The question of website monetization is one that bloggers often have the most difficult time answering. It’s not just the question of which method is best or which one offers the most stable source of revenue. In reality, there are still monetization schemes that are quite detrimental to your website’s future.
Avoiding harmful and less than optimal website monetization strategies is all about recognizing them. Read on to find out all you need to know about different methods of monetization and their potential ramifications.
Bad traffic sources
Not every traffic source has equal potential to increase ad revenue. Some visitors are more responsive than others, and they bring in the kind of traffic that you can monetize. Visitors who only see the ads without taking an action do not contribute to the ad revenue.
While it may be tempting to make up for the revenue lost by purchasing additional traffic from suspicious sources, you should resist the urge to do so. Higher traffic doesn’t necessarily translate to higher-quality traffic and better earnings. In fact, if you consider that most cheaply obtained traffic is bots, you still haven’t solved the core issue — often they aren’t even seeing the ads because this traffic is cut by the platforms’ anti-fraud systems.
Not only won’t you see an increase in revenue, but you’ll also be at a loss for buying the traffic, no matter how cheap it was. A much better solution is identifying who your visitors are, how they found your website, and then diversifying sources of traffic. Consider that visitors referred to you from other sites are most responsive to ads, so think about reaching out to other publishers and expanding your network.
Ad density, or when the audience comes second
Stuffing web pages with ads increases their density, thus creating an opposite effect on revenue to what the publisher is expecting. Prioritizing ads over user experience sends a clear signal that the publisher doesn’t care about their audience, and people are going to pick up on it.
When visitors are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ads on the page, they become annoyed. As their annoyance turns to frustration, they won’t just frantically be looking for a way to close all the ads (the ones they can close) but leave the website altogether. Suffice it to say that page load speed might suffer as well, and the site’s rankings with it.
Keep the content-to-ad ratio moderate; to pass ad platforms’ standard requirements, all ads should not exceed 30% of the page content. Instead, focus on the right combination of ad formats and in the right place. Experiment with ad format combinations to strike the balance between ad presence and user experience.
Intrusive ad formats
Just as an excessive amount of ads can ruin the day for your visitors, so can intrusive ad formats. The most intrusive among ads are quite expectedly pop-ups and interstitial ads. The fact that they cannot be skipped and demand a reaction on the user’s part is going to evoke a negative response from your audience. The same goes for auto-playing video ads with sound, using overly flashy ads, or large sticky ads.
Anything that prevents the users from engaging with the content they’ve come for is going to be perceived as intrusive and reduce its effectiveness. Extremely aggressive ad formats do not alleviate ad fatigue, they exacerbate it further.
Link schemes that aim to manipulate Google rankings aren’t a good idea. The premise is fairly simple — you provide a do-follow link to someone else’s web page and charge them for it. They receive an SEO boost and more exposure while you receive a fairly easy source of revenue.
Selling links used to be a lucrative business in the short run. However, time and time again, Google has warned against selling links or participating in any kind of link scheme that aims to game their PageRank algorithm. That includes paying for links, trading goods/services for links, and excessive link exchanges.
It’s a short-term strategy that Google has gotten really good at intercepting and penalizing. In the long run, it’s downright self-destructive.
Infolinks is an advertising format whose day in the sun has long passed.
They offer advertising in the form of links that you can click, only to reveal a slightly relevant ad for your perusal.
The main advantage of Infolinks is that it provided an un-intrusive in-text ad that matched the user’s intent in real-time.
Nowadays, it’s far from profitable. It’s one of the obsolete website monetization methods that very few people care about with a revenue stream that probably won’t even cover your hosting expenses.
RSS feed ads
Speaking of obsolete website monetization models, RSS Feed ads are also long due for retirement.
It used to be that bloggers would put ads in the RSS Feed section of the website where readers would come and look for new posts. It was never the most lucrative ad method to begin with and always made the page appear more cluttered than it had to be.
Nowadays, few people maintain their RSS Feeds, and even fewer visitors go there for content updates. Using ads in this section is more work than it’s worth, and a waste of valuable space on the page.
Risky advertising vendors
It’s the advertiser’s responsibility to promote ethical advertising content that doesn’t irritate users or speculate on sensitive topics. Ad platforms must monitor advertisers’ behavior and also be accountable for how they handle users’ private data.
Unlike MGID and other long-standing vendors, some ad providers may not be transparent about their operations. Speaking of operations, some advertising vendors can also slow the website significantly, leaving people (and Google) with a bad taste in their mouths after visiting your page.
Your web pages don’t need to be overflowing with flashy and disruptive ads for you to monetize them properly. In fact, it’s going to harm the profitability of your website in the long run.
Keep the users in mind when placing ads on the site; put yourself in their shoes, make their priorities yours, and you’ll have a steady and reliable source of income.