A New Approach To Site Promotion
I have a bad habit of designing great websites, then letting them flounder for lack of promotion. It's not that I don't know how to promote a site, I just don't like doing it. I'd rather work on my next site than take the time to promote an existing one.
I don't think I'm alone in this. There are lots of sites that promise to do the promotion for you, so they must be targeting people like me. But most of those sites take a big fee to do one type of promotion, and we all know diversity is the key to reaching a wide audience.
But I also suspect there are folks out there just the opposite. People who love to promote, but hate the day to day grind of content creation. Obviously, a partnership is called for -- but matching up the builders with promoters seems a daunting task.
In any partnership there are issues of trust, compensation, accountability, and expectations. Working such a relationship over the Internet makes it even harder. I'll be first to admit there is no perfect solution, but I think I have found a very good approach, which overcomes most of the problems inherent in partner relationships.
I plan on using Google Adsense to reward my promoting-partner -- let's see how it works:
Google Adsense Program
Google lets webmasters earn money by placing ads on their websites. Google charges advertisers, matches ads to the content of the page the ad appears on, and pays the webmaster for each click the ad receives. Naturally, they charge advertisers more than they pay webmasters, so Google makes a profit, the webmaster earns money and the advertisers get targeted traffic - a win-win-win situation.
The Partner Agreement
So I have a new website that I think fills a niche and provides a service or product. I need someone to promote that site for me, because I'm just not good at doing things I don't enjoy.
I'm offering my new partner space on that website to place an Adsense ad -- with the partner's Adsense account number.
This solves several problems at once. It doesn't cost me anything out-of-pocket (Google pays them!) Compensation is directly tied to results -- more visitors to the site (the object of promotion) the more clicks they will get on the Adsense ads, the more the partner earns.
The partner is highly motivated to do a good job, the better they do the more they earn. I get traffic to my new site (of course it has to rely on something other than ads for revenue) at the cost of forgone advertising income.
The partner does not have to worry about not being paid, Google pays him, not me. I do have to worry about the partner not doing a fair share of work on promotion -- no promotion, no earnings, but no penalty either. So our agreement has to include an option for termination for non-performance.
But performance can be measured, and an acceptable level agreed upon from the start. Traffic is not a good measure since a click-bot could be set up to generate useless traffic. But sales, memberships, or other criteria may be appropriate, depending on the nature of the site.
So the agreement with the partner may specify his/her ads appear only on certain pages within the site. So long as the expected revenue is sufficient to compensate for the effort, everybody wins.
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To see this process in action (and even apply yourself if you read this in April 2005) see: