Mirco-Charging For Your Content
by Jason M. DesRoches
It's not exactly news that Internet ad spending has taken a hit on the nose over the past year. Many webmasters still cling to the hope that the average banner CPMs for mass reach banner networks will crawl out of their current rut, and at least start hitting whole numbers again. New ad gimmicks such as pop-up pages, and tower ads are being rolled out by these “mass reach value networks” to help supplement revenues. Websites that once made their money solely on CPMs are now seeking out CPC and CPA programs. It's getting rough out there, and it will take more than wishful thinking to turn around one's revenue stream. Some of these methods may indeed help to keep your revenue afloat for some time, but how much longer can these creative new ad methods last, before they too go the way of the banner? A more long-term method of securing your revenue might just very well be micro-charging your visitors.
Just what is a micro-charge? Well, basically a micro-charge is just another way of saying “charge your visitors a very small amount of money”. If you were to charge your visitors a small monthly fee to view your content, or supply an additional benefit to your web site's paying members, then they might be willing to pay a small fee. A $1.00 monthly membership fee could go a very long way towards supplementing your website's banner revenue. If the average visitor to your website views only 100 pages a month, and your website's CPM is under $1.00, then a $1.00 monthly access fee would earn you 10x more per visitor then by running advertising banners.
Understandably, not everyone is willing to pay to view a website. There are several factors that can directly contribute to your visitor's comfort level. Possibly they don't feel safe handing their credit card information to a web database, or maybe they just don't like the idea of paying for something that they feel should be free. However, there are a few things that you can do to help improve your visitor's comfort level with purchasing a membership to your site.
2. Own a Domain Name.
3. Maintain a Professional Appearance.
4. Have Content Worth Buying.
We've now discussed why you would want to micro-charge your visitors, and how to get them interested, but one important thing remains, how do you process your visitor's charges? One solution would be to open up a merchant account, and coordinate billing with your bank. However this solution obviously isn't for everyone. For those of you that want a simpler solution, you might want to look at http://www.webcredit.com, http://www.paypal.com, http://www.ccbill.com, or check out http://www.123webmaster.com/Commerce_Center/Online_Billing/ for more billing providers.
A sharp decline in banner CPMs has been felt by a large number of Internet companies, and many of the former “big spenders” have gone belly up. While you're free to take your chances on the recovery of banner CPMs, or try to look for new opportunities such as pop-up advertisements, tower ads, and affiliate programs, I would strongly suggest evaluating your site's content and ask yourself “is this something my visitors would pay a small monthly fee to access”? If you find the answer to be a resounding yes, you should then ask yourself “how much more of my page should I sacrifice to flashy ads if my visitors are willing to pay”?
Discussion - Affiliate & Ad Programs