Let’s talk about some mistakes to avoid when monetizing a website. Because, in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, website monetization stands as a critical pillar for investors and content creators alike.
As an audience of seasoned website investors and experienced bloggers, you understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with acquiring websites to develop, hold, or resell.
This article, “Mistakes to Avoid When Monetizing a Website,” delves into the common pitfalls that even the most astute investors and content creators might encounter.
Our goal is to equip you with the insights and strategies necessary to maximize the potential of your digital assets.
Whether you’re looking to enhance your portfolio or seeking profitable exit strategies, this guide will help you navigate the complex yet rewarding journey of website monetization.
Why It’s Worth Considering Owning Monetized Content Sites
When I worked my day job, I left my house two hours before my shift started. And, I wouldn’t get home until an hour and a half after my shift ended. My commute was long, but it was realistic (financially) for me to live so far away from work, and ride the bus in/out.
We did the math outlining how insane it is to spend a huge amount of your week, for 40-50 years of your life, at a 9-5.
Especially when it’s possible to work smart… away from the workplace.
The 9-5 never made sense to me. But owning and earning from profitable websites makes a LOT of sense!
Your Website Investing Side Hustle Can Become Your Life-Funding Semi-Passive Asset
Enter website investing: a fast-moving space for creatives to acquire profitable content sites, to showcase their writing, partner with brands, fuel their authority and even resell for profit.
Websites – specifically blogs are essentially digital real estate. As websites in the market resell for up to 40x what they earn per month!
Whether you are an investor who buys to hold or buys to flip, website ownership is a fantastic way to profit from your passion and spend your time working smart doing something you love.
But before you quit your job, if you’re a novice website investor, you’re bound to make some mistakes.
Actually, here are the most common mistakes site owners often make when they start monetizing their websites.
Mistake #1: Failing To Make Investments
If you want to make money, you should treat your site like a business, and invest in its growth and success.
This includes investing in the startup costs for your blog. Compared to the actual cost of starting most other businesses, the investment you make when you first start blogging can be very minimal.
- Acquire a profitable website (these websites for sale are already earning revenue!) Always invest in a self-hosted website and domain name.
- Either buy a theme for your site, or hire a web designer.
When I first started blogging, I wanted to try the free route to see if I’d take myself seriously.
But when I did my research, I found that you really can make more money by investing in buying a website that is more established.
Whether you buy a blog or start one from scratch it must be self-hosted on WordPress.org.
When you use a free service, you lose the capability to customize your site to its full extent.
When you make an investment and purchase a host for your blog, you also purchase the power to customize it.
For example, with a self-hosted WordPress site you have access to a practically unlimited amount of themes and plugins.
Whereas with a free WordPress.com plan, you only have access to the themes and plugins they offer.
Not ones you find across the Internet. With a free plan, you really get limited.
Plus, why should any of your readers (or potential brand partnerships) take you seriously and pay for your work… if you’re not ready to pay for that small investment in yourself?
So if you’re serious about making money from your website, make the small investment and treat your site as the business it is.
Mistake #2: Failing To Properly Disclose Affiliate Links Or Partnerships.
One of the biggest mistakes I see website owners make is neglecting to disclose their partnerships with brands.
There are guidelines for advertisers and influencers to disclose paid partnerships.
That’s why when you see a paid advertisement on Facebook or Instagram, you see the word “advertisement.”
It’s so consumers know when someone (i.e. the brand) is paying for something to be displayed, or someone can get compensated if you purchase using their link.
The laws in each country are different yet similar, so look at two things:
- The laws for influencers to disclose in your country (In the USA, it’s the FTC; in the UK, it’s the ASA);
- Look at each affiliate’s rules regarding disclosing paid partnerships and affiliate links.
- Display the proper legal disclosures on your website at all times.
What You Can Do:
- Be safe rather than sorry and disclose your partnerships!
- When you work with an affiliate or brand, be sure to educate yourself about their terms and conditions of disclosure.
Mistake #3: Not Having A Growth Plan
When I first started implementing affiliate marketing, I added affiliate links randomly with no purpose.
Like, hey… I’m writing about winter hiking… this is a picture of me… oh and here’s a link to buy this product if you’re interested!
As someone with a super small audience at that time, it was a really awful way of trying to make a sale (which, by the way, I made none from that link).
If you want to make money blogging when you’re promoting an affiliate, promote it intentionally.
Promote affiliate offers with a plan.
Alternatively, if you’re making money through product creation or a sponsored campaign with a brand, you need a plan, too.
- Think about how you’re going to naturally weave your partnerships into your content.
- Also keep in mind how you will promote your posts in the long run.
One way to accomplish this: walk readers through tons of free information. Walk them through a story.
Talk about a problem they might have. And then address how you solved that problem (whether it be through a strategy, a service, or a product).
What You Can Do:
- Put yourself in your readers’ shoes.
- Address what they want and how they may feel.
- Strategically add affiliate links that address something they want.
- Strategically title your posts addressing that want from your reader.
Related Reading: 15 Things Your Blog Posts Need to Make Money.
Mistake #4: Waiting Too Long To Monetize
Many site owners wait too long before they start monetizing.
Whether they are waiting to grow their audience, or just don’t know where to start.
But you can (and should) start monetizing immediately.
- It takes a tremendous amount of time to go back through your older posts and try monetizing them.
- You are going to make mistakes when you first start monetizing your blog, whether you do it now, or later. It’s best to learn how you can improve now, rather than stressing out about it later.
- As long as you recommend products you believe in, and can communicate that value to your readers, a huge majority won’t mind that you’re making a (probably small) commission from the recommendation.
If you’re building your site to work with brands in the future, write a few outstanding posts showcasing your favorite brands now.
For example, if own a travel site, you could do a few posts highlighting your favorite backpack (travel necessities, travel/hiking guides, whatever fits). And while you’re doing that, you can include affiliate links into the mix.
This does a few things for you:
- Gives you posts to show your favorite brands (that backpack brand) if you decide to propose a partnership,
- Has the potential to put you on that brand’s radar,
- Makes you money in the process (a girl’s gotta pay the bills!),
- Shows you what part of your monetization strategy may or may not work.
What You Can Do:
- Think about how you can monetize your blog. Do you already promote products? Swap out those regular links for affiliate links.
- Add a single advertisement to your blog to generate passive income in that way.
- Sign up for a website that connects influencers with brands. If a brand reaches out for you, and the shoe fits, why not try it on?
There are free courses, ebooks, worksheets, cheatsheets, resource libraries, challenges, the list goes on and on.
Mistake #5: Failing To Ask For The Sale
Many creators feel nervous about selling through their content because they don’t want to come across as ‘spammy.’
But smart salespeople know that when you come from a place of helping rather than selling you will always make the sale!
Provide value over everything.
Instead of just promoting a backpack, brainstorm ways to go above and beyond just talking about a backpack.
Maybe you’re talking about your trip, walking through the cobble-stoned streets of France with your backpack, and a partner lugging around their suitcase on wheels.
And that backpack was not only easy to carry around, but it was also easier to carry around while walking through the city.
Paint a picture (an honest one) for your readers. Take them on the journey.
They’ll hate you if you DON’T mention that backpack (in fact, as influencers it’s kind of our duty to let those things be known).
So instead of being spammy, like saying “buy my backpack!!!”, take your readers through a story or an event and then ask for the sale.
You don’t even have to say, “buy my backpack.” You can just say:
- “I used this backpack – click here if you’re interested in buying it.”
- “If you have struggled with lugging a suitcase around through the city before, you should consider this backpack on your next trip.”
- “For all you adventurers out there, this backpack is perfect.”
Know your reader, where they are in life, and what they’re feeling. If you know those things, it will be easy (and natural) for you to ask for the sale.
Related Reading: How to make money blogging: A beginners guide
Mistake #6: Think The Money Will Come In Overnight
Passive income is an incredible thing: you put in the work ahead of time, and you can set yourself up to make money at any time of the day.
When you’re asleep, when you’re traveling, or even when you’re at your day job.
But in a sense, passive income is glorified.
One mistake is to expect is for the money to come in overnight. When, in fact, setting up that passive income takes time.
Mistake #7: Think It’s Just A “Numbers” Game
Time and time again, bloggers (including myself) think blogging is just a numbers game.
As in, the more pageviews you have, and the larger your audience, the more money you will make.
That is just not the case.
Yes, more pageviews could equate to more people clicking your affiliate links, or earning you money from advertisements.
But are you attracting the right readers?
Instead of spending your time trying to acquire vanity page views or likes, spend your time creating genuine connections with others.
What You Can Do:
- Change the way you spend your time!
- When someone comments on your blog, reply to their comment and check out their site if they have one.
- Spend time learning how to use Pinterest to gain page views PASSIVELY.
- Make connections with other creators who write about a similar topic to you, and propose a collaboration.
Mistake #8: Join Too Many Programs
Another mistake to avoid is to avoid joining too many affiliate programs.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. We’ve been there. I’ve been there.
But here’s how it can hurt you:
- Since companies have different minimum payouts, it will take you longer to receive payment – if you end up making the minimum payout.
- Your readers can feel overwhelmed by all the different options.
- Instead of putting an incredible amount of effort into learning the most you can about a few affiliates, their target customer, and what they can offer their customers, you only learn a little information about a lot of affiliates.
What You Can Do:
- Select a few affiliates and be known for that.
- Write foundational content – like tutorials that introduce your readers to your affiliates.
- Then write out-of-the-box content that also includes information about your affiliates.
Mistake #9: Monetize…and Then Just Wait
I applaud every entrepreneur who takes the time to monetize their website. It takes a lot of time, setup, and research.
But after you set up the monetization systems, you can not just sit there waiting for something to happen.
You need to take action and put your content in front of the right audiences.
And for that, you must understand your audience, their likes, and their behaviors. When you understand that, you can tweak your monetization strategy to cater to your audience.
I’m a huge advocate of tracking what works for your site, learning more about your audience, and revising your strategy based on what you learn.
But…how can you find out more about your audience?
- Write down as many details about your “dream audience” member. Understand as much as you can about him/her (where they live, where they like to shop, how old they are, where they hang out online, products they buy, where they work, etc.). Then, create content for that person. You’ll start attracting your “dream audience”!
- Survey them. Get to know your mailing list and blog audience. Strategically poll them on your Instagram stories or Twitter. Email them with a question or two.
- Take advantage of Analytics, e.g. Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Analytics.
Related Reading: How To Buy A Blog: 7 Steps To Acquire Established Sites
Mistake #10: Quit
Finally, the biggest mistake people make when they start monetizing their blog: get discouraged, and quit.
But, it’s those with the most determination to fail, and then try again, who persist and succeed.
Here are some things you can do to constantly evaluate yourself and keep yourself in check:
- Ask a Facebook group for a critique of your blog theme and Pinterest images.
- Look at your Google Analytics, and check to see if your audience Behavior shows your readers dropping off or leaving your site on certain pages. Evaluate those pages to understand why.
- Constantly evaluate your Pinterest strategy. If you’re not seeing the results you want from Pinterest, ask someone who’s further ahead of you for honest advice.
- Get a mentor, to seek the thorough advice of someone else.
There are so many things you can do… other than quit! You can find success from your blog, it’s just a matter of not giving up.
And remember: everyone makes mistakes. So even if you find yourself making any mistakes, don’t kick yourself down or beat yourself up!
It’s just a matter of taking the time to perfect your craft.
10 Mistakes To Avoid When Monetizing A Website – Conclusion
To conclude, mastering the art of website monetization requires a blend of strategic foresight, adaptability, and an awareness of common missteps.
As we’ve explored in “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Monetizing a Website,” understanding these pitfalls is crucial for website investors and content creators who aim to maximize their returns in this dynamic domain.
Remember, each website is a unique entity with its own set of challenges and opportunities.
By applying the lessons learned from this guide, you are better positioned to make informed decisions, avoid costly errors, and capitalize on the potential of your digital investments.
Embrace these insights as you continue to expand and refine your website portfolio, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving greater success in the realm of website monetization.