Concerns regarding the future of journalism and the future of newspapers and other traditional publications have been around the media industry for several years.
These concerns are now coming to a head as traditional printed newspapers and magazines continue to lose circulation, and as publishers scramble to find a place online that will generate the revenue needed to maintain their high-cost operations.
The future of journalism is uncertain, and journalists need to change with the times.
The traditional print based newspaper industry has little chance of surviving the unprecedented social and economic changes that are coming.
Each year, more readers are abandoning printed newspapers in droves, and are switching their loyalties to online publications. Those readers are being rapidly followed by advertisers, who are abandoning the traditional newspapers in ever growing numbers.
To survive online, website operations need to be lean, focused and committed, and need to have a game plan.
It is challenging for traditional publishing organisations to generate the high levels of earnings previously enjoyed by traditional printed newspapers. It is however, increasingly easy for appropriately skilled individuals to operate cost effective websites.
Unlike traditional newspaper publishing, few advertisers are prepared to pay thousands of dollars to display a full page advert on a website page for only a single day, with no guarantee of any return on their investment.
New technology developments are constantly promising to change the future of journalism, with the creation of website editing systems which require little in the way of technical skill or knowledge, are economical to operate and have been proven to generate visitor numbers at levels which the majority of website owners can only imagine.
However, new technology alone does not drive visitors to websites, and neither do sophisticated graphic designs or special technical effects.
What does drive visitors to websites and encourage those visitors to return to the websites again later, is high quality, well written content which the search engines love, and which they will index and use to drive even more visitors to the websites.
Experienced journalists possess well developed skills in creating content which readers want to access, using relevant keywords and article structures that align with what the search engines want to promote. This development makes the future of journalism look promising
Two issues have held many journalists back from developing and operating their own websites.
The first of these issues relates to a lack of relevant knowledge about the Internet. Many journalists are not technically inclined, their skills are instead related to the areas of written and visual communication. So operating an effective website of their own, has often been beyond the reach of many journalists.
This issue is now being solved by applications such as the one displayed in the videos displayed on the home page of this website, and described throughout this site.
The second issue is that of how to generate adequate earnings from operating a website. This is the same issue that the traditional newspaper owners and operators are facing, and which has caused many individuals to question the future of journalism.
The second challenge is increasingly likely to be solved by Google, who have for some time been launching the Google Affiliate Network. The Network enables website owners who operate credible, websites to display advertising which is provided by advertisers through the Google Affiliate Network program.
This is not the Google Adsense program that we are familiar with seeing displayed on many websites. The Google Affiliate Network is a completely different program, which is designed to overcome many of the challenges associated with the Google Adsense program.
Within the Google Affiliate Network program, approved advertisers provide advertising opportunities to approved website operators.
The operators of credible websites are invited to join the affiliate program and once approved, can apply to promote advertising provided by individual advertisers. Each website which displays Affiliate Network advertising, must be approved by both Google and by the individual advertisers.
Website owners who display advertising for a specific advertiser's products or services, are remunerated when visitors to the website owners site follow a link from the website, to the website of the advertiser, and complete a defined action, such as placing an order for a product or service.
Google act as the intermediary broker between the advertiser and the website displaying the advertisement.
This ensures that each party's best interests, including the interests of the consumer are appropriately served. The introducing website is credited with a sales commission when a visitor to the advertiser's website completes a transaction.
Other organisations are developing similar programs to the Google Affiliate Network, although because of Google's existing high profile, they are likely to lead the field in the development of Affiliate Network programs in the foreseeable future.
To bring sufficient visitors to a website which will enable an adequate volume of sales to be generated, it is essential that the website provides high quality, credible and relevant information and services to their visitors, to ensure that visitors will return to the website again in the future.
Journalists are well positioned to create written content which will bring thousands of daily visitors to their websites.
The secret to achieving solid results as an affiliate, lies in creating a loyal following of visitors who access your website repeatedly because the website provides the information and services that visitors want to access.
A website which only attracts visitors once from the search engines, and which does not display information of a type that brings visitors back to the website again in the future, may generate some small benefits through their association with Affiliate Network advertisers.
However, it is the websites that generate orders from loyal repeat visitors which will achieve ongoing earnings, by providing those loyal repeat visitors with ongoing access to relevant high quality goods and services.
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