Getting started with ads on my website
January 18, 2012 2:40 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to earn money from my website, probably by putting ads on it, but I have no idea how to start...

I have a website which contains a long list of categorised links to freely available GIS datasets (basically computer-readable geographic data, of all sorts of things).

I'm starting to get pretty good traffic - around 500 hits a day - (yes I know that's not much in the grand scheme of things, but for the market area that I'm reaching I'm fairly impressed.

I'm interested in starting to make a bit of money from the site, but I'm not entirely sure how. I guess advertising would be the best way to do that - but I know nothing about advertising on the internet.

The primary purpose of the site is to give information, and I don't want the ads to clutter up the site too much - so huge banner ads etc are definitely out. Are there easy ways to add smaller, less-obtrusive ads to a site?

Also, how does payment for ads on websites usually work? I've heard of pay-per-click models, where you get paid a certain amount every time someone clicks on a link, but are there also pay-per-view models? If so, those might be a better way of doing it, as the ads won't have to be so obtrusive.

As you've probably guessed from the tone of my question, I don't know a huge amount about this, so any pointers would be great
posted by robintw to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The de facto choice for unobtrusive, text-only ads is Google AdSense.

There are basically three types of ads: CPM (cost per view), CPC (cost per click), and CPA (cost per action). Google AdSense is an example of CPC. CPA requires users to buy something or otherwise act before you get a commission. Example: Amazon affiliate links.

Your assumption that cost-per-view ads would be less obtrusive is incorrect. In fast CPM ads attract some of the most annoying and loud advertisements. (Think about it this way: if you're paying for clicks, you don't care what the ad looks like as long as it sends people to your site. If you're paying for views, you want the ad as big and visible as possible so people get your message even if they don't click.)

CPM ads pay very little ($.25 to $.50 per thousand views is typical) so you'd make pennies a day running those. CPC ads might make a few dollars a day depending on your content. AdSense ads are based on your site's content, and how much you make depends on whether advertisers are willing to pay for clicks for related keywords (i.e. "mapping" or "geography").

It takes very little time to set up AdSense so it's definitely worth a try.
posted by mmoncur at 3:13 AM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Given the specialized nature of your web page, you might also think about something like Amazon's affiliate program. You could put together a list of excellent GIS-related books, display them in an unobtrusive sidebar, and collect a commission if anyone buys any of the books after clicking through to them.
posted by maxim0512 at 4:45 AM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you considered approaching ESRI directly? They throw a lot if money at advertising and promotion.
posted by carmicha at 5:50 AM on January 18, 2012

Here are some places that offer advertising! All of the sites below have a good tutorial or how to section explaining each in detail.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask! I'll be on here.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Google Adsense

Affiliate Marketing
Amazon Affiliates
Commission Junction

Sponsored Reviews
posted by cassini at 8:43 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Removed URL please put it in your profile if you'd like people to look at it, thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2012

I've used Project Wonderful about two years ago. I didn't make much money, but it was easy to start and maintain. Many bloggers and webcomic artists use it.
posted by John Farrier at 9:17 AM on January 18, 2012

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