When it comes to finding ways to monetize your website and making money online, the best thing I have found, is to use a variety of different techniques and to always be testing.
This blog makes money by selling our own online courses, software and other peoples products as an affiliate.
However, there are a lot more than two ways to make money online.
Every site needs to be treated differently.
It can take a while to work out how to best make money from a website. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Don’t just give up. The main reason people fail with blogging, isn’t because their idea or website is bad but because they give up too soon.
Best Ways To Make Money Online
1. Email Marketing
This is one of my favorite things to talk about because it’s just so powerful.
Building an email list can make you a lot of money, help you build a solid brand and of course help readers come back to your site, time after time.
Email marketing can be seen to make you money in a few different ways, such as direct email promotions, to deliver free reports that are monetized and my favorite, to drive traffic back to your site where you make money from other methods.
Gone are the days of finding it hard to get people to subscribe to your website.
A few years ago, we added a lightbox popup to IncomeDiary. Over night, we went from getting 20+ subscribers a day to well over 100.
At the time, most websites hated the idea of using popups because of the negative association people have with them. But these popups are different. Instead of popping up in another browser window, they popup as part of the page you are on. It was a lot less intrusive. Even better, it wasn’t to promote something spammy, but rather something of value to the reader.
After seeing the massive results, we decided to create our own software, so that other website owners can experience the same huge gains we have. We called it PopUp Domination.
At the start, some big names in the industry spoke out, saying they didn’t like them and wouldn’t use them. That didn’t last long, once they saw how well they worked. Now it seems like every site uses popups and despite that fact, they still perform so well!
Love it or hate it but a big reason for the success of popup opt-ins is down to this site you are on right now.
PopUp Domination works on any website. Has over 30 different designs, each pop is customizable to match any colour scheme. We offer a full 60 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee, so there is no good excuse not to give it a try.
Another list building technique you should be trying, is a squeeze page. A squeeze page is a dedicated page on your site to getting a visitor to sign up for your mailing list. You can see an example of a page like this by checking out our squeeze page for our Traffic Domination video! If you want to create amazing high converting squeeze pages (+ a lot more), check out Optimizepress.
Here is an example of a squeeze page we created with Optimizepress for our photography blog:
In order to start collecting emails, you need to sign up for Aweber, which hosts your emails, which you use to send messages, create follow up campaigns, split test etc.
Personally I would say you should also get PopUp Domination, not because I own it but because it’s the best thing for email marketing. 63.9% of our email subscribers come from our popup.
- Very direct way to market.
- One email can make you thousands.
- Anyone can do it.
- Considered by most to be the no1 way to make money online consistently.
- Can work on autopilot, if you setup a autoresponder series.
- If subscribers don’t like your emails, they will unsubscribe.
2. Promote Products as an Affiliate
Another hot topic here on IncomeDiary.
We earn around 30% of our income from promoting products as an affiliate. What this means is we receive a commission when you buy something.
Don’t be alarmed, we promote what works for us, not because we will earn a commission. Fortunately nearly all products that exist, have an affiliate program. If you can’t find an affiliate program for a particular product, type product name + affiliate into Google. For example: PopUp Domination Affiliate. This should bring up their affiliate page, if they have an affiliate program.
In my experience, affiliate marketing works best when paired up with email marketing. Top marketers consistently agree, year after year, that email marketing is their most important income source. Combine that with affiliate marketing and you have a winner.
There are so many ways to go about finding a product to promote, it often depends on your industry. For a fitness blog, you could go to Clickbank, find a product about six pack abs and grab an advertising banner from their resources area and put it up on my website.
You could also do a blog post such as, 7 Best Exercises To Get Six Pack Abs, then at the end, promote the product.
We have a photography blog. One of the ways we use affiliate marketing is to promote the cameras and accessories that we use. All of these are available on Amazon. So we signed up for Amazons Associate program and receive a commission every time a customer buys something through our link. We also get a commission on anything else in their shoppingcart which is kind of them.
One of the best tips I can give you for maximizing affiliate sales, is to make sure that the products you are promoting, are as targeted as possible to your content. Most websites have advertising space, it could be on the sidebar, above or below blog posts. The mistake most website owners make is, always showing the same advert, on all pages.
Using condition marketing, we display different adverts depending on the topic of the page. This is done by creating conditions for different tags, categories and authors. For example, any blog post with the tag make money online, will show an advert about making money online and any post with the tag drive traffic, will show an advert about the best ways to drive traffic to your site. This kind of targeting will significantly boost your conversions. If you want to start using condition marketing on your own website, I recommend you use our brand new tool, WhyCompete, which will make setting this all up a lot easier!
- Can earn you big bucks!
- Easy to setup and doesn’t require much support.
- Passive income.
- Earnings are not guaranteed, can earn $100 one month, $1000 the next.
- Great products can have low converting sales pages.
- High converting sales pages can have rubbish products.
3. Create & Sell Your Own Digital Product
Something I’m experimenting more and more with and I’m not sure if it’s just me.. but it seems like the world has gone crazy about making products, they are everywhere which has educated the market so they know they have to purchase content now. The simple version of creating a product is as followed, create a 30+ page word document about something, turn it into a PDF and sell it.
You can find out more about creating a product and selling it online by reading these posts.
Personally I think your first steps would be to ask your audience what they want to know more about, create a product around that and sell it!
When it comes to selling any product of your own, I recommend using SamCart for your checkout page, upsells and affiliate program. They have a free trial, so make sure to try it out.
- Affiliates send you traffic, build your business.
- Passive income because of affiliates promoting it.
- Great for building your brand and authority.
- Big Money Earner.
- Time consuming to setup.
4. Sell Advertising Space
The most popular way to make money from a website is by placing ads on it. We all know what ads look like, but did you know that they function in many different ways such as Pay Per Click, Pay Per 1000 Views or Pay Per Time Frame.
The biggest downside of website adverting, is that most people know what they look like and avoid clicking them.
When selling advertising, you typically have two choices:
1. Find and work with advertisers yourself.
2. Work with a middle man who takes a cut for bringing you advertisers.
It all depends on you. Is this a business for you or is this just an opportunity to make a bit more money?
I always lean towards finding advertisers myself. In my experience you get paid more, build better partnerships and can do a better job for them.
Advertising sales makes up only a small portion of my earnings but it’s nice to know that money is almost guaranteed to come in every month.
Be warned, Google does not like the practice of buying and selling text links. People buy text links because Google rank sites better based on quantity and quality of links. When you link to someone, you are telling search engines that you trust this site and you are giving them some of your authority. Google likes this to happen organically. So when you buy/sell links and get caught, Google will punish you by slapping your site down in the rankings.
- Often guaranteed income.
- Little effort to monetize.
- Saves you a lot of time.
- Great way to connect with others in your industry.
- Takes away from user experience.
- If you set a set price per month, you can’t make any more even if you double your traffic.
- Advertisers come and go, you have to spend time editing, adding, deleting and finding more advertisers.
5. Create a Job Board
This works like so:
People looking to hire someone will post a job on your board and readers will apply for the job. This is a great method of monetizing a website which I have seen done by a lot of authority websites.
On the other hand, I have seen smaller blogs try to do this and completely fail because it’s competitive and if you can’t send them anyone to apply, it’s pointless for them to post a job. Jobs can be anything from, writers to trainers.
As for what software to use, I recommend you check out ThemeForest, they have a good selection of different job board plugins and themes.
When it comes to marketing your job board, you will want to use some of your advertising space to promote the job board so that readers will see it and apply for jobs.
Charge a low price at the beginning so that you can attract a lot of customers and if they get applications they will be happy to return.
- Completely hands of, you don’t have to do anything.
- Adds to credibility
- Doesn’t work for small blogs
- Very competitive at times.
6. Selling Services
Selling services is a very popular technique people use to make money from a website and is often the reason for them building a blog in the first place. They want to get more clients, to do that they need to get traffic and blogs are great for that!
The easiest way to start selling your services on your blog is to create a new page within WordPress and call it services. Here you can put in the information about what you offer, testimonials and a buy now button.
To collect payments, your best two options is either PayPal or Stripe.
- High converting, they see your blog and want more!
- Highly profitable.
- Easy to deliver.
- Low refunds.
- Exchanging time for money.
- Customers are always right (which we know isn’t true).
- Can be periods of time where you have no customers!
7. Review Products as an Affiliate
I know quite a few people who review products on their blogs, it makes great content and if the product you are reviewing has an affiliate program, can make you a lot of money. You can review anything from software, to bikes, cars, hotels, holidays, food, anything you could think of and it’s all tax deductible (I believe) if you buy something to review.
Check this post out about How To Start a Review Blog.
I personally want to review one product a month, it’s not so many that readers will be turned of but enough that it will make up a high proportion of my income. Doing small amount of reviews means you can pick all the best products and don’t have to speak about negative ones.
- Great source of income.
- Converts higher then banner ads and email promotions.
- Free products sent to you to review.
- Connect with industry leaders.
- Get noticed as a top affiliate.
- You can’t always say nice things.
- If you say bad things, don’t expect to work with that person.
- Products become irrelevant quickly in some industry’s.
8. Offer a Membership Site or Premium Content
This technique has become more and more popular over the last few years.
The idea is simply, people come to your website because they want to read your content. They love it and want more. So you offer them even better content, for a price.
Your first step should be to work out what you’re going to offer. Then, you will want to go ahead and create a membership area for them to login and see the information you’re selling.
Once you have set it up, you will want to focus on marketing it. For best results, I recommend focusing on email marketing and adding an advert at the bottom of every page, mentioning that if they liked what they have read so far, they should take a look at your even better paid content.
Another option would be to release an affiliate program for your membership site. This not only will increase sales but will bring you even more traffic.
For billing, checkout pages, upsell pages and affiliate program software, I recommend you use SamCart.
For your membership site, again you could use ThemeForest to find a good theme.
- Continuity income, keep making money, month after month.
- Can be set and forget, if you time release.
- Affiliates will send you traffic!
- Can be a huge earner, it accounts for over $90k a month for Tutsplus.
- Can be a lot of work to set up.
- Regular work to release more content.
9. Sell Paid Directory Listings
This isn’t very common but I believe it should be.
I see it as a smart way to sell advertising, you see instead of putting adverts on your sidebar, you have a directory on your blog where you link to different company’s and websites in your industry and charge a premium for the listing. If you charged a monthly fee, so for example, say you had 1000 people listed in your directory and charged $7 a month, you would earn $7000 a month in continuity.
In some ways, this is actually beneficial to the reader, say you have a website about becoming a model, in the directory could be a section for photographers, where photographers pay to list their services. Models will come and look for the right person to take pictures of them for their portfolio, helpful and profitable.
Just like a job board, I would add adverts to my blog, promoting the directory to make sure customers are happy with the number of people seeing their ad and the traffic they get. To start with, I would even advertise on other sites to get people to list in your directory, as well as reaching out to people and company’s to buy a listing.
- Highly profitable.
- Useful to readers.
- Makes you stand out as your doing something different.
- Nearly guaranteed income.
- Costs to setup.
- Smaller sites may not work so well.
10. Host Webinars & Sell Something
Webinars are great at selling high price products, either a the product owner or as an affiliate.
Alternatively, you could set up a free webinar that you replay once a week, teach something and then at the end you sell them into 4 more webinars. Once you complete the webinar series, you now have a product that you can sell as a home study course
Here is a great introduction to how to sell with webinars.
- High priced, low amount of customers, so low support.
- Readers want to connect with you.
- Highly beneficial to those who buy.
- Great way to teach.
- If your doing live webinars, your exchanging time for money.
- Investment for software.
- People have to turn up at a specific time, hard for different time zones.
11. Write Tutorials & Promote Something
Another thing I don’t see often, but I love to do!
Content is what everyone is after, that’s why they come to your website, so create content which includes them buying something so that when they do buy, they buy via an affiliate link, and make you money!
What I do to create a tutorial, is I start with the product, find one that you are using and you get a lot out of, it of course needs to have an affiliate program. Then do a tutorial about doing something using that tool.
So for example it could be a post about Photography and take a specific type of photo but you need this lens to do it.
- Makes great content.
- Good for search engines.
- Profitable long term.
- Quick to produce.
- Finding enough products that have affiliate programs.
- Some people may not be interested because they don’t yet have the product.
12. Publish a Book
A lot of people want to write a book, however they have no audience.
A blog can bring you branding, can help you connect with other people in your industry, help you understand what people like to read about, more importantly what people don’t like. All this can help you write a best selling book.
A lot of people don’t consider a book because you only get a couple dollars a book but that’s not just what you earn.
Publishing a book can allow you to then launch a product because people always want more, also a more exciting prospect is being paid to speak. If you are published, you’re automatically seen as an expect, it doesn’t matter if you never sell more than a dozen books, this means you can charge to speak and charge a lot more for consulting.
There’s so many different ways to go about publishing a book, most choose self publish but if your blog is successful, either they will find you or in my case, a friend connected me with his published and told me I should write a book. Someone in your industry who blogs, will also have published a book, help them and they will help you.
- Long term earnings.
- Increase your charge for consulting.
- Paid to speak at events.
- Timely or expensive if you have a ghostwriter.
- Doesn’t make you a lot of money on it’s own.
13. Offer Live Training and Workshops
Just like selling consulting and services, you could also use your blog to sell live training, workshops and seminars.
People read your blog but I wouldn’t be surprised if over 80% don’t act on what you say. Having a workshop means they learn from you and implement with you, this is a very attractive offer to some people and they are willing to pay high prices to do it.
You don’t just make money from the price of the ticket but you can also make money from selling follow up workshops and masterminds. If you bring in speakers, then you also collect 50% of everything they make if they sell from stage at the end. Another thing to consider is recording the event and then selling that as a product on your blog.
Putting on an event is a daunting thing, however it really isn’t to hard. Ring up a hotel, book a conference room, now you have a date, write a blog post and send everyone on your mailing list to that page.
Mention your event every where and keep hustling! Apart from that, all you NEED to do is create your slides and turn up. Some of my friends even hire people to run everything for them so they don’t have to worry about the event side of things themselves.
- Can make you a lot of money.
- Can be made into a product.
- People will invite you to speak at their events so that you can sell yours.
- Makes you an authority.
- Time consuming.
- Selling can sometimes be hard.
- Stressful for first timers and often the pros.
14. Sell Your Website
Definitely my favorite of all the above and also the one that pays the most.
Selling your website can make you very wealthy, or it could be just a nice retirement fund. Whatever it is, it can be a great way to get a large lump sum of cash.
Typically, websites sell for 12 – 24 months revenue, however if your site is old, has something unique about it or is the authority in your industry then you can expect any figure you want. I have seen some blogs go for over 200 years revenue and it didn’t even make $100,000 a year.
Work hard and it will pay off.
It is important to remember if you sold your site for 2 years revenue and it made $5000 a month, you would get $120,000. To earn that amount of money it could take you 6 or 7 years because of expenses and taxes. You also have to factor in how long it took you to build your business. If it took you two years and you sell for $120,000 – then it would be like earning an extra $60,000 a year.
If you are already at the stage where selling your website is an option, read this post on selling your website.
- Large amount of cash.
- Can be sold within a month.
- Enough money not to have to work for years.
- You lose an asset.
- You lose an income stream.
That’s it. Our top 14 ways to make money from a website.
Here is a quick recap of what I recommend you do:
- Get Aweber.
- Get PopUp Domination.
- Get Optimizepress.
- Create a free report or eCourse to give away as an incentive for signing up for your list.
- Create your own online training to sell to your subscribers.
- Find highly rated products to promote as an affiliate to your list.
- Reinvest earnings to make even more.
- Get Samcart to increase checkout and upsell page conversions.
- Use Samcart to release your own affiliate program to get other bloggers and competitors to promote your stuff.
- Expand, expand, expand!