So you have a website and you want to make money off your traffic? Anyone who has tried this realizes this is easier said than done. It is not because it is inherently hard to make money from ad revenues; it is that some ad networks make it harder than it needs to be. Here is an overview of each way you can display ads on your site.
Generally there are 3 types of advertisements you can serve up on your website. Cost Per Thousand (CPM) impressions, Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Action (CPA). Depending on your site and content you will have to experiment to find out what is best for you. But generally a mix is usually the best.
CPM rates vary by every ad network and website. Some ad networks will pay as little as .10 cents per thousand impressions and others as high as 30.00. In my experience anything in the 1 2 dollar range is good for an ad network. If you sell your own ads directly you may get between 5 - 30. I have seen rates higher but dont know if they are successful in selling all their available ad space.
CPC rates are all over the board and generally is determined by the industry and competition of that ad. Take Google Adwords as an example. They do most of their ad serving as CPC. Some keywords like "Sound Effects" have little competition and demand so you may only get 10 cents a click if your website has that advertisement appearing on your site. However if you have a keyword like "Contact Manager" the market is saturated and you could make 5 dollars on one click.
CPA is the least common method of ad serving. This requires that not only a user clicks on the advertisement but also takes some required action on the website. For instance, Fire Fox offers a CPA program so that if a person clicks on the Fire Fox advertisement and downloads the browser the website makes 1.00. Other common CPA ads revolve around the user taking surveys or signing up to a website.
You can make substantial amounts of money off of your website traffic but in order to do so you must choose your ad network(s) wisely and even have numerous ad networks to capitalize on all your traffic.