Elias Pelcastre

What goes on behind an independent website?

It’s been two months a year since eliaspelcastre.com went online, and the ride hasn’t been as smoothly as I thought it would be.

Since I started, several authors have joined this “startup” that wants to bring internet users interesting and useful content, and work as a platform for people who wish to make it as journalists.

I understand readers who dislike ads. I’m not too fond of them myself – someone trying to sell me something at all cost?

There are new ways to get rid of advertisements on websites and videos; that way you, as a reader, get to quench your thirst for entertainment and knowledge for free without interruptions.

A computer, or mobile device, and an Internet connection (Wi-Fi of mobile) and you’re set; no need to buy a magazine or get to spend on a newspaper. I get it; I was used to accessing a site, read or see what caught my attention, and move on to the next thing.

But since I started working as an independent – let’s say – publisher, I got to experience the awkward position that websites find themselves.

Google provides online publishers an option to make “easy” money. You enroll a website; Google checks it, and after a day or two creates you an AdSense account.

Now you can create an ad, copy the HTML code and embed it on your website. Every time someone clicks on an ad, you get a certain amount of money, depending on the country where that click was made.

For example, if a user in Mexico City clicks on an ad, the website earns around 3 MXN (0.18 USD). A click from New York could translate into a 12x revenue, or 40 MXN (2.38 USD).

Readers only click on ads that catch their attention. Case in point:

A technology-related article would display a Samsung ad of the new Galaxy S6.
Imagine you’re in New York and looking for a new phone. You click on the ad to find out more about Samsung’s new flagship, and the website makes 2.18 USD. In this scenario, if people made 10 clicks the website could start paying the authors.
Google then asks publishers for a base amount of revenue to pull it out. In Mexico, that amount is a monthly 1,200 MXN (71 USD). Oh, and the publisher doesn’t get that base if they don’t have it together before the end of the month. Or even right away. It takes a month for Google to process the deposit.

As I said in the beginning, ads are annoying, and users don’t want to see them. What does a publisher do?

The next thing I can think of is sponsorships. But what happens if the website is just starting and doesn’t have the numbers (I’m talking about the number of readers that access the site every day, month or year) to attract sponsors? The site is then not profitable.

Readers win, publishers loose. So I decided to conduct an experiment: a PayPal donation button.

Remember those 2.38 USD I mentioned earlier? Let’s round them up to $1 and be even. You get to enjoy our authors’ work – have you read Jamie Perez’ new interesting article on veganism? – and we get to keep bringing you excellent posts.

Does the previous deal sound fair? I have accessed several websites that ask for a contribution and believe me, if I had the money, I would like to give something back. Behind a website, there is a person; content doesn’t appear magically out of nowhere (having the site on the net also costs).

I added a PayPal donation button next to every article and inside a dedicated section at the bottom of the website to see how things pan out. You won’t find any ads that get on your face (not for a while anyway). If the button doesn’t work, I guess Google Ads is still the best way to earn some money – even those 0.18 USD now and then.

The real intention of this post besides getting you to make a heartfelt donation is to open your eyes to the situation independent publishers go through: people behind websites need to make a living too.

If you find the content that you read on eliaspelcastre.com useful or interesting, consider making a donation. A dollar can’t even buy you the latest Janet Jackson single “Unbreakable” on iTunes (it’s 1.29 USD).

Maybe I need the smallest violin in the world to get you reflecting on what I just wrote:

Or a cute puppy to get you thinking:

Seriously though, eliaspelcastre.com wants to become a hub for awesome writers and content. We need your help ?

Update

I decided to take down th Google Ads widget. So please consider making a donation on our dedicated page. Thank you! For supporting eliaspelcastre.com!