Monetizing your website has never been easier. After all, people from all over the world are building websites, publishing blog content, and working to achieve financial freedom by turning their sites into money making machines. And, since everyone has an equal opportunity to become an “influencer” in their industry, making money using a website is really not that hard to do.
After all, everyone is technically qualified to publish valuable content, engage with people across social media platforms, host webinars, and run email campaigns to build a bigger audience. So, why wouldn’t those same people be qualified to monetize their site after establishing themselves as an authority? It should go without saying that running an eCommerce shop is the easiest and most obvious way of monetizing a website.
Yet, there are plenty of other ways to make money online, even if you don’t have an online shop. The problem is, if you don’t make a living selling products and services on your website, monetizing is a bit more challenging, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Check out these mistakes to avoid if you want to dodge learning as you go while trying to make money using a website.
1. Monetizing Without an Audience
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to make money, whether you have an online shop, run pay-per-click ads, or recommend affiliate products, if you don’t have an audience. People have to know you exist, get to know your brand, and trust what you have to offer, long before they’ll ever convert. And if you think you can get away with monetizing your blog using only Google AdWords, since every time people click your ads you make money, you’re sorely mistaken.
It takes a lot of time and hard work for your ads to appear in relevant Google searches. After all, you need to have a strong keyword game, understand SEO optimization, and convince people that your site is worth their time. Without a lot traffic coming to your site before you do these things, it won’t matter how many Google AdWords ads you’re running, how many affiliate products you recommend, or how many ad banners you display on your site. After all, if people don’t see you in search results or don’t visit your website, these efforts to monetize your brand will fail. Are you wondering how to know if you have an audience regularly visiting your website?
Create a free Google Analytics account and track things like:
- Number of users
- Number of sessions
- Average session duration
- Number of pageviews
- Bounce rate
In all, you can’t expect people to come to your site the minute you launch a website, let alone generate you money, no matter how you’ve monetized your site. Building a loyal audience takes time and patience. It also takes things like guest blogging, SEO optimization, email list building, and publishing consistent, value packed content people come to love.
2. Displaying Too Many Ads
There are a few reasons why displaying too many ads on your website won’t work, despite the money they may generate. To start, placing too many ads throughout your website is bad for the user experience. Ads take away from the focus of your site. They distract site visitors from the valuable content you to offer and can even make navigating your site difficult to do. These things overwhelm, frustrate, or plain annoy people, causing them to abandon your site and never come back.
Think about it.
Have you ever clicked on a news story, only to find out that you have to click through 10+ pages just to read the article? All the while, every single page you click on is overwhelmed with ads? Sites like The Cheat Sheet are known for doing this, especially when on a mobile device. Even major websites like Yahoo are known for squeezing in “Sponsored” articles between content and displaying multiple sidebar ads, which is very distracting.
Another reason to avoid putting so many ads on your website is because it slows your page loading time down, which is one of the top reasons people abandon sites and never return.
Of course, there are ways to counter some of the effect image heavy ads have on your website:
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve content to site visitors faster based on location
- If you use WordPress, use caching plugins like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache
- Compress images before publishing them using a plugin like Smush It or a free online tool like TinyPNG
- Routinely check your page loading speed using a free online tool like Google Pagespeed Insights
However, even if you optimize your website for speed and performance using the above-mentioned tools, you’ll still find your web pages performing less than ideally if overloaded with advertisements. In the end, the best way to monetize your site is to focus on providing people an exceptional user experience and make sure your site performs well first. This will encourage return visits and ad clicks (on the minimal ads you have displaying) and will in turn generate you the most money possible.
3. Relying Only on Ads to Monetize
There are many other ways to monetize your website, beyond ad banners or running pay-per-click ads:
- Affiliate marketing
- Coupon pages promoting affiliate partners
- Sponsored blog posts
- Membership sites
- Paid directories or job boards
- Sell digital products like eBooks or online courses
- Host paid webinars
- Offer freelance, consulting, or coaching services
- Start a non-profit and accept donations
Utilizing the power of advertising is a smart move when it comes to monetizing your website. But the truth is, you should always diversify your strategies to make the most money possible.
For instance, WPKube is a great example of how a dedicated coupon page not only helps site visitors looking for a deal, but also helps the site owner generate money thanks to affiliate partnerships:
Adding to this, notice WPKube also has a page disclosing the fact that they take part in many monetization techniques: advertising, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts.
Relying strictly on ads to make money can negatively affect your brand in the following ways:
- Ads displaying on your site drive your site traffic away from your site
- Your earning potential is limited until you establish yourself as a big player
- You clutter your site and ruin the user experience
- You have little control over what is advertised, which can turn away some site visitors
Lastly, by solely relying on ads to make money, you ultimately help your competitors grow their brand instead of helping yourself, which defeats the purpose of monetizing your site.
4. Intrusive Popups
Email list building is one of the best ways to build a bigger audience, actively engage with your target audience, and encourage people to come back to your site and take action. However, people often abuse this strategy in an effort to build a bigger email list by displaying intrusive popups to their site visitors every time they visit. This is in hopes they’ll click on an ad, buy a product, or do something else that will generate money.
Google maintains that while popups are okay to have on websites, those that cover the main content are not.
In fact, Google feels so strongly about this that anyone using this technique will suffer when it comes to pagerank because displaying intrusive popups, no matter their purpose, negatively affects the overall user experience. Google goes on to say that even static ads that affect the user experience and make content less accessible, which is bad practice.
For instance, Cafemom.com shows a very large (and dynamic) ad on their web page that is not only hard to dismiss (there is no clear x to close the ad) , it takes up a large portion of the site’s content making it difficult to read.
It’s almost as if the ad is connected to the sticky header and follows you as you try to read the blog post. If you really want to annoy site visitors and upset Google in the process, you’ll make the mistake of using intrusive ads on your website that no one will want to click on.
In the end, you can’t expect to build an established brand overnight and make a ton of money using your website, no matter how you decide to monetize it.
But what you can expect is less than ideal results if you take part in any of the above money making mistakes.
It takes a lot of hard work to build a loyal following, convince people you’re an authority they can trust, and get them to click on your site’s ads, purchase an affiliate product, sign up for a membership site, or even buy your online products.
But, it can be done if you take the time to nurture your leads, strengthen your audience relationships, and monetize throughout the process in a gentle, non-aggressive way.