Whoever said that the best things in life are free wasn’t talking about great content. In a world where someone has to pay the bills, advertisers are more than happy to help fund your website — assuming, of course, that your great content generates great traffic.

Publishers can’t just hang their hats on quality content and hope to thrive. Almost all publishers have to figure out a way to drive and monetize traffic that their content produces.

Operating a website is an extremely competitive endeavor, so publishers should develop an aggressive approach to properly monetize content and use the traffic they have to keep their website funded.

Here are four ways you can more effectively drive, maintain and monetize content as a publisher:

1. Constantly Promote Your Content

Publishers can’t rely on sufficient ROI with minimal marketing. Recirculating content not only keeps traffic on your website, but also puts evergreen content in front of your audience to keep them interested. The ad units on your website don’t just have to promote advertisers’ content; they can also be used to engage your audience and inspire increased exploration of your site.

Once you’ve got interested visitors perusing your content, the likelihood of them engaging with ads increases. So, then, by increasing viewership on your website via content recirculation, you’re also maximizing your potential revenue from advertising.

2. Utilize Native Advertising

While some advertisers may continue to use banner ads and other more “traditional” forms of digital marketing (despite their drawbacks), many are turning to native advertising as another way to engage with consumers.

Native advertisements offer advertisers a fresh way to interact with readers without disrupting their experience on your website. Native ads often cost less to produce than banner ads and provide a more versatile, engaging experience for readers.

For example, mobile banner ads can interfere with readers’ natural flow through a piece, prompting some to flat-out ignore the display or, worse, leave your website altogether.

Conversely, native advertising units fit seamlessly within content, and consumers end up walking away feeling like they’ve been informed rather than feeling like your ad intruded on their reading experience.

Moreover, native advertising yields financial dividends. Native advertising revenue is expected to hit $10.7 billion this year. Embracing native advertising will allow you to attract new advertisers and increase your profit, which will allow you to continue publishing.

3. Don’t Neglect Mobile

Next time you take public transportation — or are anywhere in public, for that matter — take a quick scan of the people around you. Where is their attention fixed? Most of those eyes are probably glued to some sort of mobile device.

Such mobile-savvy consumers are quick to click away from a page that doesn’t have an enticing mobile layout. With so many content platforms to compete with, an optimized mobile aesthetic is key. Fifty-five percent of readers’ time on The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Insider and About.com is spent on those outlets’ mobile offerings as opposed to their desktop counterparts.

Mobile revenue isn’t matching readership in terms of fervor, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Make sure the ads on your page can be optimized for mobile, or you’ll be losing out on potential revenue you probably didn’t even know existed.

4. Keep Tinkering

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to monetizing your audience; it’s a process that requires patience and dedication.

Just as you constantly tweak your content to appeal to your audience, put the same effort into testing new ad units to see what works best. Any ad network you work with should be happy to do this and provide great suggestions to help get you started. After all, the network wants to succeed just as much as you do.

Securing your place in the web traffic business is difficult, but the above steps construct a viable path to creating profitable content. Crafting quality content and working with an ad network to properly drive, maintain and monetize your product will aid you in staving off content-producing competitors.