OK, I'll admit it: I'll never be one of those guys who earns his entire income from his blog, and gets to sit around in a housecoat sipping coffee while he thinks up the next thing to write about (ironically enough, I actually am sitting in a housecoat with a coffee, but that's only because I just got up). Anyhow, this blog has become a popular destination for web programmers and students, and I have put a lot of time into it, so I'm happy to say that it does give a little something back to me.
If you're building a blog or website based on solid content that is going to be useful to a number of people, I would highly recommend that you consider monetizing it. For me, there are four main ways to make money on an average website:
- Contextual ads (e.g. AdSense)
- In-text link ads (for me it's now Infolinks that provides this)
- Affiliate ads
- Direct ad sales
If you're trying to decide which to use first, here's what I have found to be the results:
Adding AdSense was the first thing I did. It took a bit of time to get approved, and of course figuring out the whole placement and color thing took some reading. Adding it to my blog was moderately easy. I'm content with the earnings, but it's always variable.
I would say the only major drawback of AdSense is that you've got big blaring ads on the site! Some people think this makes the site look professional, but some think it degrades the look. Oh well…
In-text Links (Infolinks)
I joined Infolinks in January of this year, and the results were quite surprising. I admit, I had very low expectations. It's not something I heard a lot of buzz about, it was simply that one of their reps contacted me because I was running another in-text link program. They claimed they'd have higher earnings, so I figured I'd give it a try. Besides, I really hated the clunky reporting interface of the other provider!!!
The setup was a snap. I literally had to add one small snippet of code to enable it across my entire site. I was also pleasantly surprised at how helpful their support was, even recommending a specific text color based on my theme.
Of course, what matters most is the revenue. I was quite happy to see that they lived up to their claims, I regularly make 2-3 times what I did with the other network. I think if I can get back to blogging more regularly I can continue to increase it even (obvious gasp).
The admin/reporting interface is simple & uncluttered, and I love that they offer PayPal as a payment option! It means I get paid on time, no more waiting for Canada Post to deliver my US mail :).
If there is any disadvatage it's that some people may be confused thinking they are links that I'v linked to, but I think that's rare.
I can't really sum up affiliate ads in a few paragraphs, as that's an entire pursuit unto itself. However, the concept is that you're placing links to products on your site, and earning a small commission when they sell. Suffice it to say that I haven't been all that successful with this endeavor, but I chalk it up to the fact that I haven't put enough time into it.
So yes, that's what I would say the major disadvantage is – it's quite a learning curve, not a simple thing.
Direct Ad Sales
At this point direct ad sales are yet a concept to me, yet undiscovered. I would think that with 130,000+ visitors per month and a definite audience segment this blog would be attractive to certain big brands. But I really don't know how to get this hooked up.
So, I guess I'll say that if you're reading this and you represent a media buyer for a major brand, please contact me!!!!
So there are numerous ways to draw income on a website. Infolinks is by far the easiest that I've tried, and continues to generate regular revenue for me. AdSense is good of course, but takes a little more learning and testing. The others, well, the others just take a heck of a lot of work!
Anyhow, I'm done – now I have to go change and get to my real job ;).