It would be silly for me to say right now that #1 mistake in site monetization is not to monetize at all, because if you are reading these words you are well on your well towards reaching your money making goals online. So, that one aside…

As I look back at the time when I first began to build my websites, I find it that my own worst mistake was not to choose a flexible content management system early in the game. This might sound obscure, so let me explain. Long gone are the days when websites were coded in plain HTML and all updates had to be done in HTML code. Personally, I don’t mind HTML at all, but you really need to have a system in place to make site-wide changes effortlessly, not to mention simplifying the process of adding new content to the site: a content management system (CMS). With CMS, if you decide to add a specific link or an advertising block to all of your pages all it takes is just modifying a few lines in a particular widget. It was my good fortune that when I built the first revision of my primary website there was a content management system that I could use. My sole misfortune was, however, that my choices in CMS software were very limited. Believe it or now, at the time my hosting service simply did not have a way to run SQL databases. Hosting providers were still in the process of adapting to the new way of making and maintaining websites. So, I had to choose a CMS system that relied exclusively on the standard file system: reading and writing data to files, instead of using a faster database connection. I probably had a choice of going to a different provider where I could have used WordPress (which already existed at the time). Instead, I got stuck with the system that was already obsolete. Very soon the developer of that CMS lost interest in it (cannot blame him), because no hosting provider could compete on the market without offering convenient use of databases and, by extension, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. There was no need for the product I was using! There would never be new versions with new features! There will be no additional modules and plugins! And additional modules and plugins is exactly the sort of thing that you want if you want to better monetize your site. Why? Because such features allow you to test more easily what options work best for you. You cannot improve your sites revenue if you do not continuously trying to increase conversion and find better ways of monetizing. You cannot possibly have a flexible website unless you use a modern CMS! Do not let a web designer approach you with a great offer to make a website for you that does not have a CMS. It will cost you a lot of money and you will be stuck with a site that will not perform well. If you are determined to spend money on the look and feel of your website, insist on getting a theme for whatever CMS you are using!

So, your take away piece from this post is: do not get stuck using anything other than a modern CMS – something you can upgrade, enhance and, most importantly, fine tune to the specific needs of monetizing your site. If you are currently using outdated server software, start looking into migrating to a different platform.

3589-agnew-clinic-smallI am not going to discuss different systems that you can and should have in place in order to know what’s happening on your website. It is very much a separate topic, I’ll just mention that I use Google Analytics and Statcounter. But here is an extremely valuable tip about accessing your statistics. If you could follow this advice you will be handsomely rewarded. Here is the tip: set aside a specific time each day to access your websites’ stats. You might exclaim, “Why, but I already check my statistics every five minutes!” Well, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Unlike in quantum physics where observing a process intervenes with the process itself, watching your stats closely does absolutely nothing other than eat up your time. So, just close that window. That’s right. Close it and come back to open it in a few hours.Sure, I’ll play devil’s advocate here and say that unless you watch your statistics you will never know that your website is down. But how often does that happen realistically? If you spend 10 minutes a day every day checking in all the time you are wasting valuable time that could be used for creating new content or just resting your eyes! How much would 10 minutes a day add up to within a year? Is it really worth the time just to make sure that you quickly find out that your site is down? Even if you could fix the problem yourself would the loss of revenue be really that devastating if you discovered the dreaded database crash within minutes or within hours? Chances are, most problems with your site being down will be identified and fixed without your knowledge by the hosting service technicians. But if you really want to be on top of the game, there are other options. You use a system that will periodically check your site’s vital signs and send you an alert when something is not right. This system can be fine tuned to look at things that you don’t even normally pay attention to, including potential hazardous activity on the site.
Another big reason that drives website owners to their stats is healthy curiosity. It is always interesting to know where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they are using, what paths on the site they are following etc. Sometimes this information can be helpful in improving your site and adding new content for the information hungry crowds. However, this information can be also condensed by Google Analytics or by whatever other service you prefer. At this point you will also discover, for example, that a certain keyword is gaining popularity. The information will become something that you can act upon, not just wonder in curiosity about the importance of trends and events on your site. By the way, you can also enable email reports from Adsense.In my opinion, the only time when you have to monitor live stats on your site is when you are specifically trying to bring traffic through advertising or a social media campaign. In such cases you may need to make quick decisions that will affect your site’s reputation and possibly your profits.

So, set up a specific time to check your stats and avoid doing it all the time. You will thank yourself later!