How to monetize website traffic: what is website monetization?

Website monetization – actions aimed at making a profit from incoming traffic. In particular – earning money for displaying ads or selling goods or services via your website. A popular monetization method is building a brand around your website, with various services, a so-called ecosystem.

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Differences in monetization methods of different thematic sites

Depending on the topic of the site, different traffic monetization models are used in pursuit of profit. Most of the income of commercial websites stems from selling goods and services (including complementary ones). Users visit such sites for the specific purpose of purchasing a product or service. Such websites are promoted through specific queries that find a response from a specific target audience. Placing advertising materials related to other topics, and overwhelming ads will be inappropriate and annoy the visitor.

As for informational resources, it’s the opposite – most of their income comes from advertising. This is where wide audience coverage comes into play. Visitors are willing to watch ads in return for available and quickly-deliverable info or out of loyalty to the website, brand or blogger.

What types of monetization exist?

Different types of monetization are used depending on the format of the resource.

Commercial resources get their income from selling goods and services. For example, an online store, or a landing page that lets you make a purchase or leave a request. This also includes websites that provide some sort of service and make money on it, like delivery and taxi services or online cinemas.

Informational websites (news outlets, search engines, blogs, wikis, social networks) make money through:

In recent years, an interesting scheme for building an umbrella brand around a specific site or service has been gaining popularity. For example, Google, Yandex, Amazon, started from one website that performed one specific function. Whereas today they are each an enormous ecosystem, made up of a multitude of services performing different functions. Thus, thanks to their strong brands, these websites have multiple monetization methods.

When it comes to informational website monetization, there are several main methods, let’s take a closer look at them.

Contextual ads

Contextual advertising is a small ad with a static or video creative and a short description. What makes this ad type stand out is its relevance. To sell traffic the website needs to meet the requirements of ad networks. The top players on the market: Yandex Advertising Network and Google Sense. Publishers get paid for each ad click. Advertisers, in turn, have their own conditions: requirements for a specific traffic volume, taboo topics (ads that mustn’t be placed on their websites), for example,online casinos, bookmakers, porno resources, etc. You also aren’t allowed to engage in click or impression fraud.

Banners and teasers

Banners are small animated or static advertising images. Unlike contextual ads, there’s no text description, all the info is incorporated into the creative. Banner and teaser networks have their own set of requirements for websites that house their ads. The moderation isn’t as strict and they’re willing to cooperate with any advertiser. Banner networks choose platforms based on the number of unique visitors they get, their GEO and topic. Networks and direct advertisers pay for clicks.

Teasers don’t contain any info directly related to the product or service. Teasers appear at the early stage, they’re designed to warm up the audience of well-known brands and create an atmosphere of intrigue around the ad. Teaser networks work along the same lines as banner networks.

Placing links on your website

One of the ways to monetize your website is to place paid links on your resource. This type of advertising is often used on platforms with a lot of text, like: Yandex Zen, Telegram, LiveJournal, etc. The ad link is embedded in the text that contains info useful to the reader, unobtrusively offering the user to click or tap on it. Or the text is built around a specific product and at the end there is a link that leads to it.

Native ads

This type of advertising is the least visible to the user. You can find an offer on the affiliate programs of popular online stores. Often, it’s a partner post designed as an informational article but one that leads up to the link to the advertiser’s website (which is obviously also present). The same model works for video content – the user watches a clip not realizing it’s a native ad and that at one point a product is mentioned. And in the description, there’s a link leading to it.

Website branding

Another way to turn your website into a source of income is to embed a unique style and design of the advertiser into the page design. The decisive criterion when choosing a platform is the number of daily visitors. Choose from white- and gray-hat offers.

Affiliate programs

This type of advertising involves earning money from promoting a 3rd party website or resource. Many large online stores (Amazon, Aliexpress, Ebay, Shopify) have their own affiliate programs. For your website to make ad money you need to provide your partner with enough traffic and a large enough audience, you usually get paid for each ad click. There are also affiliate programs from direct advertisers: casinos and bookmaker offices.

Pop-up ads

An aggressive ad format, often blocked by browser extensions, but is still sometimes used regardless. Before, this format was actively used for aggressive marketing, since pop-ups are displayed in a specific way, making it difficult to close them. Nowadays, many ad networks combat this monetization method, not to mention that regular users don’t hold in high regard either and install pop-up blockers. It’s impossible to tell how much you can earn with this method, but safe to say that that number is getting smaller every year.

Selling links

This tool is used by webmasters to promote a resource in search engines. In recent times, the effectiveness of this method has been going down, because search engines themselves are taking measures to combat it. Search algorithms promote links that are more relevant and satisfy the user’s queries. Promotion through sold links is detected by anti-fraud systems and subsequently blocked.

Contextual ads

A type of advertising user in major search engines such as Yandex and Google. Ads are strictly moderated. The advantage of this method is the large choice of user targeting settings. Ads are displayed on the most popular search engines.

CPA networks

Sites that connect advertisers with publishers receive income from directing traffic to the advertiser’s resource. For ensuring the security of all parties involved and providing various technical services, CPA networks charge their own commission. They deal with different topics: gambling, betting, eCommerce, dating etc. CPA networks are responsible for getting the highest quality traffic from the webmaster and paying them for it. For the last 5 years this has been a dynamically developing business sector in Russia and Ukraine.

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Nowadays, websites have more than their original purpose – to transfer information and content or sell goods and services. They can also become a source of passive income. Sure, you need to invest more in traffic for a website made from scratch compared to previous years, but it’s still a stable and profitable income method.