Thursday, September 06, 2007

How to Create a Successful Advertising Site (Homebusiness Ideas)

One that makes all its money through paid advertisements for other companies' products -- my first reaction is always to ask,
"Why bother going to the trouble of creating a site if you're just going to use it to advertise OTHER people's products instead of your own?"
People are often surprised to hear me say this... but the truth is, creating an ad site that actually makes good money involves a LOT of work.It's not as simple as putting up a web page and then hoping that advertisers will flock to you in order to get their ads on that page!In order for an advertising site to be successful, it needs...

1. A LOT of traffic: Advertisers are only willing to pay for space on your site if they know you can get their ads in front of HUGE numbers of qualified leads.In order for this revenue model to work for you, you need to have a lot of highly targeted traffic coming to your site.Remember, on the Web, all conversions related to advertising are trackable, which means advertisers will know exactly how many people click on the ads on your site, and how many of those people actually convert into customers. They're not going to pay you unless you send them enough paying customers to cover their advertising costs.So... what does this mean for you?It means you have to be able get your site listed at the top of the search engine results, in order to guarantee high traffic numbers. And that means devoting many hours a month to optimizing your site and using strategies such as article sharing, blog writing, and forum participation to build a huge web of links all pointing back to your site.Again, I have to say -- that's a whole lot of work simply to advertise other people's products!Of course, you can also put Google Adsense ads on your site -- but since you're only going to make pennies a click for those ads, unless you're getting thousands of highly targeted visitors to your site a day, all you can expect from Google Adsense is a little extra pocket money each month.

2. A HUGE content-rich presence on the Web: The more advertisements that appear on a web page, the less effective any one of those advertisements will be. After all, they'll all be competing with each other for your visitors' attention.That's why -- in order to be successful -- an advertising site should have a huge number of content pages, with just one or two advertisements per page at most. That way, you'll be able to offer valuable content to your visitors without overwhelming them with the number of advertisements you put in their path.If you bombard your visitors with ads -- and don't provide them with any useful information otherwise -- they will leave your site and never come back.Not only that, but the search engines (who LOVE web pages that are loaded with valuable content -- and HATE web pages that have nothing but ads on them) will knock your site to the bottom of their listings.So... how large does your site need to be? The ones that are actually making good money using Google Adwords and other forms of advertising tend to have anywhere between 1,000 and 300,000 pages.These aren't just websites... they're full-scale information empires!And it's not like the owners of these sites just throw up a whole bunch of content pages and then hope for the best... they spend all their time on keyword research to find the juiciest keywords out there, and then fully optimize their pages so that they appeal to both the search engines AND their human visitors.As you can guess, this is more than full-time job.

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3. A large and responsive opt-in list: You will have a far better chance of actually getting people to click on your clients' advertisements if you include them in a weekly e-newsletter that you send to your opt-in list.Of course, first you have to develop that opt-in list...... Which means including an attractive opt-in offer on your web pages that encourages people to join your mailing list, and then sending them tons of valuable free information so they look forward to your emails and actually open them -- and, hopefully, click on those ads.

4. A community-centered, user-friendly site: One of the best ways to make an advertising site profitable is to increase its "stickiness" by turning it into a popular community hangout.You can do this by adding a forum to it and encouraging your visitors to talk to each other about their shared interests, and the problems they're hoping to solve. This has the added advantage of getting your visitors to create content FOR you -- so you don't have to spend as much time writing articles, etc. yourself.You also want to make sure your content is as accessible to your visitors as possible!I recently came across a realty advertising site that required its users to fill out fields of personal information before they could even look at the property listings.
(And to make matters worse, the privacy policy stated that the site owners had the right to sell that personal information with other businesses -- yikes. Hello, spam!)Remember, the success of an advertising site depends on the ads being seen by as many people as possible. If you make your visitors jump through a bunch of hoops before they are able to access your site's content, how many of them are going to stick around long enough to see the ads on your web pages?Not very many, I'm afraid.

So, should you abandon the advertising model altogether?As you can see, creating a profitable ad-based site requires a LOT of work. And if you're going to do all that work, you might as well go one step further and create your own product to advertise on your site.That way, instead of making just a few dollars -- or even pennies -- per ad, you get to keep ALL the profits from the sale!However, if you find the idea of creating your own product to be particularly daunting, there IS an easy way to make money online that doesn't involve having your product.

I'm talking about affiliate marketing, of course. Typically, you'll make far more money as a company's affiliate -- earning a commission for each sale you help them make -- than you will from traditional advertising.Why? Because businesses are willing to pay FAR more money for actual sales!But ultimately, you will earn the most money by selling something you have created yourself.However, that doesn't mean you should completely IGNORE advertising. When you're first starting out, you might find it a useful way to generate a few extra bucks to supplement your income as you work on developing your business.You could start by building information-rich content pages that have a moderate amount of advertising on them -- and then replace those ads over time for plugs that promote affiliate products.

Then, as you listen carefully to your audience and discover the products they're most interested in buying -- as well as the products they'd like to buy, but aren't having any luck finding online -- you can work on developing your own product that has its own special USP (unique selling proposition) and explode the profitability of your business!

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