Monetizing Your Website

Just because you have a lot of visitors on your web site doesn’t necessarily mean that your web site is going to make you a lot of money. And you don’t have to have a lot of visitors in order to make a lot of money from your web site–you’ve got to have the right visitors looking for what your web site has to offer.

I realize that there’s a lot of different types of web sites out there–and it seems as if just about everyone has a different goal in mind. Bloggers blog to put their thoughts down online and share their thoughts with others, and other bloggers are passionate about their chosen topic (and thus they typically use Google AdSense to monetize their blog). Online businesses sell products using online shopping carts: their goal is to get someone to buy a product. Still, other web sites’ goals are to simply brand their products (many corporations’ products are too expensive to sell directly online). In any case, if you own a commercial web site you have a purpose for putting up that web site–and you want to somehow make money from that web site. If you don’t have quality visitors who are ready to purchase something or who are in part of the buying process, then you won’t be able to monetize your site; and you won’t make any money.

Many of us believe that if we rank well for a “generic term” related to our web site we will get thousands of visitors to our site and thousands of people will buy our products or click on ads and make us money. But, let me give you a warning–I recently had an influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors one day that proceeded to quickly and efficiently overwhelm my web site’s server, bringing it down. And, unfortunately, although there were a lot of visitors to the site, there was no way to monetize that traffic. Lots of visitors to your web site doesn’t always mean lots of money if you cannot monetize it.

Recently, I came across a new exciting search phrase related to my web site that was suddenly mentioned in the news. Being the entrepreneurial webmaster that I am, I decided to “cover the story” and put up a page about the topic. Of course, I performed the tasks necessary to make sure that that new web page would rank well in the search engines. I optimized the title and meta tags, I wrote several good paragraphs of unique content about the subject, I linked out to a few other resources that also talked about the subject, and I immediately started a linking campaign to get some good, quality links to this new web page on my site (I wanted to be the first with the “market share of links”). Low and behold, a day or two later I was ranking very well for the targeted search phrase. I proceeded to get lots of visitors (or at least so I thought) to the new web page. A few days went by and I noticed something strange happening; although I was getting a lot of visitors (tens of thousands each day), an extremely small number of these people actually clicked on ads (banner ads and/or contextual advertising on the page). I figured it was most likely the subject matter and the search phrase, and sort of forgot about the traffic and the web page; after all, I was getting a few natural links from other web sites who talked about this new subject, so I chalked it up to the “cost of doing business” on the web and enjoyed the additional new link popularity of my site.

Suddenly, about a week or two later, Yahoo! decided to pick up this topic and “mention it” in their Yahoo! Buzz Index (http://buzz.yahoo.com). Furthermore, they just “happened” to link directly from the Yahoo! home page (http://www.yahoo.com) to the search results for that keyword phrase–the exact phrase that I had targeted earlier and was enjoying top search engine rankings for. Whoa! I woke up one day and noticed that my blog was acting extremely slow when I went to make a post. It turned out that my blog was hosted on the same web server as the site that was essentially “linked to” from the Yahoo! home page (their Yahoo! Buzz Index was linking to the Yahoo! search results page where I enjoyed top search engine rankings). Needless to say, about an hour later and hundreds of thousands of visitors later, the web host had no choice but to shut domain down and deliver a “web site suspended” error message instead. Luckily, I was “on the case” and able to get the domain moved to another web server that could handle the influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors. At the end of the day, after hundreds of thousands of visitors, a web site taken offline for several hours, and a well-crafted web page with great content about the subject combined with relevant advertisements, I did not have a lot of additional money lining my pockets.

I definitely recommend being an “entrepreneurial webmaster”. If you hear, see, or read about news or something that’s new in your industry, feel free to add content to your web site about that subject. And make sure you that you get a few links from other web sites related to your topic to link to your new content; this will make sure that you’re the first one to get the “market share of links”. By being first with the “market share of links” to your new content, the search engines will consider your web page the authority on that subject–which will help your search engine rankings in the future.

My example of having hundreds of thousands of visitors to one web page and not “becoming rich” because of it proves that just because you have a lot of visitors doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to monetize that traffic. It only takes one visitor looking for exactly what you are selling to make one sale. Furthermore, there might be a sudden “buzz” about a product, person, event, or subject that everyone turns to the web to find more information about. And unless that “buzz” is about your product or your service (or a product or service you offer), there’s a slim chance that the “buzz” is going to make you rich.

I’ve been following many different subjects and topics for the past several years that are popular all of a sudden and it’s not the first time one of my web sites has seen a huge influx of visitors based on this type of “buzz” or “popular” traffic. There’s a strange phenomenon among certain many topics that suddenly “are hot” or “are mentioned in the news” that I’ve noticed. A lot of people will search the internet for something they hear about a new product, service, subject, or event, but they don’t immediately make a purchase (in fact, it’s very rare if they make a purchase). People who make purchases tend to “shop around” and not make a lot of spur-of-the-moment decisions when it comes to purchasing online. In fact, I am beginning to see a trend when it comes to web site traffic that comes from “buzz” or “popular hot topics” in the news: they’re readers and not purchasers. These visitors are not in the buying process.

So what can you do if you’re a web site owner? Like I mentioned earlier, if there’s a topic that everyone’s talking about and it’s related to your industry or web site, be the first one with a web page about that topic–and make sure you are the first to have the “market share of links” for that search phrase. But, don’t expect a huge windfall of monetization here; the windfall will come in the form of additional links and additional link popularity of your web site that you can then spread around to help promote the products and services that really make you money.

Update: Want to learn how to make money right now from your site? Are you active on social media? Well, take a look at my post here: How to Make Money from Your Social Media Influence that explains it all.

Monetizing your website can be confusing. Talk to someone who has over 10 years of website marketing experience who can steer you in the right direction, not just someone who is going to try to “sell you” search engine marketing or website marketing services. Not only do I have the website marketing and search engine optimization experience, I have created literally hundreds of profitable websites over the years. I can help you monetize your website properly and make it profitable.

I will be happy to provide talk with you further about how you can monetize your website.

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