Lots of webmasters know the ins and outs of Google AdSense and use it as their primary revenue source from their blogs. Fewer are good affiliate marketers, but bloggers with good, targeted mailing lists can make pretty good money from affiliate marketing. However, even these bloggers rarely make as much money as they can from their blogs. Using in-text ad solutions like VigLink can greatly increase your blog’s revenue. However, solutions like these rely on high-quality content to earn you revenue, so in order to get the most out of VigLink and other content monetization solutions, you need to have a strategy for developing content — and lots of it. That’s where forums come in.
Content is King
Recently, I re-read an old article by Bill Gates called Content is King. In the article, written in 1996, Gates makes some interesting predictions, and asserts that ultimately, money will be made online by selling content. However, he points out that subscription fees have to be high because online transactions are expensive, so the subscription model is not good for many online publications. Furthermore, subscriptions reduce readership substantially, reducing the value of advertising.
Gates’ solution was to charge Internet users small microtransactions for content, maybe a nickel per page. Sixteen years later, this solution seems laughable for a number of reasons, among them that people don’t want to give unknown sites their credit card numbers. Plus, the cost of online transactions through trusted third-parties such as PayPal is still pretty high.
Content is How you Make Money
However, he was right in that you can use content to make money online. With the advent of blogs, this has meant that bloggers accept a plethora of guest posts every day in the hopes that people stumble upon them through search engines. The readers view articles and click on AdSense ads, earning money for the blog owner. Content is king because bloggers need to constantly produce new content or else people won’t find them on search engines.
As any blogger can attest to, there are only so many posts we can churn out in a single day. And guest posts, while useful, can be hit or miss in terms of quality (some may have grammar issues, others may be off-topic or simply trying to sell a product). As a result, a lot of bloggers, even those who have great readership, simply can’t keep up with the amount of content required to continually run a profitable blog.
Forums Provide you with Free Content
Placing a forum on your blog provides a place where readers can create high-quality content for you — in the form of forum threads. For those not familiar with the general structure of a forum, here’s how it works:
- A forum administrator or user starts a conversation “thread” — it could be asking a question, or sharing their thoughts on a topic, product or service.
- Other community members read and respond to them.
- Members can also subscribe to threads and be notified when a new comment is posted (bringing readers back to your site to generate more content).
Over time, a topic evolves as more and more people add what they have to say to it. The new posts, as well as the act of discussion, become high-quality content that serves to augment the original post. These discussions can even bring new people into your community, as people show their friends interesting forum posts.
More Opportunities for Advertising
People scroll through blog posts fairly quickly, but the best place to advertise on a blog post is still at the very top of the page. As a result, even the best banner ads on blogs have a low click-through rate. This is why large publications charge advertisers per thousand views: They make more money charging PPM than they would if they only got paid when their ads actually worked!
VigLink + Forums = Profit
However, forums can beat this method when they opt to deliver in-content links from VigLink within their threads. Because developed threads are much longer than blog posts, there is simply more content to monetize — and more space for all types of advertising (even banner ads). VigLink in-content links appear in the content itself, not to the side or on top of the content like a banner ad. A forum is a great opportunity to increase the volume of content on your site and your site’s revenue.
Learn more at ForumCon
ForumCon is the world’s only conference for forum owners and people interested in setting up a forum. VigLink, the market leader in content monetization hosts the event annually in San Francisco. This year it’s on June 12th at Hotel Kabuki. ForumCon is a great place to learn more about how to use a forum to better engage with your blog’s readership and leverage your community to create more content for themselves. As the only conference for forum owners, it’s a great place to learn how to make money off your blog’s forum and to network with successful forum owners and advertisers.
Tickets are selling out, so get yours today! Hope to see you there!
Disclosure: My company, Influence People, does blogger outreach work with VigLink