Ads can be the most logical way to start off monetizing many types of projects. While you do have to have traffic to make ads worthwhile, it can seem like you need little else, especially if you hand off all the hard work to someone else. There are plenty of advertising tools that let you drop a bit of code into your site design and start earning money, like adBrite.
At least, that’s how those tools describe themselves. The reality is a little less lucrative: provided you have traffic that will click on ads somewhat regularly, you’ll likely wind up with some income. Of course, any company that you work with will take a cut of the advertising proceeds before you see any money. However, there are other options for lining up advertisers than going through automated services.
Managing Your Own Advertising Programs
The alternative to using someone else’s system is to build your own. Actually coding up a system that will display ads on your own website is not the most complicated project you could embark on, though there are plugins and other tools available for many content management systems and frameworks already. You can even set things up to let advertisers buy space and submit their ads without any input from you.
But the infrastructure for selling ads is only a portion of what most advertising brokers offer. Especially some of the more developed options, like BuySellAds, bring in plenty of traffic of their own. Advertisers know that they can find a variety of websites to work with in one place, that have a streamlined way of doing business.
If you choose to run your own advertising program, you’ve got to be able to bring in a similar level of traffic made up of advertisers who are looking for a website exactly like yours. It’s not impossible, but you have to have time to devote to promoting your advertising opportunities. You can always contact potential advertisers directly and sell them on the opportunity, but that does mean that you’re taking time away from your actual work.
The Trade-Off in Income
Provided that advertising is a good fit for monetizing your website, you need to decide if outsourcing ad placement to someone else is worth the cut of your potential income that someone else will be taking. It’s going to depend on whether you have the time to take on managing ads for your site, as well as whether you can bring in enough traffic to make ads worth your while.
I will say that, in the cases that I’ve worked on, replicating a full-fledged ad system is rarely the best way to go. It’s easier to spend that time on increasing your traffic to bring up the income that any ad company can provide you. There’s always the option to bring ads in-house down the road, after all.
Image by Flickr user Ian Lamont