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For my authority site I am willing to try any monetization strategy as long as it is aligned with my goal of helping recent graduates deal with their student loans.
Over the next few months I will be doing several tests to see what kind of monetization strategy will be “best”. For me, my strategy must…
- Be reasonably helpful to the visitor of my website
- Maximize lifetime value of a visitor
Here is what my site is going to start with…
- PRIMARY GOAL – Email Opt-In
- Once I have an audience link to related offerings including loan consolidtion
- Even though this is typically not the best for lifetime value of a visitor it is a good way to test what kind of ads repeatedly show up, Google is basically doing some split testing for you so by visiting your website incognito you can see the typical ads that will be displayed and test similar offers to your audience.
- CPA offers to relevant offers
- Loan consolidation
- Free Credit Checks
What I am not going to do
- CPA offers that make money but I dont think are aligned with my websites purpose…
- Credit Cards
- PayDay Loans
My starting monetization plan for this month is just that, my starting monetization plan. Over time I will tweak it and work on trying to increase my lifetime value of a visitor.
So here are the details of my plan.
First – Build an Email List
For my email list I use AWeber, the main competitor to AWeber for starting out is MailChimp and after using both I definitely prefer AWeber because I find it much faster to use.
I have 3 ways for people to opt-in…
Second – AdSense
I will be using AdSense initially to guage the viability of this website. I don’t plan on using AdSense always on this site but it’s a great way to start seeing what kind of “buyers intent” the visitors to my website have.
TIP: Creating Ad
Ads that blend into the content typically perform better but more importantly are less ugly than ads that contrast.
When creating an add make sure to set yourself up so you can track it later. Here is how I set mine up…
- Custom Channel – I use the website name
- Name – Website Name plus the details of the ad – size, location
And a similar block is created to go bottom-left
TIP: Use the QuickAdsense Plugin
The plugin QuickAdsense is great for placing blocks of code from AdSense or any other block of text/image you want to appear in a set location on every page.
Third– CPA Offers
This will hopefully grow and eventually become my primary monetization method by recommending valuable services that can help students pay off their debt sooner.
I will not be promoting any PayDayLoans, Credit Cards or other CPA offers that I don’t believe would be of help to an educated consumer.
Initially I am going to be recommending 2 items.
- Loan Consolidation Rate Comparison Service (payout $3/lead)
- Credit Repair (payout $70/sale)
Later I will likely include…
The budgeting software Mint I use an love as well as a CPA for a loan application.
There is a really handy plugin I use to manage my CPA offers for easy insertion into posts.
How I Manage Affiliate Links on My Website:
- Get an affiliate link
- Install the plugin Pretty Link Lite
- This is installed as part of the complete guide to setting up an authority site
- Create a Pretty Link for each affiliate link you will use
- Insert the Pretty Link into relevant places within your posts, pages and emails
This is the key step, make sure to include a link to the relevant offers in locations that make sense to a reader. Another tip is to add a relevant call to action with an affiliate link at the top or bottom of each post using the plugin QuickAdsense mentioned above. Here is an example…
The code is just…
<a href="http://www.paymystudentloans.com/consolidation" target="_blank">Compare the best loan consolidation rates - Here</a>
TIP – Automate(I don’t recommend) – If you want to automate the insertion of these affiliate links you can use the plugin SEO Smart Links. Using SEO Smart Links you can define keywords you want the plugin to automatically insert an affiliate link for. I do not recommend this as it is not a natural way of linking to offers but it can be a large time saver.
TIP – Save Time In The Future! – The benefit of using Pretty Link to manage affiliate links is if for some reason the offer I am promoting at CJ ends I need to go and change all my URLs. If I had inserted the affiliate link directly I would have to find every instance of that link (in posts, pages, sidebar and emails). However, if I use a pretty link I just need to change it in 1 location! This is also handy for trying different/similar affiliate offers.
This is Just The Start
This set up is only the starting set up and I will constantly adjust it over time to increase the value of each visitor.
What Do You Think?
What monetization strategy do you use on your authority websites? Do you think I am on the right track? What should I change?