|Advice needed for own advertising please|
Thinking about monthly flat-fee instead of adsense
I know this question has been asked many times before but I just need some clarfication from you much more experienced guys. I currently run a modest website which currently ranks in positions 1-4 for various key search terms in Google for my niche. It probably is one of a number of authority sites on the subject getting about 15-40,000 page views a day with US audience of about 25%, UK about 20% and the rest made up of all other countries.
I am currently using Adsense at the moment but the topic is in a very low paying area, consquently I am earning between low-mid double figures per day. It's nothing to shout about (compared to others), but in my area I am considered pretty lucky to be making this. Things are a bit slow at the moment and I was considering maybe aproaching a number of advertisers in my niche to see if they would like to advertise on the site. There is lots of good advice here already but do you think this is going to be worth my time - or should I just stay with Adsense?
I'm already running a number of affilate programs although these bring in very little, resulting in the cheque minimum payment every 6 months or so. I'm astounded at what people say about making $6k a month using affilate programs and how its "so easy". I'd retire right now if I was earning that amount every month. Anyway I'm going off track.
From what I have read the flat-fee seems to be the way to go with advertisers. How would you start this? I was thinking that if I install an ip tracking script on the website, if a visitor comes from say the US and I have US advertisers I would show ads from them, else show adsense. I would have text ads similar to adsense, like skyscrapers, leadearboards, rectangles etc that I could fill. How much should I charge? I was thinking about charging one amount for a text ad (out of 4 cells), or a higher amount if they want a banner to take up the whole space. Is it better to get say 4 advertisers showing a text ad - or just one exclusively on the site?
I just want to know if I would be wasting my time if I adopted this approach. I've looked at phpadsnew but this seems like a lot of uncessary fuss for something quite simple. I use PHP/mysql anyway but a simple monthly flat-fee only needs some simple scripting. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. :)
I'm at a similar point to you in thinking about direct advertising.
So I'm not talking from experience, but one idea I had might help--I'm using AdSense earnings as a basis for thinking about fees. Let's say I make $200 a month from a particular section of my site, with AdSense in one skyscraper on the top left. To replace that entire adblock with an exclusive ad, it might be reasonable to charge $250. To insert an ad below in addition to the AdSense, I might ask $100.
Your situation is a bit complicated considering how varied your sources of traffic are, but you still might be able to figure out a benchmark.
Seems like it might be tough to sell an audience from all over the world. 80%+ US, UK, some other country, then advertisers may be more likely to signup unless the ads could be targeted to the location of the visitor and the advertiser could see some results.
If I could get some ads in the US and UK then I would show these ads to visitors in these locations, else show adsense to anyone not in these countries. I like your idea hunterdown but there are more choices to made! Its not so simple though as saying a leaderboard earns $200 a month for example, since this $200 represents the whole audience. It might be only making $100 from US audiences. Do I need to factor this into my charging? So instead of saying you can have one text ad (out of 4) for $75 a month, or $250 for the whole space, I would need to say $50 for one cell and $175 (for example) for the whole space?
Then you have the question of multiple advertisers. If you have sold a 4 cell space with 4 advertisers - do you seek out more? Or if someone wants a banner to take up that space - do you look for more advertisers and then rotate these banners? Since their banner or text ad is going to be cycled and not always seen should the price be lowered and what to?
It seems there are never ending questions and I'm getting nowhere fast. Each time I think I am making progress I appear to hit another choice. I'm trying to make it easy to approach advertisers and offer then simple plans - but things aren't simple!
The other thing I'm puzzled with is do you approach advertisers who run their own affilate program? Surely they are going to say no - since why should they pay for advertising when you are effectively giving them free advertising anyway?
You're asking a lot of good questions. My inclination, for my site, is to keep things as simple as possible--to only offer a few options, which I can be confident will earn me a worthwhile amount of money. Then if no one is interested, I might reduce prices, offer other possibilities, etc. Your international audience complicates things...
Some advertisers prefer flat fee, others prefer CPM/CPC/CPA. It tends to depend on their experience with online advertising and how much control they have over their budget. Before approaching potential advertisers it's a good idea to have a couple different pricing structures so you can offer the one that best meets their needs.
With any pricing structure, avoid setting your pricing too close what you're making from AdSense. It takes time and effort to sell advertising -- if you're replacing a low/no-effort $200 AdSense block with a high-maintenance $250 direct advertiser, have you really gained anything? Not to mention that AdWords advertisers are paying more (after Google's cut) to be on your site than you're actually making from them. Set your prices based on what the exposure is worth to your potential advertisers, and use the AdSense to determine your absolute bottom-dollar point for negotiations.