Making Money with a Movie Website in 2018
Many things have changed since I wrote the article How to Make Money with a Movie Website in 2010. Many of the advertising networks in that article have gone out of business and new ones have emerged that are not listed in that article. Old methods of making money online have been supplanted by new ones, some in unlikely places, others in places many didn’t know were available. I have explored most-if-not-all and utilize some of them. Below you will find a list of them as well as my own experiences with them and insights.
These are not abstractions cobbled together for desperate sources. I have personally tested these revenue generating avenues on a movie and TV website that I created, FilmBook.
Generate Website Traffic with Good Content, SEO, and Speed
Before you can make any money with your film website, your website needs a good traffic level, search engine optimization, and low page load speeds (meaning your home page, single post pages, etc. load in seconds).
When it comes to traffic level, if no one is visiting your site, no one will be clicking on the ads on your website. To make sure your website is search engine optimized, use Yoast SEO (formerly WordPress SEO). For quickly loading web pages, use W3 Total Cache.
SEO and page load speed will not matter if you do not have well-written articles on your website. Before you attempt to place a single ad on your WordPress CMS or Blogger CMS film website, sit down and write: good, lengthy, and original content.
Only places ads on your site directly related to the subject matter of your site. Placing bicycle ads on a film website will elicit few, if any, clicks. Advertise movie-related products and services. From that start point, you can spiral outward.
Sell your Own Ad Space
Sell the available ad space on your website yourself. To do so effectively, your website needs an Advertise page.
If you have not already, you need to create an Advertise Page for your website. It is a pain in the ass to create but once its up and running, it can do wonders for the revenue that your website brings in. List: all the ad options on your website, location of the ads, the price for all the ads, duration of purchased advertisements, ordering instructions (use Paypal subscription links), contact info, and your site’s stats: monthly hits, page rank, demographics, and social follower count i.e. sell yourself to the person reading the page.
If you set up the page correctly, you should not have to take part in the ad ordering transaction at all. Your only responsibility should be to place your ad buyer’s ad up on your website when they asked for it to be displayed and for their purchased duration.
Responsive Website Theme
In this day and age, with desktop, mobile, and tablet-viewing options, having a responsive website is a must. A responsive website lets all of your on-screen content, including your ads, adjust to the different viewing apparatus that people use to view your site. If a visitor looks at your ad on their tablet and can’t see your ads, they can’t click on them.
By not having online a mobile version of your website, you are potentially losing out on half of the revenue that website could be making. When you purchase a theme for your website or have one custom made, make sure that it comes with a mobile-ready version of that website.
The Advertising Network Conundrum
Upside to Using an Advertising Network
The ad network does the work for you. Just plug in their code into your website and they will begin displaying their ad inventory on your site. When someone clicks on the ad, you earn revenue.
Downside to Using an Advertising Network
You can’t pick what ads appear in the ad units on your website. Those ad units display the ads that the ad network sends them.
The ad network gets to sell ads at a fixed rate to display on their network. They get paid no matter what. You, as a webmaster, only get paid if someone takes action on the ad on your website i.e. if they click on the ad.
Regular Advertising Networks
Google Adsense is the advertise network that most beginner and mid-level webmasters use to monetize their website. Google Adsense is the default advertising network that webmasters use. Over 14.3 million websites use Google AdSense. Adsense has no traffic level minimum to join. In addition, Google Adsense code is a snap to implement on your website.
I have found that 300×250 ads and 468×15 ads, above the fold of the page, strategically and naturally placed, are the best Google AdSense money-makers.
Amazon can be a money-maker for your site through two methods: Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads and creating your own image-linked ads. I didn’t include Amazon’s pre-made image ads because most of them are garbage and severely out-of-date. Those ads lack the pop necessary to garner a page viewer’s attention and the necessary visual inducement to click on them.
Native Shopping Ads
I used Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads for about six-to-eight months on my film news website. Once implemented, Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads code scans the copy in your single posts and displays relevant ads.
*Personal observation: I found is that it takes a reload of the page for this scanning to be effective.
To have Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads be effective right out of the gate, manually link to an Amazon product page within the single post page. That will laser focus Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads into displaying ads in-line with the product you just linked (a product directly related to the content on the page).
I displayed eight ads at the bottom of single post pages, right above the tags, and they were effective. They garnered clicks and some sales.
*Note: You only get paid as an Amazon Associate if someone buys something after clicking through one of your affiliate links.
I stopped using Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads because after an outside analysis of page load speed, I found that Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads slowed down the loading of my single post pages. I wanted my single post pages (and all the other pages on my site) loading as fast as possible so I stopped using Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads.
Ad Creation and Manual Linking
Creating my own ads that linked back to Amazon product pages (use a great, engaging, eye-catching HD image) and manually linking to Amazon products from within posts (text-linking) has been the way that I have made the most consistent revenue from Amazon.
Complex is a advertising network to entertainment news websites that receive millions of pageviews per month. Complex does not have a publishers page for potential publishers to look over regarding what Complex has to offer.
Because of this fact, the only way to contact Complex about becoming a part of their publishers program is to use their contact form on their contact page.
Like Complex, The Premium is a advertising network to entertainment news websites that receive millions of pageviews per month. The Premium does not have a publishers page for potential publishers to look over regarding what The Premium has to offer.
Because of this fact, the only way to contact The Premium about becoming a part of their publishers program is to use their contact form on their contact page.
Unlike Complex and The Premium, Rhythm One has a far lower threshold to entry for their advertising network. It is not advertised but you do not need millions of pageviews to apply and be approved. I know this from first hand experience.
In-Article Text and In-Image Advertising Network
Vibrant Media offers webmasters In-article and In-image ad options. With Vibrant Media ad code implemented on your site, your articles and the images in them can be monetized with ads.
Besides Google Adsense, defunct ad networks, and direct ad space sells, Vibrant Media was one of my top money-makers.
*Note: You can’t use Vibrant Media’s ad service if you route your site through Cloudflare and use Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader or Railgun service
I run all of my sites (WordPress CMS sites) through Cloudflare and use Rocket Loader so that the sites load as quickly as possible. Because of that, I can’t use Vibrant Media. Rocket Loader disrupts the Vibrant Media ad code. I had a choose to make: make more revenue and have a slower loading site or have a fast loading site and lose a revenue stream. I choose to lose a revenue stream and haven’t used Vibrant Media in about four years. If you don’t use Cloudflare and their Rocket Loader application, you might want to sign up for a Vibrant Media publisher account. Why lose out on In-article and In-image ad revenue, revenue that you probably (currently) aren’t making.
Ad Network Strategy
Google Adsense only allows its publishers to display three of its ad units per page.
By using an additional advertising network or this advertising network in lieu of Google Adsense, a webmaster can have more than three ad units on a web page on their website.
There is also another approach. You can use an ad network other than Google AdSense as your main advertising network and Google Adsense as your secondary ad network, so that you have an 100% ad fill (an ad is always displaying the ad slots on your website).
In recent years, Google AdSense has gotten good about providing a 100% fill rate but if you fill that you are not getting that, you might to give the above strategy a try.
Video Advertising Network
YouTube is the number one ad network for video content. The top creators (who receive millions of views per video) are earning a living (dependent on your standing of living) off of YouTube.
In the very recent past, you signed up for a YouTube account, then an Google Adsense account, uploaded videos to your YouTube channel, enabled Google AdSense ads on your videos, and when someone clicked on a ad before, during or towards the end of the video, you earned money.
In part, that is gone now. The new YouTube monetization restrictions:
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.
This means you can’t just start a YouTube channel anymore and start earning money. You need a minimum of 1,000 followers plus the other restrictions. If you apply for monetization, you are now manually reviewed and approved. No more quick, monetization sign-ups.
Even with these new restrictions, it is still worth your time and resources to upload your video content to YouTube and build an audience. Not only will this raise awareness for your brand, it will eventually led to increased profits for your website.
Daily Motion is a video ad network that very few people know about. Headquartered in Paris, “Dailymotion is available worldwide, in 18 languages and 35 localized versions featuring local home pages and local content. It has more than 300 million unique monthly users.”
Because it is a lesser known or used video ad network, your uploaded videos may get fewer views than they might on YouTube but the aforementioned YouTube restrictions are not present. You can start earning revenue immediately on Daily Motion.
Like with YouTube, the key to success, besides delivering great original content, is developing an audience.
Video Ad Network Strategy
Upload your video content to YouTube and Daily Motion. If you only have the time for one, make it YouTube.
Manual Affiliate Linking
If you aren’t using the free newsletter that comes with Google’s Feedburner RSS service and are paying for newsletter for your website, many newsletter services allow you place into each edition images. You can link those images back to an ad network or product page that you are affiliated with currently.
If your newsletter currently gets a million opens per month (LiveIntent will want to see the official numbers from the newsletter company you use), you preliminarily qualify for LiveIntent. LiveIntent places clickable ads into your newsletter (think Google AdSense ads but exclusive for a newsletter). When someone clicks on the ad, you make money.
Remember: great content, great traffic, then decide on the movie-related advertising mix that you want for your film website.
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