There was a thread on the V7N forum recently about the right time to monetize your site…when building it, or AFTER the traffic has already started flowing. Webmasters seem to be divided on this issue, with some saying you need to build up traffic first and not scare away your visitors, while others say it’s all about the money, so why not monetize right away? Well, here’s my 2 cents, for those who care…
I personally put the ads up on any new site I build right away, while I’m building it, and it’s not because of the money. I do it for layout and SEO purposes. The layout part should be obvious: I want to know where everything is going to go and how it will really look when I launch it. I don’t want any surprises where I put up a banner weeks later only to find out the template I used breaks when anything is added and I should have used a different one.
The SEO reason is even more important. The search engines rank your site according to your content (yes, there are other reasons too, but I’m refering to “on-site” optimization) and ANY changes to that content will change your keyword density and, therefore, your ranking. This includes outbound links (OBL) and banners, which is why you should never link out to a “bad neighborhood”.
I take that density factor very seriously when creating a website and I create the content KNOWING where the ads (OBL) will be placed among that content. That way, all variables have been accounted for right from the start. Think of it this way: Imagine working hard to get everything “perfect” WITHOUT placing your ads at the beginning, then waiting a few weeks to rank well in the SERP and you’re excited that you’re now in the top 10 results for your keywords. You then start to get great organic traffic from the SE’s and life seems great.
THEN you decide to finally put up a few ads to make some bucks. However, during the next crawl of your site, the search engines now re-examine your keyword density and adjust for all these new links and your site suddenly begins to drop in the SERP. You are effectively reversing all your hard work!
As with all topics I write about here, I learned from my own experience (and mistakes). I have a music website that focuses on a specific niche which I did not place ads on at the beginning. Instead, I waited until it ranked well and then put up 3 sidebar banner placements. One was for a tattoo shop and a week later my analytics showed visits coming from the tattoo keywords, which had NOTHING to do with my own site’s content! My ranking then started slipping because these new keywords were messing with my density.
I recovered from it by strengthening (adjusting) my own keywords on the page, but it was a lesson learned. What if that had been a big money earner that was in the #1 position in Google and suddenly it got canned to page 2 because of further website monetization that should have been left alone? Basically, if you’re already ranking well then DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING!!!! “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Website monetization is like a game of Jenga…you have to be very strategic in building and making your moves or the whole thing can come crashing down on you…