Are you considering affiliate links, sponsored ads, or a paywall? Read about current trends before making a decision on how to make your website profitable.
Preference Over Necessity
Visitors prefer unlimited access to high-quality content on the internet. Maintaining a good website can cost thousands of dollars per year, if not per month.
To offset costs, many sites allow sponsors to litter their pages with advertisements and pop-up windows, called intrusive interstitials and dialogs by Google. This degrades the user experience. Affiliated links offer pennies on the dollar for sales resulting from an outbound link. Additionally, this side-revenue is only valuable if you have millions of visits.
Websites Demand Payment
Sites, including this one, have tried and failed to generate revenue with paywalls. Despite visitor aversion to them, paywalls are resurgent. Major sites like Hulu and Apple TV+ began with free access. They now sell access to premium content by means of subscriptions.
A quick search on Google reveals how controversial this topic can be. Here are some of the titles:
- Why Putting up a Paywall Is the Right Move for Your Content
- Before You Put Up a Paywall, Read This Study
- When Should You Launch a Paywall? A Detailed Guide
- How to Design a Paywall That Visitors Will Pay to Pass-Through
- Paywalls for Content Monetization: A Good Strategy?
- How to Start a Paywall
- News sites’ use of paywalls is having unintended consequences
When is the last time you had a paper newspaper delivered to your porch? Unless you live in a rural town, most millennials have only seen them in movies or history books. Major newspaper organizations are now digital.
With Apple News, the smartphone leader endeavors to do for publishers what it did for the music industry. That is, make everything available to everyone within a digital newsstand for monthly subscriptions. This inundates Apple customers with more stories than they can read, making it less likely for them to turn to blogs for information.
How Valuable is Your Information?
Where does all this lead you, as a blogger? For the most part, you’re financing your own free speech. Unless you are a philanthropist, footing the bill may not be your goal. Having an e-commerce feature helps. Make sure to adjust prices to account for the extra overheard. But e-commerce introduces inventory and fulfillment obligations.
On a free-access blog, continue to publish the great content that visitors love. Another can provide even better articles. You might commission professional writers or spend more time elevating the quality yourself. Offer a subscription price for the premium content.
Any millennial will tell you it’s possible to learn anything you want from YouTube. Though that platform also has premium content for a price, most of it is free. What’s the value of your information?
First answer whether it has perceptible value. Premium content is something visitors want that is unavailable elsewhere. Advice on how to reduce repair bills in half for high-ticket items is worth paying a reasonable price. Many times the value is less tangible. Perhaps you write poetry or fictional short stories. Can readers associate it with value? They won’t know if it’s behind a paywall.
Articles Under Lock and Key
In this article, the paywall has come up several times. Whether you implement it the right way or the wrong way, critics will skewer your decision. Consider providing free access for a limited time. After 30, 60, 90, or more days, make prior articles available to paying subscribers. Does your audience have the means to pay? Writing for people under 18 years of age is not practical, since they are often too young to make financial payments.
First, choose a method of capturing payments with Stripe, PayWhirl, Square, PayPal, or some other service. Then, by means of a plugin or custom programming, you need to hide content after a certain number of days. This soft paywall approach should encourage regular visitors to check your site more often or respond to emails before free articles expire. What do you think of this approach?