The pandemic that the world has experienced in 2020 has been absolutely unprecedented. Not only are we facing a virus, though, we are also facing a change in human habits.

This is what has lead to huge drops in traffic for certain sectors, and just as large drops in ad rates. So, for some websites, not only did they see large drops in traffic, but the remaining traffic they had was worth nowhere near as much, in terms of monetizing it with ads.

Now, let’s be honest. Nobody saw this pandemic coming. A lot of us were not prepared for what was about to happen and what is potentially going to continue to happen (with a second spike looking very likely for Europe in the last remaining months of 2020. What we can do, though, is learn from our mistakes, and come back stronger, so we can mitigate the risk of any future changes in market behavior, and look to capitalize, whatever the world throws at you. Here are some ways you can do this.


Diversify Your Revenue Stream

The first that has become apparent is just how much of an impact a drop in advertising demand can affect revenue. On my websites, I saw drops of over 100% and I am sure other websites were in similar situations too. This was because many of the markets that couldn’t operate in lockdown, such as travel, holidays, hospitality etc. simply paused or canceled their ad campaigns. As well as this, the first area of a business that usually gets cut when things are ‘tight’ is in marketing.

For this reason, it is a good idea to not be completely dependent on advertising to monetize a website. There are other ways you can do this, such as:

  • Affiliation
  • Sponsored content
  • Paid content
  • Subscriptions/memberships
  • E-commerce shops

For example, those that are likely to see drops in ad revenue are not necessarily going to see similar drops in their sales, or subscriptions/memberships, or sponsored content. Diversifying your revenue stream spreads the risk a lot better than sticking all of your eggs in one basket with display advertising alone.


Reliance on Google?

Another reliance we have, along with advertising, tends to come with the organic traffic from Google. It is not uncommon to see websites gain as much as 70-90% of all their traffic from Google alone, forgetting other search engines. This is huge. Therefore, when human habits change, causing drop-offs in search volumes for ranking keywords, or Google deranks you due to X and Y reasons, you’re going to feel the hit pretty hard.

This is exactly why it is a good idea to diversify your traffic sources too. 100,000 visitors from 5 different channels spread equally is so much better than 120,000 visitors all from Google. Look to start new traffic channels such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Encourage direct traffic too


Create Multiple Websites in Multiple Sectors

For the majority of website owners, they will have stuck all of their eggs in one basket with one website, and create content for just that website, considering that is what they believe to be a subject matter expert in. As much as this has worked up to now, Covid has made clear that it can destroy different markets within months.

For this reason, look to create 2-3 different websites in different sectors. This will also help with peaks and troths in traffic. For example, some of my websites have their worst months in the summer, whilst others have their best months in the summer.

It’s a little similar to choosing shares to buy on the stock market. Instead of buying lots of shares in one company, it is generally better and safer to spread your portfolio across many.

Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money developing himself into an expert in PPC, blogging SEO, and online marketing. He now runs others websites such as Poem Analysis, Book Analysis, and Ocean Info. You can follow him @willGreeny.

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