By: Karina Fabian, Marketing Communications Specialist

Paywalls have a lot of advantages and can produce a steady stream of income, but they are not for every publication. Today, we talk about seven reasons a paywall might not be best for your media news site.

  1. It’s easy to look elsewhere. If your content is easily found on other sources, then having a paywall only encourages readers to go to sites that offer the same thing for free. Combat that by offering high-value or unique content – local news, original commentary, or unique presentation.
  2. You have very high traffic. If your site enjoys heavy traffic, installing a paywall may hurt this valuable resource. You may want to consider finding better ways to capitalize on those eyes with better advertising on your website.
  3. It interferes with breaking news. If you have big news – a natural disaster, an important election, an exclusive on a big story – and it’s hiding behind a paywall, you could lose casual readers and hinder your own mission of informing the public. In these cases, you might want a section outside the paywall.
  4. Some paywalls can alienate readers. How many times have you gotten interested in an article, only to be interrupted by a pop-up demanding money? For most of us, our impulse is to click away, particularly if the information was interesting but not vital. Some newspapers combat this by covering up all but the first few lines rather than interrupting with a pop-up. Others allow a certain number of articles to be read or give a guest pass for a limited time.
  5. You could hurt ad revenue. Digital advertising does better, in general, when there are more eyes on the ad. Paywalls can cut into the number of readers coming to your site and could decrease the effectiveness of your advertising space. Of course, loyal, paying readers may spend more time on the site, which means more time to see the ad. It’s important to look at your readership – do you have regulars, or do you mostly get once-in-a-while visitors?
  6. You are successfully monetizing your website. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Some sites do very well with ad income, sponsorships and one-off donations. If that’s you, a paywall might hurt your readership and upset an already good money-making process.
  7. Deciding the right paywall can be tricky. Should you allow guest passes or partial reads, or stop people from the start? Should you have a free site and a paywall site? How much do you allow a visitor to read for free before demanding recompense? These can be tough questions to answer, especially if you don’t have a good handle on your readership and their habits. Before making any decision, do some analysis of your readers – age, income, duration on your media site, frequency of return visits. These will help you make an informed decision.

If you’d like to learn more about finding the best paywall solution, contact Newscycle and ask to speak to one of our circulation and subscription experts. We can help you navigate the pros and cons and decide what plan may work for you.

Pretty certain you don’t want a paywall? If you prefer to earn your money through digital ads and are looking for software to better manage your ad sales, check out NEWSCYCLE Solutions’ comprehensive list of advertising platforms. Our complete set of advertising tools lets you sell in any media, handle customer resource management, interface with Salesforce and even handle multiple orders on one account. Learn more at


About the Author: Karina Fabian has been writing about business, leadership & management, and software applications for over a decade. Before joining Newscycle, she wrote reviews of business software and services for Top Ten Reviews and Tom’s Guide, and about business practices and leadership for Business News Daily and In addition to writing for Newscycle, she is a freelance writer and author of 16 books.