It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started out or if you have been running a website for over a decade; at some point you will realise that you want to start earning money with your traffic. Of course, the first step to being able to make money is having a lot of traffic. In order to keep this article from getting too off track am going to assume you already have a fair amount of traffic going to your site. Hopefully this article will answer the question “What are the best ways to monetize your website?”.
Showing advertisements (aka ads) on your website in forms of banners, popups and popunders is probably the most common way of monetizing websites on the internet. It’s something that you will find anywhere, including on the very website where you are reading now (if you are not using some sort of ad blocker plugin). With a low amount of traffic this will not net you a lot of revenue, but with a good paying niche and decent traffic this should act as a small but very consistent monetization method that will at least pay for the hosting.
There’s a bunch of different ad networks out there, as well as several different ad units, banner sizes, etc so setting up ads on your website in a way so that they do not bother your users should not be too much of a hassle.
It could actually be a positive thing. When I go to a website and see ads that have been placed so that they will bother visitors as little as possible, it just makes me want to keep my ad blocker off and support them as much as I can.
Sell your own ad space
If you have a good amount of traffic, you might be able to earn even more money by cutting out the middleman, (in this case whatever ad network you’ll be using) and selling your own ad space on your site. I’ve seen people getting offers that earn them three times whatever revenue they would normally be earning from their ads by selling their space directly. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re usual middleman takes 60% of the profits, but it most likely means that your ad space is actually worth more to the advertisers in the first place.
Selling ad space directly means that the ad will be well within your niche. If you for example were to be advertising normally through Google, they will be more inclined to show the user whatever ads they think is the most interesting to the user, even if that is way different than the niche of the content they’re reading on your site.
There are tons of different affiliate / referral programs on the internet. Any company wishing to increase their sales usually offer other websites the opportunity to sell their product for them, in return they gain a cut of the profit made from a sale.
The most commonly used affiliate program would be Amazon associates, which lets you sell any product listed on Amazon via your own site. However, you will find a lot of other affiliate programs out there. You can earn money through selling products, services, premium memberships and in some cases even free signups will net you a dollar or two.
Affiliate advertisement isn’t always as consistent, but will most likely earn you much more money from your traffic than normal advertisements. That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from using both. For example, a site that is optimized for good conversion rates and leads might earn you upwards of $1000/mo if your website gets 20k – 30k visitors per month. With the same traffic you might earn $100 if you were just using normal ads and have a good CPM.
Reddit user /u/axelhansson reported in his case study that with around 31k sessions from 24k users on his website, he earned $1010 from various affiliate programs and $140 from Google AdSense. Note the vast difference.
Selling your own product or service
Print on Demand Merch
Selling merch has blown up in the last couple of years. If you have a decent following on social media or a big readership on your blog / website you could start selling merch like cups, stickers and t-shirts today without having to worry about keeping any inventory at all.
All you need is to sign up with PoD service like MerchByAmazon or Redbubble, advertise your storefront and/or product and bam. If a t-shirt gets sold it will immediately get printed and shipped to the customer for you without any need for you to keep a large box of merchandise in your bedroom.
Whether you’re offering financial advice, writing stories or sharing any sort of information, you can earn money by writing a book! Despite the initial reservations about the time and work this may portray, you needn’t worry. I’m talking short, concise and useful / entertaining chunks of information. It can be anything from 5000 to 100 000 words. Basically like a pretty long article that you’re selling to your audience for a cheap buck. You can sell these ebooks through Amazon, or any site really who is willing to publish it for you.
Create your own physical product
This is by far the most risky option on the list. You will need to take a lot of things into consideration:
- Development costs
- Production costs
- Is the product actually useful?
- Do you actually have the skills necessary to sell it?
How good is your product? How good are your at what you do? There are many occasions where someone who makes gadgets out of their bedroom is far more successful than someone who hires a team, starts a company and rents a small factory. I can’t really tell you how to do this, as it is different for person to person. You will have to sit down and think for yourself if this is a viable option. I’m just putting the thought on the table for you.
Create your own digital product
This is a very broad term, seeing as it could be your own software or app, but it could also be one of your ebooks or maybe even your website as a whole. This really relies on skill, or your budget, if you lack the skill to make it on your own. It takes away the danger of keeping a physical inventory you may never get sold, but is still more risky than say the Print on Demand option listed above.
Now now, another small way to enter the crypto boom. I know it might seem weird for me to sneak these in here and there, but I really believe in the future of cryptocurrency. You’ve most likely heard of mining and trading already, or maybe even ad networks that pay in bitcoin (mentioned here). What if I told you could mine cryptocurrency with your website? This is not something I i actually recommend unless you have a LOT of traffic. The general gist of it is to use your user’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency for you while they are visiting your site.
If you’re running your website via wordpress, the easiest way to mine would be by using the Coinhive plugin, which mines the cryptocurrency monero for you.
There are a lot of things to consider if you want to go into this. I’ll list a few of them below but depending on your situation you might have other reasons to consider as well.
- How many of your users will mind that you are mining using their CPU
- Do you have the traffic to make it profitable in the first place?
- How many of your users visit your site via their smartphone vs their desktop? A smartphone will mine much less efficiently than a desktop
- Does it fit in well with your websites niche?
- Does your users know what this is? If they don’t know what cryptocurrencies are, they might think that your site is giving them a virus.
This is kind of in the grey-zone between normal ads and affiliate advertisement. The general idea of it is:
If you are really popular or an expert in your niche that people listen to, you will even gain the opportunity to do sponsored posts for other companies and their products. Doing so will probably net you a fairly nice amount of revenue as you are now selling your own posts. To make sure that this does not hurt you and your brand it is important to
- Keep a good ratio of sponsored posts vs. normal content
- Make sure the product / service you are advertising is in your audience’s best interest
- Even if the product is interesting to your readers, make sure the product is legit and of high quality so you’re not sending off your precious fans to a scummy company.
- Make sure you get a copy of the product for free so that you can test it out and give your fans your genuine, honest opinion about it and not just post some paragraph you didn’t even write just because you got paid to do it.
Creating an email list is the perfect way to turn everyday strangers into loyal readers who come back every now and then hungry for your content. With traffic and time, the list will continue to grow. An email list has many, many uses. The first use is to consistently email your subscribers to keep them notified whenever a new article is out. This will increase your traffic since these people who were already loyal might now visit 10 times a month instead of 3-5, which will increase your ad revenue.
You also have the option to promote any new products you make, special sales or ebooks you have released. It’s good to remember that there are the people who are most likely to convert into a sale. A good way to promote your email list is to offer something for free to new subscribers, for example an ebook of your that would otherwise cost $1+ on Amazon.
Flipping your site
Flipping or selling your website is a great way to earn money on the way out when you have decided that it is time to put the project to rest. Maybe you’re in need of more money to pay off your mortgage or maybe you simply don’t have the time or passion anymore. There will always be a market for well-established websites that have already built a good, steady following.
A good way to calculate what your website could be worth, is to take the monthly income and multiply it by 12 – 24. For example if you’re blog is making you $500/mo, it could be worth as much as $6000 – $12,000.
Where can i sell my site?
If you’re niche is for example, marketing, SEO or finance and you provide advice in your articles, you can earn great amounts of money by offering expert advice in exchange for an hourly consultant rate. This can net you $100/h or more depending on how high you value the information and help you can give your clients.
You might be thinking that you’re already covering your niche in your articles, but some people have a hard time understand unless you twist the words and tell them directly. It’s also hard to go deeper in a subject in a single article. The client will have a much easier time understanding what you are talking about if they are given the opportunity to have a one on one skype-call with you where they can ask whatever questions they might have (they are paying you after all).
If you’re ranking high in SERPS and get a lot of traffic, you’ll be surprised to see how many people are willing to pay their hard-earned money just for a piece of your advice.
Now, this is not a consistent way of making money in any way, but depending on what kind of content you’re creating this could be a nice way to let your fans show their appreciation. You could accept donations in any currency, even bitcoin! Just remember to combine it with a meaningful sentence. People don’t like beggars or just a plain donate button. Explain to them why donations would help or just include something simple like “If this information helped you in any way, please consider donating a cup of coffee. It helps keeping me going”
In conclusion, there are many ways to monetize your website. It is up to you to decide what fits your content and your audience the best.