First you’ll need to know some basic Advertising Industry Definitions:
CPM – Cost per thousand impressions (banner ad views)
CPC – Cost per Clickthrough (every time someone clicks on the banner)
CPA – Cost per Action (sign ups, filled out forms, purchases, clicks)
ROI – Return on Investment
How to start generating additional revenue now:
One easy way to start earning extra money right away is to join an Ad network, though lately many have begun rejecting sites simply because of the enormous glut of inventory that they already have. Nevertheless my recommendation is that you try to join several banner networks such as: Adflight, Adtegrity, Advertising.com, BurstMedia, Engage, FastClick, Sonar, ValueClick and Websitesponsors and divide your ad inventory between those that accept you. If you carefully monitor the results from each ad network over a period of one to three months you’ll be able to maximize your revenue opportunities by dropping the weakest performing networks from your site.
Another way to generate additional revenue from your website is to try various affiliate programs, both AssociatePrograms and ClickQuick have a thorough list. I recommend that you experiment selling products and services that fit the profile of your site’s audience and calculate how much money you’re making per 1000 ad views. Be aware that many affiliate programs are very poor, and will make you very little money. You’ll have to hunt around quite a bit to find one that pays well. My recommendation is that you don’t run banner ads to promote these affiliate programs, but rather use text links and newsletter ads. Use your Banner ad space for ad networks.
Two other options of generating revenue have caught on recently. Number one is search box programs in which you put a form on your site and get paid on a per-search basis. Search123, SearchTraffic and SearchReferral are all popular and well respected. You can expect to make 3 to 10 cents per search generated through your site.
The other method of generating revenue, cost-per-action (CPA), is best accomplished by joining networks like OnResponse, or CyberBounty which will compensate you everytime one of your visitors downloads a piece of software, registers for a contest or something similar. Many people have had great success with these CPA Networks, especially freebie oriented sites.
Your last option is to hire an advertising sales representative. This option is not viable for smaller sites (less then 1,000,000 page views/month) as many of these rep firms won’t even look in your direction unless you have lots of traffic. Some also charge a sign-up fee of several thousand dollars. The problem with taking this route is that these companies charge huge commission fees (in the area of 30 to 50%). The upside to all of this is that you have one less thing on your to do list, and you can concentrate on creating content for your site and building traffic levels.
Doing it Yourself for the long-term
Ultimately, the only way to generate significant revenue through advertising is to do it yourself.
Don’t even consider selling advertising by yourself unless you get at least 10,000 unique visitors per month. The more traffic you have, the greater the chance that you will be able to sell advertising by yourself. The majority of advertising dollars go to the Top 25 sites, and as you can imagine there is a battle going on for every last advertising dollar among tens of thousands of other sites. Make sure you have good statistics about the visitors on your site; a log file analysis package like WebTrends will help you with this.
Still with me? Ok, let’s move on. In order to do this you will need to:
Install your own ad serving solution
Choose ad sizes that you’ll be using around your site
Price your Inventory
Create a media kit/advertising information pages
Sell newsletter advertising
Know what to do with unsold advertising space
Calin Jonel, editor