Let's face it, websites cost money to run! Often for the personal blog or a small business page the owner needs to look at ways make money in order to make it viable. Well the good news is - this is completely possible and do-able for every webmaster.
For many, a personal website may be a way to give away knowledge for others to use or simply just a creative outlet. While for many small businesses it is an important point of contact with customers. The trouble is that websites cost money to maintain and set up, sometimes it is a relatively moderate fee each month, or for more elaborate websites it can be thousands of dollars. Now big businesses have the budget to service websites like this or already have income streams through their own products being sold online. But what if you are looking to re-coup some of those costs? We have some suggestions for you!
Pay Per Click Advertising
Possibly one of the most common forms of monetization on the internet & something that you could implement today. Pay Per Click or PPC advertising involves placing advertisements which are either text links or image based on your website, when a visitor to your website clicks on the advertisement you will be paid the amount that the advertiser has specified they will pay, per click.
The most common platform for this style of advertising is by far Google Adsense. Google has a huge presence in this realm, part of the reason they are so successful & why they work so well for content publishers is the fact that they serve relevant advertising based on the content of your site. For example your site might be based on arts and crafts, Adsense would most likely present ads based on craft supplies, sewing machines or art classes. As they are highly targeted towards the readers of your content it is likely the reader will find them appealing, therefore clicking on the link and making you money!
So how would you get started? This is as simple as heading to Google Adsense and creating an account. You create the size and colour of the ad units you want for your website and Google generates the ad code. This code is what you copy and place within your website, where you want the ad to appear and voila!
This is highly effective and will generate a greater amount of income for you as traffic to your website increases. This method of revenue does require traffic so it is necessary for you to consistently provide quality content to give your visitors a reason to come back again and again.
Affiliate programs are a long time contender in this space and something that anyone wishing to make money online should consider. An affiliate programs works as a relationship between you (the content publisher) and the advertiser, you promote the given product or service and refer customers to purchase said product or service. Depending on the agreement you will be paid for generating either a lead, sale or signup. Ultimately this set up is like you being the sales person, getting paid a commission for every successful sale you create.
These programs work incredibly well for publishers who can creatively incorporate them into their content. Often by writing authoritatively on the topic giving benefits and features and solving a readers need, when the reader feels that the solution would solve a need for them they are more likely to click through and purchase the product, creating an income for you. Some may work more as a simple display ad where you get paid for referring a paying customer. Either way the rewards can be great if you know your readers interests and needs and can provide them with a solution to their need.
The downside to these - while they can be lucrative and in some cases can provide an ongoing income - for example you may receive a percentage of the renewal fee every year for a subscription. For website that do not generate as much traffic or are perhaps not as targeted to a certain topic, they may not be as successful as something like Adsense.
Some of the Major Affiliate Programs include:
- Commission Junction (www.cj.com)
- Impact Radius (www.impactradius.com)
- Commision Factory (www.commissionfactory.com.au)
Sell a Product
What if your website consists solely of your knowledge? Well why not do what authors have been doing for centuries - sell your knowledge. This can be done by segmenting on your website the content that you want to make free and readily available, while you may like to reserve your real gold, the good stuff for an ebook or audio download available to purchase.
This allows readers to become familiar with you, read your work and become comfortable with the fact that yes, you do know what you are talking about. Use this free content to build trust and a relationship with your readers. When it comes time for them to need more in depth information or the real 'gold' content that you create, they will feel comfortable in paying you a modest fee for the privilege of having access to this great content.
One website that I can think of which executes this extremely well is ScreenCasts Online (http://www.screencastsonline.com) where the publisher offers a great wealth of knowledge for free - but if you want the great stuff or the un-restricted videos you will need to pay a membership fee. If you have something worth selling this could be a great model for you.
So in summary, here are three of the best ways to generate some income from your website. You have the option of selling your own product, selling someone else's product and receiving a commission for it or finally simply display general advertising and be paid for doing so. What will work for you? This is something that takes some trial and error, it may even be a combination of methods. We would love to know about any successes you have or any other methods or services that you may use to monetize your website, be sure to let us know all about it in the comments below!