Monetizing A Hobby Site – Without Adsense

I have a hobby type website that I haven’t done all that well with in terms of $ and traffic. It’s less than a year old (last fall), *nowhere* in Google (unless I pay for ppc), yet traffic is rising every month through word of mouth, bookmarks, and some from Yahoo and MSN.

The website is a great resource for this area and I’m pretty pleased with it in terms of quality. The bookmark rate floats between 10% and 20% with lots of visitors moving around.

The bleak side of this is that the monetizing *sucks*. Some months I’ll make $20 – $30 off it, others less than $10. I refuse to throw popups on it, spazzing banners and won’t slap adsense on. I want to work with options outside of Google for a variety of reasons (#1 they’re not sending me the traffic, so tuff – they’re not going to profit).

Because it’s not my big money maker, I only spend once a month or so working on it. But the *hours* it takes to go through and update and add info is mind numbing. I’m basically making .10 cents on the hour! đŸ˜†

The fault lies squarely with me, I’m not spending enough time finding the right creatives to work in. Part of the appeal of the website is the free information, so it’s not a buying or shopping crowd that’s running to me. Also it’s not loaded to the max with flashing banners, popups and adsense like most of the competition. When my visitors come, it’s a nice place to visit. They don’t feel like they’re having to dodge or scroll miles through a bunch of crap to get to the goods. I want to keep it that way.

But still there’s loads out there I could do. This month I decided to put a bit more effort into making the site work. A little experiment for me.

#1. I added affiliate product descriptions (small blurb) and text links within the content, similar to adding adsense boxes, but it’s a small text ad strip within the content with a different color background (soft). It’s not above the fold, but this type of website has people reading from top to bottom. I do prefer my sites to be clean and uncluttered looking, so I’m hesitant to add the text strip too high on the page.

#2. The text strip for these products are only added in the appropriate category. I have about 5 different subjects covered, and have three different text strips in three different categories.

#3. I added an affiliate product in the sidebar – again two different products shown in two different categories.

Last month I sat at a measley $7 in commissions. We’ll see what this month brings and if the changes I made will help much. I know it’s the stubborn-mule-syndrome to not take the easy way out by putting up adsense, but I’m pretty determined to keep the site independent of goog.

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I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

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