Here are some of the things we look for when we’re advising prospective publishers on their monetization potential — as well as some of the best tips we hear from our pro publishers.
THIS: Do use social media to promote your site.
Social is not perfect, so just dive in. Build profiles that complement your site and start sharing. Keep building, tweaking and improving. Eventually, you’ll find which channels work best for you. Social = fans + pageviews = monetization potential.
NOT THIS: Don’t ignore social media until your site is “perfect”.
Social is hard, but it’s much easier than creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional website. Social media provides a road to get to your site — as well as a medium for conversation. No social = no fans + low pageviews = no monetization potential.
THIS: Do evaluate your site for SEO!
Make a list of keywords you use repeatedly on your site. Use these whenever you write. In addition to following SEO best practices, make sure your site is indexable by search engines.
NOT THIS: Don’t rely on just organic search or just one channel.
Search algorithms change constantly and it’s possible that your search ranking could dive overnight.
THIS: Do publish original, visually stimulating and interesting content regularly!
Good content is what draws an audience, entices advertisers and drives up CPMs.
NOT THIS: Don’t publish erratically or scrape content!
Your reputation will suffer and advertisers will blacklist you if you steal other publishers’ content. If you borrow, make sure you link back and cite your source.
THIS: Do find a reputable mentor in your field!
There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel. Others have gone before you. Find them, talk to them, learn from them.
NOT THIS: Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Publishing moves fast. Sure, you have to start somewhere, but you don’t have to go it alone or start from scratch. Learn from others. Find a publisher conference and go network in person.
THIS: Do make your site mobile responsive!
About 30% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. In fact, some Sovrn publishers report that mobile has taken over their desktop traffic. Sovrn publishers who have mobile responsive sites and who serve mobile-specific advertisements make more money than those who don’t.
NOT THIS: Don’t run plain display advertisements in mobile.
Use mobile-specific advertisements! Your pocketbook will thank you for it. Mobile ads are optimized for mobile display and they will fill and pay well.
THIS: Do diversify your revenue streams!
Use several different advertising partners, including display, video, mobile and affiliate. Host guest sites or sponsored posts. If you have books or products, sell them on your site.
NOT THIS: Don’t wait to monetize.
Publishing is about to experimentation. Try a bunch of monetization partners and see what works for you. Cut loose those that don’t.