We had a very informative Semrushchat last week with guest Robbie Richards and our community about website monetization. Every site is focused on revenue streams, but those streams obviously differ based on the type of website you have. So we asked our community ways they have utilized monetization, common fails to avoid, strategies for planning, and their opinions on privately-owned advertising and affiliate networks vs. Google AdSense.
Robbie and our community shared insights based on experience that every website owner should consider. Keep reading to find out how to get started and what to avoid. We hope the tweets we chose will give you a variety of insights and tips you can use.
What are the top ways in which website monetization works best for you?
“Reverse engineer how top competitors monetize. This usually involves a bit of manual digging around the site. AdSense? Amazon? D2C sales? Private affiliate partnerships? A general sense will tell me where to start digging more.” — Robbie Richards
“Personalization! Give a great experience and share a happy experience with your customers/ clients and they will keep coming back :)” — Webeo Global
“I've seen paid memberships for premium content working pretty well (for me and some clients). It's about giving premium access to expertise. Also, e-courses continue to be a bigger part of my plans for the same reason.” — Fistbump Media
“Being an affiliate is very simple if you have a network that trust you. You can earn passive income from others signing up with your referral link. As long as you’re offering useful products, it’s perfectly fine!” — Itamar Blauer
“From a B2B perspective trust over time is key. Tactically, referral programs have been the most effective in my experience.” — Moni Oloyede
“Depends on your audience size, but if you have a large audience, look for ways to build long term income with affiliate links and influencer relationships. Think long term and think of the products you truly believe in. It benefits both brands to do so.” — Ryan Bennion
“Affiliation can work quite well, and providing value through coaching and online courses works well too.” — Alizée Baudez
What are the common fails of online enthusiasts trying to monetize their online content?
“I think a lot of people expect results too soon. You really need to focus on building the Know, Like, and Trust Factor and establishing a relationship with your audience before you can expect them to buy from you.” — Express Writers
“Putting a bunch of ads on your site If you're a user and see a website filled with ads, it's an automatic assumption that it's spammy. Monetise your content in a natural way, such as adding affiliate links if you're actually reviewing a certain product.” — Itamar Blauer
“Common fails of online enthusiasts trying to monetize their online content include: Limiting yourself to one monetisation mode, defining yourself as an influencer when you're not, and producing media kits that fail to provide all the relevant details.” — Ben Austin
“Making it complicated or going off-brand to get a quick $1. Stay loyal to who you are, promote things that will drive you revenue, & be patient w/ your website. Some people think when you turn on a website, money just trickles in. Stay on brand and provide value.” — Ryan Bennion
“Another common fail I've experienced firsthand is automation overkill. If I don't buy right away because I am weighing cost-benefits, their relentless drip campaign takes the wrong tone and ultimately drives me away, making my decision easier.” — Mike Kennedy
“Making your website too promotional. People come to your website for content, not to consume adverts.” — Kahill Insights
“So many people focus on the short term and don’t invest in building a LONGTERM strategy. Build a brand and build something gradually that will LAST! Too many Gurus and Wizards selling fidget spinners for a month and then left trying to hop on the latest trend.” — Mark Gustafson
When is it the right time to think about monetizing your website?
“Before you build it. At any point after launch you make that decision then you are compromising your site.” — Simon Cox
"You should map out your monetization strategy right from day one, before you create any content. This insight will dictate how you build the content marketing strategy. Way too many people get it the other way around, and end up wasting a LOT of resources.” — Robbie Richards
“I don't think you need a large audience to start monetizing your website. You need an audience that is loyal and really benefits from what you provide. So I think the right time is now (but please don't go crazy on pop-ups and browser notifications.” — Alizée Baudez
“When you've got consistent traffic and have built a network of people who trust in you and your brand. Trust is essential as without it, people may think you're only in it for the money and don't really care about your audience. Give before you get.” — Itamar Blauer
“Your product is NOT your website. It's the content on your website. Focus on making your product the best it can be and then showcase it in the best possible way.” — Amy Hampton
"Depends on the niche; If you're an e-comm site, monetize out of the gate. If you're a blog or local industry, wait until you have a decent following or community." — Brian Kato
Privately-owned advertising and affiliate networks vs. Google AdSense — which is the most viable option for a publisher?
“I’d go for your own deals on advertising. Any scheme, Google Ads etc., means you have very little control over what adverts appear on your site. You might not mind but you would not be happy with competitor ads appearing — and you will not know that they do.” — Simon Cox
“Privately Owned and Affiliate Marketing are more viable. The fact that Google AdSense is pay-per-click, it's very hard to convert.” — Kahill Insights
“Why would you invest in building digital property you own only to hand it back over to Google. OWN YOUR PROPERTY!” — Dan Willis
“It depends on the monetization strategy you mapped out at the start. AdSense can be a good strategy if you're confident of driving a ton of traffic that will drive a lot of eyeballs to ads. Otherwise, I'd go with the private affiliate play.” — Robbie Richards
“Privately-owned Affiliate networks will forever remain the best. It is less intrusive, often times natural, flows with the publisher's offer and super flexible. You don't need 100k fake website visits to launch any of those.” — Kolapo Imam
“That highly depends on your target audience... Niche is probably better served with less mainstream networks...” — Sarah Marks
“Like most things, it depends on a few things: niche, product(s), and your audience. AdSense is great for top-of funnel reach. However, once you have a community, I'd much rather build an email list and work off a private (personalized) network.” — Brian Kato
“My preference is for affiliate marketing. Making 'commission' off of products/services you recommend speaks to me. Personally, I'm huge a proponent of old-school advertising and not a fan of this tracker-based ad revenue.” — Amy Hampton
Do You Have Website Monetization Tips?
If so, please share them in the comments below. We also want to thank all that participated in the chat. We will be looking for your expert insights next week. Join us every Wednesday at 11 am ET/4 pm BST for #Semrushchat on Twitter and gain insights from some of the best marketers in the industry.