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Thread: What would you suggest?

  1. #1
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    What would you suggest?

    Hi, I'm new but I've been visiting here on and off for a while. I have a large, unofficial fansite for a music artist that runs on a dedicated server and gets nearly 1 million page views per month, at last check. I currently don't have traffic monitoring software on the box, but I'm thinking of buying WebTrends even though it's pricey. The site has about 12,000-13,000 static HTML pages, most of which are being moved to a database so I can maintain control over this monster. There's also a lot of streaming media, which I run off a separate dedicated server. I spend about $200/month total for the servers, which I think is a nice deal. But I also pay music/software licensing fees to BMI and Ascap (about $550/yr) and RealNetworks ($800/yr), and maybe another $250-$500/yr on miscellaneous expenses like script upgrades, etc.

    Anyway, I don't make one cent from the site, which is a waste, and I'd at least like to make back some of my expenses. My new design templates don't feature any ads or banners because I didn't want to detract from the design, but now I'm thinking of squeezing ads down at the bottom, even though I hate the way that looks. What would you suggest as ways I could make back some of the money I lose? I don't want to charge users fees, and I don't have a license to sell merchandise for the artist. I'm planning to affiliate with music retailers so I can at least make some spare change.

    Another thing, when you look up the artist's name, my site ranks either #2 or #3 in Google and Yahoo listings. I'm thinking of approaching the artist's management and seeing if they'll let me work for them officially, but it might mean cutting back on my content. For instance, I have video files of TV performances, but an official site wouldn't have those because they have to get permission from broadcasters. I run mostly under the radar, so I get away with it. I get an occasional request to remove media files, but no one twists my arm.

    What would you suggest? Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Firstly I wouldn't get web trends.

    As far as ad options go, without actually seeing the site its hard to give advice, but with one million page views you should be able to expect atleast $1k a month in ads, and that is pretty low.

    Obviously you should join Amazon's affiliate program and link to dvds/cds/books/etc about the artist where appropriate.

    I'm not sure how well adsense would do on your site, and other ad networks generally require banners to be placed above the fold, not in the footer. You might want to reconsider your design.

    Then there is always popups, which I'm guessing you do not want to use.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for your advice! I don't want to put ads on top - they would take too much attention away from the design, and pop-ups are terrible.

    If not WebTrends, what do you prefer? RealNetworks suggested WebTrends to monitor my media files traffic, because I have to provide reports to BMI/Ascap on how many times songs are played.

  4. #4
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    I am an iTunes affiliate through linkshare.com and that makes me a bit of money even though I don't run a music-related site (usually through gift certificate commisions). iTunes might work well for you, and you can offer it alongside links to buying the physical media through amazon.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Any log analyzer program can tell you how many times a file is accessed. Urchin (now part of Google) could work for you. Any log analyzer really.

    For actual page stats (not streaming files) you could use a whole variety of free/cheap options.

    Webtrends is more for corporate sites with large budgets, I don't think you fit that bill.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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  6. #6
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    Thanks! iTunes is a great suggestion. I hadn't even thought about that. Plus there are the other download services too.

    I don't want to put the Urchin javascript code in all of my Web pages. I think I'll ask my Web host for a suggestion. As it stands, my Web site crashes their freebie traffic analysis software, and I plan on adding at least four other Web sites to that server that will hopefully become popular. Adsense would probably work really well for those. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. #7
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Urchin has a version that runs server side only, no JS required. I'm not sure the status of it now that google owns it but a version of it runs on one of my servers fine.

    I also use AXS, which is server side and free, but unable to monitor anything other than HTML pages (no media files).
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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