How to Monetize Your Website
We've come across a number of clients wanting to create significant revenues from their websites but have been approaching the task in the wrong way. They've tried to solicit the revenue stream before the other parts were in place!
The concept was good, but the steps to monetization were wrong....
For instance, one website providing entertainment information wanted venues to subscribe up-front but was having difficulty convincing venues to hop on board. Another providing information to a certain kind of employment seeker wanted job placers to subscribe and advertisers to come aboard before they had any great traffic numbers. Both models had great ideas behind them but the chosen path to monetization was not quite right.
Websites have four major components and each has its own vested interest...
- Content Consumers
- Content Providers
And there's a definite chronology to these 4 components that helps you develop your website faster, even though it might at first seem to delay revenues.
Content... is read by Consumers... and this attracts Providers... and finally Advertisers.
And it's the latter two that can provide the revenues... or at least in the beginning.
But it all starts with Content. Without compelling content that is differentiated from other competitive or substitute sites, your website risks being irrelevant. Content should therefore be sourced, produced and provided as quickly as possible. The faster you have it, the faster natural and marketed searches will find and value that content.
That attracts the Content Consumers. These people will value your site and the more of them you get, the more your true asset grows... visitors. So consider deferring fees for accessing the content. Remember, the easier it is to access, the easier it will be to ramp up your visitor numbers.
When your visitor numbers are up, you'll start to see the monetization opportunities emerge. Content providers will want to provide material and they'll pay for the privilege. Advertisers will want to advertise on your site and this will become the source of revenue of most importance.
Keep up the content, to keep up the visitors, and you'll keep up the contributors and advertisers.
Seek content from other sites, information providers, offline printed sources and experts but maintain their editing rights. Your content quality is key to maintaining your visitor and member numbers and as editor, you can ensure content is adjusted from self-serving the content providers to addressing the needs of the provider and visitors.
Create systems for turning visitors into members. Consider providing alerts, extra information not generally made available and other rights and privileges in order to capture and keep members. This is your database and it creates more opportunities now and down the track for monetization.
Organically and quickly your system will grow, content and members will grow, and even unsolicited advertisers will emerge.
Down the track though, something interesting will occur. It'll be both the start of yet more revenue streams but also the start of your vulnerability. You'll realise that Content Consumers are dependent on you and you'll be in a position to introduce fees for your content. This will add an entirely new income stream to your website. But it'll also be the moment a new competitor seizes the day and introduces a source of content that is a substitute to your own.
Balancing the provision of value with the opportunity for leverage will be a challenge, but what a nice challenge to have.
So in closing then, let me leave you with 3 Take Home Points:
- Don't jump to revenue-seeking. Provision of value comes first, and that comes from content.
- Maintain control over the content and its quality.
- When you monetize something that has been freely provided, ensure your points of difference are in place and be ready to respond to threats from new and alternative suppliers of content.