How To Monetize A Website
After creating a website to break into the online scene, you might be wondering how to monetize it. Allowing you to generate income from traffic and engagement, monetizing your website will provide many benefits, including offsetting development costs and even earning a profit.
Website monetization is possible for almost any online venture. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to monetize a website using 14 proven methods that can drive revenue and transform your online presence.
Steps To Monetize Your Website
Send out a premium newsletter
Launching a newsletter is a great way to regularly engage with followers, share your perspective and provide exclusive updates. Newsletter engagement is a proven marketing tactic that can also complement your website monetization efforts.
Charging a subscription fee for exclusive editions of your newsletter can provide a reliable and scalable source of income. But since it often takes time to prove your newsletter’s value to readers, it can be helpful to offer both paid and unpaid versions to readers, or at least give them free access at the start.
To start a newsletter strategy that works, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Focus each newsletter on a specific and timely topic that’s relevant to your brand and truly piques your audience’s interest.
- Set a recurring delivery time so your subscribers will know when to expect it and will start looking forward to it.
- For yourself, create a schedule for publishing content that you can stick to.
- Since newsletters are easily scalable, you can begin to cover more content as your subscription number grows
While the idea of selling merchandise is an attractive way to monetize a website, you might not have the physical space or capability to oversee orders. An alternative to that scenario is dropshipping, which is an order fulfillment method that lets you sell products without having to manage your own inventory by connecting you with third-party retailers to pass on the sales order.
Dropshipping also provides flexibility in your product offering, making it easy to adjust your inventory since you’re not limited to what’s left in storage or what you can manufacture. It also takes little investment to start, especially because there isn’t a commitment to order minimums.
Build A Membership Area
The goal of creating a membership area is to turn readers into customers by getting them to pay a small fee for access to more content. Doing this is not only great for website monetization, but also for user engagement.
There are several membership models that you can employ to monetize a website:
- A drip-feed membership model slowly trickles content to registered users.
- An all-in membership gives users to access all at once.
- A fixed-term membership model gives users access to everything at once, but only for a fixed period of time.
- In return for their membership fees, some ideas for what you can offer audiences include premium content, online services, or downloadable material. You might also use a feature like Wix Forums to create a members-only space where this exclusive community can connect and share information.
Start An Online Course
With virtual classes on the rise, another way to generate income online is by starting a paid online course. Similar to adding consulting services to your site, a course is a great way to monetize and build your audience using the traffic you already have.
Create a course that focuses on topics related to your expertise, knowledge, and passions. It’s also important to ensure that the courses will be relevant to your audience and that you have something unique to bring to the table.
Become An Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is a popular method for website monetization in which the site owner agrees to promote the goods and services of a business in exchange for a commission. Most affiliate marketers work on a pay-per-sale rate, but some companies will agree to a pay-per-lead or pay-per-click rate.
To monetize your website with this strategy, you’ll want to research the manifold affiliate programs available today to find one that’s relevant to your brand. Join one that’s aligned with your content, with products and services related to your website’s niche and target audience. From there, you’ll work with your affiliate partner by including links to their products and services throughout your site’s content.
Here are some basic guidelines for affiliate marketing:
- Select a brand you trust. An endorsement must reflect your honest opinion in order to maintain your reputation. If you promote a brand that’s unreliable, your audience will trust your recommendations less, consequently hindering your future affiliate marketing efforts.
- Recommend services or products your audience will benefit from. Your audience returns to your site because it offers them value in the form of informative content, beneficial links, and recommendations. Every time you add something to your website, think about how it can further enrich your readers’ lives.
- Be transparent. Disclosing your affiliate partnerships is not only the honest thing to do; it’s also the law. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission requires affiliates to disclose their relationships with brands they’re paid to promote. Check out the FTC endorsement guidelines before you get started. For those operating outside of the U.S., be sure to read about your country’s laws on affiliate marketing
If you’re good at building websites, you can make a good living by selling them for an attractive price to others. Affiliate, membership, e-commerce, and dropshipping sites usually go for the highest price. But you can also flip personal blogs, news sites, or any other “digital estate” that you own.
Your website valuation will depend on several factors:
- Monetization model
- Monthly revenue to expenses ratio
- Amount of traffic
- SEO metrics
- Conversion rates
- Social media follower count
Rent Ad Space On Your Website
Selling ad space on a website is a popular choice when deciding how to monetize a website, and it’s a relatively simple way to do so. But when using this monetization strategy, it’s important to strike a balance between generating revenue and providing a positive user experience for visitors.
For example, the eye-catching nature of video ads means that they tend to perform better, but they can be distracting to site visitors. You’ll also need to balance the potential revenue gains with UX when determining ad size and placement.
Banners are horizontal and sit at the top of the page. Skyscrapers and wide skyscrapers are vertical and sit on the sides of the page. Squares and small squares typically break up the copy itself.
There are many different kinds of ads you can consider implementing on your website. Here are just a few to choose from:
- Static ads are images that contain permanent content. They only need to be assembled once and require no maintenance, for example, a banner.
- Animated ads are created as Gifs, HTML 5 banners, or short videos and typically run between 5-10 seconds. They can be effective in getting the message across faster than the other types of ads.
- Native ads resemble the content around them and are optimized to match the platform upon which they appear. They usually take the form of articles, videos, and infographics
Start A Premium Certification Program
If you are an established authority in your industry and have a strong personal or business brand, you can launch a certification program. Think of it as an advanced training program or e-course with homework, exams, and grading.
Copy blogger has its Authority program (soon to be Digital Commerce Academy) for content marketers and writers. Joanna Weibe from Copy hackers runs a Copy School for conversion copywriters. Both blogs (and the people behind them) have undeniable credibility within their industry, which gives their programs a stamp of approval.
Monetize Your Expertise
Use your website as a portfolio to promote your skills and services online. Freelancers with personal websites tend to charge 65% more per hour than folks without one. So set up that Hire Me page! With the freelance economy growing year over year, you won’t stay long without a gig.
Here are some ideas:
- Website design and development (you can pick up this skill at Webflow University)
- App development
- Graphic design
- Virtual assistant services
- Copywriting and content marketing
- Editing and proofreading
- SEO and digital marketing
- Transcriptionist services
- Recruiting and career services
- Any other service you can do remotely
A paid webinar is another way to simultaneously monetize your site’s content while positioning yourself as an authority in your field. Webinars, which is an online presentations held in real-time, typically run up to 45 minutes. In order to make your webinar to be a success, make sure it stands out from the competition.
Invest in its content to make sure you provide attendees with a value that only you can offer. Additionally, investigate what similar webinars charge for access to help you figure out what to charge. Finally, set a date and time for your webinar and spread the word. You can promote using a website banner, send a message to your email list, use a landing page builder to make a dedicated webpage for signups and share it on social media.
Gate Some Of Your Content
Take a page from news publishers and restrict access to some of your content to premium subscribers. You can place a paywall for some of your longer, deeper, and more researched posts as Mark Manson does. Most of his personal essays are free to read. But if you want to enjoy audio versions of all articles and “new perspectives and poop jokes” (in Mark’s words), you can pay $4 per month for access. Again, you can use MemberStack to bring this functionality to your website.
- Publish sponsored posts and product reviews
- Another way to leverage your website audience is to negotiate sponsorship deals with other companies. You can charge for:
- Publishing a post on a relevant topic with a link to the sponsor website (advertorials)
- Reviewing one of the sponsor’s products in your article (sponsored reviews)
- Including their content in your email newsletter (newsletter sponsorship)
- Any bonus promotion on social media
- While sponsored content isn’t a scalable website monetization strategy (unless you want to turn your blog into an advertising board), it can yield you some extra cash
Monetize Access To Your Email List
Ask your readers to chip in for the effort. Most will gladly agree because they already know how great your content is. The Economist (Espresso) has been running a paid newsletter since 2014, and since it’s still up today, we can assume this monetization strategy pays off. You can use Revue or Substack to set up a paid email newsletter and protect your content from public sharing
Experiment With Affiliate Marketing
As an affiliate marketer, you earn a commission from every referral you make to another business. For instance, if you are a part of the Webflow affiliate program, you’ll receive a revenue share from each person who clicks your affiliate link and sets up a paid account. Book bloggers can earn some extra cash if a reader buys a book through the blog’s affiliate links (often through Amazon). If you buy a jacket recommended by a fashion blogger, they might receive a percentage of that sale too. You get the picture
There’s no shame in asking your readers to support you (instead of pestering them with ads). Pro gamers, comics writers, artists, and other creative types will often have a cohort of raving fans ready to donate some cash. Maria, the author of Brain Pickings, is completely honest with her readers and says:
“Every week for more than 13 years, I have been pouring tremendous time, thought, love, and resources into Brain Pickings, which remains free (and ad-free) and is made possible by patronage.” On the sidebar, she has 2 separate donation buttons for recurring sponsorship and one-off donations
Similar to sponsored content, you can also offer sponsored ads on your website. You can display ads that are relevant to your users and charge companies for placement. You can choose to display ads in specific areas of your website or in the form of pop-ups or banners.
There are many ways to monetize a website, and choosing the right strategy depends on your business goals and target audience. Whether you choose affiliate marketing, display advertising, sponsored content, e-commerce, subscription-based models, donations, or sponsored ads, it’s important to focus on creating quality content and building a strong relationship with your users. With the right approach, you can turn your website into a profitable business.