On the mini sites I’ve either created, am currently creating, or plan to create, Adsense is the most visible revenue generating tactic. People find my “mini” websites through various means (mostly search engines), and they click on the Google advertisements to find more information, generating revenue for me. While this is great, it will certainly take quite some time to make a decent amount of money this way.
As most developers would agree, the real revenue generation from a developed website comes from direct to advertiser ad sales. Selling advertising space takes a bit more time than just putting up your Adsense code, but that’s where the money is. When building a website, you might consider tailoring parts of it to meet the needs of potential advertisers and give more opportunity for advertising.
A quick example would be with TropicalBirds.com. I created a page to advertise bird breeders from around the country. Since the site was just launched and traffic is minimal, I decided to offer free listings by state in exchange for a reciprocal link to TropicalBirds.com on their sites. This should help boost the ranking of my site and also provide a service to visitors looking for bird breeders. I sent the following email that was individually to bird breeders I found online:
“I recently launched TropicalBirds.com, a website with information about many species of tropical birds, including parrots, macaws, conures, cuckoos, cockatiels, and many other types of birds – both domesticated and wild. In addition to discussing the proper care of pet birds featured on the site, I am also going to build a small directory of breeders. I would like to include you on the site in exchange for a link to TropicalBirds.com on your site.
If you would like a free listing and will link back to TropicalBirds.com, please send me the following information:
1) Business Name
2) Business Location (city, state)
3) Website Address
4) Types of Tropical Birds Bred
5) One sentence about your company
6) Location of link to TropicalBirds.com on your site
If you are interested, please send me the requested information as soon as you have a chance. We are still building TropicalBirds.com, and not all of our links are working yet. We anticipate a full launch by the end of this month. This is the main directory page: http://www.tropicalbirds.com/tropical-bird-breeders.html”
In addition to receiving several positive responses, I also received a request for a featured listing, which the breeder will pay $xx annually for each category. She breeds several types of birds, and she would like a breeder list by breed in addition to a list by state. I didn’t even have to solicit upgrades, yet I can make $xxx/year from this one person if I create a breed by breed listing. The cost of building this is very minimal, as it will probably take just an hour of my time to do. Once done, I can also seek out other advertisers who may wish for the same type of listing, potentially netting me $x,xxx/year, making break-even less than a few years away including acquisition and development expenses.
Point of this is to let you know that you shouldn’t have to be reliant on Adsense or affiliate advertising to make money. There are plenty of old-school businesses out there who would just as soon have a relationship with a small business than one with a big search company. If you give someone a reason to pay to upgrade, chances are good that someone will take it.