Website monetization is definetely a lustful topic for us, haha, but In a twist of irony, our 7 deadly sins are a homage to WordStream’s sinful series on PPC advertising. If you’re an advertiser as well as a publisher, it’s a must read. And we’re sharing the link to avoid accusations of blog envy.
My therapist insists psychotherapy belongs in her office, not on our blog. So this post will steer clear of anything heavy Freudian. We’ll zero in on website monetization practices and keep our introspection focused there.
Quick question: This morning, when you walked into the break room, did you steal the last cup of coffee and leave the pot empty? Perhaps you ate a disproportionate share of the croissants?
From personal experience, I’d say four is not an appropriate number for one person. If so, please skip topic one. Nobody needs to start their day with breakfasttime guilt.
But let’s do a thought experiment.
How do the 7 deadly sins relate to our blog monetization strategies and decisions?
What sort of pitfalls can we avoid?
Gluttony is about consumption – way too much of it. Consumption isn’t always about net positive gain. Four croissants every morning is higher consumption. For many, this will lead to gains of pounds.
Most of us don’t have aspirations towards a career in fashion modelling but we’d still like to bend over at the water cooler without tearing our pants.
We’ve talked about different types of website monetization ideas before. Gluttony in this context is using the kitchen sink strategy for monetization. Throwing everything you have at them and hoping something sticks is not a strategy. Sometimes less is more. Of course, sometimes more is actually more too.
Adding new types of monetization to your website is only a good idea if it works. Don’t just stuff your website with every different option known to webkind. If so, we may end up being monetization gluttons.
We don’t want to fatten up our websites. We want to add stuff that will improve it. But we have to be strategic and test. The key here is tracking results.
If you can’t track the results of your monetization efforts it’s not worth doing to begin with. Sometimes a single croissant and a nice cup of coffee offers the most value. No over-consumption. No gluttony.
Greed is the second of the seven deadly sins but it’s first when we think of blog monetization. Greed is a different beast. The cynical among us might suggest it’s impossible to focus on monetization without it. We’re not of that school of thought. It’s too short sighted. Money is just a tool of trade.
In our context, we call this the taker bias or accumulation without giving something back in return.
Let’s be clear. If you are running your blog as a business, make no apologies for attempting to maximize your revenue. That is one of your core objectives and success metrics.
That being said, websites that focus solely on revenue have made greed analogous to website monetization in general and advertising in particular and that’s bad. In the real world, greed jeopardizes relationships.
My croissant-deprived coworkers are not my biggest fans right now. They identified me based on the superfluous crumbs around my desk.
Relentless focus on ad revenue departs from “giving” or the creation of valuable content and a great user experience. If you forget about delivering value, your revenue uptick will be short lived.
Don’t suspend your goal of increasing and maximizing revenue. In fact, we want you to be even more successful at it. Just understand that offering value to your user should be your primary goal and monetization, second. You need to find the sweet spot where user experience and monetization balance out. Getting greedy has short term benefits and long term liabilities.
There was a post it note at my desk that said:
“Eat all the croissants again, and I’ll scratch your Macbook Pro”.
I would file a report to management, but I’m under deadline to get this blog post completed. And I also suspect involvement of management in the note writing.
That brings us to wrath. We’re going to use the sin of wrath here in the less aggressive sense of frustration.
When your monetization doesn’t work, don’t get mad get data. Take this as a learning experience. Only the real lucky or exceptionally smart get it right the first time. For the rest of us, trial and error is they way to go. Learn from your mistakes to effectively monetize your blog like a pro.
We’re going to think of lust as the affinity we have for our most successful competitors. There is nothing wrong with admiring those who are successful at what they do. They serve as great (albeit informal) mentors and role models – even as competitors.
For many of us, lust is the engine that propels forward to bigger and better things. Nothing wrong with that, right?
In fact, just 2 weeks ago, we created an entire blog post about reverse engineering. In that post, we shared some of the technologies used by killer blogs. So we definitely are not going to tell you it’s wrong to “emulate” your competitors.
The trick is to carefully borrow what works for them and make it your own. Then test it out.
There will always be differences. Even if you could clone yourself like a competitor you adore so much, the results are likely to be different.
Sloth is synonymous with laziness. But trust me, your blog readers are not lazy. There is sort of an intrinsic filter. Many people considered to be lazy are in fact demanding.
They demand to be entertained, informed, or wowed and they want it now. If your content doesn’t deliver any or all of these three they’re not going to bother to dig deep and look for it.
Demanding readers are hard to please but not impossible. If you expect to make money from your blog on a continuous basis you need to stay ahead of the curve and always be aware of new monetization trends in:
- newsletter monetization
- subscription based and micro-transaction monetization
- Sponsored Content
- Upsells (products/services/speaking gigs)
Nobody said that monetizing a blog was going to be easy but if your readers are demanding and not lazy neither should you be.
Pride can manifest itself in many forms. We’re going to think of it as over confidence in your results, which is also directly related to the sin of sloth. It’s worth expanding on.
Come in closer cause you’re going to need to focus. Getting good results can actually cause you to perform worse in the long run. That’s right, overconfidence may keep you from gaining new opportunities.
Have you ever tried congratulating someone on a great job? Imagine following it up by telling them to do things different next time. Just picture the tangled up eyebrows they flash back at you with that look of confusion and annoyance.
I’m not sure anything changes as fast as the digital world. Even viruses mutate at a slower pace.
Get in the custom of patting yourself on the back for Plan A and simultaneously working on plan B, C, and D.
This could not ring truer when we talk about banner blindness. Banner blindness develops when readers get used to seeing your ads of a certain size, in a certain place. Basically, that means that if your ads were getting a lot of clicks three months ago don’t expect that to continue. It won’t.
What works now will not work over time. That is the nature of the digital world. It’s not a bad thing, but it needs a commitment to continuous testing to ensure survival.
Don’t stick with what you have because you get some good results now. Try new strategies. Keep testing and optimizing your new potential alternatives. In fact, here’s an infographic with 9 strategies to combat banner blindness.
When we fall into a state of envy, it’s because we focus on what others have, not what we need. In our website monetization context, envy is about a mistaken view of our competition.
In our previous lust discussion, we warned about trying to clone your competitor. The takeaway was that being identical does not guarantee identical results.
Don’t be envious of your competitors. Yes, adopting and testing some of their strategies may be effective. But it would be completely ignoring one of the most powerful factors in the success of any business. That factor is differentiation.
You too can show leadership in both business strategy and marketing. Here is the core question:
What can you do that sets you apart?
Leaders exist to surpass their competitors, not just blend in. Being average will get you by. But average, by definition, isn’t an optimal result. Just as there are opportunities to test out stuff that others are trying, you can be creative too.
What is a unique approach that is you believe will be effective, and nobody else is doing? Try it. Test it. Iterate it until you have something useful for you -and unique from your competitors. That’s differentiation.
So don’t envy them. Plan to surpass them.
Are You Ready to Experiment?
That is our thought experiment. Can you see the recurring theme in each of our seven sins?
Each sin raises a new perspective. We provide new ways of thinking of how to improve your website monetization.
It acts as a primer on how to adopt and test your strategies and position against your competitors. Yet none of these approaches are valid without testing and data. Otherwise, at best, you would just be making informed guesses.
Zero in on the sin that resonated most with you. How can you use that fresh perspective to adapt your strategy?
As with any philosophy of life, it’s unlikely that you will be without any sin. Following the framework we talked about today, you can make some incremental improvements.
Remember to say “no” to sloth. Don’t rest on your laurels with banner blindness. And always make sure everyone in the office gets a croissant before you grab number two.
So which website monetization sins are you most guilty of?
— AdNgin (@AdNgin1) October 15, 2015