Written by Heather Gonzales
Making money online involves time, dedication, and some business-savvy. Establishing a site with a growing number of dedicated fans doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does the success of website monetization. If you’ve got a great site but aren’t turning over much profit, consider the following methods for monetizing your site and making the most out of your online presence.
1. Pay Per Click Advertising:
Pay Per Click, or PPC, is exactly what it sounds like.
The concept is painstakingly simple: visitors of your site click on an ad, and for every click you profit. The amount of money you make per click is contingent upon that particular ad’s Cost Per Click (or CPC). Variables such as site traffic, ad placement, and relevancy of ads play a factor in its success. The PPC method is generally not very lucrative for sites with low volumes of traffic and should be employed in conjunction with other monetization methods. Reachli, Google Adsense, Chitika, BidVertiser, Adbrite and Clicksor all operate on a PPC (or CPC) model.
2. Cost Per Mile:
What’s a great way of earning money if you have A LOT of traffic but little engagement on your site? Profiting every time someone visits your page!
Cost per mile (CPM) refers to the cost for 1000 impressions. If you sign up for a $1 CPM ad, this means that every 1000 page impressions will yield you $1. 100,000 page views in this scenario would translate to $100 profit. Not too shabby! Since page impressions are critical, this method works best for high traffic websites. Top paying CPM ad networks include Tribal Fusion, Advertising, Vibrant Media, and Value Click.
3. Affiliate Marketing:
This form of marketing is based on sales resulting from product or service recommendations.
If for example you have a fashion site and you team up with an affiliate to promote their brand, you will make a profit every time someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link. The amount of money you make depends on the agreed upon percentage from each sale. Creatively incorporate affiliate marketing within a post or write a great review to appeal to your readers. The affiliates you choose to team up with should coincide with your site content and are relevant to your readers’ interests. Sites like ClickBank, Skimlinks, Share a Sale, and Amazon are good starting places when searching for affiliates.
Generally sponsors prefer high traffic sites, but if you cater to a niche market it’s still possible to nab a sponsorship. Reach out to brands and companies that cater to your audience and start small. Find sponsors for your podcast (video or audio), upcoming events, or try selling sponsored posts with SocialSpark or SponsoredReviews. Continue to cultivate your site, grow your fans, and stay motivated.
5. Sell Ad Space:
Unless your website is getting major hits or you cater to a highly targeted audience, selling ad space may be difficult to pull off. Managing the whole process can be time consuming, but the benefit is that you can charge what you want and negotiate terms to work for you. Be on the lookout for prospective advertisers and reach out to them. A good starting point is to check out the users/businesses who leave comments or share your content, and find out which advertisers advertise on similar websites.
6. In-Text Ads:
If you’re a frequent blogger, in-text ads are a great method of monetization.
Advertisements are incorporated within a post contextually via keywords that are then underlined. For example, the word “vacation” is underlined within a post, because it triggered an ad for cheap flights. When readers hover over underlined text, a small pop-up with the advertisement appears. With in-text ads, revenue is ultimately generated through a CPC model. Vibrant Media, InfoLinks, and Kontera offer in-text advertising and we’re happy to announce that very soon Reachli will also be offering in-text advertising. Stay tuned!
7. In-Image Ads:
This is a branch of contextual advertising where site images are used to deliver advertisements.
Similar to in-text ads, in-image ads appear when hovering over an image. Depending on the advertising platform you work with, the ads may instead appear as soon as the page is loaded. If your site is heavily focused on visual content or if you simply want to take advantage of the few photos you do display, in-image ads are a great way to monetize your site. Affinity, Gumgum, Vibrant Media, and us here at Reachli offer in-image advertisements. Depending on the platform, in-image ads can operate on a CPC or CPM basis.
8. RSS Feed Ads:
With more and more users consuming content via RSS readers, your feed provides another great opportunity for advertising.
Including ads is a great strategy to expose readers to advertising directly from their RSS reader without having to rely on subscribers to visit your site to see ads. When incorporating ads into your feed, be sure to keep it straightforward and clean to keep subscribers happy. Pheedo and BidVertiser offer RSS ad feed options that are worth checking out.
9. Monetize your Videos:
If you’re a popular blogger, why not become a successful vlogger?
Start a Youtube channel where you share discussions, demonstrations, reviews, information about your product or service, and information about yourself. Monetize your videos with a Google Adsense account or find some sponsors to align yourself with. The more views your videos get the more money you’ll make, so be sure to showcase your videos on your website and promote them across your social networks for greater reach.
10. Podcast it:
Nowadays, lots of people listen to podcasts. Whether they’re at the gym, driving, or taking a lunch break, people love to multi-task.
If you have a lot to say and want to broadcast your ideas (and capitalize on you’re radio voice of course), now is the time to do it. With today’s technology, recording and distributing a weekly podcast is a piece of cake. By creating your own podcast, you are creating a monetized soundscape that will boost your online breadth and presence. Include advertisements, find sponsors, or cater an episode to a product or service. Get creative with the delivery and integration of the ads.
11. Write an eBook:
If you have writings skills and knowledge on a niche subject, then an eBook is a wonderful way to make the most of your online presence. With the decline of hardcopy publishing, e-texts have catapulted into unprecedented territory. Today, more people than ever before are turning to digital literature, and Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, and Apple have made it easy to self-publish and distribute eBooks. Use your website and social channels to promote and sell your eBook too.
12. Create and Sell Your Own Merchandise:
Creating and selling branded merchandise is a fantastic way to profit from your online presence.
Cafepress, Goodstorm and Printfection are great places to create branded tees, coasters, and much more. Do you live and breath arts and crafts? Then try selling your original handmade creations on Etsy or sign up for your own merchant account via Paypal and sell your products directly from your website or blog.
Pop-ups are annoying, but also effective in grabbing our attention. The key to using pop-up ads is to use them as infrequently as possible. One pop-up for every new visitor or one per visit is reasonable. Be sure to allow new visitors some time to look around your website before interrupting with a pop-up. Although direct advertising with pop-ups may not be the best approach, they are a great way to collect emails, promote aspects of your website or give updates.
Experiment, closely monitor your findings, and adapt your approach for the best results.
14. Email Marketing/Newsletter:
Another effective way to generate sales and boost site traffic is through email marketing.
Include a box where visitors can sign up to be a part of your mailing list on your home page or employ a pop-up to collect them. Opt for a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly email to give site updates including new content, merchandise, services, upcoming events, promotions, contests, and giveaways to drive traffic to your site. Don’t forget to promote your recently released e-book or self-branded merchandise too.
15. Offer Consulting/Sell Your Services:
Are you a nutritionist, fitness guru, accountant, designer, or licensed therapist?
Offer your skills and expertise for a fee through your website. Use video chat for demonstrations, set up a toll free phone number for clients to call, communicate through chat or email, or whatever method works best for you. Ether offers an easy-to-use platform to conveniently set you up with your own toll-free 1-888 number, set your rate, and add a button to your website.
16. Teach a Course:
If you have a degree (math, history, languages, etc.) that you’re not doing much with or are very knowledgeable about a subject or craft (blogging, photography, computer programing, web design, etc.), consider tutoring online via TutorVista or Tutor, or teaching a whole course through Udemy. Build a reputation as an expert in your subject or craft and people will pay money to learn from you. Just be sure that you teach something that can’t already be learned from your site for free.
17. Host a Webinar/Go Live:
Hosting a live streaming event can be a great way to make sales, promote your site, and connect with your audience. Live events give the audience an opportunity to put a face to a name and ask questions in real time. If you’re an expert in your field, host a webinar to do a lecture, presentation, or demonstration and charge a premium for it. Stream live with Ustream and Livestream, or host a webinar with WebEx and Citrix.
18. Be a Guest Writer:
Writing for a popular site within the same niche as your own will give you an opportunity to charm potential new fans and increase brand awareness.
Don’t be afraid to subtlety promote yourself and remember to bask in the free publicity. The exposure will help drive traffic to your site, which means new sales, ad revenue, and loyal readers. Always put your best foot forward, and the site owner will be more inclined to return the favor for the post.
19. Hold a Raffle or Free Giveaway:
Try holding a raffle for an affordable item to excite your audience.
You can arrange it so raffle tickets run for x amount, and when you have y amount (enough at least for the product) announce the winner. If you have a very large audience raise the ante by raffling off something like an iPad. A raffle or giveaway would also be a great way to market your own services or products to your audience. Finally, sponsors or affiliates may provide you with some free samples perfect for giveaways. Randompicker.com can help you randomly choose a winner and prove that you conducted it fairly.
20. Paid Membership:
Similarly to news sites, you could implement a paywall that requires users to pay a monthly or one time fee. Memberships could provide unlimited access to your content, or unlock premium content like downloadable instructional guides, weekly fitness routines, private forums, samples or whatever else works for your niche. Some extra time and effort may be required to ensure that there is sufficient premium content to keep paying members happy, especially if you’re charging a monthly fee. If you have a tendency to go AWOL for long periods of time, you may experience difficulty retaining memberships. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or your site may pay the price.
21. Sell a Web Template, Theme, or Graphics:
There are some people who create some stunning original themes for their blog. Readers often contact these authors to ask where they got the great template, and in some cases, those blog owners begin selling their themes. This is a great way to earn money if you enjoy design elements or want to branch out into graphic design. Have a dedicated section on your website or blog to showcase your templates, themes, or graphics for sale.
22. Sell Your Website:
If you have a knack for creating successful websites or are looking to retire the one you currently have, you may want to consider selling.
There are a lot of people out there who are willing to pay for a site that already has content and solid hits. Employ the services of Flippa, Website Broker, and even eBay to help make the sale. If creating and selling websites is something you want to pursue, showcase and sell your websites directly from your blog or website.
23. Use your Site as a Portfolio:
Your writing skills, ability to market yourself, and generate a following are great skills to have in the Real World. Leverage your successful website or blog as a portfolio to land a job by showcasing your talents. Create a section to highlight your best articles, greatest achievements, user testimonials, etc. Don’t forget to mention your website on your resume or CV, and LinkedIn profile. How cool would it be to do what you love as a profession?
24. Social Media:
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are great places to expand your online presence, build brand awareness, and connect with your fans beyond your blog or website.
Use social media to drive traffic to your site and keep fans updated on products, articles, promotions, and events, and encourage them to share it with their friends and followers. We’re working on an article focused on how to leverage and monetize your social networks next so look out for it!
Some methods of monetization work better for some sites than others. Experiment with different approaches and find the right strategy that works for you.
What methods of monetization do you use? Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments!