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Let's say I'm on the verge of creating a free web based service that will attract many many people because it doesn't exist yet. If I want to keep it free and make a living from it at the same time, what are the options?
I've been told that banners don't pay that much but what if your site becomes very popular? For example, I'm sure Yahoo is making big money with their banners. Furthermore, I'm alone and I don't need to pay a salary to anybody.
Part from banners other options are available?
Also, I've heard stories about investors acquiring websites once they become popular. Is that true? Is it still possible nowadays? In case of high popularity, will I have to search for investors or will they come to me directly?
Sorry for all those naive questions, but I'm more a programmer/designer than a money maker :-)
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I'm more a programmer/designer than a money maker :-)
Me too. But there are quite a few people around here who seem to make quite a bit of money and who might be able to answer your questions ;).
Good to have you on board!
>>> If I want to keep it free and make a living from it at the same time, what are the options?
- Join affiliate programs that are closely related to your business. For example, if you are running a free web hosting business, add affiliate links to stuff that webmasters are interested in.. like software, books, chat tools etc. We have a seperate forum for affiliate programs - you may want to read all the previous posts or start a new thread with your questions (if any)
- Keep your service free but offer paid option for premium services. Taking the above example, if you are running a free web hosting business, charge a small fee for add-on services like more bandwidth/features etc.
- Start a newsletter and keep sending good content based newsletters. Once you start getting good traffic, put up an "Advertise Here" link. You can then contact companies and invite them to advertise in your website either through banners or text links or newsletter. Pricing should be negotiable.
>>> I've been told that banners don't pay.
They don't. There are better forms of advertising. Head for the Advertising and Affiliate Programs forum.
joined:Apr 13, 2002
banners don't pay that much
There are better forms of advertising.
Hmm. I'm not really questioning your wisdom. But I do have questions.
What is your measure of poor performance?
Does under $1000/month=poor return? I guess it depends on how much time you spend making content.
I see a number of niche sites out there that seem to be doing a decent business solely with banners.
Are they the exception?
Or is this just small change compared to affiliate work?
Some of both. For independent publishers, it's no secret that many ad networks are producing less, significantly less in many cases, than 50cents CPM. Pop-ups/unders are producing more but still in the low-single-digit CPM. Hence the move to affiliate networks, but many say that has peaked for the general-interest site, so now you're seeing niche sites as publishers try to move to the money.
vibgyor79, do you think I should launch the website only with the free features and add the premium features a few weeks/months later or is it better to display the free services and the premium services from the beginning?
As Martinibuster said, there is a misunderstanding about the reallity of banners. I mean I would be happy enough if one of my websites would bring $1500/month thanks to banners. As I said, I'm alone and earning that amount of money with an almost full automated website would be great. Am I a dreamer? Is this impossible nowadays?
I would compare the performance of one form of advertising (say, banners) with another (say strategically placed text ads, if possible, built into the content). I would then measure the performance based on the clicks received/conversions etc.
$1000 per month through banners may be good enough but perhaps it is possible to earn 10 times that amount through other forms of advertising on websites. One way to find out is to experiment!
Taking the above example of web hosting again, I would probably include a "resources" link with reviews of software that would interest webmasters rather than drop banners creatives all over the place. I would sign up for affiliate programs of Software A and Software B, compare them in my RESOURCES section and insert BUY NOW links.
I would then try to push the freeloaders (and paid members) to the RESOURCES page through newsletters/special announcements on the home page/solo ads.
>>> do you think I should launch the website only with the free features and add the premium features a few weeks/months later or is it better to display the free services and the premium services from the beginning?
Not very sure about this one! I would probably go for launch of website with both free and paid service options from the beginning.