Webmasterspot - Website creation and management
Exploring Web development and everything that goes together with trying to run a website!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Show me the money

Many a twinkle eyed webmaster-wannebe has fallen for the illusion that websites
are an easy and fast way to make money. Unfortunately they soon come to realize, that there is nothing fast about earning some money online. It takes hard work, hours of planning, coding and promotion to get your site up and running. Only after you have put in the elbow grease will you start reaping the rewards.

There are lots of webmasters earning a good income from the sites they run. Most of them will agree that it's not easy, but that it is well worth the effort in the long run. Once you have a succesful website up and running the revenue will keep coming in.

So what's their secret? The fact is that there is no single secret to success. What will work for one website won't be ideal for another site. However there are a few basic rules you can follow to ensure that your entry into the webmaster arena will be profitable:

Quality before quantity
A pitfall for most new webmasters is the perception that if you have lots of sites you'll earn lots of cash. This gives rise to thousands of sites being created daily. These sites contain no real content and is most often targeted at high paying keywords. As soon as a visitor lands on the site, they see that it doesn't offer anything they are interested in and click on ads to "escape" from the site.

The end result is that it becomes extremely difficult for people to seperate the spam sites from sites that actually offer some useful information. You end up with a frustrated visitor who will never return to your site.

In the short term you might be making a few dollars with this approach, but in
the long run you will find that it is not worth the effort. To keep your revenue flowing in you will have to keep creating sites on a daily basis.

Most search engines and advertising networks are penalazing these kinds of sites. If you are making use of this method you run the risk of being banned from both your advertising network and most search engines.

Content is king
This might be a cliche, but it is the most important part of a website. In order to attract visitors your site needs to provide good quality content.

A big mistake webmasters make is to create sites to monopolize on high paying keywords. Unless you are knowledgeable about the topic, you will find it extremely difficult to create content for your site. Visitors will realize that you aren't able to provide them with what they are looking for and go searching for alternatives.

Create a website based on topics you are knowledgeable about. This way you will find it much easier to create content, and you will enjoy working on your sites.

Add Advertising last
Don't slap some content around ads and hope you'll earn money. You should create your website with visitors in mind. Your layout, color scheme and advertising should make it easy for visitors to navigate your site. Don't design your site around your ad placement.

Once you have finished your site, and added the content you can decide where to place the ads. This way you will have a better idea of how the advertising will integrate into your site, allowing you to place adverts at focal points, without degrading the user experience.

Choose your advertising carefully
You should take care when choosing an advertising network for generating revenue from your site. There are various options available. Finding the right advertising model and network for your site will take experimentation and time.

A good starting point will be Google's Adsense. It's one of the easiest ad networks to get accepted into and is ideal for content rich sites. They mainly offer CPC advertising so if you have a site consisting mostly of text based content and a niche topic, you should see some good earnings.

For sites without alot of text based content, but with a large number of pageviews CPM banner advertising will be the best option. You'll earn revenue for each time someone views your site. Casale Media and FastClick are good networks to look into.

When choosing which network to use, you should always put your visitor first. Don't display annoying or flashing ads. Ads that are similar to your site topic should perform well.

Creating a good quality site that is primarily visitor orientated will keep your visitors coming back for more. Word of mouth is an extremely effective promotion tool. Instead of earning a few bucks, you will now have the groundwork set for a sustainable income for years to come. In the end your hard work will be rewarded, all it takes is a bit of effort, patience, and good content!