Authority Website Income

Authority Site Monetization Strategy Rev0

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…

  1. PRIMARY GOAL – Email Opt-In
    1. Once I have an audience link to related offerings including loan consolidtion
  2. AdSense
    1. 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.
  3. CPA offers to relevant offers
    1. Loan consolidation
    2. 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…
    1. Credit Cards
    2. 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…


opt-in homepage

Sidebar Widget

Sidebar Widget

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

creating ad

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.

QuickAdsense Plugin

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.

  1. Loan Consolidation Rate Comparison Service (payout $3/lead)
  2. 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:

  1. Get an affiliate link
    1. I use CommissionJunction and ShareaSale
  2. Install the plugin Pretty Link Lite
    1. This is installed as part of the complete guide to setting up an authority site
  3. Create a Pretty Link for each affiliate link you will use Pretty Link plugin
  4. 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…

link example

The code is just…

<a href="http://(My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden)/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?

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

Kristy says October 16, 2012

Jon – It’s interesting how you used the Quick Adsense Plugin for multiple ads in one location. I don think I would do that but hopefully you will share how it works for you.

    Jon says October 19, 2012

    Kristy, thanks for the comment. Using multiple ads in the same location is an ugly way of testing which monetization strategy works best in that spot. It is not a perfect A/B split test but you can get a feel for which ad is better and then split test from the initial direction you get doing this approach.

      yskan says May 21, 2013

      I am wondering how you split-test with adsense. I only see 1 custom channel in the screenshot

James says October 16, 2012

Thanks for the post on how you plan to monetize your site. I have been applying to AdSense but they haven’t accepted me yet. Do you have any tips? Should I apply again?

    Jon says October 19, 2012

    I have 0 tips for applying to AdSense…honestly whenever working with Google the name of the game is patience/persistence. AdSense is no the only game in town, a quick search for AdSense alternatives will reveal some easier to join programs. You can also monetize in other ways such as Amazon, etc.

Theodore Nwangene says October 21, 2012

Hi Jon,
A very nice and achievable plan indeed. I’ve been using quick adsense on my blog too and its very nice.

Is the pretty link plugin free or paid? what network do you plan to register for CPA?

Talking of autoresponder, have you tried Getresponse before?

I’m also planning on setting up another blog on the health niche so I’m thinking on what my monetization model will be like. How do you plan to be driving traffic to your new authority site and how is your current traffic like?


BTW: Thanks for your comment on my blog, i appreciate and hope you will visit me again.

    Jon says October 26, 2012

    Hi Theodore, quick adsense is a great plugin…one of my favorite.

    Pretty Link Lite is free and that is all I use, I haven’t tried the pro version.

    As far as CPA networks I use CJ primarily but will also apply to student loan companies directly that offer an affiliate program in the future.

    Regarding autoresponders I have never personally used it but I did use it for one of my small business clients. It seems to be a little better at integrating with CRM software but I didn’t really use it that much. Seems like a good option especially if you have multiple people accessing it and need to integrate it with a CRM.

    Thanks for stopping bye!

Guest Poster says October 26, 2012

What kind of form are you using for your opt-in? Is it a plugin or something built into your theme or auto responder?

    Jon says October 26, 2012

    The form on the sidebar is from AWeber but the form on the homepage of PayMyStudentLoans is part of the theme which is the Education theme from StudioPress.

    But, I wouldn’t use what I am doing as the basis if you want opt ins…to date my opt in rate has been terrible!!

Add Your Reply