Lessons Learned trying to monetize this blog

I planned to make some money from adverts and affiliate links. So far, things haven’t worked out as expected. I want to share some lessons learned trying to monetize this blog.

Preparation

Before getting started I tried to figure out how to monetize this blog. After searching through many income reports I found a common trend. Most, if not all, of the sites used a combination of adverts and affiliate links. By far the most common of those were Google AdSense and Amazon Affiliate Links.

Unfortunately I limited my research there and didn’t look into how to join them. If only I considered there might be entry requirements.

The Shock

Amazon Associates rejected me

I already had a post about a couple of books I’d read that made this site happen. So I decided I’d apply to the Amazon Associates site first.

The application process was quick and easy and it appeared to be working. I got an associate ID and built a few links. Added them to my site and sat back thinking “watch the cash roll in”.

Unfortunately I woke up to an email containing:

Since your website does not appear to be finished, we are unable to view your content in its entirety.
We have decided that your site may not present a mutually beneficial business opportunity and because of this, we can not accept your application at this time.
We encourage you to resubmit your application after creating a unique site with original content.

Income stream #1 closed.

Google Adsense rejected me

Before the Amazon rejection email arrived, I also applied for a Google AdSense account. I woke to another rejection email, this time containing a little more information:

Insufficient content: To be approved for AdSense and show relevant ads on your site, your pages need to have enough text on them for our specialists to review and for our crawler to be able to determine what your pages are about.
To resolve this issue, please work through the following suggestions:
○ Make sure that your pages have sufficient text – websites that contain mostly images, videos or Flash animations will not be approved.
○ Your content should contain complete sentences and paragraphs, not only headlines.
○ Ensure that your website is fully built and launched before you apply for AdSense – do not apply while your site’s still in a beta or “under construction” phase or only consists of a website template.
○ Place the ad code on a live page of your website. It does not have to be the main page, but test pages that are empty except for the AdSense ad code will not be approved.
○ Provide a clear navigation system for your visitors so that they can easily find all of the sections and pages of your website.
○ If you’d like to monetise YouTube videos, please apply for the YouTube monetisation program. Note that blogs and websites that contain only videos will not be approved.

Income stream #2 closed.

What’s going on?! Surely they want to sell ads?! If I want to “buy” them what’s the issue?

I waited until I had a bank account to join these networks! If I knew I could fail I would’ve applied weeks ago!

Google and Amazon sell Ads and I’m offering to buy

The Reality

In hindsight, Google and Amazon have a brand and reputation to protect. They don’t know me or this site from Adam. There is obviously a cost to them associated with these things and they don’t want to waste their time.

I was naïve. I had 4 posts, 4 pages and zero page views yet expected these giants to welcome me with open arms. Embarrassing when you think of it! I’m surprised they even bothered to reply.

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned the following things.

  1. Pinning a large percentage of your money making strategy on 3rd parties is not a great idea
  2. Research how things work, don’t rely on how you assume they work
  3. Don’t wait for a bank account before trying to join them

 
What’s most sickening is all were preventable. All I needed to do was think and research a little more.

Conclusion and Future Hope

These were quite painful lessons to learn as they’ve hit me in the wallet. I’d also love to think they’re the only mistakes I make in the lifetime of this blog, but that would be even more naïve.

Yet it’s not the end of the world. There’s light at the end of the tunnel as you’re allowed to apply again. And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Once I’ve addressed the concerns highlighted and have a small audience.

I’m toying with the idea of applying once a month. Keeping track of the number of posts I have, my audience etc so I can if there’s a cut off. Not sure at the moment.

In the meantime, I’m going to see if there are other ad networks willing to accept a beginner! After some research.

Please avoid the mistakes I made. Don’t pin your hopes on something you’re not prepared for.

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