About 6 months ago, I almost threw away a wad of money!
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s the truth.
I have a website, which I am not going to name here. It is, among all of my 200+ sites, my favorite. I spend a lot of time working on improving this site, writing on it, tweaking it, etc. But, it never made much money. When I looked at my various Advertising programs that I was using on the site, it was bringing in a maximum of $5 per day. Most days far less than that. But, I loved the site, and the site got a LOT of visitors too. But, for some reason, it just did not convert. People, obviously were not clicking on my ads, and I couldn’t figure out why. Since that time, and since doing some research, I think I know the reasons why it was not converting, and for the most part, that is not what I am writing about here. One reason, though, was because I was not approaching that particular audience with the right things that would provide income for me.
I wrote to a friend and asked for his advice on what I should do in order to make the site profitable. Honestly, I was considering just shutting down the site and moving on. I was prepared to call it a failure. It was extremely successful in terms of getting readers visiting the site, and also in reader participation. But, it didn’t make money, and that was it’s main purpose to start out with. Well, my friend wrote back to me and he told me that I was looking at the site through too narrow a prism. I needed to explore other ways to make money from the site, not just the “standard” advertising programs that everybody else was using. He was right, so I started thinking about how I could step outside the box that I was in and figure out new ways to earn money from the site.
My first idea was to make the site a subscription site. I would provide some content on the site for free, but if you wanted the “good stuff” you would have to pay a membership fee. I had a very large audience on the site, but would they pay to read it? After reflecting, I decided that paid content was not the way to go. I do think that some people would pay for the site, but most would not, so I had to search for other means of earning money from my audience.
I tried other types of ads. Not much money from any of them. I tried affiliate marketing. Nothing. I was getting frustrated. I didn’t want to shut down the site, because honestly it was my favorite of all my sites. However, I also was not going to do the work for free.
A couple of months ago, the idea struck me that maybe I could use this particular site to drive traffic to my other sites, and maybe those people would be more likely to see advertising that appealed to them on the other sites. I put up some banners for my other sites, and I did start seeing an upturn in advertising revenue on all of my sites! Hmm… this was working nicely. The site in question was still not making a huge amount of money, but things were improving. Next, I added a banner for a service that I could provide, and BOOM! That one really paid off.
So, basically, 6 months or so ago, I was considering shutting down this one site of mine. But, thanks to some “outside the box” thinking instigated by a friend, the site is now making a nice amount of money. I’m not going to say how much it is earning, but let me say that from that one site, I am now making as much as I did from my last full time job that I had before leaving the USA. And, that’s not bad!
So what lessons can you take from this? Well, you should keep in mind that one size does not fit all! If you have a site that is getting visitors but not making money, try making changes! Figure out new ways to make money from the site! It can be done. I know, because I did it!