Web monetization is changing, and what works today won’t work forever.
To stay ahead, it pays to watch industry trends and keep tabs on tomorrow’s hype. Here are five ways you can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to website monetization:
1. Mobile-First and Omni-Channel
Though lots of content is better suited for desktop viewing, you’ll need to prepare for a world where mobile comes first…since that world is already here.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Make sure you’re ready for all channels. If you’re looking at your analytics, you’ve probably noticed that people are coming from every type of device and operating system. Keep tabs on this spread and develop a flexible strategy to prepare for a future that includes even more devices. Focusing too heavily on one technology, one type of content, or one demographic means that your earnings may suffer when changes take place.
- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. You need to make sure that your site is viewable on mobile devices, so find a responsive site template, theme, or design. Also, check to see how it performs on mobile: do the pages load quickly?
- Make sure your content is easily consumable on mobiles. Long articles don’t read well on mobile devices, so make mobile content concise and to-the-point. Ensure that images and videos load properly and aren’t too bulky for mobile networks.
2. Get Ready for Wearable Technology
Apple Watch – which requires iPhone apps to work and can’t surf the web – may be the first wearable mobile device, but it won’t be the last. When Google Glass and other web-friendly wearables arrive, you’ll want to ensure that your website is prepared.
Follow the same steps above if you want your website to be ready for wearables.
Namely, ensure that your website includes content that is formatted appropriately. In the case of smartphones, this means shortening written content and providing smaller images. But with heads-up displays, things may shift yet again. Google Glass currently has a resolution of 640 x 360, which is quite small. But for over a year, other companies have been developing high-resolution heads-up displays that are comparable to modern monitors.
So if mobile switches from high-resolution desktop to small-screen smartphone and then to variable-resolution heads-up displays, how do you keep up? Consider adaptive web design, which may require more work, but allows you to deliver just the right assets to the specific device that visits your site.
3. Will People Use the Web Tomorrow?
If you’re a website owner, it may be painful to think about, but there are more and more obstacles to monetizing a website than there used to be. That’s not to say the “web is dead,” as some have proclaimed – after all, you’re reading this article on the web – but new difficulties have arisen.
Here are two of them:
- Apps are taking market share from the web. A Nielsen study revealed that in the U.S., the U.K., and Italy, people now spend more time on mobile devices than on the desktop surfing the web. That study was performed in early 2014, so by the time you read this, the number will certainly be more imbalanced.
- Google’s getting in the way of your website. Google is becoming more than just a search engine: it’s becoming a one-stop shop for all your daily needs. With the Knowledge Graph, Google collects information from websites and presents it directly above the search results, so people searching for information don’t have to even visit your website.
What does this mean for website owners? It means that you should start thinking of your website only as one point of contact in your online network. To stay competitive in the changing landscape, it pays to develop other online assets, such as a YouTube channel, social media channels, and apps. Many effective monetization strategies, such as search monetization, are transferable and can be used on websites, in apps, and in desktop software.
4. Changing Ad Practices: Display and Video and Native
- Many large companies are putting their spend into mobile video ads. Banner ads are on the way out as large telecom companies dump money into video ads.
- Facebook now rivals YouTube when it comes to video ad reach. According to Heineken, their Facebook ad reach outstrips YouTube, despite the fact that Facebook has only been offering video ads for 9 months. What does this say about the potential for video ads?
- Facebook isn’t the only company to make the move toward video. In 2014, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and others have invested heavily in video.
5. From SEO to Content Marketing and Brands
In the past, SEO meant keyword-driven techniques, such as keyword-stuffing and keyword-density. Today’s strategies focus more on high-quality, brand-created content.
Google has emphasized the importance of brands, which almost always rank higher in search. To rank these days, stuffing keyword after keyword into domains, headlines, and content just won’t cut it. You need to create high quality content that keeps people on your site, and create a real brand with a real mission.
A website should simply be the online face of your brand – even if your brand is entirely online. So as the web becomes more competitive and more app-centric, you’ll need to put more energy into developing long-lasting content marketing programs that add real value to your users, mainly through real products and services.