Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a start. There’s a cold sweat running down my forehead and my eyes are wide with panic. My girlfriend turns over and switches on the light to ask what’s wrong, but I can’t tell her. It’s too horrible…
What is this thought that haunts me and keeps me up at night? It’s the idea that someday I may not be able to make a living online anymore the way I have been for the last five years. You see it doesn’t make sense when you think about it: we can earn money online because we put ads on our websites and bring in lots of visitors, but then how are those advertisers making money? Often they make money by putting ads on their sites, or by selling products on their sites that people hardly ever click. The money goes round and round, but when is anything actually bought?
Then there’s the slight problem of visitors getting sick with all that advertising. No one likes having ads constantly pushed in their face and that’s why software exists that can actually ‘block’ ads from appearing on pages. Couldn’t that kind of damage the whole ecosystem as well?
While this feels like a valid concern, I do normally manage to put my mind at rest by thinking about the situation more calmly and logically. When I’m really honest with myself, there’s a slim chance that the internet is ever going to stop being profitable and most of the concerns I’ve listed don’t hold much water. Here’s why…
A Lot IS Sold Online: By no means do those clicks go around and around without anyone actually buying anything. Think about how many things you’ve probably bought online – I know I’ve spent thousands and so have most other people. That’s before you even mention gambling sites or dating sites.
Magazines Survive: The business model of selling advertising space is not a new one and not one that’s exclusive to the internet either. Magazines have been making money this way for years and they continue to do so today. If anything, it’s the publishing industry that should be concerned with the internet encroaching very much on their territory more and more.
New Technologies Make New Opportunities: While some money making models might get less successful with time, there will always be new opportunities cropping up. Crowdfunding for instance has a huge amount of potential for anyone with a good idea for a business or a product and not so long ago it didn’t even exist.
What you really need to do then is to focus on protecting your own bubble and on not relying too heavily on a single strategy. If you have one website with AdSense on it and you rely on SEO as your sole form of marketing, then you are leaving yourself a little exposed. Make your business more resilient by spreading your interests. Create your own product to sell and build an empire instead of one site to sell it from.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Mike enjoys blogging and offering tips to his readers on website optimisation and other aspects of SEO. He works with wisdek as an internet marketing consultant.