Earning from Forums (Part 1)
Forum owners often struggle to find ways to earn a decent and fair amount off of their forums. Every so often, I see naïve posts by young webmasters believing that they can easily start banking money from their planned board. This is not the case at all. As the majority of ForumPromotion members understand, foruming is one of the toughest internet niches to be involved in, both from a marketing and a revenue perspective. From the advertisers point of view, forum ads often represent a poor return on investment. Forums tend to achieve a high number of impressions and page views but a much lower number of uniques. Added to that is the member mindset. Even if the member has not enabled ad block, and with the current environment most internet savvy people have, they still screen out the ads automatically. A number of forums disable advertisements to members not only because it encourages signups, the percentage of ad revenue from that group makes it barely worth displaying the ads to them. With the uncertainty of forums, money should never be your primary objective unless you want to settle with a mediocre return on your forum some thinking is required (which I will try and do for you). Adsense: Slapping on Google Adsense is one of the first things new forum owners tend to do. Adsense has a high CPC rate (upwards of 10 cents per click) and Google is a trusted advertiser. Another advantage of Adsense is that they actually accept forums into their publisher network; a number of networks do not. There isn't anything particularly wrong with Adsense. I took a look at Flippa for forums with Adsense earnings. The earnings were pretty good or they appeared that way. Here is a graphic artists forums statistics. With a CPC (Cost-Per- Click) average of 45 cents and a page CTR (Click-Through- Rate) of just over 3 % they were earning $330 a month from 500 daily visitors. here). A couple of points regarding Adsense:
- Enable Adsense Revenue sharing. I know that both XenForo and myBB have plugins which enable you to allow your users to place their adsense code on their threads/ posts for a certain percentage of the time. Members will be much happier seeing revenue share ads on your forum and have an incentive to post "hot" topics.
- You will need to increase your guest traffic; this may be through Google or Reddit or from some other source. Guests, rather than members, will earn you money from Adsense.
5. Make changes every now and again. Unfortunately, I was banned a couple of years ago from Adsense (which didn't stop me from reapplying under a different alias two more times and being subsequently banned again). However, I do remember that making ad changes (to the positions and sizes of the ads) every now and again really did provide a short boost to earnings."The sizes we've found to be the most effective are the 336x280 Large Rectangle, the 300x250 Medium Rectangle, the 728x90 Leaderboard, and the 160x600 Wide Skyscraper." Ref.