Weighing in on a site’s re-design

Page Views & Advertising

Ultimately, this site is his baby and his full-time job.  He’s got to pay the bills, and subscriber’s fees are only one avenue.  He needs advertising revenue as well.  One thing that distinguishes the threaded from the linear is the number of page reloads.  Under the old setup, you had to click on a topic thread to view that message (if there was one).  Under linear, when you load a topic up, you can have 10-20 replies per page.  You see the dilemma?  You’re reloading the page less, thus reducing the number of ad impressions.  As far as I’m aware, Google’s AdSense has two components – a “per click” and “per impression” payout rate.  Impressions aren’t much – pennies at best.  Clicks are what you want.  But the issue is that if you aren’t showing ads that are relevant, you won’t get the clicks.

To be fair, it today’s day and age, very few people actually intentionally click on an advertisement.  So sponsored ads aren’t a huge moneymaker.  But if you have enough impressions, it can easily help you pay the hosting bills.  And let’s face it, anyone who’s tech savvy enough can install a browser extension to block advertisements entirely.  I’ve done it, and the main reason is that I get tired of seeing half a dozen (or more ads) on a page.

Back to the issue at hand – on a linear board, if you’re reading a single thread, you could be on that page for five minutes or more, depending on the depth of discussion.  Even in the “threaded overlay” mode he’s installed, quickly peeking at the code shows that all it’s doing is actually taking all those replies and writing the code so that it doesn’t display the full text – just the individual reply you’re reading.  So it’s a similar problem.  When you click on one of the links to view the other replies, you’re not reloading the page and increasing the number of impressions.

I looked into it a little bit, and it seems that with a different “level” of AdSense, you could program in a “refresh” after so many seconds so that the ad spaces would refresh.  To me, this would be step one going forward if you’re going to stay on a linear forum software.  Get the ads to refresh every 2 minutes on the forums and article pages, and boom, impressions should be up at least double.

There’s not much you’re going to be able to do about actual page-views and unique visitor counts, but at the very least, you can control the ad impressions, and that’s a good start, right?