Why do I like Adsense and other display ads for monetizing websites?
It’s simple. Display ad monetization frees me up to publish on any topic and still generate revenue.
Don’t get me wrong, I like affiliate marketing (and generate a decent income from it), but let’s face it, pre-selling affiliate offers works best with specific types of content such as reviews, product comparisons, tutorials and case studies (to name a few pre-selling types of content). I do this too, but there’s only so much of it I care to do.
Moreover, pre-selling content rarely has potential for viral traffic.
Once you remove the shackles of earning only from affiliate offers and embrace display ads, a whole new publishing model opens up… one that you can have a LOT of fun with attracting millions of visitors who love your site.
It only takes a few blog posts
My 10 highest earning blog posts in 2014 from Adsense generated $371,835 in revenue from April 8 to December 9, 2014 (8 months). Check out the screenshot:
Please note, that’s not $371,835 profit. The profit from that is approximately $150,000.
Another way to look at this is the fact that ONE blog post generated $75,652 in revenue from Adsense (profit was approximately $28,000).
Given that these 10 posts took about 50 hours of work to publish plus another 50 hours dealing with ads, social media, the email newsletter and on-site matters, that’s a total of 100 hours of time invested. That’s approximately $1,500 profit per hour ($150,000/100 hours).
That said, I’ve published 270 posts for this one blog, most of which weren’t nearly as lucrative, so the overall hourly profit is much less. The point is that publishing the right kind of content with smart monetization can produce hyper-profits.
Breaking even can be the catalyst for a million dollar business
Even if you break-even with display ads, if you build an email newsletter with your site, you build a list for free. That said, I avoid breaking even; I profit from display ads (and still build lists).
Seriously, think about the big picture here.
When you set up a site with content that people share and you end up profiting or breaking even with display ads (using paid traffic to the site), there’s really no limit to how much traffic you can attract very, very quickly.
More traffic = more email subscribers, more affiliate promotions, more display ad revenue, more Facebook fans, more revenue from other ad networks (many require minimum monthly page views). In other words, traffic creates opportunity.
The following are the basic steps I took to earn vast sums of display ad revenue, get nearly 100,000 Facebook fans and attract thousands of email subscribers in 8 months (imagine the numbers after 3 years).
9 Steps to a high-traffic, high profit blog (with only a few blog posts):
1. Create excellent content for a large, but specific audience
You know what’s great about being a website publisher? I get paid to surf the web and check out my favorite sites. What I mean by this is when I visit other sites, even sites I visit for fun and information, I analyze them while enjoying them. I get great ideas from other popular sites that have resulted in a lot of profits.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m not the only niche site publisher using paid traffic. Many popular sites with millions of visitors per month (or day) spend fortunes on paid traffic. Do you think they became the behemoths they are from organic search traffic? Nope. They use paid traffic and ads to get the ball rolling. Yes, even viral-style sites like BuzzFeed.com uses paid ads (I’ve seen their ads).
If you want publish an authority site with piles of unlimited traffic, you need to buy traffic. In order to buy traffic, you need to be very smart about your monetization. It’s that simple.
The key is publishing content that earns and is shared. Once you do this, you’ll have plenty of traffic. I explain what I do here.
2. Optimize display ads (i.e. Adsense ads)
Being smart about your monetization means you need to at the very least break even with your paid traffic and then profit from your email newsletter and/or Facebook fans.
While I attract Facebook fans and email subscribers, I make sure I profit from paid traffic. It’s a tremendous profit stream for me. Revenue from organic Facebook traffic and my email newsletter is extra.
How do I set up my display ads?
While there are many (pretty much unlimited) ad placement formulas, I’ve developed a strategy that works very well. You can see a diagram and explanation of exactly how I set up my display ads in In my free report here.
3. Set up a Facebook page
While I wouldn’t rely on all of your traffic from organic Facebook page postings, it sure can be a nice source of bonus traffic. The interesting thing is I repeatedly post links to the same URLs on my blog over and over and over and they continuously send traffic. I do post links to many other posts too, but it’s amazing how each month you can promote your best earning (and most viral) content over and over and over with success.
4. Set up internal linking promoting your best earning content
I don’t take a single visitor to my sites for granted. I want each person to enjoy my sites. When they contact me and let me know their complaints, I respond. I’ve made many site changes because of suggestions from visitors.
Part of creating a site people like includes directing them to plenty more content on the site they may enjoy. I offer numerous navigation options from top to bottom (with display ads and email optin forms along the way).
I use ad rotate plugins to rotate links to other pieces of content, videos, related posts thumbnails, etc. This increases their enjoyment and the number of page views. I suggest you read my article setting out 7 tactics I use to drive a lot of traffic to category archive pages. These are great tactics for more page views.
My most popular niche site enjoys a 28% repeat visitor rate, which isn’t bad. That means nearly 1/3 of page views are from people who have visited before. Their time is limited and the fact they choose to visit my niche site over and over, is a very good metric.
5. Integrate Analytics with Adsense and use Adsense URL channels
You need to discover which posts will generate a great display ad revenue and then focus on driving traffic to those posts.
In order to do this, you need to integrate Analytics with Adsense. I also create URL channels in Adsense for most URLs. This way I can see exactly how much each post earns with Adsense.
While I’m not the most diligent when it comes to tracking affiliate links, I’m fairly diligent with tracking and analyzing display ad metrics.
Tip: Take advantage of the Google URL Builder… this way you can see exactly how much revenue paid campaigns generate with Adsense.
6. Ensure you make sharing your content easy anywhere on your website
A big part of profiting from paid traffic is turning paid traffic into free traffic. The best way to do this is to get visitors to share your content.
This requires 2 things:
a. Publish content that has a very high propensity to be shared. This may take a bit of trial and error, but as you can see from the Adsense revenue screenshot above, it doesn’t take many posts to generate a lot of money. Read about one content strategy I use over and over.
b. Provide plenty of sharing buttons on your site. I use Shareaholic for the floating left-side sharing buttons. I use SumoMe for in-image sharing buttons.
7. Add more ad networks to your site: Media.net and Amazon CPM ads
Don’t just settle with Adsense. If you do, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. In addition to Adsense, I use Media.net ads and recently added Amazon CPM ads to my niche sites. Together Media.net and Amazon CPM ads alone generate $400 to $600 per day in revenue.
There are many ad networks you can use. Hunt around. Also, if affiliate and/or CPA offers convert, use them too.
While I don’t advocate making your site nothing but ads, if you publish extensive and high quality content, there’s plenty of space for some serious monetization.
I certainly don’t fall into the camp that’s scared to place ads on a site.
8. Don’t forget to attract email subscribers
Remember, leverage your hard-won (and paid-for) traffic as much as possible. Entice them to join your newsletter. Even if the best you can do in the short term is to send subscribers back to your blog, that’s free traffic.
Example: One newsletter I publish has 16,000 subscribers. I get a 15% open rate (yeah, I know it’s not good). I promote new posts on my site every 3 days. That’s 10 email messages per month. With a 15% open rate, that’s 2,000 opens per email (20,000 per month). Assuming 3/4 of those opens result in a click to the site, that’s approximately 15,000 page views per month that costs me nothing.
Plus, with a simple funnel set up I profit over $300 per month before the first email message is even sent. I explain this tip here.
9. Buy Traffic
I mentioned it above… most popular, high profit blogs and websites buy traffic.
These days there are so many low-cost, high-quality traffic sources. My 3 favorites are native advertising (a.k.a. syndication advertising such as Outbrain), Facebook ads and Bing Ads. Yes, I send this traffic to regular blog posts and still earn a profit.
The fastest way to creating a popular site with plenty of traffic is buying traffic… but it must be done in a way so that you break even or better yet, profit. Once you get your paid traffic running smoothly, there’s no limit to how much traffic you can get to your site.
Even if you have a low 10% ROI on paid traffic with Adsense ads, you need only spend $1,000 per day to make $100. But the residual profits are better… you get Facebook fans, email subscribers, revenue from other ad networks, brand exposure, loyal visitors who will visit again. This is how you launch and publish a profitable niche site quickly (at least it’s one way that works for me and many other sites).
Get my full course that steps you through exactly how I plan, launch and build high traffic, high profit niche sites virtually overnight!
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.