As the economy comes to rely more heavily on digital tools, more and more entrepreneurs, freelancers, and workers of all types want to know how to monetize a website. The process is fairly simple, but it requires careful consideration and an often burdensome amount of labor. If you are interested in making a profit from your website and building a successful online business, you can absolutely do so, provided you approach the situation in a thoughtful manner.
Before you begin learning how to monetize a website, you must first ensure that your website is great. This means your content needs to be well-researched, engaging, and original. In addition to quality content, you must promote your website to get and hold the attention of your target audience. Once you have built a great website, you can begin to assess your audience and review the most viable options for profitability based on your assessment. If you follow these steps, you have a great chance of earning an impressive sum.
What Is Website Monetization?
Website monetization is the process of converting your website or blog into a paragon of profitability. There are numerous factors which inform the most efficacious strategies for turning a profit on your content, but, before you can hope to make any considerable amount of money from your website or blog you must first ensure your digital toil adheres to two fundamental principles.
A massive majority of the content on the internet is sub-par and repetitive. If you want to make a profit from your content, it needs to be distinct from the drivel of the masses and it must be truly original. You can verify the quality of your content by conducting extensive research and thereby guarantee your readers are getting excellent new content whenever they visit your website.
We also recommend you spend time researching the competition. Visit websites with content similar to your own and assess their content in comparison with your own. If you want to have a profitable website, you must ensure your style is more provocative and more engaging than that of your peers. Additionally, make sure you don’t fall into the online trap of using repetitive material. Go deeper than your peers and be original.
Many websites and blogs with excellent content are largely ignored based on a lack of effective promotion. The first and most fundamental step you must take to promote your website is to optimize your website for relevance on search engines; this practice is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO involves editing your content using strategic keywords to maximize visibility by manipulating the indexing algorithms that dictate which websites appear in which order on the most popular search engines.
The first and most fundamental step you must take to promote your website is to optimize your website for relevance on search engines; this practice is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If you already have a solid readership, you can drive traffic by having your readers promote your website through social media accounts affiliated with your site. Consider promoting your content, with links to content on your site, through a social media platform will that will resonate with your readers. Our review of the website monetization process found Instagram and Pinterest to be the most effective social media marketing tools. Ideally, your current readers will share your content with their contacts which will, in turn, increase traffic on your social media accounts and on your site.
The final, and most costly recommendation, we have for promoting your site is to use Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. In a PPC promotional scheme, you post an advertisement for your site on another, carefully selected, site with content related to but distinct from the content on your site. Whenever someone clicks on that advertisement he or she is then sent to your site and you are charged a predetermined amount by the site from which the traffic originated.
Can You Earn Serious Money From Monetizing Your Website?
Yes, but only under carefully tailored circumstances in which you will have to invest some serious sweat equity. If you have taken the time to make your content great and promote your site thoughtfully and to the correct demographic, you have the basic elements one needs to begin learning how to monetize a website, provided you carefully consider the principles below.
As we noted in a preceding section, great content and thoughtful promotion are essential to increasing the level of traffic on your site to the extent that it can be profitable in a meaningful way. However, this alone is insufficient. If you want to know how to monetize a website with any degree of specificity, you will have to a use an analytics tool to understand how people traverse your site; not just how many people visit it altogether.
A robust approach to analytics will show you how to monetize a website by showing you what pages visitors spend the most time on, what sub-sections of your site are most popular, and what pages of your site are unpopular. With this information in hand, you will know where to put advertisements and what portions of your site may require revision.
Find Your Niche
Naturally, you are aware of the category to which the content on your site belongs; however, after performing a thorough analysis of traffic on your site, you will know precisely why users visit your site; which should tell you what products and services could be most successfully marketed to your site’s visitors.
For example, if you have a travel-based website and your analytics find that visitors to your site spend the most time engaging with content related to budget hotels in a particular region of the world, you will know your niche more specifically and you will know that your visitors will be most receptive to marketing materials from low-cost accommodation providers in the aforementioned region.
How To Monetize A Website And Make Some Serious Cash
Once you have verified the viability of your content, promoted your site strategically, and conducted nuanced analytics to identify your website’s most viable niche, you are well on your way to discovering how to monetize a website from a hands-on perspective. Consider each of the following monetization strategies in reference the content on your site and the market most likely to be drawn to your site:
When you allow a third-party retailer to market directly to users who visit your site, you are engaged in affiliate marketing. You can begin by finding a product or products you would like to recommend to your readers. Naturally, you must find a product that fits with the niche you have identified: something that your readers will want to buy and be able to afford. Once you have selected an appropriate product, you can play your part to market it to readers.
To make affiliate marketing a viable income stream for your site, you must conduct market research. As we mentioned earlier, without a serious approach to analytics, you could end up marketing Rolex watches to backpackers or seafaring boats to residents of landlocked states and you won’t make any money.
When one of your readers accesses a product through affiliate marketing advertisement and subsequently purchases the relevant product, the affiliate pays you a fixed percentage of the proceeds. The percentages you recieve differ from one product to the next. For bigger ticket items, you can expect a larger percentage, whereas low-cost items yield a smaller percentage but typically sell more frequently, which may yield more profit in the long-term.
The most ubiquitous marketing affiliate is Amazon which uses a service called Amazon Associates. Amazon’s breadth makes it a solid affiliate option regardless of which type of product you plan to market to your readers. If you preside over a site with specific content, consider an affiliate with more specific offerings like Travelpayouts for a tourism or travel site.
Google AdSense is a form of PPC advertising in which Google uses its massive marketing network to market products directly to your readers based on the content of your website. Whenever one of your readers clicks on the advertisement Google has suggested, you recieve a payment for that “click.” Payments vary depending on the retailer being advertised and your engagement with Google AdSense, but “clicks” are typically worth somewhere between $.01 and $2.00 with exceptions for retailers with more expensive wares.
To make the most out of Google AdSense, make sure your content is SEO optimized. The more specifically Google can tailor retailers to the interests of your readers, the more clicks the ads on your site will generate, and the more money you will make.
The Google AdSense aspect of understanding how to monetize a website requires you to drive traffic before you can expect to make any substantial profit. Without a well-developed readership, PPC advertising is often just an annoyance to the dedicated readers you need to build a larger, and ultimately more profitable readership.
Sell Advertising Space
The biggest downside to using Google AdSense is that you are essentially volunteering to let Google take a cut of any and all potential advertising revenue. Selling your own advertising space is admittedly more labor intensive, but it allows you to specify which retailer you would like to work with and endorse while simultaneously cutting out the middle man and sending all the profit to you. If you can cultivate a large readership, retailers may begin to approach you hoping to purchase advertising space on your site.
You can expect profits on the advertising space you sell to be based on the type of product or service most relevant to the content of your site. If your content is centered on high-end yachts, you can expect luxury yacht retailers to spend a fair amount on the advertising space they purchase. On the other hand, if your site covers the amateur table tennis circuit, you should expect a more modest sum for the advertising space you are able to sell.
One of the best available solutions when discovering how to monetize a website is sponsored content. Similar to selling advertising space, you can find a brand with products, services, or content relevant to the content on your website and allow them to put content on your site for a small (or large) fee. Using this method, you can curate a selection of brands that will resonate with your readers, help them sell the product or services you find most valuable, and make a profit in the process.
Profit from sponsored content is largely determined by your ability to hone in on a niche and corner the market within that niche to the greatest extent possible. If you are substantial influence on any particular market, whether it is the market for golf clubs or breathe mints, the major players in that industry will be aware of your influence and they will want as much exposure to your readers as possible.
Create And Sell A Digital Product
If want to know how to monetize a website the hard way, consider designing, creating, and selling an original product. This strategy is not for the faint of heart as designing, marketing, selling, and possibly shipping your product or products to your readers is labor intensive, but, should you choose this strategy, you will have effectively eliminated any potential middle men and earned each and every penny of profit.
The easiest products to sell via your website are digital products like ebooks and mobile applications as they can be produced and sold without incurring any of the expense commensurate with running a brick-and-mortar business. However, if the content of your site is closely related to a product you can reasonably produce, store, and ship, you may well make a serious profit from sales generated and processed through your website.
If you choose to go with a concrete product, don’t underestimate the time that goes into designing a polished product nor the importance of an enticing landing page where potential customers will feel confident in your product and your business.
If you have strong graphic and digital design skills, consider flipping your website and subsequently flipping other websites. Just like flipping a house, flipping your website means taking a site that held little value when you acquired it, taking the time to improve it, and eventually selling it at a profit. Once a website has substantial influence any industry, there is likely to be a buyer interested in purchasing it, hence this is a great option for anyone who wants to know how to monetize a website and stop working so hard on a website in one fell swoop.
After you flip your website successfully, you can use the experience, and the capital, to buy other websites and flip them in a similar fashion. We recommend you stick with the same category of content or other types of content with which you are familiar, but if your design skills are good enough, you can clean up the appearance and the functionality of any website and turn a profit on the endeavor time after time.
Use The NPR Model
National Public Radio (NPR) is a notoriously under-funded non-profit that was able to find an inventive and broadly applicable solution to their monetary struggles. NPR recognized they have a loyal and passionate following that would be heartbroken if their programming were ever interrupted. Based on this realization, NPR created a system whereby they rely largely on membership-based and onetime donations to supplement their meager government funding. Since NPR pioneered this practice, it has expanded to numerous other industries.
You can use this model to fund your website by including a page where your readers can donate to your site. This practice is most effective if you create an email list or cultivate a vibrant social media presence you can use to contact your possible patrons. You may also find providing access to premium content or some other exclusive feature of your website to readers who choose to donate a beneficial practice in cultivating a sense of loyalty. Membership based contributions are, by far, the most sustainable way to monetize by way of donation.
This model works best for websites with a small but loyal group of readers who feel a sense of community based on their engagement with the site in question, so consider the nature of your readership before you start asking for donations.
Create A Job Board
Many websites are able to turn a profit based on their internal job boards. If your website is closely related to a particular field of employ, you should consider including a job board for your readers who are likely to either already be skilled in that field or eager to become a part of the industry. You may have to reach out to some potential employers and encourage them to post employment opportunities on your website at first, but, if your site becomes a popular destination for talent in the industry, the employers will come to you.
Payment structures for internal job boards differ based on the industry and the agreement the website owner makes with the employers who post their opportunities on that site. Typically, the job board is free for potential employees while potential employers pay a fee for their post to remain on the board for a predetermined time frame.
One of the strongest examples of this type of monetization is Dave’s ESL Cafe which was originally a site dedicated providing a space in which ESL teachers could trade stories and advice about life in the Far East. It has since morphed into the most comprehensive, and profitable, job board for ESL teachers in the world.
Become A Consultant
Whenever someone puts in the work to create a great and relevant website, they invariable accrue an impressive and diverse skill set. While it may be sufficiently fulfilling to create your own content and design your website, it can be enjoyable and profitable to improve the websites of others. Short of flipping websites, you can always consult for other websites or companies with a robust web presence who may need insight on SEO practices, web sign, or digital functionality to reach their target audience.
Consultancy is most effective for those who work in an industry that thrives on digital tools and encompasses a large market. For example, the contracting industry has recently moved to an almost exclusively online marketing model, but many of the contracting industries smaller operations are staffed by employees who are largely unfamiliar with online marketing, hence there is a huge demand for consultants who can optimize the efficacy of contracting websites.
Create A Paywall
Digital entrepreneurs who want to know how to monetize a website without inundated their readers with advertising should consider adding a paywall to their website. This model is similar to the donation based model wherein committed readers contribute to the financial well-being of the website; except in this case the purveyor of the website reserves a segment of content exclusively for readers who pay for a membership.
Perhaps the best example of a successful iteration of this strategy is the paywall instituted by the online magazine Slate. Anyone can peruse Slate content and listen to Slate podcasts for free, but bonus material and particularly interesting tidbits are reserved for Slate Plus members who pay a small sum on a monthly basis.
Start A Private Forum
Similar to the paywall strategy, you can start a private forum on which only paid subscribers can discuss the content of your site in a customized online environment. In addition to accepting payment, you can allow readers to join the private forum by clicking on a certain number of advertisements on your site or performing another basic task.
The first step in learning how to monetize a website is taking stock of what you have in terms of content and honestly analyzing how your content can be improved and promoted. Without a great website, you will not attract a large readership; and without a large readership, you cannot turn a profit. With a great, well-promoted website optimized for relevance, you can assess the plurality of profit generating strategies and choose the set of strategies most likely to work with your readers and your industry.
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