2010 Reminder: Test the Monetization of Your Blog

Monetization can get lost in all the blogging activities we have to juggle. Let’s face it, there’s a lot that goes into blogging. Content, marketing, and building relationships take up a lot of our time and it can be easy to forget about monetization. But if you want to make money with your blog, you can’t ignore, well, the making money part :)

I believe that content and traffic comes first, but after you generate a healthy content and traffic base, there comes a time when you must focus on optimizing your monetization. Otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of money on the table.

So, at the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d remind you to look at your monetization tactics and see how you can improve on them. How can you get conversion rates and make more money with the same amount of traffic? I’ll share two examples from my sites.

There are various ways to approach the monetization process but basically it boils down to testing. In other words, try different ways to make money. Then, let them run at the same time and after a couple weeks, analyze the results and pick the best method.

Testing AdSense

I’ve been testing the AdSense ads for a dating blog I co-own with my sister. The blog reached a respectable level of traffic a few months ago, so I started optimizing the ads since they were the blog’s primary income source.

In my first test, I created two different ads and placed them above the fold and below the fold. Then, I let them run for a couple of weeks. During the testing period, ad #1 ran half the time and ad #2 ran in the other half. After the test, it was pretty clear what we needed to do to make more money. Above the fold, ad #1 made almost four times as much money as ad #2. Below the fold, both ads made the same amount of money but it was very small amount.

Based on the results, we kept ad #1 above the fold and discarded ad #2. The money from the ads below the fold was so low that we scrapped them to make the site less cluttered.

Giving Up on a Strategy

Sometimes you have to drop a monetization strategy since it’s clearly not working. For example, I’ve tried multiple ways to get AdSense working on my gaming blog. The biggest program was the irrelevancy. AdSense kept showing irrelevant ads even when I tried to tweak my posts. Because of this, the dating blog makes 30 times more than the gaming blog yet it has half the amount of traffic. I understand that dating is probably a more lucrative niche than gaming but not 30 times more!

Therefore, I scrapped AdSense and found a couple related affiliate programs. It’s still early, but the numbers have been better than AdSense.

Continual Improvement Through Testing

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time to set up a monetization campaign. Most of the work is just setting up a test and that can be done in a couple of hours. Once you’ve done that, you don’t have to check it until a couple days or weeks have passed. Then, you spend a couple more hours to analyze the results, make the necessary changes, and setup a new test.

But you do have to remind yourself to continually test every couple weeks or so. Again, it’s easy to forget since you can get lost in all content generation and marketing so put it on the calendar as a reminder.

Performancing offers blog management services.

Comments

  1. Interesting thought. I test all the time myself, though probably not to this extent. I think on a non-niche blog it pretty much doesn’t matter what you put on there, you’re not going to get clicks anyway. On a niche blog, you’d think you would get more clicks, but in my case my niche blog after a year still gets few visitors; I assume the topic isn’t as compelling as I’d thought it would be.

    But testing things is still fairly important; good stuff.

  2. I have noticed that in mostly my gaming sites I have the same issue with adsense where it brings up non relevant results. I am still using adsense on most of my gaming sites but not much revenue comes from it. I’ve had better luck in other niches like weighloss niche where my adsense has a lot more revenue and relevant ads show up. On my gaming niche I tend to focus on either CB products or killerguides etc. I find it working a lot better for me.

  3. Testing is one of the best things for your business. Pay attention to what is going on and what is working!

  4. Another good way to monetizing your website is promoting affiliate products related to your blog.

  5. Continual Improvement Through Testing ? I like it…. in Japan they call it “Kaizen”.

    I noticed AdSense work with image ads too. I plan to test text vs image ads soon.

  6. Good call. Text vs image ads is a great test to do.

  7. I do tests all the time in the past on my dating relationship site but have now settled for Clickbank products. Have finally decided to forego all other avenues such as Amazon and Adsense — too crowded screen appearance and not very profitable.

  8. I keep hearing about testing, but it just seems so involved and complicated. I guess if you want to get serious about it you have to do it though.

  9. Due to not having enough time to test monetisation because of the work involved in maintaining websites all I do is swap out different services starting with adsense, then amazon, then ebay etc until I find one that makes money

  10. To Dee: To improve your gaming blog income, and improve adsense relevancy, look for satellite words that apply to your reviews and articles. Don’t try to understand words like latent semantic indexing, just bolster each post with more words that tightly describe your topic. This should improve the adsense relevancy, and at the same time to increase traffic when G sees your posts as relating to more specific themes.

  11. Live and breathe in your blog, that’s what I heard some people say. Text vs. image ad testing, providing quality content, keeping in good relations with your followers and proper promotion. Sounds like a lot but then, all hard work pays off.

  12. Good tips – another thing that you can do is utilize Google Website Optimizer. It allows you to test different site content and design to see which one converts better or gives the desired action you are looking for. Just like keyword research, testing is at times a long and painful process but well worth the time and effort if you do it right.

  13. A really good way to start making money on your blog or website is by putting affiliate that are links related to your site.

  14. I like using A/B “split” testing methods, especially between different monetization techniques. Maybe Adsense vs. an affiliate marketing link. Try each method for at least a week, or at least 1000 visitors, before comparing to another technique.

    • Bob,

      Do you use any specific software to help split test your campaigns? Or just manual tracking? I’d like to try something that streamlines or simplifies the process. Thanks.

  15. I agree with Bob. You need to test for long enough to get consistent results, the longer the better. John, just do a Google search for “split testing software” (or something similar) and you’ll see countless options, from relatively basic to incredibly detailed/robust.

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