Note: Please see notes regarding this AdSense screenshot at the end of this post.
What you’re about to read will blow your mind.
After months of testing types of content and display ad strategies that generate high revenue per thousand page views (RPM), I discovered the type of content that:
1. Visitors love (it’s important people like your content – I can tell because it’s shared a lot and my repeat visitor rate is 28% +/-)
2. Gets shared a lot (I use a couple nifty tools in conjunction with this type of content that generates social sharing like crazy)
3. Earns very well with display ads
4. Can earn very well with promoting products as an affiliate (depending on your keyword research)
5. Is plentiful (you can do it over and over and over … and it’s all unique)
6. Can be very easily outsourced (my team publishes 1 to 2 new pieces of content every day).
7. Has the potential to pull in some decent organic search traffic (again this is largely dependent on your keyword research).
What is this type of content that works so well?
It combines lists with images.
Whoa, not exactly earth-shattering. I certainly didn’t invent this, but I run with it big time. It’s a solid type of content to use when starting a blog as well (it’s how I started).
I’ll say it again. A winning content strategy is combining the viral nature of lists with the visual appeal of images.
It’s a lot of work to do it well, but once you get it right with the right niche, it works like gangbusters.
Caution: It only works in certain niches
By “only works” I’m referring to really going viral. Yes, lists are generally a great type of content in any niche, but image-centric lists aren’t ideal for every niche. For example, you’re not going to create a great piece of content in an insurance niche with images. You need text.
Therefore, before you run out and gather 50 images for your website, it’s important that you’re operating in a visual niche.
1. How many list items/images?
There’s really no set number. I prefer 10 or more.
My biggest list is 124 with 124 corresponding images. It’s a gargantuan post.
Most of my posts are 30 to 50 list items and images.
2. Don’t forget the text
I don’t just upload 50 images and click “publish”. I (and my writers) spend hours writing text for the post as well. This is almost as important as the images and list you’ve come up with.
3. Text Formatting
Similar to using an effective WordPress theme for display ad profits and publishing content that gets shared frequently, I stumbled upon a written format within my list-image posts that not only serve visitors well, but result in an excellent RPM with display ads.
For example, every image gets a written description. I don’t put the description in the image caption. Instead, I simply input it in the visual editor under the image.
What’s great about this is it’s so easy to outsource because anyone who writes half-decently can look at an image and describe it in words.
The other component of the text is an introduction to the post. This is critical in explaining what the post is about as well as creating the perfect display ad zone that’s a healthy mix of images, text and display ads.
4. Social Sharing
With few exceptions, people share images more than text (at least in my experience… that may be a comment on my writing though).
That’s why creating interesting, informative and/or entertaining image-focused list style articles get shared a great deal (assuming you use great images).
1 important plugin to use for getting images shared is the SumoMe image sharing feature (this thing is pure gold.
5. Earns a lot of money
I don’t want to sound like a greedy person, because I’m not. On the flip side, publishing niche websites is my livelihood so I do need to earn revenue. I really do make every effort to balance user-experience with optimum revenue per thousand page views.
A well constructed image-centric list article can earn a very healthy revenue per thousand page views when set up just right, covers the right topic and uses excellent images.
Most of my image-centric list articles earn from display ads, but have a growing fleet that focus on earning revenue from promoting products as an affiliate. Check out my “Display Ads Secrets” report here.
Each strategy is very different; yet each article is formatted much the same.
6. Rinse and Repeat
While I’ve earned more than $20,000 in profit from a single article in 6 months, I sure don’t want my entire online business based on one article.
That’s another reason image-centric list articles are so great – it’s almost limitless (in the right visually-based niche). All you need is a list concept and the images to support it.
It’s true a picture is worth a thousand words… so if you publish 50 images, that’s a small book (I’m being facetious, but it’s also true the perceived value of a huge list article with images is very high as evidenced by high volumes of sharing across many of my image-centric list articles).
7. Free Organic Search Traffic
Google Images can be fantastic for free traffic. So too can organic search… even long tail. I don’t build links; gave up on that game a long time ago, yet one of my sites averages more than 4,000 daily organic search visits largely due to the extremely long, image and text heavy list articles I publish (I suspect their social sharing popularity doesn’t hurt).
I know more words on a page doesn’t necessarily mean better rankings, but it does result in more long-tail keywords.
A 50 image/list article will easily have 1,500 to 2,500 words of text. All of it unique and well written describing the images and forming the list. That’s a high-quality piece of content that has the potential to pull in a decent amount of organic search traffic.
8. Easily Outsourced
I actually love writing and publishing articles. However, I don’t have the time to generate all the content I need; therefore I outsource much of it. I especially outsource my image-centric list articles because I prefer focusing on research-based content. Admittedly writing image descriptions for 50 images isn’t a wonderful 2 to 3 hours. However, it’s the perfect type of content that can be outsourced to a reasonably priced writer. Their instructions: Write 30 to 75 words under each image describing the image. That’s pretty simple.
Note: As publisher, I do come up with the list concepts. With respect to sourcing images, I get some, but most are sourced by , the team I’ve hired to help with my sites.
The Takeaway: Experiment with image-centric list style articles. It could be the greatest type of content you every publish. It certainly is for me on my biggest niche website.
Notes regarding Adsense earnings’ screenshot:
1. Approximately 57% of the total earned was spent on advertising.
2. Currency is in Canadian dollars
3. Those earnings do not include other earnings from the same site (other ad networks and affiliate promotions).
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 that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
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.