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    How Do You Monetize a Website? Here are 11 Ways

    The phrase “how to make money online” is searched some 87,000 times per month.

    However, the idea that you can launch a website and leverage it to generate revenue – real, tangible dollars – seems like a pipe dream to most.

    But here’s the deal: Monetizing a website isn’t luck, it’s science. 

    And if you know how the science works, you can do it…over and over again.

    This isn’t to say it’s easy, but it is possible and predictable, especially with SEO.

    It can take months of education and years of execution for most people to reach true levels of success with website monetization.

    Here’s a list of monetization strategies for your website, but first…

    How Much Can You Actually Make?

    How Much Money Can You Actually Make

    I want to begin this article by peeling back the curtain a bit and showing you that this isn’t just hyperbole or hype – you can actually make some real money with a website.

    To prove this, I want you to consider how much money the following successful blogs make:

    Take a look at those blogs. You’ll notice that they all have unique styles, audiences, and niches. (I mean, one of the blogs talks about herbs and generates nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year!) Yet they all share one thing in common: They generate serious cash.

    And that’s just blogging. We’re going to discuss 10 other website monetization strategies in this article. I just wanted to show you that before launching into the techniques and strategies as a way of showing you that it’s possible.

    As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat…

    So let’s dive right in and find out how you can monetize a website and build a sustainable cash-flowing asset. Keep in mind that these monetization methods exclude any discussion of local SEO or local-based business advertising.

    11 Ways to Make Money With Your Website

    1. Sell Physical Products

    Sell Physical Products

    One option is to sell physical products. In other words, you set up a traditional ecommerce website and you focus on selling tangible products that then get picked and shipped to the customer. This can be highly profitable, depending on the niche and the infrastructure you have set up.

    There are a couple of different overarching strategies for selling physical products:

    • Sell your own products. If you’re in the business of making physical products, then it makes sense that you’d use your website to sell your products. Set up listings, drive traffic to these listings, and use an ecommerce platform to streamline the transactions. But even if physical products aren’t your core product offering, you can still get some skin in the game. If, for example, you have a brand that people are crazy about, you can always create branded merchandise (like hats, stickers, and water bottles).
    • Sell dropshipped products. Many business owners don’t want to fuss with manufacturing, inventory management, shipping, and logistics – and I don’t blame them one bit. But there’s still an opportunity to leverage your site to sell physical products. You’ll need to set up a dropship store where you’re able to sell products without ever having to touch it. The margins are lower than if the products were yours, but it’s totally hands off. (There’s something to be said for that.)

    Either option works. It’s just a matter of which one is more conducive to the type of business you’re running.

    2. Sell Digital Products

    Many entrepreneurs are turned off of physical products (and rightly so). But you have plenty of other monetization options to choose from. This includes the sale of digital products, such as:

    • eBooks. If you have a knack for writing, you can always publish and sell eBooks. The key is to pick topics that interest your audience and to position them in such a way that people feel like they need to read the book. At a $7 price point, you only need to sell a few per day to generate a nice stream of residual income.
    • Audiobooks. In today’s busy world, many people prefer to listen to books. You can sell an audio version of your book and/or bundle it with a traditional eBook to charge a premium price.
    • Design work. Are you a web designer or graphic designer? There’s always a market for design work and you can sell some of your favorites to your website visitors. This is a great way to generate revenue at scale. You design something once and then resell it over and over again.
    • Photography. If you’re a photographer or travel blogger, you might be able to sell some of your best shots in an online store. There’s a market for both print/framed photography and creative licensing for online use.
    • Mobile apps. While it might feel like there’s an app for everything, there’s still room for more. If you have an idea of a mobile app, you can always create one and sell it on your website as an additional stream of revenue.
    • Templates. Many entrepreneurs and bloggers generate healthy revenue streams by selling things like templates, email swipe files, digital guides, and other resources that can be used to save time, organize digital assets, or offer guidance.

    The benefits of selling digital products include higher profit margins, no physical constraints, on-demand delivery, and recurring revenue streams (in some cases). If you can find a way to fit digital products into your mix, you should take full advantage of this option.

    3. Sell Online Courses

    Selling online courses

    Selling online courses can be an extremely profitable way to generate website revenue and ultimately build a sustainable business. Best of all, it’s a passive stream of income (once the online course is created).

    Just to give you an idea of how much money you could potential generate selling online courses, here are three formulas to generating $10,000 per month with nothing but courses:

    • 400 courses @ $25 = $10,000 per month
    • 50 courses @ $200 = $10,000 per month
    • 5 courses @ $2,000 = $10,000 per month

    Those are just three simple formulas, but sometimes I find it’s most helpful to break things down into basic mathematical equations. Generating $10,000 per month might seem daunting, but making 50 sales at $200 each seems more doable. You can break it down even further and say you need to make roughly 1.5 sales per day.

    Online courses can take on any number of shapes and sizes. You can offer courses on concepts and ideas (like politics or philosophy), courses on practical skills (like roasting coffee), or even hands-on workshops (like walking students through the step-by-step process of building their own website). The options are endless.

    If you’re looking to scale engagement for your online courses, consider applying gamification to your website.

    4. Sell Membership Access

    Some of the most profitable websites are membership sites where people pay to access some or all of the content. You’ve probably seen this with larger websites like The New York Times or certain sections of ESPN.com. It obviously comes with some tradeoffs – you ostracize non-payment members to a degree – but it can be profitable.

    The key to selling membership access is to make sure the content you’re offering is worth more than what people are paying. If you’re going to charge $10 per month, you need to be sure that you’re offering at least $10 value. (And you’ll want to communicate this in a very clear and tangible manner.)

    5. Sell Consulting Services

    Do you have a professional skill or talent that you could potentially teach others? A website is a great place to build clout and sell consulting services. It gives you a platform to build credibility, show your value, and then ultimately schedule meetings so that you can profit from your expertise.

    The only challenge with consulting services is that they aren’t scalable. In other words, you can’t sell an unlimited supply of consulting services like you can with eBooks or courses. Every client you work with requires some of your time. Price your time accordingly so that you don’t end up jamming your calendar so tight that you can’t work on your website.

    As a self-promotional example, we sell SEO consulting services here on SEO.co and it’s something we do profitably.

    If you truly are an expert in your field, monetize that by driving organic traffic and pulling in leads.

    For instance, in our work performing SEO for lawyers, we assist lawyers and law firms in scaling traffic to drive specific leads for things like personal injury and mass tort.

    6. Blogging + Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate Marketing Stats

    Most people think that you have to sell your own products, services, or time in order to generate substantial revenue with a website.

    However, this isn’t true. One of the most profitable options is to develop quality content and then pepper it with affiliate marketing links to products and services from other entrepreneurs and businesses.

    You can monetize a website by including a benign affiliate link (preferably with disclosures for website cookies) to products on other sites that are relevant to the content your producing.

    If you study some of the most successful bloggers – meaning the ones who generate the most money – you’ll discover that the lion’s share of their revenue comes from affiliate marketing via affiliate links.

    Michell from Making Sense of Cents is very transparent about her earnings and she reports that roughly 62 percent of her seven-figure blog’s revenue comes from an affiliate marketing strategy.

    7. Build an Email List

    No matter what industry you’re in, what niche you serve, the type of products or services you’re selling, or your long-term goals, you need to be building an email list at all times. An email list is worth its weight in gold. It’s the most profitable marketing asset you can have by far. And there are dozens of ways to monetize it.

    Build an Email List

    The best way to build an email list is to create a lead magnet and opt-in form and display it prominently on your website. Then when you drive traffic to your site, you can nudge them into your funnel.

    8. Publish Sponsored Content

    Once you have enough eyeballs on your website, you can leverage your traffic to begin generating revenue on-demand. One way to do this is by accepting and publishing sponsored content.

    Sponsored content is a blog post that another individual or brand pays for in order to generate exposure with your audience. You typically charge a flat rate per post – like $500 for an article – and they provide you with the content. You then publish the content with a little header at the top that reads something like, “This article is sponsored by The Widget Company.”

    Sponsored posts can be great because it provides you with content and revenue. It’s beneficial for the sponsoring brand because it offers them exposure in front of thousands of new prospective customers.

    One of the keys to making sponsored content work is to avoid working with direct competitors who may siphon traffic and dollars away from your website. Instead, find brands with audiences that overlap with your own.

    Pro tip: From a link building perspective, sponsored content should–per Google’s guidelines–include either rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” tags, or both. Google terms of service specifically calls out anything that is not so marked as a link scheme that should be avoided. Be aware, while sponsored posts can help you monetize a website, it could also have an eventual detrimental impact on your SEO. 

    9. Accept Donations

    You’ll need to offer a ton of value and develop a loyal following first, but donations are one way to generate revenue. You won’t strike it rich with this approach, but it can be enough to offset your expenses and allow you to focus the bulk of your time on other revenue-producing strategies.

    There are plenty of ways to accept donations, but if you want it to be professional, streamlined, and secure, we recommend using a platform like Patreon. You can integrate it into your website and generate recurring revenue and/or one-time donations.

    10. Website Advertising

    Display Advertising Stats
    Selling ad space as a form of website monetization only really works if your website has absolutely massive scale.

    Once your traffic reaches a certain point, your website becomes an attractive place for other brands to advertise. There are a couple of different types of ad space that perform well:

    • PPC advertising. Using a network like Google Ads, you can streamline the ad process and allow Google to serve relevant ads on your website. You’ll get a “commission” every time someone clicks on one of these ads. Instead of a PPC marketer, you become a PPC publisher.
    • Display ads. Another option is to sell real estate (e.g. static ads or banner ads via Google Adsense) on your website. With this approach you partner directly with brands and charge them a flat fee for the right to serve ad space on your website.

    Advertising networks typically are not the biggest revenue producers for most websites looking to monetize, but it can provide a healthy stream of residual income that’s almost 100 percent passive.

    11. Flip Your Website

    Finally, you can always sell your website. In fact, some entrepreneurs build websites for the sole purpose of flipping them. This takes a lot of work and patience, but can potentially generate high six- and even seven-figure paydays. But, keep in mind, if your website is worthy of a seven figure payday, that means that it’s like producing a high, consistent, predictable steady cash flow. In many such cases, the best ROI is to continue to maintain such a site, not selling it.

    In fact, once you become profitable in one area of monetization, it may be wise to work to diversify your site’s income stream(s) by trying your luck at other monetization methods, further solidifying and strengthening your incoming revenue.

    Grow Your Website With SEO.co

    Regardless of whether you’re selling physical products, blogging, or building a website with the intention of flipping it for a profit, you need traffic. In fact, you need lots of traffic.

    As a leading SEO company, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs and businesses scale their organic traffic with the highest quality content and links. We do this through a combination of premium blog writing and strategic, white label link building services.

    For more information on our services, or to learn how we can help you generate more traffic from your website, please contact us today!

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards