Since December my income has jumped up considerably from barely earning $100/month to over $700 in January. Things were down a bit in February but jumped back up in March. The main reason for this increase has been link sales.
I stuck a few ads onto Digital Point saying I had a PR5 travel-related site with some link space for sale, pulled a price out of my arse and hoped for the best. I felt a little bit like a sell-out but since the links were buried way down at the bottom of my page, I wasn’t too worried about it. The goal for people buying the links is generally to raise the PR of their own sites. They’re not too concerned about getting traffic so selling footer links is a good way to pass on PR without changing the look and feel of your site too much.
I hadn’t realised this was even possible so it was a real eye-opener when I made my first sale. I’ve always wondered how useful PR really is but in the world of selling links, it pretty much rules. People often don’t even care about the theme of your site, they’re just looking to get links from the highest PR sites they can afford.
While Digital Point is one avenue for selling links, contacting companies directly is also a good way to go. So far I’ve only tried this once with some success, pairing up my very niche <a href="http://www.vantoureurope.com">Van Tour</a> site with Wicked Campers, a company aimed at my site’s target market. I was just trying my luck because it seemed like a logical fit and they agreed. I’ve also been contacted by Generator Hostels to place an ad on my article about <a href="http://www.travoholic.com/articles/etiquette.htm">hostel etiquette</a>. This request came out of the blue really and I’m not sure why they wanted that page specifically or why they chose a banner ad over a text link, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Keep in mind that many people/companies have budgets now for this sort of thing now and SEO companies might also be interested in purchasing links on behalf of their clients so it never hurts to ask! One problem is that you can get locked into having a link on your page for up to a year so the income will come in peaks when the links expire. Plus I’m guessing that the more external links you add, the more likely your PR is to drop. The PR of Travoholic.com has since dropped to 4 and the prices I could once ask for have fallen. Another problem is that you have to come up with a sales pitch and then monitor expiry dates, so it’s not the sort of thing you can put on autopilot like affiliate sales or Adsense.
But overall I’m happy with the move to start selling links. It’s padded my Paypal account a bit and I finally really feel like my sites are beginning to pay off!