One of the traps many Internet Marketers and SEO’s fall into is relying solely on Adsense for making money. Especially those building niche sites. Although Adsense is a great way to monetize your website its not the only method out there and many times it’s not the best method either. Due to its ease of use and simplicity, Adsense is usually the first monetization method people look to. As their web presence increases, they’ll see some profits and then the cycle begins. Adsense becomes what they know and branching out becomes harder.
The problem with internet marketing is a lot of people get stuck in their ways. They’ve learned one or two ways of doing things and then stick to them without even giving any other options a try. When it comes to Adsense this is a risky move since all your revenue will be tied up with Google. As most of us know Google is not afraid to put the ax down on Adsense accounts that is why I highly recommend diversifying your income. Adsense can still be a big part of that but don’t let it be the only one.
Adsense Pros and Cons
- Adsense is a PPC (Pay Per Click) network. There really isn’t any easier way to make money online than by just having somebody click a link.
- The ad network is incredibly large and can cater to just about any niche
- The interface is easy to understand and making ad units is a piece of cake.
- Great tracking, and when combined with Google Analytics can offer some of the best user data metrics.
- Google is a reliable company. They pay every month and you don’t need to worry about them closing down anytime soon.
- Adsense is very strict with their policies and ad placements.
- Accounts can be closed without warning at any time. Your payment is on their terms if they shut down your account 2 days before you were supposed to get paid.. well then you are out of luck.
- There is no real way to get in touch with Google for any problems you may have. The network is so big that there is no personal touch. All your queries and emails will be automated responses.
- Adsense decides what they pay and how much they’ll pay for it. Sometimes you may get a click and then 10 minutes later it’s gone because they deemed it not worthy of payment.
- Adsense is just a middleman. They are taking 32% of what advertisers are willing to pay for a click on your site.
So as you can see there are a lot of positives and negatives to Adsense. Now let’s take a look at some alternatives you may have.
5 Alternatives to Google Adsense
CPA otherwise known as cost per action is basically getting paid when a user does something. Whether its enter their email address, fill out a survey, download a program etc… Good CPA offers are becoming harder to find, but you can really make a killing off of these type of offers.
CPA Pros and Cons
- Very lenient with ad placements. Usually, CPA networks don’t care how you place the ads on your page. You can point big red arrows at them, you can say “CLICK HERE PLEASE!!!” in big bold letters. You can do just about anything to better your conversions.
- There are endless amounts of networks out there. If one network doesn’t like the way you promoted an offer you can just move on to another network. Most networks have similar offers so you are never trapped with one company and you never have to worry that your entire income stream can be cut off in an instant.
- Most CPA networks will assign you to an affiliate rep or manager. This adds a very personal touch. You can email them about any issues if they don’t have a certain offer you can ask them to get it.
- Most networks have great tracking and are pretty easy to use.
- Payouts can be very good for certain niches
- Many networks offer weekly or bi-monthly payouts. Whereas Adsense you have to wait for payment each month
- It’s not as easy to get someone to perform an action as it is to just get them to click somewhere. Usually, the offers need to be highly targeted to your audience in order to convert well.
- Since there are so many networks, sometimes you may run across a few that don’t pay on time, are just poorly run or close down virtually out of nowhere.
- Getting accepted by these networks can be difficult at times. Many will deny you for no good reason, some require a phone interview and some even need to see financial proof of your earnings (a bit intrusive if you ask me).
- Although many networks have loads of offers you may run into times when there isn’t an offer to fit your niche.
CPA is a great way to start breaking away from Adsense. You can check out a lot of offers that are out there and the networks that have them through www.oDigger.com or www.OfferVault.com. Some good, high-quality networks worth checking out are Maxbounty & Clickbooth.
This is probably the most popular one after Adsense. An affiliate program pays you a percentage when you make a sale or when you push traffic to the vendor and they make a sale.
Affiliate Programs Pros and Cons
- There are endless amounts of affiliate programs out there in any niche. So finding products to promote is never really a problem
- Just like CPA, you can usually promote these products very freely. Doing what you can to just try and convert the sale.
- You can make incredible money with certain products. Since commissions are usually percentage-based, if you sell a $2000 product with a 30% commission rate, that is big money for 1 sale.
- You can choose to only promote really high-quality stuff. Whereas with Adsense you have no control over the ads and CPA offers usually aren’t the highest quality, this may be a good choice for somebody who wants to keep a very trusted and professional standing with their readership.
- Most affiliate programs will give you a cookie time period. Meaning that if the affiliate is giving you a 30-day cookie, then if somebody clicks over to the product and doesn’t buy today, but goes back to the site within 30 days and buys it, you’ll still get your commission.
- Selling something online is much harder than getting a click or having someone fill out a form. It usually takes some time to learn how to cater your content to help sales.
- Since there are endless affiliate programs out there you may run into a few that are poorly run, don’t pay, or try and skim on your earnings.
- Refunds can and do happen which can get annoying. Some companies offer refunds months into the future. So what you think you may have earned may not be accurate.
There is not a whole lot of negative things to say about being an affiliate. The biggest issue is that you need to sell something which can be really difficult. I wouldn’t recommend beginners starting out with this approach, but as you get more experienced in internet marketing it’s a good avenue to go down. Some of the bigger affiliate networks are JVZoo, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.
Selling Amazon Products
Now you may ask why I didn’t include this in the affiliate program portion? The answer is because although Amazon is an affiliate program I feel its a different beast than the other ones and has its own set of pros and cons.
Amazon Pros and Cons
- Amazon, like Google, is as big as they get. You couldn’t be dealing with a more reputable and worry-free company.
- Since Amazon is such a huge website, selling their products is a lot easier than selling products through other affiliates. People trust Amazon, they buy through them anyway, so pushing somebody to an Amazon product is usually fine with them and much easier than other vendors.
- Amazon has products for every niche. You could use Amazon as your only monetization method through hundreds of different niches.
- Amazon offers a 1 day cookie which is extremely small time frame in the terms of other affiliate networks, but seeing as its Amazon, during times like Christmas you may get somebody to click over from your site for a $5 book and they end up doing $2000 worth of Christmas shopping all of which you will see commissions for.
- Generating Ads is extremely easy. There is also a boatload of 3rd party products, WordPress plugins, WordPress themes, etc.. dedicated to increasing your Amazon conversions.
- Amazon is pretty lenient with how you decide to push the ads. There aren’t nearly as strict as Google.
- Although Amazon is definitely easier than other affiliate programs, selling things online is still a hard thing to do.
- Amazon only has a 1-day cookie. I know I put this as a positive also which it is, but compared to some other networks that can give you up to 6 months sometimes, Amazon could be a bit more generous in this department.
- I find their tracking to be lacking big time. This is my own pet peeve, but their interface is not very easy to use nor is it very in-depth.
- Commission percentage is only 4% to start and can go up to 6% if you sell a decent amount of products. Both these percentages though aren’t very high compared to what you might get elsewhere.
- You have to wait 60 days for Amazon to payout, which is longer than almost any other monetization option out there.
Amazon is a great option for many people. Even newbie internet marketers can find some early success with Amazon due to its reputation and large product offerings.
This can be the most profitable way of making money online if you are in the right niche. Lead generation is similar to CPA except usually done in niches that are big money niches like insurance, debt settlement, education, law etc…
Lead Generation Pros and Cons
- Payouts can be huge. Certain industries can pay as much as $1000 for one good lead.
- Some lead generation companies will do PPC in certain niches like auto insurance, and their click payouts rival Adsense but with the added benefit that their policies are usually much more lenient.
- Many lead generation companies have their own widgets that you can customize for your site and integrate seamlessly. These widgets are very useful for the user and actually help them find what they are looking for in addition to making you money, so it can even add to the user experience.
- If your website is of high quality, you can get great conversions because you are offering people services that they are looking for already.
- Lead generation isn’t an option for many niches
- Payouts usually take at least 30-60 days while the lead is validated.
- Probably won’t convert as well as Adsense. Keep in mind though, let’s say you have a debt settlement website, Adsense might pay you an average of $8 a click and you get 5 a day. Lead generation though may offer you $150 a lead. Now you may only get a few leads a week but it still may end up to more than Adsense.
- It’s difficult to find companies that offer this sort of thing, and they may need to vet your site first before allowing their widgets and ads to be run.
For those with high-end niches, I highly suggest looking into lead generation. There are tons of great lead generation companies out there. One that I’ve had good success with is Quinstreet but there are plenty of others. Just search on Google.
Creating and Selling Your Own Product or Services
I’m not going to do a pros and cons for this because the pros and cons would be totally dependent on what you decided to create. This definitely won’t work for all niches but it can be the best way to make money in certain niches. You don’t need to split anything with a middleman and you can push the product as hard as you want. You can make it as high quality as you’d like and price it any way you want. It can be a physical product, an informational product or online software. It’s definitely something worth thinking about.
Just like most marketers out there I started with Adsense. To this day it still makes up a part of my income but when I started branching out I realized how many great ways there are to make money off of your websites. My new sites going forward usually don’t involve Adsense as I’ve found when properly done, these other methods can be more profitable. Now whether you are looking to branch out or if you’ve been banned from Adsense by the Google hammer, then these 5 options should do you well.
Also, don’t forget that no monetization method will work if you are not driving traffic. Be sure to be diligent with your keyword research and make sure you are maximizing your long-tail keywords options with Keysearch. There is no easier way to start bringing in free traffic than with low competition keywords.