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Need a bit of help

Trying to ease away from AdSense

     
5:03 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone,

I'm in need of some help. I've been attempting to do a lot of Googling on the subject without much success. I'm currently primarily funded by AdSense...I have a fairly decent sized educational website offering video and text content and until now, AdSense has been paying the bills. I recently decided to offer a premium subscription offering for my services at $10/mo...which will probably roll out this week. My question is, do any of you AdSense folks offer such an extra? What were your conversion rates? I use AdSense almost exclusively (killing off Disqus as part of this transition...they brought decent returns, but introduced a tech related issue for the conversion). Have you had any success? I know that different niches will have different conversion rates..but I want to see people who made the jump successfully and succeeded! I'd also like to see a post mortem from those who failed. If possible please provide some statistics like subscriber percentages. Helps us all.
6:26 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I can't help with the adsense side as any paywall sites I've put up or managed were built that way from the ground up. One example is a site that offers a front end (about 75 pages, all INCOMPLETE of FULL content) that leads to, on average because the site does change content constantly, 5,000 pages of full content, no ads. Conversion (niche based) from "free" to "Pay" is 67.8% with an odd bump March-April to 80% each year. This particular example is a very specialized niche. The site averages about 150 unique NEW visitors each month. The fee is >$5 but <$10 per month. However, those who do make the transition stick for at least 18 months. This is not chump change, certainly earns better than ads alone, but it won't make you a millionaire either. And the quality of the site better be spot on or word of mouth will kill you. You'll also have to have some security in place to prevent scrapers such as passworded sections, passworded documents (usually PDF) etc.)

To make it work you have to put in a lot of work.
6:31 am on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My question is, do any of you AdSense folks offer such an extra?

I'm trialling a premium service on one of my lower traffic sites. It's $5 a month or $50 per annum for ad-free content plus extras. The pick-up rates haven't been promising, with a shade under 100 subscribers. I'm still tinkering with what to give away for free (thus drawing traffic) and what to put behind the paywall (thus making money).
12:39 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We're planning to launch a membership plan this year or next that will allow users not to see ads and also save favorites, get notifications and other app-like behavior. I've always had people asking how to donate, and it's only gonna be a few bucks a year, so I'm hoping it'll be succesful. Non subscribers will still see ads of some type, at least for a while.

I would love (and am hoping) to get off ads entirely. Between having to design around them, the effect on site performance, and the lack of control, I'm over it.
4:29 pm on May 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm also looking to launch a "premium" membership plan later this year, which will put about 50% of my content (educational downloads) behind a paywall and offer an ad-free site to members. It's a daunting prospect but I no longer see a viable future based on advertising alone.

There are now quite a few premium sites in my vertical and the most expensive I have found charges the equivalent of $100 per annum - they quote monthly but make you pay all at once up front. I was planning at charging much less - perhaps $25 - as my content is less comprehensive.

If - and it's a big if, of course - the number of new premium subscribers compensates for the loss of ad revenue on the paywalled pages, then I will create 80% of content in future for behind the paywall and gradually move more of my existing content behind it.

It's going to take a lot of work (and a big fee to the developer) to get the site ready. And I expect there will be a much increased workload afterwards. So I keep procrastinating.

Thanks for sharing your experiences @Tangor and @Trebuchet.
5:23 pm on May 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've always had people asking how to donate, and it's only gonna be a few bucks a year, so I'm hoping it'll be successful.

Out of 10 people who ask how to donate do so to feel good about themselves. Once they have an option to donate, up to 2 would actually do so.

Not seeing ads is not going to be a selling point at all. People are used to ads and millions of them are looking forward to seeing them (re: 'Superbawl ads', or the latest '{corporate_name} ad'). The majority of those who started to install adblockers are those who use 'free streaming / download content' sites that are overloaded with ads, pop-ups, and viruses. Once they have an ad block installed, they have it activated on all sites by default, but it doesn't mean they hate seeing all ads.

I would definitely not invest any substantial money into designing a system of which the major selling point is 'no ads' because the time and effort will not pay off for the majority of website owners.
3:54 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A proper pay site has no interest in ads whatsoever. It should be the monetization of the CONTENT which is important ... and ads get in the way of that. Secondly, no third party is involved, no additional accounting methods required, no extra tax reporting from other sources.

Done right, it is your product and your income and that's it.
10:59 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I would definitely not invest any substantial money into designing a system of which the major selling point is 'no ads' because the time and effort will not pay off for the majority of website owners.


That's you and I'm me. I'm pretty confident I know what I'm doing and what my audience will do. They've been with me almost twenty years now.
 

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