Monetizing websites and blogs

After many trials and tribulations, I’ve found one or two tricks that have worked to monetize this blog. Granted, it’s not enough to make a living off yet, but it’s like a mini-bonus every month. Until I find out how much tax SARS is going to nail me for anyway. I’ll keep a list here of what’s worked and what hasn’t. The only way a service gets a high rating is if it actually made money for me.


Even though AdSense is supposed to offer context relevant ads, it hardly ever works unless you have a very focused site or long posts. Chitika works by only showing ads when people have landed on a page from a search engine, so it only shows ads relevant to the original search engine query. For my blog this is perfect as most of my traffic is from Google and AdSense has just been completely irrelevant.

Pros: Ad only shows for search engine traffic so your loyal readers don’t get flooded.

Cons: Ads only target US/Canadian traffic.

These guys have been paying out a huge amount each month, so obviously I’m happy with them. Advertisers buy a simple text link directly on your site, usually to use your pagerank for SEO optimization, and you get to approve/deny all links and decide where to place them and what price to offer.

Pros: Huge payouts monthly if you manage to land some decent links, regardless of clicks. Small, unobtrusive text links.

Cons: Managing all the links yourself is a pain compared to the automated AdSense tools.

Google Adsense

The granddaddy of them all. Google’s tools are fantastic, but don’t expect to make a huge amount of money unless you have really focused on a niche topic and have loads of traffic. Pay per click just doesn’t work without millions of hits a month.

Pros: Content relevant ads, most of the time.

Cons: Low payouts with the pay per click model.



OfferForge focuses on affiliate marketing. For example, you get R50 when someone sees an ad for an insurance company, clicks through, and requests a quote. They’ve recently started pay per click campaigns, but the biggest payouts are still on the CPA and CPS campaigns. And if you get other people to sign up with them you’ll get paid 5% of whatever they make in a month without stealing their profits.

Pros: High payouts. You can tailor each campaign to content. SA and USA options. So far they’ve paid me the most out of all these services.

Cons: Manually maintaining campaigns is a pain. Website tools are crude and ugly. Update: Their commission software is horribly broken. A few months of commissions I’ve earned just disappeared, with the only feedback being “the developers we’ve outsourced to are working on it”, and this is the second time it’s happened. Be warned! I’ve had some big payouts from them, but they’ve dried up recently thanks to broken software.

OfferForge South Africa

OfferForge United States

Amazon Associates

Lots of neat widgets, but using the automatic content javascript adds a lot of cruft to your page and slows downloads, and doing product links manually is tiring.

Pros: Fairly high commission percentages. Easy to find something relevant to each page on your blog.

Cons: Automated content-relevant advertising is broken, javascript widgets add weight to your page, manually adding product links is painful, and people actually have to order something.