Ghost and Paranormal Sites: Not Very Profitable?

Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:58 pm

I run the No. 1 true ghost stories site on the web. However, despite attracting over 1000 new visitors most days, I am only making an average of £120 per month through Adsense.

My other means of making money from the site are Amazon store, Amazon product links, and Clickbank. Unforuntaely, these only make me pennies.

So do you think I have picked the wrong subject in ghosts and the paranormal?
Scousero
 
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Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:57 am

Do u mean you have 30,000 unique visitors per month?
I dont think you choose the wrong subject if you have good traffic. The problem is with monetizing. you need to keep trying until youll find somthing that works.
rxJay
 
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Re. Ghost Site

Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:28 pm

Yes, my unique visitors do average out about 30,000 per month. As you rightly say, monetizing the site is a problem. If only I could think up an idea whereby each visitor to my site paid £1.00 for something (tried ebooks but unfortunately no luck there).

Surely there must be SOMETHING they would pay a quid for?

Cheers
The Webmaster
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rxJay wrote:Do u mean you have 30,000 unique visitors per month?
I dont think you choose the wrong subject if you have good traffic. The problem is with monetizing. you need to keep trying until youll find somthing that works.
Scousero
 
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Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:51 am

rxJay wrote:Do u mean you have 30,000 unique visitors per month?
I dont think you choose the wrong subject if you have good traffic. The problem is with monetizing. you need to keep trying until youll find somthing that works.


Further to my True Ghost Stories site, I have now added TWO self-written ebooks: True Ghost Stories and Halloween Horror Stories. However, despite my thousands of visitors, I have only managed to sell two copies of the ghost book, and NONE of the Halloween Horror Stories book.

Am I to deduce from this miserable failing in sales that people just won't buy short story collections from new writers if they have never had a novel published?

The Webmaster
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Scousero
 
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Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:53 am

Scousero wrote:So do you think I have picked the wrong subject in ghosts and the paranormal?

Maybe. Maybe not. As I suggested in my review
of your site, you could try improving the navigation and branching out into related topics that we know advertisers spend money on - ones that are better for AdSense revenue.

rxJay wrote:The problem is with monetizing. you need to keep trying until youll find something that works.

I think you're spot on there, rxJay. There's still a lot more experimenting that could be done.

Scousero wrote:Am I to deduce from this miserable failing in sales that people just won't buy short story collections from new writers if they have never had a novel published?

Maybe, maybe not. As rxJay suggests, perhaps the problem is in the monetizing. Let's see if we can try to improve it.

On your main page...
http://www.trueghoststories.co.uk/
... there's a heck of lot going on. Too much, perhaps.

If you give people too many choices, often they get confused and end up doing nothing.

One option to simplify things would be to put some of those links into a horizontal nav bar at the bottom of each page, and have your links to articles in a left-hand nav bar.

A big advantage of making more use of nav bars is that you can promote the same thing, over and over, on every page of your site.

With all those links to choose from on the main page, I wonder if you're managing to tempt people to click from your main page to your sales pages? My GUESS is that most visitors are not reaching your sales pages. Look at your stats. They'll help you analyze where the problems lie.

You could certainly try beefing up your attempt to get the click. For example, you say, "The True Ghost Stories Ebook is Now Available. Download it Here."

To try to tempt people to click, you could try making that promo larger, for example as a box high up on the top right of the page where it's different from everything else - special - impossible to miss, and provide more details - more benefits. Think of it as a teaser, to tempt people to click. Write accordngly. For example...

On your sales page, you say "Nineteen Terrifying Cases of Actual Hauntings".

That's great! However, that bit of selling is hidden away where I suspect it's not being seen (just my guess - I could be wrong). Say that on your main page where people will see it. Also, make it stronger and easier to read at a glance by saying "19" instead of "nineteen".

That's not all. You're just getting started.

Give the book to a few friends, ask for comments and quote a brief one-sentence testimonial as part of the teaser to get people to click.

On your sales page, apart from that one brief selling bit, you're not really trying to sell, you're just plonking it there. You have to give people reasons to buy. Tell them more. An easy way would be to list the chapter headings and provide a very brief, snappy description of each chapter. Then add a few testimonials.

I'm amazed you're trying to sell the book for only one pound. Don't sell yourself short. I think that price is so ridiculously low that you'll make people suspicious and scare them away. You could test prices. Say 7.95, 9.95 and 14.95 and see what works.

In summary, you don't know yet whether you've chosen the wrong niche because you haven't done enough experimenting. This is definitely NOT the time to abandon the niche.
AllanGardyne
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Re. Ghost Site

Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:27 pm

Hi. Thank you for your expert tips on my True Ghost Stories site. Your advice is much appreciated, and having taken it on board, I am now in the process of revamping the site.

One question, though: do you think I should dispense with the Adsense ads in the left-hand vertical links cell, and just stick with the horizontal link under the top navigaton bar? If so, should I put them in a right-hand vertical cell, or just replace them with an Amazon ad or something? You see, I want to make as much profit from Adsense as possible, without the danger of incurring less clicks if I, say, delete the ads in the side links?

I think your advice to put the Adsense rectangular link boxes in my articles is a great idea, and one which I am certainly going to adopt.

Thanks
Scousero
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Scousero
 
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Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:06 am

Hi Scousero,

Over all, using larger AdSense ads, high on the page, usually increases revenue. This is especially true if the page is simple and uncluttered. So if you're re-designing a site, keep that in mind.

Because what you're doing isn't working well, you should feel free to try radical changes.

Have another look at Google's AdSense heat map...
http://adsense.google.com/support/bin/a ... swer=17954
...and study their advice. They know better than anyone what works best, and they're eager to help you succeed because more clicks mean more revenue for Google.

You're already placing ads in good, strong positions.

As you obviously know, from an advertising point of view, the top left is a wonderful spot to place an ad, because that's where our eyes naturally go when we visit a page.

However, it's also a wonderful spot to put a site's navigation bar, for exactly same reason.

Google advises us to "put your readers first" and I reckon that's excellent advice.

If I've successfully persuaded you to make it a top priority to revamp your site to make it more attractive to your readers, here's what I reckon you should do...

It's a bit of a risk, but I'd place a nav bar in the top left, a strong ad for your ebooks top right (another powerful position), and make the articles wrap around a prominent AdSense ad high on the page.

If you had 3 columns, I'd say experiment with an AdSense ad in the right-hand column, as high as you can get it (probably under your promo for one of your ebooks).

That leaves you with one AdSense ad still to be placed. Top of page is supposed to be a good position, so you could simply leave it there, but click the option to accept image ads and test whether that improves revenue.

After you've revamped your site, you could test 3 positions: horizontal near top of page; vertical under your new left-hand nav bar; or at the bottom of each article.

On the home page, where you want to make a good first impression, I'd remove most of the ads and affiliate links, simplifying the page, and making promos for your articles much more prominent, to tease visitors into your site and get them engaged.

One strong advantage of simplifying a page is that doing so makes the AdSense ads stand out. Here's an example of a very simple page with very prominent ads...
http://www.ghoststories.ws/long-blonde-hair.html
(By the way, I think the font is too small, too hard to read, on that page. Some affiliates do that deliberately so that readers give up reading and click on an ad. They may also give up, leave the site in disgust and never return.)

If you don't know about them, I strongly recommend you look into server side includes. They make it much easier to quickly change and test all sorts of things across a site. You can use them for blocks of text, AdSense ads, ebook promos, and nav bars.

For example, you could paste a small bit of simple code into the spot where you want your nav bar to go. Then when you want to add a link to your nav bar, instead of changing HTML and text on 200 pages, you just change ONE file and that makes all the pages change. Lovely! And surprisingly easy to do.
AllanGardyne
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Ghost and Paranormal Sites Not Very Profitable

Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:12 am

Hi Allan. Thanks for your tips on how to maximize my Adsense profits. Yes, I do agree with you that the top left hand corner is a good place to put the ads. As you can see, I have placed my Adsense ads both along the top of the page and also on the left hand side, both of which have earned me some good profits. These amounts, however, have fluctuated during certain periods (e.g. holidays, when everybody is out shopping etc.). I hate it when these holidays see a big plunge in my earnings!

You are right in saying reduce the affiliate links and other clutter to make the Adsense ads more prominent. I am currently revamping the site on my laptop ready to replace the current version, and in that process I am considering scrapping the thumbnail photos accompanying each new article on the home page. Do you think this is a wise move?

Eventually being able to become self employed with my websites is a very important goal to me, as it is very difficult now trying to get a job in the North West. I have applied for HUNDREDS of admin jobs, and rarely get a reply (which is very demoralising!). I have read loads of stories on the web about Adsense and affiliate experts who have "become successful and rich" through their web building endeavours, and these examples have really instilled in me a determined urge to become similarly successful. However, as you probably know yourself, finding a really good profitable affiliate scheme is extremely difficult, as so much has been done before. I have even tried dating site, but in hindsight, I now deem this to be a mistake, as that market is saturated.

I have heard that the program MICRO NICHE FINDER is quite good for finding new niche site ideas. Have you used this yourself, or know of anybody who has?

My next idea for a new website would probably be a horror one, as I think that would tie in well with my ghost site. They do say that you should pick a niche you feel passionate about, so being a fan of this genre, I think that would be a safe bet, rather than put up a site on a subject I am not really interested in.

So, as I say, please let me know what you think of my proposal to scrap the thumbnail images on the home page of my True Ghost Stories site. Any other suggestions, of course, would be also welcome.

Thanks.
Scousero
 
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Re: Ghost and Paranormal Sites Not Very Profitable

Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:11 am

Hi Scousero

Scousero wrote:I am considering scrapping the thumbnail photos accompanying each new article on the home page.

Mmmm. Not sure about that. I probably wouldn't do it. Small graphics are useful for catching the eye, leading the visitor to something you want them to click on. If you put them beside links to your best articles, you'll lead people deeper into your site.

Online newspapers employ people who know a lot about page design and what to do to grab someone's attention. So it's well worth spending a bit of time studying what online newspapers do. They use small graphics.

I have applied for HUNDREDS of admin jobs, and rarely get a reply (which is very demoralising!).

I feel your pain.

It sounds as though you're really determined to succeed online. That's a huge point in your favor. If you're determined enough, and keep learning something new every day and keep doing something every day to improve your online business, you'll inevitably succeed in the end.

I have heard that the program MICRO NICHE FINDER is quite good for finding new niche site ideas. Have you used this yourself, or know of anybody who has?

Sorry. No. It looks interesting.

If it identifies some profitable looking niches for you, are you going to want to work in those niches? When it comes down it, I suspect that's a big stumbling block for many affiliates. Some affiliates are perfectly comfortable diving into a totally new niche without having any prior knowledge. Some aren't.

Here's an article I wrote on lots of different ways to discover ideas for new web sites...

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articl ... bsite.html

Which reminds me... If you're considering related topics for your ghost stories site and don't believe in psychic readings, or tarot readings, for example, you could still write articles on the topic, for example one titled, "Are psychic readings a big con?" and then present pros and cons.

They do say that you should pick a niche you feel passionate about...

I'm a strong believer in that, as long as you can figure out a way to make the niche profitable. It's SO much easier to write articles if you're keen on the topic.

If you choose a niche that bores you, it's very difficult to stay motivated if/when things go wrong. And, of course, things always do go wrong somewhere along the line. When things are tough, that's exactly the time you need to be doing something you enjoy. That will get you out of bed half an hour earlier each day, and help give you the discipline to work on your business instead of watching TV.

However, it IS possible to delve into something you originally knew something about and surprise yourself by becoming more and more interested the deeper you go into the topic. So it pays to keep an open mind, I reckon.
AllanGardyne
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