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How Soon Should You Monetize?
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How Soon Should You Monetize?

When to begin monetizing a blog or informational website is a tough call to make. Nobody likes to have adverts or ...

How Soon Should You Monetize?

When to begin monetizing a blog or informational website is a tough call to make.

Nobody likes to have adverts or sales pitches pushed at them when they’re browsing the Web, but at the same time you, as the webmaster, need something to reward you for the time you spend building your site, promoting it, and producing content.

 

There are essentially three approaches you can take to monetizing your site:

 

1. From the start

 

Monetizing from the start makes your intentions clear: You are building a site that you do wish to make some money from, and you aren’t trying to hide that fact.

 

Advantages of this approach:

i. You can have a monetization strategy in place from the very beginning.

 

ii. You can design your site around advertising blocks and other monetization avenues.

 

Disadvantages of this approach:

i. If you get the balance wrong, your site can launch with an excessively commercial feel, which may put some readers off.

 

ii. The revenue you can and will earn at the start will be minimal; advertisers will be unlikely to spend money until your traffic levels are established.

 

 

2. Gradually

 

Gradually introducing monetization is the right approach for some sites, especially when you’re not completely sure of how you intend to monetize at the beginning.

 

Advantages of this approach:

i. You can build a loyal readership based on your site appearing “non commercial” at the start.

 

ii. You can use your early analytical data to help identify which monetization methods may prove most lucrative.

 

Disadvantages of this approach:

i. You will probably have to constantly tweak the design of your site to fit in advertising blocks.

 

ii. You may lose a few loyal readers who dislike creeping attempts to introduce adverts and make money from your site.

 

 

3. All at once, once your site gains momentum

 

Moving to a monetized model after establishing yourself as a “non-commercial” site is the most drastic method here. A good parallel to draw is the sudden introduction of product placement in movies and TV shows.

 

Advantages of this approach:

i. Waiting to monetize until you have established traffic and a solid reputation may encourage large companies to approach you with lucrative advertising and sponsorship deals.

 

ii. If you’re waiting to launch a product or service related to your site and wish to build momentum first, this can prove to be the only route that really makes sense.

 

Disadvantages of this approach:

i. Sudden monetization will undoubtedly alienate some loyal readers.

 

ii. Your sudden move from non-commercial to commercial will change your standing within Web-based communities and forums. Some sites that happily allowed you to post and comment along with your site URL may decide to ban you for “self promotion.”

 

How you decide to monetize should ultimately depend on the objectives for your site. If your ultimate aim is to own a lucrative site, it’s perhaps best to wait until you have a product to sell and a clear means of monetization before you even launch the site. Start off with your adverts and sales pitches already in place.

 

If, on the other hand, you are “testing the water” with a site and earning money from it is only a vague ambition, other approaches may prove more valid.

 

Every website is different, so every monetization strategy is slightly different too, but following the guidelines above should help you tailor one to your needs.

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