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2 million hits/ month and no real money

What do I need to do



7:26 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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.


7:53 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'd look at CPM networks - Tribal Fusion seems to be popular, and you seem to have the necessary traffic for it.


8:05 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Local advertising seems like a great idea to me.


8:27 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

1.8 million hits a month and growing. It gets over 11,000+ visits a month

So does this mean that you only have 11,000 visitors (unique?) a month?


8:44 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

don't bother with trying to sell local people banner ads.

Throw events at these places WITH the bars and girls. There are some other websites that do this - they work with the bars to throw an event at the bar with the pretty girls. You promote the heck out of it with pics and emails, and this gets the people to show up. Take pics from that event and add them to your site. It's an easily repeatable process. Charge the bar $500 for a promotion, talk to a local radio station and get them involved.

pm me and i'll show you some examples.


8:46 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

11,000 TOTAL visits a month. So slightly less unique visitors. It works out to 163 hits per visit. There are a LOT of pictures of the different clubs I review. I'm sure people spend a lot of time in the picture galleries.


9:43 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

do your "hits" include Search Engine spiders? Probably huh?

In any case, yes, great traffic! I would try to get a little more info from your visitors. Find out their age, education level, where they MOST like partying and so on.

If they are indeed young, there are a LOT of things young people spend money on... electronics, clothes, music and so on. Do you see where I'm going? You can promote "popular" items that are of interest to your target audience, also promote through email, you'll make a fortune.

I would guess that a site like yours has the potential to earn well over $10,000 /month once you get things pulled together.


9:57 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Since it has only 11,000 visitors a month I think there will be only a little bit of room for improvement. Maybe you'll be able to make a few ten bucks extra by improving the ad placement.

The best way to earn more might be to arrange some special deals with the clubs.

Also, the newsletter with 2,500 users might be extremely helpful. Maybe you can include some affiliate links in every newsletter.


10:33 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Awesome ideas guys. Thanks! OK, so I see what you're saying. If they are indeed young people they have a good deal of disposable income, I just need to find some product they would be inclined to buy (hopefully with a decent commission) and market that to them. I'm not sure exactly how to get them out of "I'm-here-to-look-at-pictures" information-foraging mode they're in and get them into shopping mode....but I guess finding the right product would be a good step in that direction.

So you think trying to sell them an actual product and make money on the commission rather than making money selling advertising space to clubs is a more profitable way to go? I understand I'll have to do some trial and error and probably mix both, but I'd like to know what direction to primarily focus on.


10:49 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

why do people include hits? Thats a pretty useless statistic.... Visitors and page loads are the only ones that matter, really.

So you're basically getting 11000 visitors a month... which is not bad, but not huge either.


11:02 pm on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Alright, I guess a better question would be, does anyone run a site with 11,000 visits a month and make more than $50/month? I would guess yes. How are you doing that?


4:14 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my site gets something around 80-100 visitors a day but I still make $3-4 every day and at most it has gone upto $10 just twice though. So that make it on average $100 per month.

First you need to check whether your are getting relevants ad displayed thru adsense or not, if yes then check whether it goes along with your page look, I would suggest dont keep borders & background make it look like a part of your site. This should definitely help.

gamb & zivkovicp have already given their useful inputs which you must do along with adsense whether it works or not.


5:52 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>Alright, I guess a better question would be, does anyone run a site with 11,000 visits a month and make more than >$50/month? I would guess yes. How are you doing that?

It's now how many visitors you have, it's their quality and their purpose of visit. Some affiliate sites with those numbers could make $20,000 a month.

Maybe you could start offering free classified ads or provide regular news and celeb interviews. Body Piercing and Tatoo affiliate programs might work for you.


7:47 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm glad I have found this thread as I also run a nighlife website very similar to yours but it is located in Thailand. I get around 24,000 visitors a month and have a popular forum.

Here's what works and what doesn't for me:

Adsense: as long as the ads are content relevant and are well positioned they will get clicked. They don't perform very well in the forum though.

Ad networks: they have all rejected me as they deem me an adult site.

Local sales: this has been great in the last couple of months, I am paying a local sales person 50% commission and selling each bar/guesthouse its own full page on the site. Once you get a few the effect will start to snowball as other bars will want to be on there if their competition is. So far I've made a good $700 this month (not including the commission I pay my sales people). I charge on a monthly basis so most of them will repeat so its steady income.

I'm a useless sales person so I simply pay someone else to do it! You'll also need a good media kit to show potential advertisers. I can show you the site via PM if you like. Oh and by the way, ignore "hits" they're pretty much meaningless.


8:43 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well I would get rid of adsense, that program is pretty much a joke.

Sign up as affiliate of a dating website and have a live feed or a banner that features local single women (or men) in the area you are targetting.


8:58 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Are you able to distinguish which visitors are male and which are female? ie; using cookies for your regular visitors who are 'signed up'?

What I'm getting at is...

A young adult female who likes to go out visits your site... she sees what places are good to go to.... now what will she wear to this event? Perhaps if you have some apparel, jewelry, shoes, etc for female visitors (based on cookie)

Dating Site banners might work.

Try direct advertising for local clubs/pubs/bars. I mean, contact them and offer to feature them, review them etc etc and they pay you an 'advertising fee'.


3:29 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

adsense is a joke? there are a few people that might disagree with you....

anyway - how about an interstitial between photos that promotes something? after every 5th picture they view they get hit up to buy a t shirt from tshirthell or somewhere....you can definitely make a few hundred a month without trying....


4:42 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks guys for all the valuable input! This is really getting my mind moving. I think adsense works for some sites and doesn't for others. If you're site is a data-feed site about plasma TVs (or any product) and you have a bunch of so-so content and some very relevant adsense links it probably works great for you. You probably have a fantastic CTR. People get to your site however they get there and pretty much just click on through to your ads. That's the whole point. People don't come to my site because they are interested in buying a product. They come to my site to gather information. So they're not going to be inclined to click on the "sort-of relevant" adsense links (my CTR is 1.0%) They way I look at Adsense for my site is that it's better than nothing. At the very LEAST, when I have nothing else to advertise, I should throw up some adsense ads.

But truly relevant ads, I would think would be ads from those bars, clubs, etc. Another thought I had was doing an affiliate program with a company that sells online tickets to big clubs. That won't help with my "local-bar" audience. But people looking for info on the bigger clubs might want to buy tickets to those events and avoid the line.

I think buksida opened my eyes to the biggest problem. I'm a LOUSY salesperson. Just crap. It's not my bag. I think someone else who's good in sales with this exact same website could easily bring in several thousand dollars a month through local sales - of course someone who's good in sales probably doesn't have the same type of creative mind as I do and wouldn't build a site like this in the first place - but that is an entirely different conversation. I really think I need to partner with someone who can do that kind of new business development.

I also can't ignore the fact that this IS a local site, pertaining to a specific metropolitain area. After reading through everyone's responses, I think I need to be open to whatever is going to work, but I need to focus on local sales, because it's such a local site.

So what can I charge these local bars and clubs? At 11,000 visits a month, what's a good rate? I really have no idea.


9:11 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Since ou said that the site is about nightlife and attracting lots of young people, why not set up a page or two with books on How to Flirt , How To Mix Cocktails etc.
I had lots of success with the Flirt version. Affiliate Links to Dating Sites didn't work.
Also you could put up pages with aff links for ordering curretn music CD

Give it a try. amazon has lots of books and music available .


6:30 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You could try going to sites and then contacting the owners of the ads to see if they would like to advertise on your site for, say, a flat fee of $100 a month.

Sexuality products and fun stuff, like emoticons and screen savers seems to be some of the best sellers.

Think of advertisers you can contact for this flat monthly fee.

[edited by: eljefe3 at 1:47 pm (utc) on June 25, 2005]


7:04 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would start a VIP card. The card would get each card carrier either a buy one get one free drink, or something off the cover charge of each club.

Sell the rights of the VIP cards to each club for like $200-500 for the advertising that is on each card (list the clubs/bars onthe back) and your site (whatever type of package you come up with, like a listing, review, banner, full page ad, etc).

Then you sell the card to your visitors for $5-20.

You now have TWO new streams of income, both of which are going to make the bars AND visitors loyal to you at the same time.


7:59 pm on Jun 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Umm, I may be missing something here, but ... 11K uniques/month?

If the site earned an average of $10 CPM (on advertising on the site), that would be revenue of $110 per month. Unless you are in a pretty hot category, $10 CPM is pretty good. $4-$5 CPM is common if monetizing thru third parties like ad networks. So actually, earning $50 month is not that surprising wiithout doing much at all for it.

To get to a higher level, you would need, as suggested in here already, to have a pretty good local ads sales effort, or find ways to run closely related, strong affiliate programs, that could earn you more $.

Or sell memberships. In other words, get the visitors more involved or do more to figure out what they might really want.


9:05 pm on Jun 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

captain caveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-man! Great login. Anyway, I agree with what you're saying 100%. I do need to do more. That's why I started this thread to see if anyone had ideas. I don't expect to make money just sitting on my butt and throwing Adsense up there. Adsense is BARE-MINIMUM until I can figure out something better. My adsense CPM is dismal. Like $0.80. A CPM for local ads could be much higher like $5-$10 I would guess.

That being said you are missing one big piece of the picture. It's 11,000 visits, but 145,000 page views. CPM, in my understanding is cost per thosand views. I don't advertise on every page, but the top pages might add up to 80,000 page views. So that's the number I have to work with as far as advertising. 80,000 views, or impressions, or page loads, or whatever you want to call it.

.......I think.


12:30 am on Jul 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

young people probably 18-35, trying to figure out where to go out at night

Go for personals affiliate programs. You can easily setup geo targeted links with some of them so that you'll link right to a page with pics of local singles based on the location of the site (you specify the location) or the location of the IP of the person visiting.

Women 18-35 with $$ to spend?

Jewelry, shoes, beauty products, handbags, did I mention shoes?

A site with 10-15k visitors can pull in $200 - $500+ per day when the Google gods are nice, depending on the targeting in consumer products. (i.e. no p0rn, pills, casino, or even finance stuff)


12:12 am on Jul 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi buksida

You said "...So far I've made a good $700 this month (not including the commission I pay my sales people). I charge on a monthly basis so most of them will repeat so its steady income..."

If I can ask, how much do you ask/invoice for each bar/guesthouse for its own full page on your site?

Thanks and kind regards


6:02 am on Jul 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You need to find out what their 'needs' are, besides the hot girls. Without knowing who your visitors are and their surfing habits, it's difficult to put up "ads" that appeal to them. You need to learn more about each visitor. You need a profile.
Most people do not go online to "buy" stuff, but to get information. Buying comes after you've built your list and start feeding them items based on their profile. You could guess:
Guys who go online may like stuff that makes them sexier, stronger, friendlier...for example you could add something about how to romance women and how to find the right guy. Things like that. I am 42 so I am not sure what's going on anymore as far as nightlife is concerned. I am not sure people are interested in
"romance" or "getting together" anymore.
So that's why it's important to figure out what their profile is.


10:49 am on Jul 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"If I can ask, how much do you ask/invoice for each bar/guesthouse for its own full page on your site?"

I have PM'd you the site, have a look at the Media Kit but bear in mind that we're based in Thailand and cannot charge western rates for advertising so its relatively cheap.


5:17 pm on Jul 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The best two ideas I've seen in this regard are:

Buying tix in advance for hot clubs that are hard to get in to or will save the buyer money from buying them in advance on your site.

Another thing would be to give people that visit your site a password or coupon to print out that both gives them an advantage(like half off cover charge) and also tracks the fact that they came from your site. That way you can quantify how much the club "owes you" in terms of customer referrals.

Good luck!


10:33 pm on Jul 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would look into dating related ads or affiliate programs. That is a category that pays well, and would definitely work with your audience. Find some ebooks about dating with really good sales copy and join their affiliate program. The ideas of doing promotions with the clubs is awesome too. I know a few bar managers in my area, and they have no problem spending money to get people in the door.

I had about the same number of visitors on one of my sites last summer and was doing about $500 a month on affiliate sales and $150 on adsense for a totally unrelated site.

PM me with the site. It sounds like it has a ton of potential.


12:21 pm on Jul 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

145,000 page views/month should earn you between $500-600 when you use FastClick. It's really easy to integrate and you will have several options for your banner advertising: pop ups, pop unders, interstitials, invue, 728x90, 300x250 and even text links.

I would recommend to give it a try.

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