View Full Version : How can I make some money on my high-traffic site?
09-20-2006, 07:21 PM
My primary website has a relatively large amount of traffic. On average, I'll have more than 3,500 unique visitors in a day, and about 50,000 pageviews.
The focus of the site is entirely local. People from the local area all come to the site for local news and gossip, classifieds, local searches, etc. In fact, I've recently discovered that the wide majority of my traffic (about 80%) does not have a referrer; they either use my site as their homepage, or have it bookmarked. Almost 100% of my traffic is held to this one region; the exceptions are generally people that are from the area but have moved away, or are planning to move here in the near future.
I've been selling ads to local businesses, and that works out OK, but not great. I'm in a small town, and a lot of the local business owners have no idea what the internet is. Worse, the bigger businesses all say "we can't authorize it locally, you have to go to our corporate," and then corporate says that they don't do any internet advertising outside of their affiliate programs (if at all).
I currently offer 3 advertising options: a homepage banner, a smaller rotating banner that goes throughout the rest of the site, and a search engine ad.
Any ideas on how I can bank on all of this traffic? I've tried affiliate banners with very little success, and I've tried offering "enhanced" features for members at $1/month with NO success. But after 4 years, I'm still spending more on the site than I'm bringing in.
What have other small internet portals done to be financially successful?
09-20-2006, 08:31 PM
Hi Jason - have you given any thought to offering a product or products for sale that would be of interest to your local visitors? One example might be design a T-shirt with your town's name on it and offer those for sale on your site (you can do that via http://www.cafepress.com - they do all the work and ship the product for you). How about local maps or guide books or souvenirs?
What is your url? Do you have ppc capabilities or pay for preferred position in the directory and/or search results? Advertisers are hard to come by these days, it might be easier to sell ppc or pay for position.
Last but not least there is always Google Ads you can run on your site...
09-20-2006, 08:36 PM
If you want to display advertising, why not try context-sensitive ads such as Google AdSense, Yahoo Content Match, or the new upstart, Quigo? They tend to give much better rates of return than banners.
Another type of revenue generation would be to sell something though the site, such as an infoproduct (say a map of local businesses?), or your own promotional products (t-shirts, mugs, etc) that would in turn drive more traffic to your site.
Those are a couple of quick ideas; I'm sure there are lots more out there!
[Edit: JaneEllen, you beat me to it -- great minds think alike!]
09-23-2006, 08:18 AM
Yes I think product sales is a great way to go - dropship stuff (like through affiliate programs) so you have no order involvement. The only caution is cutting over local's business.
I am interested - you say small town local stuff, but your stats indicate otherwise.
See also my PM to you.
09-23-2006, 05:10 PM
JaneEllen, the website address is www.gowilkes.com. Sorry about that, I forgot to put it in the original post.
Matt broached my concern, too; selling things puts me in danger of competing with advertisers. I had considered CafePress before, but at the time there wasn't a way to integrate it into your own site. I'll look into it again, though.
MattE, thanks for the PM. Regarding the stats, my county has 39,000 households (60,000 residents), and I'm at a point where the site is a household name. So more than half of the county come to my site at least once a week.
09-23-2006, 07:00 PM
Well, that is an excellent site! A very good example of how to do a local portal right. I really like the classifieds, messages, gas prices, weather snippets all appearing on the front page - I can see why a lot of local people come to that site. You even have personals, lol!
As far as competing with advertisers - I wouldn't worry about that one little bit. Advertising and selling product are two different things. As long as you don't have advertisers for the same products that you are trying to sell, it isn't competition at all, imho.
09-23-2006, 08:55 PM
Looking at the restaurant aspect - I know a guy who has a program that allows online ordering and table booking, complete with full menu - this coul;d be a money spinner for you as well (% of order value and a fee per table booking), PM me if you have an interest
09-28-2006, 11:11 PM
Although your site is an excellent information source, I can't help thinking that it's never going to make you any/much money.
It's essentially a local news and views site and, as such, something akin to a search engine, albeit with a highly focused audience/visitor appeal. Thus, unless you can come up with the equivalent of Google's AdWords idea (and I don't mean anything like AdSense -- which, so help me, would ruin the entire feel of your site), it isn't, by its very nature, ever going to generate an income for you. At most, you could try charging for Classified Ads, except that this could kill whatever eggs the goose presently lays.
All told, I think you have to accept that not every good idea ends up being financially rewarding.
Maybe your only hope is to get into politics, seeing that you've managed to make yourself a household word. Even there, though, this isn't going to necessarily mean a permanent job and income!
09-28-2006, 11:29 PM
Great minds think alike...
I ran for County Commissioner this year, but lost in the Primaries with 29% of the vote ;-) I'll probably run again in 2 years...
09-28-2006, 11:46 PM
Jason: Well, there you are.
So why not add something (sort of like a blog) in which you can (in good taste, needless to say) promote yourself for the next election?!!
10-20-2006, 06:36 PM
I saw your post and with a high traffic site, you might be interested in trying some numbers in Calculator number 3 "Additional Products Calculator" found on this page:
10-23-2006, 08:48 AM
You say you are getting lots of traffic,,,,
How are you capturing those leads?
What is the incentive for somebody to become a member of your site?
It sounds like you are trying to get people to advertize on your site, right?
What is your "service" or "product" you want to "sell".. What makes your site unique?
In seconds, you can download this new patent-
pending advertising technology which will send
targeted visitors to your site today.
10-29-2006, 01:26 AM
Adsense, Adsense and again,... Adsense,.. :)
But make sure to do it right. The last thing you want to do is to just stuff it in there as another block of ads.
Have the ads blend in nicely, (itīs all possible with adsense) and put them in the right places. Don't put them in any page thatīs not really focused, like the forum like pages.
If you do it right, you probably get an enviable salary out of it,. :) Get help to do it right if youīre unsure on how to do it.
03-05-2008, 01:19 PM
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03-15-2008, 04:28 AM
The first thing I would probably do is to install Google Adsense. 3500 visits per day is a lot and you can make over USD$20 easily per day
03-15-2008, 07:04 AM
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