Monetizing your website is the process of converting your traffic into revenue. Many people do this to develop a passive income stream in hopes to escape the rat race. In order to be successful, you need engaging content that you are deeply passionate about and tons of traffic. With over 1.3 billion websites on the world wide web today, developing convincing content to attract a large audience is a tall order. Passion (not money) needs to be your primary motivation. Building a popular website like starting a business is extremely difficult and if you lack passion, you will get frustrated and quit. If you post unique content regularly, you can use email marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to drive even more visitors to your site. Once your website attracts a significant amount of traffic, you can start monetizing it using the techniques below.
Sell Ad Space
Selling ad space directly is difficult but you can eliminate the middleman. First, you need to show off the real estate where the ads will be displayed. They should be prominent where advertisers will get the maximum engagement. Popular ad sizes include a skyscraper (120×600), a banner (468×60), a medium rectangle (300×250) and a half page (300×600). You can charge a flat fee or opt for a pay-per-click or pay-per-impression model. Although there is no right or wrong way, you should aim to charge $2-3 per 1,000 impressions for the best results.
To sell ad space you will need a media kit that shows your total traffic and the demographics of your visitors to sell to potential advertisers. You can obtain this information from Google Analytics. Finally, you will need to identify potential sponsors in your niche to contact with LinkedIn.
If you would rather not try to sell ad space on your own, you can display ads with Google Adsense to earn some extra cash. You implement the Google code where you would like the ads to be placed and Google takes care of the rest. Google will display the most relevant ads of the highest bidder and they will pay you whenever someone clicks on an ad. You can use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to determine which ads pay the most. Here is a screenshot where I have randomly added some keywords to check out their suggested bid prices. As you can see, “app development” and “e-commerce” terms cost much more than “web design” terms.
Keep in mind that advertisers usually pay the Google Display Network only about 20% of the cost per click to advertise on Google. Based on an average click-through rate (CTR) of 1% it would take 100,000 visitors per day to make $100,000 per year from Google AdSense alone so this is not that easy. AdSense only works if you install WordPress on your own domain. Free websites that have been set up with WordPress.com do not work with AdSense.
Finally, be sure to review their terms of service because Google can terminate your account at any time if you are not in compliance.
You can become an affiliate for products or services that complement your website. Affiliate marketing is where you post an affiliate link to receive commissions on referrals. Ensure that you are transparent with your visitors if you are an affiliate marketer and only recommend relevant products or services that you have tried yourself. The commission can be 30-70% of the product or service price simply for referring the customer. We are an affiliate marketer for web design services and products that we use regularly such as BlueHost (website hosting), Sucuri (website security) and Elegant Themes (premade WordPress themes). If you do not know where to start, try ClickBank, Commission Junction, Share-A-Sale, and Amazon.
If you are engaging your visitors, you can politely ask your visitors to donate to allow you to continue bringing them what they love about your website. You can add a Paypal donation button in a few minutes. Every little bit helps and you will be surprised how quickly it ads up.
Subscriptions & Hiding Content
You can lock up more valuable content by implementing a subscription model. You can allow visitors to access most of your content but ask for a nominal subscription fee for more premium content. Alternatively, you could try to hook your audience by showing the introduction of an article and hiding the rest until they click on an ad or take some specific action.
Sponsored Posts & Reviews
Once you have built a steady stream of traffic, you can review a product or service by writing an advertorial which is part editorial and part advertisement. For example, if your website is about the latest WordPress themes, the creator of one of those ads would love to have you review and feature one of their themes on your website. Use nofollow tags to ensure that you do not lose any link juice which s the SEO value of a hyperlink to a webpage or website which influences your Google rankings.
With e-commerce stores popping up everywhere these days, it is very challenging to create a successful one. You could curate products specifically for your target market or sell your own e-book. There are many considerations when setting up an online store including shipping, taxes and which payment gateway to use. If you are just starting out, implementing WooCommerce with Paypal is the easiest and least expensive way to go. Here is a simple e-commerce website we set up in a week.
Build an Email List
Building a list of loyal followers using MailChimp who want to stay up-to-date with your compelling content is the best way to sell something to them. Offering them great free information is the best way to start. Spamming them with unsolicited offers will cause them to unsubscribe and distrust you.
Create a Job Board
You could create a jobs board and post jobs for a nominal fee.
Develop a “Hire Me” Page
Although most all of the above methods are ways to generate passive income, you could offer writing, consulting or coaching services to supplement your website income. While everyone dreams of earning money while doing nothing, developing a highly trafficked site does not happen overnight and you need compelling content to successfully monetize your website.