I run a nightlife site which covers a major metropolitan area in Southern California. It's a great site. well laid out, I get tons and tons of repeat visitors. It's updated regularly. It has club reviews. A lot of people turn to it as the authority when they want to know where to go out in this area. I get tons of fanmail. The only negative I can think of is that a lot of people who don't live anywhere near the area just come by to check out all the pictures of pretty girls in the nightlife scene out here and are never going to go to any of these places because they live 3000 miles away.
The site has been up for 3 years. It's got pretty decent SEO. It currently gets about 1.8 million hits a month and growing. It gets over 11,000+ visits a month. 2 months ago I started collecting email addresses when you click on the pictures and I currently have about 2,500 legitamate opt-in subscrbers for a newsletter that has yet to go out.
I've put adSense on most pages, and it really doesn't do much at all. Maybe $50/month.
My question is HOW do I make money on this site? I will be the first to admit that I'm a great creative guy and a lousy business guy. I don't know what to do here. It's not a huge site, but almost 2 million hits a month seems pretty substantial to me. And it's a very targeted audience - young people probably 18-35, trying to figure out where to go out at night..... and then throw in some lookers that just want to scope out the hot girls.
My thoughts are I need to hit up bars, clubs and promoters in the area and try to get them to banner-advertise on the site. When the email database gets large enough, I can charge them to advertise on a calendar-of-events type newsletter that goes out. And they can advertise their club/event.
Anybody have any thoughts/ideas? Am I on the right track? Is there something I'm totally missing? Right now I make $50/month on this site. Can I ever make enough money to do this full time - say $5,000 a month? Is that possible with the traffic I have now or do I need to build way more traffic first? I mean I started this thing for fun, but it's big enough now that I feel really, really stupid for not making more money on it.