Thursday, July 24, 2008

Making Money with Your Web Site

Explains how to make money from a content-based web site, how to build a site that will get traffic, how to get your site noticed, and the many ways to make money with advertising on your site.

Creating Popular Web Sites

"Build it and they will come" is a wonderful line in the movies. Too bad it's usually not quite so easy in real life! True, good web content is occasionally not always discovered surprisingly quickly. More often, it requires a great deal of disciplined work to draw traffic to a web site, no matter how good the content of the site is.

And what is a good site and good web content, anyhow? "Good" does not mean a site with a halo! The way I use the word good in this chapter is probably circular: a site, and its content, are good if the site and its content draw traffic (or can draw traffic when suitably promoted).

If your site has a great deal of traffic, then the site's traffic is broad . Google itself is a prime example of a broad-traffic site: people use Google to search for myriad different things. But narrow, or focused , traffic can be more useful to advertisers than broad, unfocused traffic. For example, a site discussing complex ophthalmologic conditions might be very successful with targeted advertising even if it draws only a few hundred users a day. Google's traffic becomes more focused, and less broad, when a keyword search is initiated. And all the targeting in the world won't help unless you get some eyeballs.

To make money with your web site content it's a necessary (but not sufficient) condition that you have good content either broad or targeted at a specific niche. Content can mean information, but it also can mean other things for example, software applications or jokes.

From a technical viewpoint, there are some issues about setting up a content web site so you can be flexible about the advertising you publish. Flexibility is good: to make money with advertising you need to do a great deal of tweaking. I'll explain how to set sites up so you can easily modify advertising as you go along without having to rewrite your entire site.

Driving Traffic to Your Site

They say (whoever "they" are) that the best things in life are free. That's certainly true when it comes to driving traffic to your web site.

You can spend a great deal of money to send traffic to your site using advertising. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use Google's AdWords program. But there are also many no-cost ways to draw site visitors, many of which may be more effective, and get traffic that is more highly targeted, than using paid advertising. Even if you are using paid advertising to draw traffic, you should know about free techniquesand you should use these techniques in conjunction with your advertising.

This explains how to publicize your site and increase traffic using techniques that do not cost money and do not involve tinkering with the HTML code and content of your pages themselves. In other words, this chapter explains how to drive traffic to your site using external mechanisms, such as submitting your site to a search engine, leaving more complex issues of constructing your site so that search engines will like ita field sometimes called search engine optimization (SEO).

Optimizing Sites for Search Engine Placement

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it fall, has it really fallen? If no one can find your site, then you are like that unobserved tree. All your work in creating a great site that is the perfect host for lucrative advertising content will be in vain. You certainly won't make money from your site.

You already know how you generate traffic by publicizing your site and getting inbound links to it. Provided these inbound links don't come from bad neighborhoodssites set up just to exchange linksthe more inbound links your site has, the higher its PageRank . A higher PageRank implies a better search result ranking for a given query.

Besides obtaining inbound links and advertising your site, there are some things you can do when you construct your web sites and web pages that can help your pages with their search order ranking. On the other hand, there are also some things you can do that will harm your prospects.

The general field of constructing web sites and pages to helpand not harmtheir chances with search engines is called search engine optimization, or SEO, and is the subject of a certain amount of mystification, perhaps to justify the high consulting rates that SEO experts can charge.

In reality, SEO is pretty simple, and involves the following steps:

  • You need to understand how your pages are viewed by search engine software.
  • You should take common-sense steps to make sure your pages are optimized from the viewpoint of these search engines.
  • You need to avoid certain over-aggressive SEO practices, which can get your sites blacklisted by the search engines.

Making Money with Affiliate Programs

You become a sales rep for another site, often called a merchant, by becoming an affiliate (also sometimes called an associate) of the merchant.

With affiliate programs , your site provides links to a merchant's site. You make money ifand only ifvisitors you send to the merchant's site make purchases. If this sounds easy, it can be. You don't need to stock inventory, or worry about fulfillment, shipping, and returns. And you still make moneysometimes very good moneywhen the product sells.

However, selling on the Internet is very competitive; there are always multiple avenues for a consumer to buy anything. Furthermore, there's nothing to stop consumers from bypassing your site completely and going directly to the merchant. You'll only be successful with your affiliate links if the goods provided by the merchants you are associated with are highly relevant to the content of your site.

This chapter explains the different kinds of ad programs, how affiliate advertising works, how to work with affiliate aggregatorseverything you need to know to make money with affiliate programs, provided your sites draw traffic that will click on links to your affiliated merchants and that these merchants can convert your traffic so that sales are made.

CPC Advertising

CPC cost per click advertising is the most common way to make money by accepting ads on your site. With CPC, an advertiser pays a fee when someone clicks its link on your site, and you get a portion of that fee. CPC ads are mostly (although they don't have to be) text-only.

The idea of making ads contextual that is, relevant to the content of the web page near the ad is closely bound up with CPC advertising. CPC ads that are contextual are much more effective, and generate more revenue for a site owner, than ads that are not contextual. But, it is worth bearing in mind that you can have CPC ads that are not contextual, and, conversely, contextual ads that pay on some other basis than CPC.

Affiliate advertisingwhere a visitor to your site clicks on a merchant's link, and you get paid when the visitor actually buys something from the merchants

Popularity of adult content on the Web

  • Adult advertising for content represents one of the largest segments of the advertising business on the Web
  • Advertising for adult content, and on adult sites, can be more profitable to independent site operators than advertising on any other kind of site

In other words, it's possible for small, or solo, entrepreneurs to make money advertising adult content provided they can draw traffic interested in adult content to their site.

The adult-content industry on the Web in many ways works the same way as the rest of the world on the Web. Just as with nonadult web sites, to make money from advertising on your adult site you need to:

  • Create a site (or sites) that draws traffic with an interest in what you are advertising
  • Understand the advertising options to make money from your site
  • Publicize your site to drive traffic to it

Many, but not all, aspects of constructing, making money from, and driving traffic to a site that involves adult content are the same as when adult content is not involved. After all, HTML is HTML is HTML.