Over the last year I’ve been experimenting with various ways to monetize my websites and blogs. Some affiliate programs have worked well and others have only netted me no more than a few cents! I’m sure you’ve had the same experiences and what works for one website owner might not work for another because it all depends upon our blog category and audience.
I’ve written about some of the programs I’ve tried on this site, WebStyle and of course my main blog Tricia’s Musings either as I’ve added them to one or many sites or after I’d been using them for a while.
I’ve been using Amazon on my main website for a number of years. I can’t remember exactly when Amazon started up it’s affiliate program but I’ve been using since the late 90’s I believe! In those early years I made quite a bit of money with Amazon and it was in fact the only way I monetized my website. These days I still make money with Amazon, but no where near as much as I used to due to changes in the program and I suppose a huge increase in the overall amount of affiliates!
I added the WP-Amazon WordPress plugin to my blogs a couple of months ago, but I’ve yet to really get going with using it. I think I’ve only created two affiliate links within my posts so far! Shame on me. Part of making money with affiliate programs is using them when appropriate. Of course I can still go over my old posts and add some Amazon links to them.
Text Link Ads has also been a very successful program for me. I joined a couple of years ago when I only had one HTML based website. I could never figure out how to get Text link ads to work on that site though! (if anyone can help me with this I’d really appreciate it! I know there’s a way to do it.) So I didn’t earn anything on my account until I got around to starting some blogs in 2006.
Google Adsense has worked out fairly well for me too. I don’t earn anywhere near as much as I think I could be making with the program, but I earn more than enough to get paid every month by Google. Again, I only had Google Adsense on my two websites for the longest time. Then sometime last year I put it on a couple of blogs but not my busiest ones. I’ve now rectified that mistake and I use Google Adsense and the utilize the Adsense Deluxe plugin on all of my blogs.
I only added Google Adsense to my busiest blogs about a month ago and I’ve already almost doubled my income. Hopefully once the Google Media bot fully indexes those sites I’ll really start to do well with Google Adsense. I’m still of course going over old posts and using the Adsense Deluxe plugin to add ad blocks to older posts. I don’t like to use them in my newest posts. Perhaps I’d earn more if I did, but I prefer not to irritate my regular readers with too many ads. Those coming in from search engines to the older posts will get the full extent of the advertising on my sites.
This actually brings up a good point.
When you monetize your sites do you consider how it might appear to your visitors? We’ve all seen sites with far too much advertising and for me it’s a total turn off. Links everywhere, advertising to the full extent, all kinds of different affiliate program banners and so on … I try not to do that. As I’ve just said I’ve been going back to older posts and adding in a bit more advertising, but I still try to keep it as tasteful as possible.
Everyone’s got to find their own balance between developing content, advertising and continuing to build traffic. Too much advertising can make people close your site and never return.
It’s fine to experiment with different affiliate programs. Even trying different badges and products to advertise on your site with each company. Just don’t try everything at once. If you overwhelm your visitors they won’t click on your ads. They’ll just click over to another persons website.
How do you monetize your sites? Do you think you’ve accomplished that fine balance that allows you to successfully monetize your site while keeping your visitors happy?
What programs do you use to monetize your site? I’ll discuss other programs that I’ve been using successfully in future posts.