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What am I doing wrong?

4:18 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As I've mentioned in so many posts on these forums, I have a site that brings in a fair amount of traffic. I have 1600+ pages on my site, get roughly 200,000 visitors a month, and get roughly a million page views per month.

Currently, I have just one banner advertiser on my site. That advertiser runs banners on just 26 of my pages. 17 of those 26 pages are devoted to his products, "Acme widgets."

He gets a 5% click-through rate on those pages, which isn't astonishing. The people who view the "Acme widgets" pages are people who are interested in Acme Widgets. Best of all, his banner ads offer a free catalogue.

I've contacting other advertisers within the "widget" industry. I ran banner ads across the other remaining 1600+ pages for "Widget Magazine." The two problems I saw with their ads were that their ads put the subscription price right up front, and there was no free offer to entice visitors. The CTR was .03%.

I don't expect anyone to give up their hard-learned knowledge. But can someone at least give me some general advice?

My site has doesn't have incredible traffic, but the traffic numbers are pretty respectable. And I have to think (and feel free to correct me) that there's a way to monetize this site further.

Also, before anyone mentions Adsense, my site deals with a topic that Google regards as prohibited content. It's not porn, or violence, or anything else. Google is just trying to be PC with their rules.

4:57 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Are there any advertisers in CJ LinkShare or one of the other networks that would fit?
5:31 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Skibum, thanks for replying.

I've looked at CJ, and decided it wouldn't work. Don't remember why, but I just figured it wouldn't be profitable.

When I began construction of my site back in 2004, I left a table column on the right side of nearly all of the pages for Adwords advertising.

When I went public with the site, and contacted Google, I was surprised to find that my topic was off-limits.

Okay, I can live with that.

What's driving me nuts is that I have one advertiser who's getting a 5% CTR, and is more than happy to pay for it. I also have another advertiser whose pages look like regular content pages, until the visitor gets to the end. At that point, there's a link to click on for more information as well as pricing. That advertiser gets as much as a 13% CTR.

Meanwhile, I still have over 1600 pages of solid content that consistently rank in the top ten on the major SE's, and I can't find an advertiser.

It's driving me up the wall.

My site offers very low-priced advertising for widget stores. The majority of these widget stores are individually or family-owned operations. And they're all facing the competition of the national chain stores for widgets.

There's one advertiser I'm currently pursuing. That advertiser offers "cheaper than anyone else" widgets and widget parts. The advertiser also offers a free catalogue. The "free" part is the hook, and I'm certain that this advertiser would get a huge number of free catalogue requests.

But I don't think this advertiser wants to spend X amount of dollars promoting a free catalogue. (Nevermind that my first-mentioned advertiser is delighted with the response he gets for his free catalogues; each one brings him a new customer).

My second option is risky. I started my site to offer small widget stores advertising that would put them on the same level with the large discount widget chains.

But, after being treated often poorly by these small widget store owners, I'm very tempted to approach a couple of the large widget chain stores, and see if they would be interested in a discounted price to have all of their stores on my site. One chain alone could bring in nearly $20K, if they agreed to my offer.

I'm just brain-storming here. I promised my little mom-and-pop widget stores that I'd get them on equal footing with the "big guys." But I find myself being used and abused.

And my hosting company is giving me a hard time. I'm using 40 to 60 gigs of bandwidth per month. (Nevermind that the hosting company advertises unlimited bandwidth for the program I paid for).

Here's the condundrum: I have a fair amount of traffic, first-page search results, lots of page views, a 40+% return visitor rate, probably close to 18,000 inbound links from other sites in any given month....my site is doing far better than I ever expected.

Yet I can't find a good advertiser. And that's driving me nuts.

Any further comments or suggestions are much appreciated.

5:45 am on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There are plenty of other contextual advertising opportunities other than Google that would be happy to work with you. Just google them but I recommend Quigo. AvantLink is a year old affiliate network with about 50 merchants. They have easy to use datafeeds that can be stripped down to look like contextual ads. Better conversion.
3:21 pm on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Also, have you looked into AdBrite yet?
5:41 pm on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Also, you might consider trying Amazon Self-Optimizing links.
10:47 pm on Mar 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all the replies, and for tolerating my long-winded posts.

How do all of the above-mentioned ad programs compare to Adsense in terms of payout?

Obviously, I'm going to keep trying to find an advertiser directly, so as to get the maximum dollar amount for my traffic. If that isn't successful, though, I'll try out one or more of the mentioned programs.

8:49 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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try with google again, some times they have exception specialy after the good performance of your web site

and again try cj, u will not lose anything if u spend some time to recheck (u know the always have new updates, new merchant which could be suitable for u) u can find one of the bigh merchanet use their network

5:30 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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From my experience on a site of similar size and visitors, Adbrite compares very, very poorly with Adsense. About 20% of the income. I stuck with them for about a year and it never improved.