Revenue is composed of two things: the number of customers you have and how much you earn from those customers. This equation is true of all kinds of businesses, but when we talk about content websites, your customer base is the visitors to the website and the number of pages those visitors are viewing and how much we’re earning from those visitors.
First, let’s look at how to increase the amount of revenue we earn from our visitors. This can be broken down into two subcategories:
- Adding additional revenue sources.
- Optimizing the revenue sources that we have.
Let’s start with adding revenue sources.
The classic example is that you have a site that’s monetized with affiliate links, so you’re getting paid commissions whenever you make a referral of a visitor to someone else’s site and they buy the product. If you want to add on another revenue stream, the typical route is to start doing display ads in addition to your affiliate revenue stream – you sign up with an ad network and they begin to pay you for the number of impressions of ads that they’re putting on your pages.
Be aware though, display ads could cannibalize your affiliate revenue – too many ads could affect visitor engagement with your site. Sometimes you’re better off to eliminate streams but if you haven’t set up affiliate links and display ads, these are the first things that you might consider when you want to increase your revenue.
There are other revenue sources that you can layer on top too, these might include the sale of digital products, like e-books or video courses, or other kinds of media sales, maybe even soft sales or subscriptions that could make use of the same visitors to your website and give you more earnings from those same visitors.
What about optimizing current revenue sources?
Here we are looking at things that will improve the click through rate, also known as conversion rate optimization, the aim is to get more clicks from the same number of visitors.
You want to focus on visual and linguistic prompting – if you’ve got affiliate links on your site what text can you add before and after the affiliate links? What calls to action (CTA) can you replace links with so that they look like buttons or images or something more enticing that will more likely to get them clicked on.
That same thought process can be applied to ads as well, think about the placement of the ads, the number of ads and the size/shape of ads on your page. Pay special consideration to the kinds of advertisers that you’re allowing on your pages relative to the kind of content you have.
Now let’s think about how we optimize traffic
Here we’re talking about your free, organic traffic from Google and other search engines and we’re focusing on two things:
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
On-page we’re increasing the rankings of our content by increasing the topic coverage, the quality and length of our article content, making sure our inner linking is correct and using correct titles. The goal is to keep people engaged and on the page.
We want more people to click on us than to click on the URL above us or below us in the search result, so make sure to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. We want to make sure that our title is what people are searching for and that we are providing relevant information in the short or ‘meta’ description that appears in the search results.
Off-page we’ll be building back links so that we can tell Google and the other search engines that we have a lot of authority, people like us, they quote us as a source, they link to us and the combination of linking from outside sources and on-page optimization is going to increase our rankings.
Add revenue layers to your organic traffic
So, it’s the classic thing in most content blogs and websites: start off with free traffic then layer on your other kinds of traffic. This can be email traffic, so direct email advertising, that sends you down the path of collecting email addresses. A good idea is to have something tangible to offer to the customer in return for them giving you their address and then getting more traffic from them by sending them newsletters that they click on and bringing them back to your website.
Don’t forget about the power of social media traffic where you pick a particular social media platform and have content on those platforms that guides traffic back to your website. The social media users have a different intent when they click on something than maybe a Google search user has when they click on something and because they have different intent when they arrive at your website, the money that you earn from them is going to be different based on the traffic source, where they came from and what they’re looking to get out of their visit on your website.
Each additional traffic source may have different earnings associated with it and that’s something that you’ll have to explore.
Remember, the main equation is: Number of Customers X Earnings per Customer.
So, you can increase revenue to your website by focusing on these four main categories:
- Creating additional revenue sources.
- Optimizing your current revenue sources for better conversion rates and click the rates.
- Optimizing your traffic by increasing your rankings and then increasing the click through on your URLs.
- Adding additional traffic sources to your existing source so that you have more diversification in your traffic.