by a big ad mid-way when you’re reading an article is a turnoff for me.

So if you’re running a test with Adsense, you may find in some cases – depending on your audience – that you start to lose traffic and even subscribers, because they’re turned off by this method.

The bottom line when trying this method is: approach with care.

How to Monetize a News Website

Adsense does work very well in certain niches. For example, on news websites where the life cycle of an article or a post is very short because it’s actually time-sensitive, Adsense can work fantastically well.

Let’s say that some celebrity drops her bra at the Oscar awards presentation and the next day everybody is searching online for that news item. If you have a news website or a news blog and you have a post covering that news item, you could get a lot of traffic at that point in time.

If you have Adsense in that type of site that can be a good way of monetizing that one-off traffic. That news item is not going to get the same amount of traffic the following week. In fact, as time goes on it’s going to get less and less traffic.

Additionally, those visitors are unlikely to return to the same news item once they have consumed the news.

With all the above in mind, there’s relatively little to ‘lose’ by interrupting that one-time traffic with ads.

How to Monetize a Website Without Ads

The model changes when it comes to how to monetize a website or blog where you’re actually working to build a reputation and increase your readership.

Examples of this type of blog are content blogs and websites that offer rich articles that help readers solve or learn something that interests them.

The most common mechanism this type of site employs to retain an audience is to build a list of subscribers.

Naturally, one of the key goals when it comes to this type of site is to have readers return to the blog to consume new content.

This all means that you have to treat this type of audience differently and with a lot more care.

Getting subscribers is, for the most part, hard work. If you start interrupting them with cheap ads you will almost certainly turn them off and have them unsubscribing from your list.

The ratio of work involved to build that list in the first place versus getting a couple of cents per click from a small percentage of them doesn’t make sense when you consider the high risk of losing your audience.

If you run this type of site then you really need to think about what your audience is about. Obviously, your audience is going to reflect the content and the topics of your blog or your website.

Successfully monetizing your traffic really depends on who you're speaking to and how they react, and the only way you're going to really find out is by testing different methods.Click To Tweet

But you can use some common sense to get a head start on the best monetization model to suit your particular audience.

For example, if your website is about graphic design then as a monetization model I would consider creating a small but relevant course and then offering that to your readership because you already know they like graphic design.

This is a good way to invest relatively little time and testing the water with a potentially viable product.

Selling products relevant to your audience's interest is a good way of monetizing a website without using ads.Click To Tweet

Finding the right type of product may take a little testing, but if you have a good relationship with your audience, you can use various tools and methods to gain information and help shortcut the testing phase.

One such method is a simple survey. Ask your audience what they want and then create it. It doesn’t get simpler than that.

Another way to test the water is to offer a live class or webinar and to ask for questions beforehand, so you have some content to deliver. This is a great way to test the water and actually interact with your audience at an intimate level, and the feedback you can gain from this method can be priceless.

Summarizing How to Monetize a Website or Blog With Traffic

Monetizing your web traffic is all about providing the right model to suit the particular type of audience.

On a website where traffic is mostly a one-off, Adsense and other types of ads can work well because the audience has relatively little value to the website owner.

On the other hand, on websites and blogs that strive to build an audience, the monetization model has to take into account the considerable value of the audience and deploy a monetization method that suits that traffic.

In most cases, interrupting subscribers with ads is likely to result in a loss of subscribers.

A good way for this type of website to monetize its traffic is to offer products that suit the audience.

Lastly, if this is something you’re dealing with right now, realise that this is a good problem to have. Be patient and test various models, but be quick to pull the plug on something if you see a negative effect.

Ultimately, how to monetize a website or blog depends on how the traffic reacts to the model, rather than the model itself, so when testing any method, you need to watch and be ready to react fast.

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