How to Earn Money on My Website: 12 Best Ways to Get Start
For millions of people web sites are the major source of income. Thanks to the various ways to monetize a site, it is possible to make a living as a web master. However, this doesn’t mean that every web master is a millionaire. Well, if you know how to monetize your web site, you might not get rich but at least chances are that under the worst possible scenario, you will be able to cover your hosting fees and the other expenses you make for your site.
If so – you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll learn the fundamentals of earning extra money on the Internet with your web site. You’ll learn what works, and more importantly, you’ll spend little or no money getting started. We’re here to show you how!
PPC Advertising Networks
Google AdSense is the most popular option under this category, but there are also others. Basically you need to sign up with the network and paste some code snippets on your website. The network will then serve contextual ads (either text or images) relevant to your website, and you will earn a certain amount of money for every click.
The profitability of PPC advertising depends on the general traffic levels of the website and, most importantly, on the click-through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC). The CTR depends on the design of the website. Ads placed abode the fold or blended with content, for instance, tend to get higher CTRs. The CPC, on the other hand, depends on the nice of the website. Mortgages, financial products and college education are examples of profitable niches (clicks worth a couple of dollars are not rare), while tech-related topics tend to receive a smaller CPC (sometimes as low as a couple of cents per click).
The source of the traffic can also affect the overall CTR rate. Organic traffic (the one that comes from search engines) tends to perform well because these visitors were already looking for something, and they tend to click on ads more often. Social media traffic, on the other hand, presents terribly low CTRs because these visitors are tech-savvy and they just ignore ads.
List of popular CPC advertising networks:
CPM Advertising Networks
CPM advertising networks behave pretty much as PPC networks, except that you get paid according to the number of impressions (i.e., page views) that the ads displayed on your site will generate. CPM stands for Cost per Mille, and it refers to the cost for 1,000 impressions.
A blog that generates 100,000 page views monthly displaying an advertising banner with a $1 CPM, therefore, will earn $100 monthly.
CPM rates vary with the network, the position of the ad and the format. The better the network, the higher the CPM rate (because they have access to more advertisers). The closer you put the ad to the top of the page, the higher the CPM. The bigger the format (in terms of pixels), the higher the CPM.
You can get as low as $0,10 and as high as $10 per 1,000 impressions (more in some special cases). CPM advertising tends to work well on websites with a high page views per visitor ratio (e.g., online forums, magazines and so on).
List of popular CPM advertising networks:
Direct Banner Advertising
Selling your own advertising space is one of the most lucrative monetization methods. First and foremost because it enables you to cut out the middleman commissions and to determine your own rates. The most popular banner formats on the web are the 728×90 leaderboard, the 120×600 skyscraper, the 300×250 rectangle and the 125×125 button.
The downside of direct banner advertising is that you need to have a big audience to get qualified advertisers, and you will need to spend time managing the sales process, the banners and the payments.
- How to Find Advertisers for Your Website
- Finding Advertisers for Your Blog
- Direct Advertising Sales for Beginners
- OIO Publisher Ad Platform
Text Link Ads
After Google declared that sites selling text links without the nofollow tag would be penalized, this monetization method became less popular.
Many website owners are still using text links to monetize their sites, though, some using the nofollow tag and some not.
The advantage of this method is that it is not intrusive. One can sell text links directly through his website or use specialized networks like Text-Link-Ads and Text-Link-Brokers to automate the process.
Text link marketplaces and networks:
Affiliate marketing is a very popular practice on the Internet. Under this system you have a merchant that is willing to let other people (the affiliates) sell directly or indirectly its products and services, in exchange for a commission. Sometimes this type of advertising is also called CPA (cost per action) or CPL (cost per lead) based.
Affiliates can send potential customers to the merchant using several tools, from banners to text links and product reviews.
In order to find suitable affiliate programs you can turn to individual companies and publishers like Dreamhost and SEOBook, or join affiliate marketplaces and networks.
List of popular affiliate marketplaces and networks:
The latest trend on the web are widgets that let you monetize your website. Examples include Widgetbucks and SmartLinks. Some of these services operate under a PPC scheme, others behave like text link ads, others yet leverage affiliate links.
Their main differentiator, however, is the fact that they work as web widgets, making it easier for the user to plug and play the service on its website.
List of companies that provide monetization widgets:
PayPerPost pioneered this model, with much controversy on the beginning (related to the fact that they did not require disclosure on paid posts). Soon other companies followed, most notably Sponsored Reviews and ReviewMe, refining the process and expanding the paid blogging model.
Joining one of these sponsored reviews marketplaces will give you the opportunity to write sponsored posts on a wide range of topics. Not all bloggers are willing to get paid to write about a specific product or website (because it might compromise the editorial credibility), but the ones who do are making good money out of it.
If your blog has a big audience you could also offer sponsored reviews directly, cutting off the commissions of the middleman.
List of sponsored reviews and paid blogging networks:
RSS Feed Ads
With the quick adoption of the RSS technology by millions of Internet users, website owners are starting to find ways to monetize this new content distribution channel.
Feedburber already has its own publisher network, and you can sign-up to start displaying CPM based advertising on your feed footer. Bidvertiser recently introduced a RSS feed ad option as well, with a PPC scheme.
Finally, some blogs are also opting to sell banners or sponsored messages on their feed directly. John Chow and Marketing Pilgrim are two examples.
Sponsors for Single Columns or Events
If you website has specific columns or events (e.g., a weekly podcast, an interview series, a monthly survey, a special project) you could find companies to sponsor them individually.
This method increases the monetization options for website owner, while giving advertisers the possibility to target a more specific audience and with a reduced commitment.
Mashable illustrates the case well. They have several advertising options on the site, including the possibility to sponsor specific columns and articles, including the “Daily Poll” and the “Web 2.0 Invites.”
Problogger also runs group writing projects occasionally, and before proceeding he publicly announce the project asking for sponsors.
Some websites and blogs give away part of their content for free, and charge for access to the premium content and exclusive tools.
SEOMoz is a good example. They have a very popular blog that gives advice and information on wide range of SEO related topics. On top of that visitors can decide to become premium members. It costs $48 monthly and it grants them access to guides, tools and other exclusive material.
If your website or blog is popular enough, place a link and subdomain somewhere on your site, offering the option to accept site sponsorship. A lot of times, companies that operate in related circles will pay you to advertise their services or might even offer to pay for your hosting costs or other related costs. Even if your website or blog isn’t extremely popular, it couldn’t hurt to include this information to see if anybody is interested. Especially if you’re in a related niche, you may luck out.
You probably already know this, but if you sell any products or services through an offline business, try adding this feature to your website as well via a shopping card and merchant account. By mixing your products along with affiliate products, you’re sure to earn some money off your website.