My Experience with Nster: An Effective Tool for Site Monetization
As a blogger, there are essentially three ways that I can make money from my writing:
1. Affiliate Sales
2. Products & Services
When it comes to advertising, display ads like those from Google AdSense are certainly an easy way to go, but there are definite limitations. Most readers aren't interested in clicking on ads, and Google limits you on how many ad blocks you can use on your site (for good reason).
Instead, I have continued to explore alternative methods of advertising, like the Discovery content provided by Disqus. In my Comment widget area, Disqus suggests to users other content within my site they may be interested in, as well as content from other sites for which I get paid for clicks just like display ads.
Taking this concept of clicks for content to a new level is Nster.
Using Nster for Site Monetization
What makes Nster unique and effective is that instead of ads for other businesses (like Google AdSense), Nster displays stories and articles from other websites. As a Publisher, you would select one or more categories of interest and the Nster widget would display appropriate articles that are likely to be clicked on by your readers.
For instance, on my site, which talks about social media and technology, I noted Nster-powered articles about Facebook and Outlook and so on.
We'll get into implementation specifics in a moment, but the general idea is that you'll place the Nster widget on your site wherever you want the content links to appear, and then wait to see what happens. I put mine below all of my blogs and articles so that, when a visitor finishes reading one of my posts, they're prompted to read some other articles that may be of interest. You can see them below this post, in fact.
Currently, Nster offers the following categories of content: Amazing, Celebrities, Dating, Digital, Entertainment, Fashion, Fun, Games, Health and Beauty, Home, Life and Family, Politics & Economics, Society, Sport & Fitness and Travel.
Using Nster for Site Traffic
The articles that are being displayed via Nster are just like yours - written by other publishers and bloggers, but they're using Nster for a different purpose: Site Traffic. One great option for publishers is to have their most popular posts appear on other people's websites and generate more readers and visitors.
If you're interested in gaining more traffic to your site, you have the option of Traffic Exchange or Buying Traffic. Traffic Exchange simply means that you show other people's links and in return, they show yours. Nster facilitates the process and actually gives you a bump of an additional 20% of traffic when you participate. Or, alternatively, you can negotiate a cost per click and pay to have your posts shared on other sites. It's that simple.
There is no cost to create a Nster account, and no cost to display content on your site or to exchange content. The only cost is if you should choose to buy traffic.
Measuring Nster Results
Nster offers detailed reports and statistics so that you can monitor your site and account activity and measure your success. As a publisher looking to monetize my own content through traffic referrals, my Nster report tells me how many impressions the Nster widget recorded, how many click-throughs from users to displayed stories, and how much revenue was generated as a result.
Getting Started with Nster
Getting my initial widget started and set up couldn't have been easier. I went to nster.com and signed up for a free account. An account manager contacted me and got everything started for me, including sending me an initial widget for my site.
There is no programming knowledge needed to use Nster. All you have to be able to do is copy and paste some HTML code into a block or widget area - wherever you want the content to appear on your site. In my case, as I have a Drupal site, it was an easy matter to create a new Block, insert the embed code, and designate that Block to appear below all article content.
Nster does offer a full array of customization options in case you want to choose different colors and styles, and you can even opt to have content titles appear as overlays above their corresponding images. Because it's a snippet of HTML code, it can be embedded on any website, wherever you want it. The widget is also responsive, and will expand and contract, shifting stories to a new row, depending on the width of the area in which it is placed. All you have to think about is the style of the widget, and if any colors or fonts need to be adjusted.
As soon as you've placed your widget onto your site, it's active and will begin to display stories from your selected categories.
The Benefits of Nster Site Monetization
I've already suggested several benefits and differences of using Nster as opposed to some of the alternatives, but one aspect that they discussed with me that was pretty impressive was that, for their regular partners, once you've established a baseline of performance, payments are prepaid. In other words, once Nster sees how ads on my site will perform over time, they'll pay me in advance for content placement. That's a far cry from the month or more I often have to wait for other advertisers to pay!
And by displaying interesting stories rather than just ads for businesses, I'm potentially adding value to my site for my readers. Similar to what I do on social networks, by sharing these stories and articles that people are potentially interested in, I'm helping them, and providing new opportunities for engagement and interest.
I'm just getting started with Nster, but I couldn't be happier with what I've seen so far. It's exactly the kind of monetization tool that makes sense for my site and any other site that provides & generates at least 50k impressions daily, and I believe for most other bloggers and website publishers as well.