Monetization is a very general term that refers to the process of generating revenue. Though it can apply to all types of transactions and businesses, the focus of this site is monetization of web traffic (i.e., the visitors to a web site).
Perhaps the best place to start understanding web monetization is with examples of sites that are not monetized. While most websites are part of a business or even a non-profit organization that has some revenue targets, there are plenty of sites made for a purpose besides earning money. Specifically, many web sites by government offices operate only to provide information and don’t seek to make any money. Here are a few examples:
Compare these to most sites that you’ll visit attempt to make money from their visitors in one way or another, whether it be selling a product or showing an ad.
There are a number of different ways to monetize web traffic, and many sites use a combination of different approaches in order to maximize revenue. The most common ways to monetize web traffic include:
For most web-based businesses, monetization does not occur as a direct transfer of money from a customer / visitor to the publisher. Instead, most web monetization strategies involve a third party (i.e., in addition to the publisher and the visitor to the site). For example, advertisers pay to have their messaging shown to visitors of a site.
There are a couple of common metrics that are used to measure and express how effectively a site is being monetized. These include:
These two metrics will be very highly correlated; an increase in one typically means that the other will also rise (and vice versa).
If you run a website that is generating some amount of revenue, there are two primary ways to make more money:
Many site owners tend to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on the first bullet above, specifically on SEO-related strategies. However, there are often relatively easy ways to improve monetization efforts. These can include: