Although we love blogging here at Netshock, we need to generate enough revenue to at least keep the servers online. As such, we’ve tried and tested a number of ways to drive more targeted traffic to our website over the years and hence drive up our ad revenue.
We have a few steps, outlined below that will help you lay the foundations for success!
Step 1: Let’s add some ads!
The first thing you’ll need to do is add some form of advertising to your website – after all, if you’re about to embark on a content delivery journey, so you’ll want to be generating revenue from it as soon as possible!
When it comes to ads, you have a few main options:
- Use a pay per click service like Google Adsense
- Offer advertising space on your website to complementary products
- Sign up to an affiliate scheme for related products
Each of the above has its merits. With the pay per click ad service, you’re likely to have tracker ads shown on your website. That is, Google (or other providers) target adverts at customers they believe will be interested in them, based on their web usage. However, while the ads are highly targeted to your customer, they may not fit with the rest of your website. Imagine that you run a vegan food site and an advert for KFC shows on the page…. not ideal!
The bespoke advertising options are easier to tailor to your website. You can choose what to show and how much to charge for it. Of course, you’ve got to convince someone that they’ll see a good return on investment from their ad campaign on your website & hence, you’ll need a strong user base from the outset and you’ll need to be savvy enough to be able to track down those interested business people. It’s a pretty labour intensive activity.
Finally, we have affiliate schemes. These can be quite a good idea. For example, if you run a blog that talks about cloud infrastructure or web hosting, you may want to sign up to the TSO Host or GoDaddy affiliate schemes. You already know that your customers are interested in the topic – otherwise, they wouldn’t be on your website! You’ll receive a small commission for each customer you refer.
Step 2: Design an epic UI
The centre of a good digital marketing campaign is content; but, it’s not just about the content itself. A big part of the digital marketing game is about the shareability of your content. That is:
- Is it in a shareable format (video, infographics, blog post)?
- Is it easy to share (share buttons)?
- Does the content render well on all devices (smartphone, tablet, PC)?
You should trial different content types with different user demographics. Based on the results of your experiments, you’ll be able to identify the most effective medium for each type of post you may wish to put out. For example, some of our AWS content is in video format as we found this to be the most effective with our readers.
As for ease of sharing, you’ll notice that each of our posts has a set of share buttons for the major social networks. This makes it super easy for the user to share – they don’t even need to copy the URL! Features like this make a big difference to the likelihood of a user sharing your content.
Finally, rendering well on all device types is critical. The true value of sharing content is how it makes hops through different communities and networks on social media. If I share some content, my friends may then share it & their friends may share it and so on. If one of those groups finds your content unreadable on their chosen device, they are less likely to share it and the network effect will diminish.
Step 3: Make some awesome content
The core of your marketing strategy is content – the format that’s most effective will depend on the industry you’re in, the target marketing you’re catering to & many other factors – you can conduct A/B testing with various post types and lengths to see what works best for your user base.
All good websites have a main area of focus – Netshock is all about technology & how we extract business value from it. To find that topic, we can use Google Analytics which will help you to understand at a very granular level what content your users do / don’t like; so once you’ve hit on your big winner, you can centralise your content marketing strategy around that trend or concept.
Step 4: Getting it seen
So now we need to generate enough users to drive revenue through our site. Here are a few ideas for finding those users.
- Commenting is by far the most effective method we tried – but it is very time consuming. This consists of visiting other blogs, Linkedin posts or social pages in your niche and commenting about your product / website / content. Be careful not to be seen pushing your product too hard – you’re likely to get some backlash. In a forum, you need to build up your reputation; become a voice of authority and only then can you start to make recommendations.
- Beyond commenting on other peoples pages, you can use aggregation engines such as All Top, Biz Sugar and Growth Hackers. These take your RSS feed and aggregate all your news with other blogs in your niche. This gives you and your articles exposure to all the users of that RSS feed.
- Guest posting is another very manual but worthwhile task. It’s a very good idea to approach other websites in your niche (complementary, rather than competitive websites) and discuss the possibility of posting on their website blog. When doing this, remember to add your website keyword in the blog post and link to your website!
- Finally, we have social media. I don’t think I need to say anything more here – it’s where your users are, so you should be present and active there too.