Should I Use AdSense or Affiliate Marketing (Or Both)?

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ads or affiliate

This is a question that I receive on a daily basis: Should I monetize my niche site with AdSense, affiliate marketing (like Amazon), or can I have both?

The answer varies depending on a few factors like your niche, how much traffic you’re getting, if you have an email list already, etc. However, usually the right answer is to use both adsense and affiliate marketing.

Using both adsense and affiliate marketing

An example of an Adsense site is something like WikiHow. An affiliate site is something like The Wirecutter, who uses the Amazon associates program.

People usually start with the mindset of using just one, and building their entire niche site around that business model.

For example, they’ll say “Oh, I’m going to build a huge Adsense site” or “I’m going to build a giant affiliate site like The Wirecutter.”

That’s fine, for when you’re just getting started. In fact, it’s even better to just use one monetization method until you’re getting enough traffic to start testing out other ones.

But in the long-run, when you’re getting hundreds and thousands of visitors per day, then it’s definitely worth it to go with both. Your traffic is so large at this point that even a small increase in conversions can make a big difference to your bottom line.

It all depends on the type of content you’re creating

Usually, ads work well with informational content – articles that aren’t really selling anything. For example, an article on how to tie a tie.

Affiliate sales, on the other hand, need to be within content that informs readers about that particular product. The content has to work with the product in order to get people to click through and purchase it.

So there’s a bit of a difference there.

However, unless you’re strictly a product review site, then it’s probably not a good idea to just promote products on every article. You’ll want to write some educational content as well on general topics about your niche.

That’s when the combination of both Adsense and affiliates work best.

You display ads across your site, except for any articles with affiliate links.

Will using both Adsense and affiliate links get me in trouble?

A lot of people have this strange idea that you can’t mix in affiliate links when you’re using Adsense. That’s wrong. You definitely can have both, even if they’re on the same page as each other.

Just try not to be so spammy and slap your affiliate links all over the page. Just 2-3 links within the page is plenty.

However, you may not want to have both Adsense and affiliate links on the same page. If you’re promoting an affiliate product in an article, that page’s goal should be to get people to click your affiliate link, and not to click on an ad.

Always test your results

Sometimes, advertising will decrease your affiliate conversion rates.

That’s because Adsense ads can cause visitors to click away from page before they have a chance to check out all your content.

If you’re considering using both Adsense and affiliate marketing, you should try testing out which option is more profitable – Just adsense, just affiliate marketing, or both.

The results will vary for each niche site.

For example, with RankXL, you’ll see that I don’t have Adsense. It just doesn’t make sense to have it because it decreases conversions from my other monetization options.

The business model of RankXL is to get people to opt-in to my email list, then get them to purchase an affiliate product or even my own products later on down the road.

I don’t promote many affiliate products on this site, but for ones that I do, I make sure that the page is optimized to convert highly. I don’t like distracting it with anything else on the page.

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