The vast majority of personal blogs and business websites never make money, or at least not enough to cover costs such as web hosting and online marketing. However, there are many ways to make money from almost any website, and the vast majority of money-making methods are actually quite easy to implement and manage. The 10 income-generating tips below are all easy to add to any website and are all proven methods of monetising a website.
Monetising Your Website
Monetising a website involves converting visitors to the website and activity on the website into currency, whether by placing banner and text ads on the site, requesting donations or selling downloadable products. There are literally dozens of ways of monetising a website, but the 10 easiest methods to implement are described in detail below.
10 Proven Money-Making Strategies
For many marketing specialists, the best example of how to monetise information and content is a simple newspaper. Even though the average newspaper contains many advertisements, nothing distracts the user from the content. The primary objective of a newspaper layout is to promote the main content, with commercials and other announcements considered as additional content that enhances and enriches the reader’s experience.
This is the perfect example of how to integrate content on a web page. The layout should look clean and organic (depending on the web design requirements), without the abundance of extra elements that can make it look cluttered and difficult to read. Intelligent use of space and alignment often results in higher conversion rates and generated income – particular when it comes to advertising. Applying the 10 money-making techniques below to your website will help to enhance user experience and at the same time generate additional income.
1. Profitable Keyword Niche
The first things to consider when setting up your website are the niche and topic of your website. Every subject has a particular audience that it appeals to, but some are naturally more profitable than others. For example, if you own a women’s clothing store then your target audience will be female, possibly of a specific age group; if you own a website that supplies fishing equipment, you would most likely want to target male customers. Armed with this knowledge, and with the help of various tools such as Google Keyword Planner, you should search for the most relevant keywords that will bring targeted traffic and profit to your website. Quality content is still the most important aspect of your website when it comes to organic SEO, so it is worth taking the time to ensure that it is grammatically correct and reads well.
2. Google Monetisation Programs
Google has developed several tools and services that will help you to earn a passive income from your website and also monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. These include Google Adwords, Google Adsense and Google Analytics. More information about each particular tool or service is described below.
Though Google Adwords is a paid advertising service, a number of websites provide free Google Adwords credits to get your campaign up and running as quickly and cheaply as possible. Google Adwords is a form of pay-per-click advertising that displays an advertisement for your products or services whenever a user searches for one of your targeted keywords. So, how does it work? When searching for something, you get two types of search results: the organic results that are listed on the left side of your page, and a series of “sponsored links” that appear in the sidebar. These advertisements are linked to specific keywords, and are only displayed when those search terms are used. The ads are generally displayed in order of keyword bid amount, so the more you bid for a particular keyword, the greater the chance of your Google Adwords ad showing up on page one. The biggest advantages of this tool is that you only pay when a person clicks on your ad, and you can sometimes start to generate income almost immediately.
With Google Adsense, you can earn money by allowing Google to publish ads on your website. Depending on the topic and audience of your website, you can customise the ad design to match your site’s design or theme.
Once your website has been launched, you need to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Arguably the most effective way to monitor the activity on your website is to use Google Analytics, a free website traffic analysis tool from Google. Google Analytics enables you to view the number of visits, conversions and clicks that your website receives, and will also enable you to see how customers navigate through your website.
3. Banner Advertising
Banner advertising is one of the most traditional, basic forms of website monetisation. When people visit your website and click on a banner, you get paid, either directly through a PPC service or via an affiliate program. The location of a banner on the web page is particularly important, as banner ads placed “above the fold” have been consistently shown to perform much better than those closer to the bottom of the page. The same kind of performance results have been observed with banner ads placed close to primary navigation and page content. On pages that feature a lot of content, Google recommends placing the ads at the end of the post or article. By doing this, you can provide your readers with an idea of where to go and what to read next.
Regardless of where you decide to place your banner ads, there is one important point to consider: the page should look tidy and uncluttered, otherwise you run the risk of alienating visitors because of the poor content organisation. And by placing too many advertisements on a web page you also risk being penalised by Google as web page should consist primarily of content, not advertisements.
4. Contextual Advertising
Unlike banner ads, contextual ads use text links to attract visitors. The main advantage of serving contextual ads rather than banner advertisements is that the ads themselves form part of your content and are much more difficult to ignore. Contextual ads generally work by selecting one or two keywords per page, and converting that word or phrase into a text link that displays additional information when clicked on. If you are serving contextual ads from a third party service such as Google Adwords or Clicksor, you don’t have to include the links yourself, as they are automatically generated for you based on the content of your website.
5. Text Ads
Text ads are usually found either within posts or grouped in a special block in a sidebar or above/below the main content. Text ads are generally easy to customise through the use of CSS and can be blended in seamlessly with the design of your website or theme. As with anything, it generally depends on your website niche as to whether they are more effective than banner ads, but text ads are quick and easy to implement, require no design skills are still viewed as an effective way to generate additional advertising income.
6. Affiliate Programs
When it comes to choosing the right affiliate program for your website, the choice can be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of affiliate programs to choose from – some better than others. Most affiliate schemes are free to join and require minimal effort to start potentially generating revenue, but successful affiliate marketing involves much more than simply joining a program and placing a link to the product on your site. You still need to write quality content in order to attract search engines and engage visitors, and one of the most effective ways to promote the products of other businesses is to write reviews. Honest, in-depth and informative product reviews are one of the most effective methods of affiliate product promotion.
7. Lead Generation
In many ways, lead generation is similar to affiliate marketing, but with one slight difference. With affiliate marketing programs you only get paid when a visitor purchases a product after clicking through from your website. With lead generation, you get paid for the number of visits that originate from an affiliate link on your website. Lead generation is particularly effective on websites that already have a decent amount of traffic and an engaged audience. So, if your audience is right for it, pay-per-lead programs can be a lucrative source of passive income.
8. Sponsored Blogging
Once your website is generating a decent amount of traffic, with a significant amount of monthly visitors, you can start offering to write sponsored blog posts. There are many advertisers who would be interested in providing such content for your website. Another option is offering to write short reviews for advertisers and posting it on your website for a fee. For example, if you have a travel website and an advertiser asks you to review a particular tour and share it with your readers and social followers. Some sponsors will ask you to add a direct note disclosing that the article has been sponsored and should be considered as advertising. Depending on the product or service you are writing about, you could earn a decent amount of money by offering sponsored reviews.
Newsletters are considered to be one of the most effective methods of keeping in touch with your audience. An email mailing list can be an incredibly powerful tool to use for marketing purposes (providing that it is done responsibly and with the recipient’s consent) and can make selling products and services much easier. If you provide visitors to your website with helpful, interesting and engaging information for free, you will soon find your mailing list growing as a result. Once you have a few hundred or so subscribers to your newsletter, use it to inform your subscribers about additional products or services that you offer. You could also advertise affiliate products as well.
10. Selling Digital Products
Selling digital products online is an increasingly profitable way to turn a simple website into a money-making machine. More of us now prefer ebooks to printed books, and the need for almost every business to have a website means that the market for website products such as templates, themes, scrips, plugins and graphics is growing all the time. People are also becoming increasingly reliant on the web for education and tutorials, such as videos and podcasts. Selling digital products such as ebooks, themes and vector graphics on your own website is very easy thanks to a multitude of ecommerce scripts and plugins, such as Easy Digital Downloads, WP eStore and OpenCart. One of the biggest advantages of selling digital stuff is that after being created once, it brings revenue for months or even years to come. If you sell digital products that don’t require updates very often, maintaining and profiting from a digital product website becomes even easier.
Sell Your Website
So, you have developed a fantastic website with a lot of great quality content, it receives a large volume of traffic and has active social media profiles, but for some reason you can’t or don’t want to maintain it any longer. This is the time to consider selling the website. When deciding on how much you want for your website, there are several factors to consider, such as traffic levels, PageRank, domain age and, of course, the amount of revenue it currently generates. A higher PageRank is indictative of being a better quality website, so the higher you rank, the higher fee your website can command. And if your website generates, say, £500 a month, you could expect to get at least 12 months’ worth of revenue (approximately £6,000). Of course, depending on the strength of it’s social media profiles, exisiting customer base and domain name, it could be worth much, much more.
To some degree, many of the above money-making methods are interconnected and can be applied to one and the same web website in order to generate additional revenue. However, there are plenty of other equally effective effective ways to make money online, and we’ve included some of them in the list below:
- Offer consulting
- Provide teaching programmes
- Host paid webinars
- Create a conference around your website
- Create a poll asking people on what they like/dislike about your project
- Provide coupons
- Add a “hire me” page, especially if you are working with freelance writers
- Sell content
- Display audio ads
- Ask for donations
About Michael Bell One
To talk to us about your web design, SEO or Branding project, contact Jake Judd or David Park on 01273 478822 or simply send us an email instead.