How many bloggers or website owners do you know (or, perhaps yourself) that start a new blog or website, successfully drive traffic through SEO or Social Media, get approved for Adsense, then slap on some Adsense code and call it a day?
Adsense is fast, it's easy, and it's virtually automatic. Paste the Adsense code into your blog or website, set it, and forget it! Sure, you might generate $5, $10, or even $100 or more per day using Google Adsense but I am here to tell you that limiting yourself to only Adsense, or to any single source of income can be the single biggest mistake that a new blogger or webmaster can make when it comes to successfully generating an online income.
When I started my first website in 2006 I was thrilled that I was generating over $1,000 per month after only a few months with Google Adsense. I could have easily sat back and hoped for the best but I knew that keeping all of my online earning "eggs" in the Google Adsense "basket" was not a good idea. I also knew that I could generate even more income on that single website by diversifying my income streams, but I was concerned about ending up with a spammy-looking ad-riddled website that could end up hurting me in the long run. So my goal in 2007 was to diversify and increase my earnings while maintaining a low advertising to content ratio.
My first venture beyond Adsense was affiliate sales. I was too naive back then to know that affiliate sales were only for big time "affiliate marketers", so I had no preconceived notions that affiliate sales wouldn't work on an information website or forum (my website was a combination of both). I signed up at Commission Junction, Plimus, and ClickBank and looked through all of the affiliate offers they had. I then looked at my high traffic pages to see if there were any matches. I had several webpages on subjects such as antivirus software, web hosting companies, and even parental control software that were perfect for affiliate links for those products. I added a few integrated affilliate links to those pages and overnight I added another $500-$1000 per month to my online income, without having to add a bunch of extra large advertisements or pop-ups.
Other Ad Networks:
Back in 2007 Adsense was more strict about not allowing any context-driven CPC advertising on websites, so I my choices for other advertising networks was limited. I was also very determined not to let my website turn into one of those ad-ridden, pop-up infested websites that I see every day because in my opinion, websites jammed with too many ads are offensive and drive away visitors. I also think that Google knows when people are driven away by metrics such as bounce-rates and that this will eventually lead to lower search engine rankings.
After looking at a dozen or more advertising networks I came across Kontera. Kontera (and now Chitika and Infolinks) offers "In-Text" ads which are colored double-underline links that appear under certain keywords targeted by the advertiser. When clicked, the user is taken to the advertiser's website and the publisher gets paid (per click). I signed up with Kontera, placed a simple piece of code on my website, and overnight I was generating an additional $500-$1,700 per month all without adding a single extra "ad box" or offensive pop-up ad.
Private Membership Sales:
Private website membership sales has been the most surprising, most infuriating, most painful and most profitable method of income I've ever had. Private membership won't work on all websites, and for it to work you have to have something of value that people are willing to pay for. It only worked for me on my website for about a year and a half. During that time, at it's peak, private membership sales added an additional $8,000 each month to my income. During that time we had countless issues with stolen credit cards, PayPal freezing our funds, lying/thieving visitors, and countless other headaches - but for $8k/month it was worth it! Eventually though, the information of value that was worth people paying for (secret codes to view private information on Myspace profiles) dried up. Once that happened, I could no longer "sell" memberships in good conscience, and we dropped the paid private memberships.
If you have something worth keeping a secret that people want, private membership sales might work for you.
Write an eBook!
Because my first website was successful and generating so much income after only a few months I was urged by members of an online community that I frequent to write an ebook. I scoffed at the idea but finally in 2007 I sat down and wrote up about 10 or 20 very simple pages about everything I did when I created my website, my thought processes, why I did or did not do what I did, and before I knew it I had my very first eBook.
I sold approximately 1,000 copies of that ebook in about 3 or 4 months at $10 each - adding significantly to my income. If you have even the smallest knack for writing, and something to say, you might be surprised at how many people would be interested in paying a few dollars to read it.
Today the Amazon Store and iTunes Book Store make it very easy to publish an ebook and make it available to millions of potential readers so it's easier than you might think. (You can now get my ebook for free in the iTunes book store here Success eBook.
Don't overlook other income streams and limit your online success! Always ask yourself "what else could I do" and the answer might surprise you.
About Rand Wilson:
A webmaster and blogger since only 2006, Rand Wilson now owns several websites that to-date have generated over $300,000. You can find Rand's blog at Success The Easy Way.
Photo credit: The Fayj