Blog Monitization Case Study

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I know many of you have “review” sites that are focused on a single product and you may think that there is little else you can do to monetize your site other than offering a great deal on the product you’re promoting. Well you can and I’ll talk about that in a bit.

But for those of you that have “informational” sites, sites that have content on a specific topic but not on specific products, you might be missing the boat with most of your traffic.

So what do I mean by informational sites? Well I have a passion for kit cars. My dream car is a 1966 Shelby Cobra that I had built from a kit a few years back. It’s a beauty! That car inspired me to create a site dedicated to all things involving kit cars. I didn’t set out to make it a money maker but rather to be a “go to” source for anybody who had an interest in kit cars.

Because it is my hobby I found myself adding a ton of content and videos. Because the site is content rich, it ranks well for its niche. Our videos also rank on the first page of YouTube.com.

If you have a site like this, even if it’s about dog training, photo retouching or travel deals and it’s getting decent traffic, let me share how another “information rich” site discovered its true value as a revenue generator.

Let’s take a walk in the park

Recently, I had an opportunity to interview Aric Boyles the guy behind CentralPark.com. Aric is a Central Park fanatic. He really enjoys the park and is thrilled that he can make a living working on a project about the object of his love.CentralPark.com is the go to site for all things about the park and is chock full of quality content and photographs.

Because of the quality of the site, Google rewards him with roughly 250,000 visitors a month who view over 1 million pages…that’s a lot of inventory.

But the site was more than just a passion for Aric, it was also his principal source of income. When he started, the only product that he had to sell was an aerial photograph of Central Park that he had converted into a really cool poster.

The posters sold well but he knew with the kind of traffic he was getting he could sell other things as well he just wasn’t sure what. The quick answer was to sign up with an affiliate advertising network like Commission Junction and that’s exactly what he did.

When it’s so obvious it defies explanation

CentralPark.com has enviable demographics. The visitors are better educated, more affluent and split about 50/50 male/female. It stood to reason that this crowd would have an interest in higher end offers so a network that could automatically rotate these types of offers seemed like a natural solution.

But it wasn’t.

The network ads fell flat on their faces with the exception of a notable few. Ads for NYC tour lines and local hotels converted nicely.

That’s when Aric realized the real interest that his audience had. It was right there all along but he had allowed himself to slip into a traditional “portal” advertising system rather than focusing on what the visitor actually wanted.

Tip Number 1 – Never forget why your visitors are visiting

In Aric’s case, his audience was seeking information on Central Park. Their attention is focused on all things Central Park and it is unlikely that they would pay attention to a skyscraper ad for Coach Purses or Mercedes Benz yet that’s what the ad network was displaying.

By partnering with other companies who provided services to visitors of Central Park, Aric was able to offer bike tours, carriage tours, hotels, wedding services and even products like his Central Park poster that all enhanced the Central Park experience.

Not surprisingly, these offers that compliment the main theme of the website do very well.

Tip Number 2 – Stay in touch with your visitors

Aric knew his shift in topic centric offers was paying off when he received a message from a visitor asking where he could find a tour of Lower Manhattan. Aric’s ticket service has a feature that allows visitors to send messages and communicate with the site.

The request for the Lower Manhattan tour was followed by others for the East Side, helicopter tours and even Broadway shows. His visitors were literally telling him what they wanted to buy. And the range of products and services expanded beyond just Central Park but was still focused on the NYC experience.

The feature that allows communication is key. You can do the same thing with a blog and of course through newsletters. Allowing your visitors to interact is key to keeping them engaged.

Tip Number 3 – Test, Test, Test

No serious marketer, be they online or off, just sets up a campaign and lets it go. For some of us testing and tweaking is fun because you get relatively quick feedback on your actions. For all of us, like it or not, it’s a necessity.

Google Analytics has made it extremely east to do split testing on literally any page of your site. Little things like the size or location of a graphic can impact on conversions.

In Aric’s case it was his “sign up now” button that he used to get subscribers to his newsletter. He had been using a green button but then switched to a PayPal orange button and subscriptions climbed 28%. Think about that for a minute. A 28% increase in a newsletter that is critical in driving traffic and promoting offers simply by changing the color of a button.

You think testing might be worth the effort?

These three tips apply to any type site be it about infrared photography, Photoshop tutorials, or wooden park benches, and when you use these tips you’re going to end up with a far more focused marketing effort.

That’s my take on it. If you have tips you’d like to add or if you have questions please share them in the comment box below.

You will receive actionable tips and money making advice directly from James Martell by subscribing to his weekly podcast. Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James is the host of the “Affiliate Buzz”, the 1st and longest running podcast in the affiliate marketing industry. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at CJ University, Affiliate Summit, Digital River Lab, The System Seminar, Pubcon, and more.

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