Harsh Reality 3 – You’ll Never Make A Living With Banner Ads

Buy Billboard Space And Make Money

If your affiliate marketing business is based on plastering your blog or web site with nothing but banner ads, just close up shop now and go back to whatever you were doing before you heard about making money online. The harsh reality is that banner ads died about 2 weeks after Al Gore invented the internet, long before he started trying to re-freeze the polar ice caps.

Even though banner ads have come and gone as a way to drive serious traffic to merchants, advertise your products or earn a living online, it is amazing the amount webmasters that still think people are going to spend any time shopping on a website that looks like a bad tile job from Home Depot. While the major search engines have done a pretty good job weeding out sites like this, if you spend any time on Entrecard or social sites, you’ll come across lots of affiliate sites that aren’t worth more than a 2 second look.

Who really enjoys shopping on a site that offers travel services, discount baby supplies coupons, iPods, digital cameras, plus size clothing and advice on making money online all on the same site via the glorious banner ad? You may use your site to get discounts from your own affiliate programs, but the sad reality is that no one else is doing so. I examine the question about buying from your own website a little deeper in this post.

The contrast between being able to find sites like this on Entrecard and search engines should tell you something right there. If you can’t find your site or blog through a search engine for any relevant keywords that actually get traffic, you probably aren’t getting enough free traffic to keep your affiliate business alive. Yes, that’s pretty much a no brainer, but if you read the first post in this series by clicking on the link above, you’ll see that for some, that reality hasn’t sunk in yet.

But wait a minute, you’re probably saying, “Don’t I see banner ads on your site Mr Affiliate Confession and frankly just about everywhere else. Somebody must be making money with these things!” We’re talking about two different things here. For the average affiliate marketer starting out, the money isn’t going to be made in banner advertising. Well established blogs with thousands of visitors per day can make money by selling banner ads and less well established, but still on the rise blogs such as Affiliate Confession can be a good place to brand yourself and possibly get a few sales. I even advertise on some blogs and have used Entrecard as a means to brand this blog and let people see my name on various blogs they may visit.

The big difference is that I’m not making a living, buy either selling ad space on my blog or buying it from others. Making money in affiliate marketing is made from utilizing many different tools, niches, products, advertising mediums such as PPC and other connections and ventures. The more you diversify, yet still have a focus, the better chance you have of finding a few niches that will bring you some good income.

If you have a blog or two, plastered with banner ads and aren’t making any money, it’s time to start writing some decent content, stop relying on the chance clicks that earn you $6 a month and venture into a different arena with your marketing efforts. 

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8 Responses to “Harsh Reality 3 – You’ll Never Make A Living With Banner Ads”

  1. Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

  2. Alan,

    Thanks for the past few posts along with this one. A lot of new affiliates can get carried away with banners. To the point where you just want to hurry and leave the site because it screams “Affiliate”. I think it’s important to gain the readers trust before asking or recommending any sales.

    Thanks for the post and keep up the good work!

  3. A harsh reality indeed. I really think this post should be an internet-wide mandatory read for anyone looking to get started with making money online.

    Content is king people! It’s not that complicated. I have a new blog and have actually set a traffic goal of when I would start to provide ad spots and sell ad space – throwing up a butt-load of banners and writing a few articles is not going to do anything for a niche site, blog, or anything for that matter.

    Content first, diversify your options, track your results, study your market and advertise smartly to that market.

    Great post man.

  4. Thanks for your comments Elijah.

  5. content is king as always… the funny thing is that while banner ads will not help most people make a living… i know of some people that do make a living from private banner ads on their site… they have about 10 people each paying $300-$400 / month to place an ad on their site… keep in mind the traffic is high

  6. Similarly, if you’re running Google AdSense on your site and you haven’t excluded images, try doing so. Roughly 90-95% of the time, getting rid of images has increased my CTR and improved overall earnings. Making money online’s a lot more complicated than just that, but it can bump your earnings up a bit, and every dollar more that comes in is one more dollar you can invest in improving your business.

  7. Well you’ve got this 2 x 4 training down to a science now!

    For newbies like myself these kind of “Harsh Reality” reminders in the world of affiliate marketing cut through the crap and lay a solid foundation for setting practical goals and maintaining a sharp focus on what’s important – creating great content people actually enjoy reading.

    That’s a pretty challenging task in and of itself.

    Keep up the great work.

    Mark McClean

  8. Alan,

    I’ve found AdSense image ads get zero clicks for my sites. Same with affiliate banners. I wish I’d known you’re “Harsh Reality” when I started 2 years ago.


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