Ways to Make Money With Your Blog or Website

by WorkFromHome on April 25, 2011

If you have a blog or a website that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into, you may have wondered at some point if you could make money from what you’ve produced. Even if you know about some of the ways people can make money online from a blog or website, it may seem too intimidating to get started. You might also have questions about what monetization method is best for your particular website or blog. All of the unknowns can paralyse the decision-making process and make it difficult for you to get started at all. Here we’re going to answer all of your questions and give you a breakdown of what your choices are if you’re looking to make money with your blog or website.

In general, there are three major areas you can look into if you want to try to make money with a website. The first area, and perhaps most obvious, is advertising. The second area is sales, which will use your website as a tool to promote some product or service. The third area is everything else that isn’t advertising or sales. Each of these three major areas of monetization can be used to successfully make money with a website or blog, but the individual methods used can very different from each other.

To start off, you’re going to need to take a good look at the characteristics of your specific website or blog. You’ll need to figure out what niches the website or blog addresses, how many visitors you’re getting per week and per month, and what your growth looks like for the future. These characteristics will point towards a specific direction for the monetization of your blog and will help you to choose which of the three major areas of monetization you should choose. Once you have this picked out, you’ll be able to focus on specific methods.

Overview of Advertising

The general premise of advertising on your blog or website is that you’re paid for exposing your readers to some sort of media that tells them about a product or service they might buy. In return, you’re paid for the placement of the advertisement. There are many different advertising models, and they aren’t all suitable for every type of website or blog. The following will help you to see what the best options are if you’re looking to place advertising on your website.

The Pay Per Click Advertising Model

With the pay per click model, also known as PPC for short, advertisements are placed on your website or blog. When a reader clicks through on an advertisement they are interested in, you are paid some amount of money in return for the click. This advertising model works best on blogs or websites that have very targeted content based around a single core topic because this tends to drive clicks to related advertisements with a higher rate of success. PPC is also one of the few advertising models that work well with a low or medium amount of web traffic. A good network to use to get started with pay per click ads is Google AdSense.

The CPM Advertising Model

For blogs or websites that have a lot of traffic, one possible option is advertising that uses a CPM model. CPM means cost per thousand impressions, and this means you are paid according to how many people view the advertisement. For example, if an advertising network offers to put a banner on your blog that pays $1.20 CPM, that means that you’re making $0.0012 per individual visitor to a page that includes the banner.

The CPM model is best for large websites with a lot of traffic. CPM also does especially well compared to other monetization methods on websites that cover a wide range of topics. If you’re looking to get started with CPM advertisements on your website or blog, you should check out Burst Media or Tribal Fusion. These two companies have some of the best CPM rates available online.

Direct Advertising

If you have an authority site based around a particular market or niche, then you are likely to have good results with arranging for businesses to advertise directly on your website. This usually requires that your site receives at least a medium amount of traffic, but can pay out much better than other advertising methods if you are successful in establishing a relationship with a company that would like to advertise on your website.

When you’re contacting businesses to try to get them to pay for advertising on your blog or website, you’re going to have to sell them on using your website for this purpose. To have a high success rate when promoting yourself to these companies, you should be able to break down exactly how much traffic you are getting on a monthly basis, and where that traffic is coming from. Then you can show the businesses you’re talking with how much money they could expect to make from this traffic seeing their advertisements, and go from there.

Text Link Ads

It’s possible to just sell individual text links on your website or blog as an advertisement. Companies like Text Link Ads and TNX.net act as a virtual marketplace for people looking to purchase links on blogs and websites. As a publisher, you’ll create a profile for your blog or website. This profile will contain information about your website, as well as a list of keywords that advertisers can use to find your site in the marketplace. Once an advertiser has decided to use your site, you are paid based on the traffic and popularity of your site, as well as the general theme and content of your site. The websites that tend to do best with these advertisements have a medium amount of traffic and a lot of presence in the search engines.

The In-Text Ad Model

Some advertising networks like Clicksor offer a special type of advertisement that shows up in the middle of your text content as a link. This type of advertisement will highlight certain keywords in the text of your website to make it look like a link. When a reader clicks on this link, they are brought to a website paid for by the advertisers, and you are paid for the click.

This advertising model is similar to PPC in that you are paid for each individual click, but the presentation of the advertisements is completely different. The success of in-text advertisements on your blog or website will depend heavily on the demographics of your reader base. The older your readers are and the less experienced they are with computers, the more likely they are to click on in-text advertisements. Along similar lines, if your readers tend to be younger and very experienced with computers, the less success you will tend to have with in-text advertising.

Audio and Video Advertisements

Advertisements that use audio and video inside of text-based content are something relatively new in the Internet advertising game. The problem with these types of advertisements is that they can make web pages load slowly, which will make people not want to visit your website or blog anymore. On the other hand, they tend to pay better than typical text-based advertisements, so there is a bit of a trade-off. Because of this trade-off, this is an advertising method that you will have to test very carefully so that you’ll know exactly how it’s affecting the load time of your pages.

Monetization by Making Sales

Using your blog or website as a platform to sell a product or service to potential buyers is a general strategy that can be realized in many different ways. Some methods might be better or worse for your website depending on who your readers are and what the general theme is of your content. The following are some of the best ways of selling products and services on your blog since they are the most likely to be successful provided that you follow the instructions and advice listed.

Affiliate Marketing

The most popular form of selling products or services on your blog involves marketing affiliate programs to your readers. When you work as an affiliate, you are selling a third party product or service. Each time you make a successful sale, you receive a commission. This method works best if most of the content on your website or blog is based around a single theme. Having a unified theme means that the readers of your website will be very targeted and easier to predict when it comes to their spending habits.

You can find affiliate offers for almost anything. Large shopping websites often have affiliate programs that will let you sell books, electronics, toys, and a lot of other products on your blog or website. If you pick out a few things that you would expect your readers to want and promote those items on your blog or website, then you can make a lot of money while giving people what they are wanting in the process.

Selling or Renting a Page on Your Website or Blog

Instead of selling physical goods or services, you can also sell individual pages on your blog or website. While advertising is essentially renting out a small space on all of your pages, this idea is more about renting out a large space on a single page. Many webmaster and Internet marketing message boards have sections where users can buy and sell pages on blogs and websites, but you’re more likely to have success with this method if you have a lot of readers already. It’s unlikely that people will want to pay for a page on your blog or website if only a few people will ever see it.

Selling an Electronic Book

If the content of your website is geared toward instructionals or tutorials, then selling an instructional electronic book could be an option for monetizing your website. First, you’ll need to write the actual electronic book in a word processor like OpenOffice Writer or Microsoft Word. Then you can convert the word processor document to a PDF file using a free program called PrimoPDF. Once you have your electronic book in PDF format, then you’re ready to sell.

The premise of selling an electronic book is that people want to learn something useful and something different than what they have learned from the content of your website. If you just rehash the same material that’s available for free on your blog or website, then your readers are going to be very unhappy with you. Make sure that you offer a product that will satisfy your customers, and they’ll be more likely to buy from you when you write your second and third electronic books.

Selling a Physical Book

Along similar lines of selling an electronic book, you can also try selling a physical copy. This may seem like a really big project, but it’s much easier than you probably think. While the process of writing the actual book is the same as writing an electronic book, the main concern is how the book will be published.

The best way to do this, unless you’re going to be selling on such a massive scale that you can get your own publisher, is to sell your books through a self-publishing service like Lulu or iUniverse. These websites and others like them allow you to buy and sell printed physical copies of electronic books in PDF or DOC format. All you have to do is sign up for an account at the self-publishing website, upload the PDF or DOC file for the electronic version of your book, and set the binding options. Once this is set up, you’ll be given a link to place on your website or blog that will send readers to a page where they can purchase your book.

Selling Web Templates

If you have an artistic side and you’re willing to learn some of the more technical aspects of website programming, then selling web templates for content management systems like WordPress or Tumblr can be a fun way to make some money from your website or blog. You can get a good idea of what types of layouts are selling well by browsing online marketplaces for web templates, and then putting your own personal spin on it. If you want, you can even have your website or blog use a template that you’re selling as a demonstration. This monetization technique works best if you actually enjoy making the templates and if your readers are likely to be webmasters or bloggers themselves.

Maintaining a Newsletter

Using your blog or website as a tool to collect names and email addresses for a newsletter is a really great way to make money from a website because it is a solid business model that grows in size over time. Not only can a newsletter help you stay in touch with your readers, but you can use the newsletter to occasionally sell them on other products or services you’re offering. A newsletter by itself can keep readers coming back to your website or blog more often, but when a newsletter is paired with selling some sort of product or service, a lot of money can be made as well.

Using Your Blog or Website as a Portfolio

If you are a copywriter, or if you have some other sort of media for sell like photos, videos or audio, then your website is a great place to advertise and showcase your services. If you decide to use this method to monetize your website or blog, it’s a good idea to have a special section of your site that acts as a portfolio for your work. When you apply for work or advertise your services, you can then provide a link back to your online portfolio. Having this portfolio set and ready to go will help you to find clients more quickly and for higher pay than you would normally without a place to showcase your work.

Selling Branded Merchandise

It’s possible to sell merchandise with your website or blog’s branding on it using websites like CafePress. The merchandise available to sell includes t-shirts, hats, mousepads, coffee mugs, stationary and more. Not only can you make a profit from selling this merchandise, but there is very little work involved in setting up your personalized online shop for these kinds of products. All that is required on your part is to create and upload an image to be used as the logo on the products sold. You can use your website or blog’s logo, or you can create something special just for the merchandise. While you will make a small profit from each item sold, you also get free advertising for your blog or website in the process.

Offering a Mentoring or Coaching Service

If your blog or website’s content centres around a topic that you are an expert in, then you should heavily consider offering a mentoring, coaching or consulting service. People will pay a lot of money to get one on one tutoring from an expert in almost any field that they are passionate about, and there is a shortage of available experts in almost every field. While this service could be done in person, using a free video conferencing program like Skype can be just as effective as a face to face meeting.

When deciding on your pricing for such a service, there are two main models to choose from. One model is a basic per-hour charge, and this is fine for most situations. Another method is to set up consulting packages that include some sort of structured instruction for a set period of hours at a slightly discounted rate. Either model can work, and it’s up to you to decide which you like best since this decision is largely one of personal taste.

Other Methods

Besides advertising or selling products and services on your blog or website, there are some other specific methods of website monetization that don’t fit into neat categories. Here we’re going to take a look at some of these methods, as well as some tips and tricks to help make the most of whatever method you decide to use.

Selling Premium Content

It’s possible to set up a special section of your blog or website that can only be accessed by readers that have a premium account, and this section can contain special content found nowhere else. The idea is that users will pay some sort of fee to view the premium content using an account system on your site. With this monetization method, you can charge a one-time fee for lifetime access to the premium content, or you can opt for a subscription-based system instead.

The main thing to keep in mind if you decide to monetize your website or blog with premium content is that the content should be worth paying for. Don’t give in to the temptation to dupe your readers into paying for rehashed versions of what’s available for free on your website already. If you make it worth reading and you provide value for the reader’s purchase, then you will cultivate a strong and loyal base of subscribers over time.

Offering Access to Private Message Boards

Depending on the niche that your blog or website targets, charging for access to a set of private forums may be a good way to make some extra money. There are some requirements for this type of monetization, however. It’s best if there is already some sort of community built around your blog or website, either through the use of an extensive commenting system or through the use of forums that are free and open to anyone who creates an account.

To be successful with this method, you’ll have to offer something worth paying for inside of these special forums or message boards. If you’re an expert in your industry, then that can be leveraged effectively to get users to sign up. Some ways you could leverage your expertise include offering monthly question and answer sessions, offering advice on dealing with industry-related problems that your users are experiencing, and providing your commentary on news in the industry.

Collecting Donations

A simple way to monetize your website is to simply ask for donations using an electronic wallet service like PayPal. If you set up an account, PayPal offers a simple piece of code that you can copy and paste into your website or blog that creates a link people can use to bring up a PayPal page for sending you donations. A lot of people will donate a few dollars here and there for people who provide them with high-quality information that impacts their lives in a positive way, so this is like picking up free money.

In Conclusion

Even if you use a free blogging or website service like Blogger.com or WordPress.com with no domain or hosting costs, it still costs you time to write content for and maintain a blog or website. You should try to find ways to be compensated for the time and energy spent on your site by monetizing it using some of these methods. Remember that you can try just one method, or you can use a combination of methods. In any case, you should try to figure out what works best for you and your website or blog.

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