Ezoic review - Optimising your website with Ezoic to increase user engagement and earnings
If you own a website and are like me you are constantly looking to change aspects of your website to improve user experience, change ad placement, fix bugs or just add something cool you saw on someone else’s website. Obviously there is some personal enjoyment gained from implementing these tweaks/changes but it can sometimes distract from adding new content to my site.
I also find that the possibilities are endless just in the last few months I have re-designed my site to implement a basic responsive web design, implemented different ad solutions such as switchads, spoutable
and disqus content promotion as well as tested a few different sizes and placements for Adsense banners.
This is all on top of adding new content, answering questions and keeping up to date with SAP development.
All of which were actually successful it just took a lot of time and I still had lots I wanted to do, mainly around helping people find information on my site and improving the responsive design. Because even though my site was now fully responsive and passed the google mobile-friendly test with flying colours, I didn’t feel everything including ad placement was really optimised. For example I was just showing the same ads on desktop and mobile but in different positions. As I have since found out this is not the best solution.
- Why I implemented the Ezoic platform
It was at this point a stumbled across the Ezoic platform, it seemed interesting but I wasn’t 100% sure what it really did and if it would help. I did like the sound of the layout/ad placement tester but kind of thought I had actually already found the perfect layout for my Adsense ads. It was the passive benefits of ezoic that also interested me such as improved mobile and tablet support. Also once you are setup on the Ezoic platform you have the ability to build a fully native iphone app automatically based on the content of your site. This app is submitted to the app store like normal and is updated as your site is updated.
My site was also missing a menu system so another benefit for me was the ability to add an integrated menu onto every page.
This menu is maintained within your dashboard and implemented to every page appropriately based on the theme used and the user’s platform (i.e. mobile/desktop/tablet website or iphone app).
The final plus point is that the Ezoic platform seemed to be free so I decided to give it a try and applied.
I was then contacted by Mike who gave me a very good overview of how Ezoic works and how it could help my website to improve.
You can actually focus your optimisation goals to target improved user engagement (time on site, pages per visit), improved revenue or a balance of the two.
The default is a balanced approach as there is no point optimising for revenue if it means your users don’t like your site and stop using it!!!
But to take this a step further you could argue that if users like your site more
…they will come back more,
…use it more,
…recommend it more and therefore you will earn more!!!!
So should you set your focus fully on User experience, which in turn will earn you more? Something to think about, I have left mine on a balanced approach for now!
There is actually a custom setting that lets you fine tune your goals even futher so might give that a try at some point!
- Cost of Ezoic is essentially free!!
Mike also clarified the cost aspect, basically because Ezoic are a certified google partner they are allowed to display 5 ads per page rather than the usual 3. They therefore place a small none intrusive extra ad at the bottom of some of your pages, and this is all you pay for the Ezoic platform. There are other payment options if you feel you want to pay a more traditional monthly subscription for whatever reason but I think everybody would go for the default option as it is essentially free.
- Ezoic Setup and Installation
For me installing Ezoic was a little scary as I was not too familiar with the technical details of the back end server/DNS configurations and had not spent much time thinking about how it all works.
Apparently I had to contact my hosting provider and point my webserver to the Ezoic DNS. What does this even mean and how do I do it.
Remember Ezoic are a certified Google partner it will be fine…wont it!!!! It was by the way and very straight forward and easy to do.
Although my host one.com didn’t allow me to change this myself(probably very wise!),
I just had to fill in a form and email it to them.
Once this is done it is basically ready to go and the Ezoic platform starts preparing your site and analysing your web pages. During this time you and your users do not see any difference and your website will be displayed as it was before.
In-fact within your dashboard you can at any time specify how many of your visitors see your original site without any optimisation or see your Ezoicized site.
You can also break this down by desktop, tablet and mobile. Therefore you could send all your mobile and tablet traffic to the optimised Ezoic platform and all (or half etc.) your desktop traffic to you original site.
- My initial thoughts about Ezoic
My very initial thoughts were what have they done to my site I don’t really like that layout
…but that one is ok…
…and actually that one is really nice!!! It’s at this point you kind of realise the scale of what the platform is actually capable of.
It had very accurately worked out what was content on my webpages and what was peripheral links and ads etc. without any input from myself.
It was now displaying this content within different themes, yes some didn’t look as nice or perform as well as others but it might as well try them all out right??(You can actually remove specific layouts from the list if you really don’t like them).
But think about it!!! The platform is now in a position to display my content within hundreds of different themes, but not only that test hundreds of different ad network/position/style combinations within each of these themes without me doing anything.
Yes a few things needed a bit of a tweak but these were only minor styling issues within my own stylesheet. Ezoic keeps most styles you have on your actual content and I just had to update a couple of these (just things like adding a "clear:left" to force a new line).
- Testing so far!!
In the very early days of testing (first few weeks) the performance of desktop themes tested was lower than my original site.
This has gradually improved and generally desktop themes are performing around the same level as my original layout with some higher and some lower.
This is still within the first 3 or 4 weeks so very very early days and actually quite encouraging with plenty of testing to do before the right layouts are found.
I have tested enough ad networks and monitisation options in the past to know that this is going to perform well over time and has already started better than most!!
On an even more positive note as you can see from day one every single mobile theme it has tried has performed between 108% and 152% better than my original site.
This is good enough for me to keep this going as it has only tested a very small fraction of the possibilities and even now it is looking like the very very worst case scenario could be that all my mobile and tablet traffic would be directed through the optimised platform and all my desktop traffic could still be displayed using my original code.
I could be wrong though and I will keep you updated. If you cant wait and want to give it a try yourself apply for an Ezoic account and let me know what you think.
There really is no negative to trying this out, if you dont like it or it doesn't work for you turn it off in the dashboard or remove the implementation altogether!!
- Other benefits of Ezoic
Even though I implemented the platform based on the reasons above there are many other benefits to Ezoic that I really didn’t even know about until it was installed. Things like being able to deploy a commenting system to all your pages automatically, use of cloudflare to speed up page load times and prevent abusive bots and crawlers and getting all your ad networks to bid against each other…Check out the Benefits of Ezoic platform for more information on these and other benefits.
Benefits of Ezoic
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