The drive to have recurring website revenue weighs heavily on many websites. Regardless of the economy, and particularly during times of economic uncertainty, it is fiscally responsible to have a revenue stream that is not derived from your core offer.
Having two or more sources of revenue can help offset a cycle when subscribers decrease. Having advertisers is a good way to offset the regular operating costs associated with your online presence.
But to website visitors and your subscribers, the ads can be a distraction or even worse. Some ads can do damage to your brand or steal your customers. As anyone who has received spam knows, it takes only a single click on the wrong advertising to generate a stream of spam. There are many advertisers who seize any opportunity to make money from the unsuspecting. As a site owner, you don’t want to have “guilt by association” by carrying ads from a dodgy advertiser.
The challenge is to find reputable advertisers who you want to be associated with, who won’t damage your brand, who won’t infringe on your current solution set, and who want to advertise to your audience and build website revenue.
The advertiser you want for website revenue is a company with a good reputation and quality products and solutions. How do you find them when even major platforms such as LinkedIn carry advertisers who seem a little dodgy? You want to protect your website against ads that are specifically designed to look close enough to your core offer that they can be mistaken for your own.
Among the ads I have been shown on LinkedIn are companies that look like recruiters or coaches. You don’t want this for your own site. LinkedIn ads can be designed as “Sponsored Content,” “Sponsored InMail,” or “Text Ads” and appear in the top banner, right navigation, or articles, as well as alongside the posts, texts, and messages you send to your network. All that LinkedIn requires is a profile, a credit card, and self-regulation to their posted guidelines.
While not all advertisers are dodgy, you have to decide if the website revenue is worth the potential risk to your reputation. If you decide to take ads, you will want to protect your brand and your subscribers with an advertiser review process. It’s not hard to set up a process and assure:
- The advertiser is who they proclaim to be.
- Their offer and ad does not compete with your own products.
- Their business practices will not cause your subscribers harm.
It has become increasingly apparent that if your reputation is on the line (and it is), then you have an obligation to your brand and subscribers to establish a screening process for all content on your site, even from the advertisers.