A few years ago I started diversifying on the web. I read all the horror stories about people getting dumped by AdSense or spanked by the Google SERPS…so I took action…thankfully!
On April 27, 2007 Google dropped 4 of my sites from AdSense. The good news is that I’ve got plenty of backup income because of my decision to diversify.
So how exactly do you diversify on the web? Here are five strategies:
1. Diversify across content niches
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (and that includes all you casino and poker hounds). If you find something that works, duplicate it a few times, sure, but you’ve gotta make sure that your web empire isn’t built around just one thing that could be taken out from underneath your feet.
Consider trying out sites in several proven niches as well as some unusual niches. I’ve found that the proven, but competitive niches end up paying off the best. Just diversify across a few of these, see what works, duplicate a few times, try something new, etc. It’s all a learning process, but the main point is that you should be diversifying across niches.
2. Diversify across business models
Content is the easiest business to get into, but the hardest to squeeze pennies from. Consider starting a paid service or product site. They take the most work up front (unless you buy one that’s already started) but can be the most reliable in terms of steady income flow.
It’s true that Google could come along and knock you out of the SERPS for who knows WTF reason, but you don’t have to worry about kissing ass to a 3rd party ad network.
3. Diversify across ad networks
At a minimum, a blog owner should be trying out Blogads, AdSense and Text Link Ads. Amazon affiliates can work too, but you’ll need to be consistent by pushing products.
Here’s a tip: make sure you have a backup plan in case your number one or two source of income breaks. We could all wake up one day and Google might have decided the night before to trash the toolbar PR all together. As a result, text link ads lose a lot of their value. Or maybe AdSense decides that your content is “too mature” (I’m bitter, can you tell;-) and throws you out the door, treating you like a maggot to be stomped on, rather than a person to be reasoned with. What do you do? Do you have a backup plan? Or are you like I was a few days ago…totally caught off-guard?
4. Diversify your link building methods
I have 4-5 methods I use to linkbuild about 2 hours each day. It’s routine at this point. What I’m committed to doing going forward is trying out 1 new linkbuilding method a week. If something works, I’ll keep it, if it doesn’t, I’ll throw it out. Build up your linkbuilding toolkit because, trust me, the things that are effective today will eventually get abused, and then ignored (either by the search engines or your readers). Keep thinking ahead, trying out new ideas, and you’ll find stuff that works.
5. Diversify your marketing campaigns
I don’t do much as far as traditional marketing. If I do anything, it’s organic (craiglist used to be so good!). Just keep this in mind: to make money, you need eyeballs. Eyeballs drive ad revenue and eyeballs sell products. Sit down and brainstorm creative but affordable ways to get more eyeballs to your site on a consistent basis, and without pissing too many people off.
One type of online advertising that I like for physical products is BlogAds. If you find the right up-and-coming site that has its ads priced too low, you can get a 3 month, visual ad block for under $100 and if the traffic is right, you’ll probably sell a lot of tshirts (or whatever it is you sell).
I’ve seen what can be done with it in the beta of PFF 1.2 and hope we’ll see some equally cool blog plugins.
Ryan – On your point number 4, I see deep-linking taking a more prominent role following the latest PR update. Are you doing this as part of your link-building and if so, would you care to share a few of your methods?
This is very sound advice, Ryan: “Consider trying out sites in several proven niches as well as some unusual niches.” Unusual niches are some of riskiest blog endeavors, as you can’t really pin down their traffic potential and monetizing power even after careful research. But as they say, with risk comes great rewards; if you go for one unusual niche, you’re probably one of the earliest (if not the earliest) bloggers to tap into that field. First to market, first to fail, but also first to succeed.
IMO, unusual niches are also great places on which to experiment one’s SEO/monetization/etc tactics 😉