Making money online and monetizing your Website’s Traffic is generally neither as easy as it sounds nor as profitable as most people think. In many cases major changes in the philosophy of the service/website must be done (especially if the website used to offer free services) and several trade-offs must be made. As a result this can heavily affect the amount of traffic and users that you have.
This week, StayOnSearch’s 9th free lesson on Online Marketing is about making money online. At the beginning of the article Mark Thompson elaborates on the fact that in order to make money you need to develop a high traffic website and increase your loyal users. The author stresses that having multiple streams of income is very important in order to reduce risks. Additionally due to the fact that the audience of each industry has different characteristics, some of the above streams of revenue work better in some sectors or they don’t work at all in some others. Finding the correct mix/combination of the above streams can help you maximize your profit.
Below you will find a short description of the methods that you can use to monetize your blog or website along with a few comments that are not part of the original lesson. Nevertheless I strongly recommend you to sign up for the free Online Marketing lesson, where you can find a detailed description of each method, along with the recommended tools or services that you should use.
1. Write Product Reviews
Once you increase your Authority or once you become an influential professional of your industry, you can start writing product reviews for 3rd party products. The most important thing here is to promote only the products that you find useful, be transparent and honest.
2. Start an Affiliate Program
If you sell a particular product or service through your website, you can start an affiliate program with other webmasters and online marketers. Affiliate Programs work with commission, so depending on how many sales your collaborators generated, they get a cut from your profits. This method allows you to recruit a large number of marketers to promote your product without requiring a large initial capital. Nevertheless in order to be successful you must ensure that those people promote your products with white-hat techniques and they do not do actions that can hurt your brand name or product.
3. Join Affiliate Programs
Instead of starting an affiliate program of your own, you can join the affiliate program of another company and promote its products through your website. Depending on the sales that you generate for them, you get a percentage from their profits.
4. Google Adsense and other Advertising programs
As you all know there are lots of advertising programs such as Google Adsense that allow webmasters to earn money by placing ads in their sites. These advertisements generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis.
5. Sell Banner Ads and Ad Space
A similar method with the above, but instead of charging the advertisers on per click or per impression basis, you charge them with a fixed monthly fee. This method is usually used by high traffic blogs which have enough users/traffic.
6. Add a Job Board
Another way to make money from your website is to add a job board and post industry specific jobs. In this way you make money from every post that Job Recruiters publish. Have in mind that this is neither a very common and nor a very efficient stream of revenue due to the fact that Job Recruiters usually post their ads on High traffic career Websites or in social media networks like LinkedIn.
7. Create a Membership Section
This is one of the most difficult but also profitable methods. This method requires you to develop a community or service and build a membership section where paid users gain access on Premium Services or exclusive resources.
8. Create and Sell a Product
This method is very close to the above. You need to develop a tangible or intangible product and trade it on your website. Have in mind that you should sell something useful and that you must avoid promoting products that can hurt your reputation.
9. Newsletter Sponsors
That’s a typical method of E-mail Marketing. If you have a long list of emails from users that are willing to receive a newsletter, theoretically you can use it promote products and services. The longer the list the better for your income is.
At this point I must stress the fact that this form of marketing is considered spammy by a large part of users. Only if you are 100% sure that your subscribers will find the product or services useful you should send such emails. You are not only risking your reputation but also you risk in getting your domain black listed.
As we said above, once you become an authority on your industry, you get the opportunity to work as a consultant for companies that read your blog, use your website and trust you as an expert. The exposure that you get from professional blogs is significant and as a result you can receive lots of request from companies that need your services.
Selecting the appropriate mix
As we said above it is crucial to test the methods that are aligned with your corporate philosophy and that are more likely to be successful on your industry. If you decide to collaborate with other companies by affiliation programs make sure that they are white-hat people and that they do not use extremely aggressive marketing techniques. Also if you decide to write reviews or promote other products be 100% sure that this is a reliable product. By promoting or recommending a low quality product you jeopardize your reputation and you risk your brand name.
What you should avoid
Another method that you probably need to avoid is spamming your subscribers with low quality products by using email campaigns. Lots of online marketers have destroyed their online reputation for using such practices. My personal view is that you should not use such methods, not only because of the reputation risks but also because of the legal implications of email spamming.
Finally my suggestion is to avoid aggressive marketing tactics that promise you easy and fast money. If you want to be successful online you must build your reputation piece by piece, prove that you are an expert on your industry and make people trust you by being honest and transparent.