As the Internet continues to introduce new applications and other web programs every day, it is now easier than ever for the average user to create their own website. As this can often times start out as a hobby or a way to document something in your life, it can eventually lead to bigger and better things. This is where most people begin to have problems with their website. They have built up a substantial network of readers and people who support them, but they do not know where to go from when it comes to making money from their website. Luckily, I am going to show you some of the easiest ways in which you can monetize your website and turn your hobby into a source of income.
Affiliate programs are an excellent place to start and most affiliate programs are always looking to add new people who will help then generate business. If you are unfamiliar with what an affiliate program is, it is when a business pays a commission to someone who sends them sales, leads, or something else that they are looking for. Affiliate programs are free to sign up for and range in a wide variety of topics that will surely have something that fits your website.
Affiliate programs track the sales generated from your website by giving the affiliate a special type of link that tells the business that it came from your site. When a reader has clicked a link on your website and purchased something from the linked website, you will receive a commission on that sale.
For example, if your website is about selling diamonds then you could probably try to find a jeweler with an affiliate program. You will then add a link to the jeweler from you website in a sidebar, blog post, anywhere else. When this link gets clicked on and an order is purchased from the jeweler, you will earn a commission.
Different affiliate programs will offer different features and some may provide you with more marketing materials than others. Depending on the overall goal of your website, it is up to you where to place these affiliate links that will generate the most sales while still providing your readers with the content that kept bringing them to your website in the first place. Affiliate programs will have account login areas that allow you to see the amount of clicks, traffic, and other statistical data that can help determine where you may be most successful.
There are various affiliate websites that allow you to find affiliate programs and have all of your information in one place. I would recommend looking through what affiliate programs are available that are of similar interest to your website.
Advertise On Your Website
Like I mentioned above, building a website is easier than ever today, and now advertising on your website is also becoming something that people with little or no marketing experience can do with ease. Google has implemented their advertising services that eliminate the need to go out and find your own advertisers. Like affiliate programs, much of the work is done for you with Google Adsense. You will have control of what type of ads appear on your website along with where they will appear. This makes advertising very simple and another great option for monetizing your website.
Just like the placement of affiliate links, where you place your ads will be critical to how successful they are. Your website has likely received the traffic that it has because of the quality of content that you are producing. You will not want your advertisements to interfere with the content of your website in a way that will upset your readers. It may be a good idea to slowly introduce advertisements on your website rather than advertising everywhere you plan to from the start. Be sure that the advertisements do not clutter the layout of your pages and that everything is still in order and easy to find. Advertisements may be a good option for some people, but be careful in how you use them as they are often looked at negatively by users of a website.
If you plan on asking for donations on your website, make sure it will be for something that your users can see the money being put to use on. I mentioned earlier how difficult it can be to build a loyal fan base of readers who frequently come back to your site. These people have been returning to your website because you have provided them with something that they value. If you have an established base of readers, these people likely want you to succeed so that you can continue to provide this high quality content. This may lead some to be interested in donating to your website for a cause that you are promoting or just to improve the website as a whole.
Developers often will put out free applications to generate buzz for their product, and then ask that people donate to continue maintenance on the application. This is one route that you could take in asking for donations. If people are asking for new features on the website but you do not have the means to fund or develop the new feature, donations could solve this problem. People will be more willing to donate if they know that the money is going to be put to good use somewhere that they can see. Donations are hard to get and it can come off as bad press for your website if no one has any idea of where the money is going. Whether or not donations are a good option will depend on the goal of your website and what you are offering people. If you think that your website could benefit everyone involved from donations, then it may be an option worth exploring.
This method of monetizing a website is becoming more and more popular even amongst the bigger sites on the web. This will generally involve a more thorough website than just a blog as it will require more content that is of better quality along with ecommerce and login functions added to the website. You will need to provide readers with something more enticing than the free content, while maintaining the quality of the free content.
As I just said, selling subscriptions is about balancing content. You want to provide people with high quality content so that they initially come to the website and keep returning for more, all while trying to display that there is something even greater to be had when they pay for the content. It is up to you to determine what you can offer people in exchange for a subscription based on what your website already has to offer. One thing to keep in mind is, that you better keep producing content for the full duration of the subscriptions that you sell or it could end up angering your readers and ultimately resulting in problems for the website’s future.
This is one of the more common ways that you can monetize your website. There are lots of great options from t-shirts to bumper stickers. While you will be making money off of the sales of this merchandise, you also need to keep in mind the advertising potential that these products have. Be sure to put the URL of your website on the products so that when they are being used, others will be able to see where they got the product and what the website is all about. You can get creative in the type of products that you are selling depending on what you website is about. Be sure to market your products in ways that will help the website as well. Offering coupons on twitter and having people tweet pictures of themselves with the products can all be good exposure for the website and lead to more sales.
These are just some of the ways in which you can monetize your website. As I have said many times throughout this article, it will depend on what your site is about and what the overall goal of the website is to determine what your best route for monetizing is. There are still a lot of other ways in which you can make money through your website that you find through some simple research online. As websites become more and more simple to create everyday, it is important to know how taking your website to the next step can benefit the site as a whole.
Photo Credit: Flickr/an Robert Vicol