I am trying to monetize an online trading site without success and would appreciate any ideas.
The first problem is the CTR on ads that I can get is ridiculously low at around 0.1%. I have tried adsense and affiliate type ads, with much the same results. Ads are placed within content, and in sidebars. They are also blended in the color scheme of the site.
Metrics for the site are great, it has a very low bounce rate, long visit times, half of visitors are return visitors. The articles I have are quite long, and in depth. Engagement is not a problem. Yet the Google traffic never goes much above 80 visits per day, and that seems to be constant. So lack of traffic, after running nearly 18 months is also a big problem.
The upshot of all this of this is I am creating very expensive content and giving it away for free! Just to get an trickle of search traffic that seems to have no value.
The question I have is whether to throw in the towel and move to other publishing routes. Or am I making a basic mistake somewhere?
yes, it is very competitive as are all trading niches. But there are some specialized subjects within that are easier to rank for. I have avoided going down the spammy route of get rich type stuff that you see on a lot of sites. Going for quality content does help with ranking on those topics, but it seems to be killing off any chance of monetizing.
At the top of the AdSense Forum, [webmasterworld.com...] there is a link to an older thread that offers tips, hints and ideas of bringing a site up to speed for earning performance. I can't say this will by itself turn everything around for you but you may spot some points you hadn't thought of or read through current discussions of how others optimize their earnings. I can say that in my observations, there is no ad network that can earn well with low, traffic. Go through your analytics reports or stats and see what insight you can get from visitors. It is possible that some of those "js off" visits are not human visitors, just sayin'.