You’ve come to an important moment in your website or blog’s life: it’s time to make some money. I know that people who are new to monetizing a website are hesitant to. I know this, because I was where you’re sitting right now. This article was written with a beginner in mind.
I’ve had the same questions swirl around in my mind:
- Will my readers revolt?
- Will it look tacky?
- Am I selling out?
The answers to those questions are no.
As long as you do things properly. You’re not a non-profit organization, and your readers should understand that. If they don’t understand that, then tell them to kick rocks!
If you have readers, then you can absolutely make money with your website. Before I jump into the how, I know you probably have at least one more question:
How Much Money Will I Make?
This all depends on a number of factors, including:
- How much traffic you receive
- What kind of readers you have
- What methods of promotion you use
- What your topic is
I can’t give you a solid number, but what I can say is that you can make anywhere from a few dollars a month to millions. Realistically, you’ll start out earning pocket change, it will grow into dollars and hopefully you’ll stick around long enough for it to grow into hundreds or thousands.
My best piece of advice to you: don’t give up when it’s only nickles and dimes coming in. If I had given up, then I wouldn’t be where I am. All of the blogging millionaires started out with the initial disappointment of earning less than a buck on an extreme amount of work.
Related: Find many more ideas for making money on our list of Money Making Ideas
Making Money with Your Blog
Now we can get to the meat of the topic: making money with your blog. There are many ways to make money with your website or blog, I’ll just talk about them in a more broad context here from simplest to most difficult. The simplest methods tend to bring in the least money. I’ll provide pros and cons for each. If you have any questions, then just use the contact us form.
If you have a loyal audience, then this model may work well for you. This is exactly what Wikipedia and many other non-profits do to raise money to continue operating.
- This is the simplest way to monetize a website
- It isn’t intrusive
- You’ll probably make very little unless you have a great reader base.
- This model doesn’t lend itself well to all topics. For example, a blog for people struggling with debt might not do well with this model.
My Favorite Resources
- Paypal Donate Buttons – This might be the company that blazed the trail for online donations.
- Flattr – This is a micropayments platform that lets people donate to you. The nice thing is that anyone who uses Flattr will already understand and be primed for donating. The downside is most people don’t know about Flattr and micro-donations.
- GoFundMe – You could try to run campaigns on here.
Display advertising is the simplest, but least profitable way to make money from your website. This is how it works:
- You sign up with a service, such as Google Adsense
- You generate your ad code
- You place the code on your website where you want it
- Ads being to display
- Customers click on the ads
- You retire
Except that last one won’t happen, unless you get tons of traffic. The reason is that each click will only get you from a few cents to a few dollars depending on the advertisement.
- Little up front work.
- Very simple to do.
- Almost instant earnings start coming in.
- Very consistent with consistent website traffic.
My Favorite Resources
Affiliate marketing is where you refer business to another business’ product. For example, if you found a product that you loved on Amazon, you could sign up for Amazon’s affiliate program and promote that product. If someone clicks your link to go to Amazon and buys the product, then Amazon pays you a commission. The customer found a great product because of you, Amazon made a sale and you got a commission. Nice! Here’s how it works:
- You find a product that you like with an affiliate program.
- You sign up and get your affiliate links.
- You promote your affiliate links properly.
- A visitor clicks your link and buys the product.
- You get a commission.
Affiliate marketing has gotten a bad rap because of bad affiliates. For years, affiliate marketers have used deceptive tactics to trick people into clicking links. Instead, be honorable and provide value. For example, only promote products you use. One product that I use to shorten affiliate links, make them look nice and let people know they are affiliate links is a plugin for WordPress called Pretty Links Pro (affiliate). That’s a referral link, where I earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase using that link. Hopefully I add enough value that you might consider using it.
- More profitable than advertisements.
- Less annoying than advertisements.
- They can’t be blocked by Ad Blockers.
- You don’t have to make a product.
- You can promote a product that is successful and proven.
- You can promote products that you truly believe in.
- You help people find things that solve their problems.
- You can make good money even with lower traffic.
- If done improperly, you’ll look like a scammer. Don’t be one of these people.
- You’re putting your reputation on the line when you suggest products. Make sure they’re great.
- If you promote multiple products, then you will have to keep track of sales in multiple places.
My Favorite Resources
- Pretty Links Pro (affiliate) – WordPress plugin for making links shorter and keeping track of clicks.
- Shareasale – A great affiliate manager that has many merchants to pick from.
- Amazon Associates – For referrals to Amazon products.
This is one of the most profitable things you can do with your website. The reason this is so difficult is because you have to create or source a product that your audience will want, market it, sell it and deal with the customer service. Creating a quality product (whether digital or tangible) is extremely hard work. With that work comes the reward of keeping nearly 100% of the revenue. In addition to the difficulty, this is also the most risky. There’s nothing worse than putting in the effort to make a product just to find that it has flopped. With that said, it’s no reason to abandon the idea. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- Very profitable.
- You don’t depend on someone else.
- You control the quality and the customer experience.
- You can setup your own affiliate program to have people sell your product for you.
- Lots of up-front work with no guaranteed pay off.
- More work (marketing, payment handling, customer service)
- The possibility of completely failing.
My Favorite Resources
- Easy Digital Downloads – A free WordPress plugin for selling digital downloads
- WooCommerce – A free WordPress plugin for selling just about anything.
Membership Site / eCourse
Why not make your website, or a part of your website your product? While I love this idea, I do believe it is harder than selling your own product for one reason: recurring revenue. Getting people to open their wallets each month is definitely a lot harder than once. Obviously, who doesn’t want to be paid monthly? If you can create enough value, then there is no reason why you can’t. Creating courses used to be difficult, but with WordPress plugins like WP Courseware (affiliate), creating courses is now easy-peasy. Plenty of sites do it everyday. Now, another option is to charge a one time fee for membership, but that obviously limits your profit potential.
- Can be extremely profitable.
- This tends to build a very loyal community.
- Recurring revenue provides more consistency than one-off sales.
- Building enough value might be tough for some people.
- Convincing people the value is there may be difficult.
- More work (marketing, payment handling, customer service.
My Favorite Resources
- Paid Memberships Pro – A free WordPress plugin for managing membership sign up and payment.
- WP Courseware (affilate) – A WordPress plugin for easily creating education courses. Works well with Paid Memberships Pro to make a paid course.
These are the foundations for making money online
These are the foundations for making money online. Many people use a mix of them, and perhaps you’ll figure out some way that isn’t even mentioned on this list. It is amazing to see what people have accomplished and you are absolutely capable of achieving the same levels of success or more.
If you learn of a totally different and neat way of making money online and want to share, then be sure to comment or use the contact us form and let me know.