Best solopreneurial strategies, and questions, related to monetizing high-traffic sites with low-maintenance revenue streams ("passive monetization") offered by Google and other ad networks. "Passive" is not our recommended way to monetize, but it's a decent "way-station" until you are ready to increase your $-per-visitor ratio. Got a question or a tip on that? You've come to the right place!

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#1348749 by Douglas from Planet Earth
Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:42 pm

Thanks Frank,

I found this part interesting;

Perhaps more importantly, media companies from newspapers to online magazines need
to admit once and for all that giving away content for free and hoping to make money off of
advertising is not a viable strategy. Getting creative with paywalls, subscriptions, and
micropayments are all better options than warring with customers over ad blocking.


We know its coming, well actually already started, so it should be fun to watch the progression.

As ad blocking becomes the norm, I see the general public also losing out with less
content/information if information websites can't diversify their income streams.

It is what it is so I'll just carry on.

Cheers,

Doug C.
#1367347 by Stephen from Monroeville
Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:02 am
I think rather than putting content behind payment walls ... i think we have to find creative ways to discourange adblocking and monetize the adblocker ...

People want free content on the web ... so i think if one website goes premium ... then another website will popup to fill it's place
#1367837 by Peter from Kaohsiung
Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:10 am
Popup and ad blockers have been around for a decade or two. It has started annoying users because greedy G and company put ever more advertisements on web sites, using trackers, etc. that annoy users. Even if it may not be good for publishers, looking at the current situation ad blockers are here to stay. It has been looking like this for years, and now we will soon be there...
Currently the use of ad blockers requires the installation of add-ons in browsers. In the not too far future they may be a built-in browser feature that requires turning them on or off. In fact, some of the newer browsers already have a "Reader View" inside the address field. Noted it? I do not know if this is installed along with an addon or is default now, but one click will remove the whole navigation, side columns, ads and everything, leaving only the main textual content for the reader.
Ads are be trashed along with pop-ups and other scripts. Even the notice for switching off ad blockers is not shown anymore now, it seems.
It may be better adjusting to the changes than hope for the unlikely.

Peter
#1367871 by Mary from Mico
Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:34 pm

Hi Peter,

This is astonishing:

one click will remove the whole navigation, side columns, ads and everything, leaving only the main textual content for the reader.


Mary
#1367873 by ENID from Sherwood
Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:23 pm
On the other hand, advertising is sometimes part of the content that readers are seeking. Fashion magazines, for example, are at least half advertising. Women want to know where to buy the products that are being written about. I would guess that trout fishermen are as interesting in new rods, reels, lures, gear, and -- in their dreams -- boats as they are about the straight copy. Women who read newspaper food sections also wanted the Thursday ads, which now come to us in our mailboxes and go right into the trash. I live in an apartment and I've been watching this behavior for 14 years. I don't know what the right blend is, but it seems to me many content areas lend themselves to display advertising.
#1367907 by Peter from Kaohsiung
Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:32 am
Hi Mary,

It is probably not so difficult to achieve. Just use some code to render scripts, CSS, external links, etc. ineffective and that is what remains.
At least we have a second choice now in view to what we want to see when a portal page is overloaded with links and pictures.

Peter
#1373770 by Don from Tsiigehtchic
Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:02 am
Peter from Kaohsiung wrote:Currently the use of ad blockers requires the installation of add-ons in browsers. In the not too far future they may be a built-in browser feature that requires turning them on or off. In fact, some of the newer browsers already have a "Reader View" inside the address field. Noted it? I do not know if this is installed along with an addon or is default now, but one click will remove the whole navigation, side columns, ads and everything, leaving only the main textual content for the reader.


Apple's macOS High Sierra is set to debut this coming fall, and its new Safari browser will feature built-in "advanced tracking prevention" to thwart advertisers and an "automatic" Safari Reader for every site page to view content "without ads, navigation and other distractions." Unfortunately, the "other distractions" include our side columns and top and bottom nav bars.

os11-b.jpg
os11-b.jpg (40.62 KiB) Viewed 577 times


Macworld says of High Sierra's new Safari features:

Apple is determined to make surfing the web a more pleasant experience, much to the dismay of advertisers as a result there will be no more auto-playing videos and no more cookies tracking your surfing habits and aiding advertisers who want to target ads to your interests.

As a final nail in the advertiser's coffin, Apple will make all pages that support Safari Reader appear thus in your browser - with ads stripped out.


The current version of Safari Reader isn't automatic, its icon must be clicked on in the browser window, but it is very effective at removing all ads, social buttons, Facebook comments, top nav bars, and side columns. I often use the feature to print out site content or export it to a PDF file. Only internal links within the page's main content area remain live. Gone are all nav bars, social buttons, ads, and sponsored ads. If other browsers follow Apple's lead and make such features automatic, we might need to rethink our content layouts if any monetization is to be seen. Scary stuff.
#1373812 by Dan from Saint Albans Bay
Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:12 pm
Don from Tsiigehtchic wrote:Macworld says of High Sierra's new Safari features:

Apple is determined to make surfing the web a more pleasant experience, much to the dismay of advertisers as a result there will be no more auto-playing videos and no more cookies tracking your surfing habits and aiding advertisers who want to target ads to your interests.

As a final nail in the advertiser's coffin, Apple will make all pages that support Safari Reader appear thus in your browser - with ads stripped out.



Web developers can create scripts that can intermittently check for missing content (ads, side columns, etc.) and hide all content if some content has been hidden or removed. I'm currently doing this on my site, but instead of hiding content, it's just a note saying if the calculator doesn't work, try disabling ad blocking for the page. Eventually I may decide to hide the calculator itself, and instead show a button for subscribing to the Ad-Free version of the site.

In my opinion, removing safe content from a site without the owner's permission is a criminal act, not too mention degrading the availability of free content as the incentive for creating it is being removed from the equation.

Sure, web surfers may find "surfing the web a more pleasant experience", but the content they once enjoyed for free will likely end up behind a paywall of some sort (free with purchase of X). That's why I spent 15 months building a paywall (member site). :wink:

On the other hand, I also understand that the unscrupulous publishers and advertisers (those using black hat monetization methods without regard for user experience) need to be weeded out. But it shouldn't be at the expense of everyone else.

I believe common sense will eventually prevail, where web surfers will be able to enjoy a safe, fast, non-intrusive browsing experience, while publishers and advertisers who put user experience first will be rewarded. In the meantime it's going to be a nail-biter waiting to see if common sense still exists in this maniacal chase for the almighty dollar. :lol:

Dan
#1373837 by Jeff from dogquotations.com
Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:21 pm
There's a new browser called Brave. It runs without ads as well, but it gives you a cryptocurrency option to "tip" the publisher for the content you just read. Brave also ensures that digital privacy (not just for ad tracking) is available.

https://www.brave.com

And click on the "publishers" link for more on verifying ownership of your site and making some money with Brave.
#1373892 by Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente
Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:09 am
Mary from Mico wrote:Hi Peter,

This is astonishing:

one click will remove the whole navigation, side columns, ads and everything, leaving only the main textual content for the reader.


Mary


That comes standard with Chrome now. Default setting. :(

I know because I got a new computer in February, and had to download the latest Chrome and, when I tried to browse websites, it had this weird look to it...

no color...

like reading a newspaper - white pages with black text... no ads, no side bars, no navigation menus... NOTHING... it looked like a straight up PDF page

figured it was just the site I was browsing had changed layout, until I realized the next site was the same way...

then I opened my own site... OMG! My site was like that too.

Then I knew it was something in the settings. Spent the next hour trying to figure out what it was. Finally found the place in Chrome to disable the "printer friendly text view", which was an ad blocker, that stripped away EVERYTHING on the site, except for the article body text!!!!!!!

I'd never seen anything like it before.

I wonder how many people download the new Chrome and don't know that feature is default and so never think to turn it off.

:(
#1373901 by A J from Somewhere Hot
Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:41 am
There's not much doubt that website owners that rely on adsense as their main way to monetize really have their back up against the wall right now.

Adblockers being so prevalent means that far less visitors see the ads. And in my opinion ads seem to pay less than they used to. I wonder if people are possibly less inclined to click than they used to be, over exposure perhaps?

What I can say is that when I first sold my roses site, it used to get between 350-500 a month from adsense. Traffic numbers have dropped a lot over the years with panda etc, but now that I own the site again (I bought it back) I have tried to do a rough calculation.

So... traffic when I sold it was roughly double what it is now (I have been building traffic up slowly since I bought the site back, after it was devastated by panda and penguin). But adsense is nowhere close to half what it used to be. That would mean it would be in the region of 150 - 250 a month. Instead, it takes 2 to 3 months to get a payment, the threshold for a payment in NZ$ is $130. So at a guess, income (making allowance for difference in traffic) is around 25% of what it used to be.

Yes, the adsense pays for the site, just - maybe a few $$ left over, so it's not a disaster. And I have an optimistic nature with these things. I believe that traffic = money, you just have to find the best way to leverage that traffic. Adsense used to be so easy, but that just isn't the case any more. I had considered the merits of affiliate sales, but I really don't want to go down that road. I dislike Amazon (even if it was available here in Aust) and places like shareasale and CJ are just rip offs IMO. Soon as you start doing OK with them, the vendor closes their account, and you end up sending them free traffic until you get their links removed. Been there and done that, never again.

So if I am to get to my goal with this website, and it's not a lofty one... just to earn say 200 a month, then I guess I have a few options.

*increase traffic enough that adsense will cover that
*Look to my own product (no idea what that could be though)
*Private advertising deals on the site

Whatever the answer, it all starts with getting more traffic. Yes, it has been increasing but still a long way short of where I feel it needs to be. But each month is seeing a small increase so that's a positive. Keep adding new content and redoing the exiting pages to be better will get me there in the end :-) And rather than just concentrating on roses and gardening, I have started a new section about roses related to natural health and remedies. I feel that could be a far more lucrative slant, and of course if it gets established it would open the door to perhaps affiliate sales of natural products. As I said before, I'm not too keen on affiliate sales but perhaps it might come to that, IF I could find the right program. Definitely not Amazon, or the big ones like CJ etc.

So yes, the Ad Blockers are nasty and hurt small sites like mine, no doubt about that. But I guess keeping a positive attitude and being open to ways to earn money other than adsense is something we need to do.

Cheers, AJ
#1373958 by Don from Tsiigehtchic
Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:00 pm

Hi Everyone,

I so agree with AJ's post. I've had a similar experience as shared on my SBI review page:

I began working on my recipe site in 2004, and within 5 years it had developed into a fulltime business. It was bringing in well over $100/day by 2010, and that Christmas I treated myself by writing a check for a brand-new car with my fourth-quarter AdSense earnings. That was fun!

Little did I know that I would soon learn a hard lesson. Google improved its search results, and my traffic dropped. I mean dropped. Ouch.

Let me explain, so you won't make the same mistake.

The Internet was like the wild west several years back. It was very easy to rank for any keyword when you knew how, but the old tricks of the trade no longer work. I received up to 10,000 visitors each day looking for "dessert recipes." However, most of those searchers wanted "modern" recipes, and just as fast as they landed on my site and saw the "old fashioned" recipes, they bounced off.

Nowadays, Google's search results are far more relevant. Searchers wanting modern recipes rarely end up on my site now. And that's okay. They're happy on the modern recipe sites, and those wanting old fashioned recipes will arrive on my site, and they're happy too. It's just that there are fewer who want the older-style, historical recipes, and so I earn less.

Here's the Lesson:

You need to do really your homework on Days 3 and 4 to make sure you are targeting a profitable niche! I love targeting the nostalgia and "old fashioned recipe" niche, but I've had to accept its profit limitations.


The good news is that AdSense is paying more for the recipe niche ads today, up from an average of 6 cents to 30+ cents; however, the bad news is that the CTR has dropped from double digits to low single digits, as fewer people click on display ads, especially the mobile users. I too have tried the other monetizing methods with meager results. I am stuck with AdSense.

As AJ says, "traffic = money." So true! So much depends on visitor traffic. If I could multiply my current traffic ten times, I could increase my revenue ten times. Ten thousand visitors a day would restore my $100/day revenue and more, based on my current AdSense optimization results. But, I cannot count on those results if the current browser trend continues, and I suspect it will.

This new browser trend is only interested in displaying your main content, and it allows the user to choose how it's displayed using their preferred fonts and page color. This goes beyond basic ad blocking. It's taking control of our sites. Gone is your site's look and feel. Gone are your images below an unspecified size. Gone are your side columns. Gone are your navigation bars. Gone are your thumbnail links and other enticements to remain on the site. Gone are your sponsored ads. Gone are your display ads, and so on. All that remains to the reader is your main content with its text links.

WIRED recently published a relevant article titled The New Chrome and Safari Will Reshape the Web. Here's a brief excerpt:

But the two companies' plans don't just mean a cleaner web experience. They represent a shift in the way web browsers work. Instead of passively downloading and running whatever code and content a website delivers, these browsers will take an active role shaping your web experience. That means publishers will have to rethink not just their ads but their assumptions about what readers do and don't see when they visit their pages.


https://www.wired.com/2017/06/new-chrome-safari-will-reshape-web/

The writing is on the wall. We publishers will have to rethink how our site content is displayed while simultaneously making visitors aware of our monetization through new and imaginative methods. If browsers intend to strip the nav bars from our pages, the natural use of internal linking within our content becomes a necessity for visitors to explore our sites. As well, site traffic will increasingly depend on social interaction, since Facebook and Pinterest appear to be immune from the new browser trend to customizing content, for now.

Nothing ever stays the same.

Regards,
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