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How Your Personal Site Can Pay for Itself

Written By: Jeff Hendrickson

Has monthly hosting fees got you down? Well cheer up! There are a few simple additions you can make to your site that can help you make your money back and then some.

The easiest thing is to add ads to your site. Google’s Adsense program offers site owners a way to display both text and image ads on their sites which make money when someone clicks on them. What’s unique about these ads is that they are contextual meaning they automatically figure out what your site is about by certain elements on your site such as page text, title and then display ads that are relevant. This increases the chances that a visitor will be interested in them. Text ads usually work better because they do not look like ads, they look like content. You can also customize the look of the ads you display to match your sites color scheme.

Google’s Adsense program can be hard to get approved for. They don’t allow anyone with a site to start displaying ads. Your site should have useful pertinent information first off. It should also have a contact page. You can find out more by visiting their site at http://www.google.com/adsense/

If for some reason you don’t get approved for Adsense there are other programs out there that are similar. Bidclix is one of them located at http://www.bidclix.com. They allow you to display text ads as well that you can customize to the look of your site. The one big difference is that they are not contextual, you have to choose what advertisers you want to display. You can also sell advertising directly to advertisers and choose how much you want to charge.

Another way to help pay for those hosting fees is through affiliate marketing. There are tons of affiliate programs out there and unless your site is about some obscure subject you should be able to find one or more that are related to your site. Once you sign up and are approved for an affiliate program you can log into their affiliate center which should be filled with information and media to promote their products. Here you can start grabbing html code to paste onto your site that will display text or banner ads with your affiliate link embedded. Then when someone clicks on your ad and makes a purchase you will receive a percentage of the sale.

A good way to promote affiliate products and to increase sales is through unbiased reviews. If you are a photographer you could start writing camera reviews and build a separate section to your site for just that. The top affiliates or “super affiliates” buy the product they are promoting which allows them to write educated reviews on the product and the company that they are an affiliate of. And yes, they buy the product through their own affiliate links which makes them some money back.

Your hosting provider might offer an affiliate program you can promote. To promote them include a link at the bottom of every page of your site that says Hosted by “company name” where company name is linked to their site with your affiliate link. Good hosting affiliate programs offer between $50 – $90 dollars for every sale you refer to them so they can be quite lucrative.

If you are continually updating your site and writing quality content then it is a good idea to offer a newsletter to keep your visitors up-to-date. You should send out a newsletter at least once a month with information your members would be interested in. In it you can include article or review blurbs that link back to your site or smaller articles with your affiliate links in them.

These methods can help your site pay for itself and within a little time you will be earning more then you spend.
About the Author

Jeff Hendrickson

Jeff Hendrickson is a Los Angeles based web designer who runs http://www.jeffhendricksondesign.com and also the design firm http://www.26global.com

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