Monetizing through affiliates, an example (Updated)

So I’ve moaned and complained almost endlessly on here about the seeming futility of Adsense.  For the month of June, my site, Funny Email, had a little over 25 thousand “hits” and made $18.41 from Adsense, and that is with the site as optimized for clicking as I can make it without screwing my readers by tricking them into clicking where they don’t want to.  My click-through rate was a little over 1 percent and I earned a little over 6 cents per click.

But there is another way to monetize sites without dipping into the paid reviews and paid links pools, neither of which I find attractive, and that is through joining an affiliate program like the one at Commission Junction.  There are other alternatives, which I will go into in a later post, but Commission Junction seems to be, at the moment, the best choice for me.

The trick when using affiliate programs is to find something that matches your site.  For me with the funny emails site, that caused a number of initial problems.  I finally decided to go with a combination of products that were generic and universal, and products that were humor related.

For the “generic and universal” category, I chose Discover Card.  I picked them because they pay out well.  While not related to humor, most everyone, at least in America, has credit cards, and a single approved application for a credit card pays out $40.  I’ve just started advertising Discover Card and only had my first application yesterday, but even with that one application, I more than doubled my Adsense earnings for the month.  Now, I can say that the site earned $58.41 for June.  Hopefully, I’ll get a few applications each month from here out and that will improve as the site traffic continues to go up.

For the second, humor related products, I decided to go with funny tee shirts.  There are a lot of companies to choose from at Commission Junction, and I basically selected them all.  I then placed ads in the sidebars.  For June, I made $13.50 from selling t-shirts.  Now I can say that the site made $71.91 for the month.  It’s not exactly a living, but, as I said, the site traffic should continue to improve (it’s only about a 6 month old site) and I just started with the affiliates. 

But then I came up with an even better idea.

One thing that Commission Junction allows you to do with certain affiliates is to create links to specific products.  I have a humor site, and these tee shirt sites have humorous tee shirts, so why not make a post that just has humorous tee shirts in it?  It really isn’t much of a stretch, so that’s what I did here:  Funny T Shirts For.

This post was made today, and I managed to give my readers what they expect, humor, and give myself a chance to earn some money at the same time.

So how much money will this post earn me?  Only time will tell.  Commission Junction’s stats run one day behind, so it will be tomorrow before I know whether any of the people who clicked through actually bought something, but so far I’ve had 9 clicks, so it should be interesting.

I’ll update tomorrow.  Honestly, I suspect there have been no purchases, but I do expect that, over the course of the month, that there will be a few.  And next month I’ll do a similar post with more funny products.  These posts will remain up at the site forever, so there is the possibility of them producing continued income.

Monetizing a site takes a lot of time and careful planning.  First you need a good, honest site with traffic.  Then you need to approach monetizing with extra care, utilizing as many different paths (even Adsense) as possible, but discretely.  You don’t want to trick your customers or overwhelm them with ads.   I’ll let you follow how successfully I manage to accomplish this.

(Update)  Well, I predicted there wouldn’t be any purchases, but, somehow, I didn’t know just how bad it would be.  I had over 200 clicks on products and still no sales.  That shocked me.  I had expected about 6 clicks and no sales.  It’s possible that the reporting is slow.  But the nice thing about this is that each person who clicked now has a little cookie on their computer so that if they go back and buy within 30 days that it will be credited to me.  And, of course, I’ve had more click-throughs today.  I will keep you apprised of how I do attempting to monetize that site.

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