13 Actionable Steps to Monetize Your Website
Creating a website allowed you to successfully break into the online scene. Now you’re investing time and a lot of love into keeping your website real and fresh for your audience.
Fortunately, there are ways to earn money from your site, which so many have grown to adore, with a bit of hard work and ingenuity. This guide will show you how to monetize a website using 13 proven methods that can drive revenue and positively transform your online presence.
How to monetize a website
01. Sell merchandise
The internet retail sector is thriving. An estimated 4 out of 5 Americans shop online and in Europe, these numbers are even higher, according to a recent industry report. In turn, many who are looking to create their own monetary opportunities are launching eCommerce websites.
In order to successfully open your own online store, you’ll need to first create a product, either in digital or physical form. If you already have a website for a business or hobby, you can consider a type of product that complements the theme of your website. For instance, Colorful Petals, a personal site by a Japanese fresh paper florist, houses an online store where loyal fans can purchase their own peony paper DIY kits.
Afterward, simply add a store to your site. You can operate it from anywhere, handle all your transactions - payments, refunds and payouts - in one place, and then fulfill and manage every order. In this rapidly expanding industry, you’ll also want to stay on top of the latest eCommerce trends, like personalization and offering a seamless checkout experience, to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
02. Build a membership area
You can increase user engagement while earning a profit by creating a membership area for your site. Like a paywall, its goal is to turn readers into customers by getting them to purchase special access to parts of your site. If people are interested in you, they are willing to pay a small fee for more.
Your offerings can range from gated premium content, online services, downloadable material to a “VIP lounge” for members only. Using Wix Forum will allow you to create an exclusive paid space for your die-hard fans where they can connect and share information.
Before you start building a membership area, think about what type of content you’ll offer and how to deliver it. There are several membership models to choose from, including a drip feed one that slowly trickles down content to registered users, an all-in membership which gives access all at once, and a fixed term membership that can be activated for a week, month or year. Once you add a membership section to your site, it’s time to create buzz around it. Give your followers a sneak peek of what to expect with a free one-time pass or offer special discounts to try it out.
03. Become an affiliate marketer
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started on your website monetization. It is the process where one party agrees to market the goods of a business and earn a commission with each sale they bring in. It also takes time and a bit of strategy to do it right.
Companies are able to track an affiliate’s performance and potential earnings based on purchases via an affiliate link which they provide. For example, a fashion blogger can make extra cash if a reader buys a shirt through their affiliate link. You can earn money per sale, per lead and per click. If you decide to experiment with affiliate marketing to make money online, you’ll want to keep a few important things in mind to ensure your success and take the best approach for your readers:
Select a brand you trust. An endorsement must reflect your honest opinion. Otherwise, your promotion of a product or service can be misleading. And when you make a real connection with the product, people will notice and respond. Just like any good partnership, you’ll want to find your ideal match when looking for an affiliate program. Some popular choices include Amazon Associates, ShareASale and the Wix Affiliate Program. Research prospective companies before closing a deal to market them.
Recommend services or products your audience will benefit from. Your audience returns to your site because it offers them value in the form of informative content, beneficial links and recommendations. Every time you add something to your website, think about how it can further enrich your readers’ lives.
Be transparent. You should disclose your affiliate links and be completely open with your readers. They are smart and able to make informed decisions when it comes to personal spending. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission requires affiliates to disclose their relationships with brands they are paid to promote. That’s why you’ll want to check out the FTC endorsement guidelines before you get started. For those operating outside of the U.S., be sure to read about your country’s laws on affiliate marketing.
04. Offer consulting services
Here’s a thought. Why not capitalize on your expertise via consulting? Your website is an ideal platform to start offering your services and receiving payment in return. To begin, you’ll need an online scheduling software where potential clients can book a service or make a consultation appointment directly through your website. With this advanced tool, you will also be able to accept payments, host session sessions online with Zoom, offer memberships or packages and manage all your clients.
Furthermore, consulting allows you to establish your speciality and helps you develop new techniques through working with different clients. By doing so, you’ll also be able to sharpen your analytical and communication skills.
05. Design an online course
Another way to generate income as an expert is by creating a paid online course. With virtual classes on the rise, you won’t have problems finding students.
Focus on a specialized area that appeals to you and your audience. It should be something that you are knowledgeable about and are also driven by. Then, you’ll need to write out a plan. Ask yourself this, “Is what I want to teach relevant to others?” This can help narrow your ideas and expectations to match what you set to accomplish in your online course.
Then, you can begin making the content that goes with it. That includes filming or audio recording your sessions, editing them and uploading material for those enrolled.
06. Start a paid newsletter
Launching a paid newsletter is a fun way to share your creativity to a dedicated following as you monetize your website. Readers pay a subscription fee to access exclusive content via email. If you have a website on Wix, you can manage exclusive content to paying members by offering pricing plans.
When it comes to choosing a pricing model, go with one that you feel comfortable with. In its early stages, you might want to experiment with lower prices for your first paying subscribers. You can also offer a limited number of subscriptions at a fixed price. Once they sell out, you’ll know you’ve generated an interest and can take the next step to ramp up your price.
In terms of planning content, you'll want to focus each newsletter on a specific topic around you and your audience's interests. Then, set a delivery date so that your subscribers will know when to expect it. For yourself, create a schedule for publishing content that you can stick to. Additionally, newsletters are also scalable, so as your subscription number grows you can begin to cover more content.
07. Try dropshipping
While the idea of selling merchandise is an attractive way to monetize a website, you might not have the physical space nor the capability to oversee orders. An alternative to that scenario is dropshipping, which is an order fulfillment method that lets you sell products without having to manage your own inventory and connects you with third-party retailers to pass on the sales order.
Dropshipping also provides flexibility in your product offering, making it easy to adjust or change your merchandise since you’re not limited to what’s left in storage or what you can manufacture. It also takes little investment to start and no commitment to order minimums. You can experiment with products - test out what works or doesn’t - without risk.
08. Advertise on your website
This section needs no introduction. The reality is that ads are everywhere and it’s usually the first choice that comes to mind when thinking about how to monetize a website.
But if you plan on selling ad space on your website, you’ll want to make sure you pick ones that can perform well with your audience. In order for ads to make your site profitable, they need to resonate with your site visitors and encourage them to click. This is because you will be paid by advertisers depending on the number of clicks the ad gets, known as pay-per-click.
That said, there are many different kinds of ads to consider for your website. Here are just a few to choose from:
Static ads are images that contain permanent content. They only need to be assembled once and require no maintenance, for example a banner.
Animated ads are created as Gifs, HTML 5 banners or short videos and typically run between 5-10 seconds. They can be effective in getting the message across faster than the other types of ads.
Native ads resemble the content around it and are optimized to match the platform upon which they appear. They usually take the form of articles, videos and infographics.
You can also use Google AdSense which pairs ads to your website according to your content and visitors. While it’s free to participate, there’s a disadvantage to taking this route since you cannot pick which ads to show on your site.
09. Do sponsored reviews
You can write a sponsored review that blends on your page. Unlike working with ad firms, you won’t need to wait to get paid per click. Instead, reach out to potential advertisers who might want to buy a sponsored review from you.
You’ll want to try out the product on offer and see if it meets your standards before making any association with it. Remember that you should only endorse products or brands that you trust. In fact, stay away from anything that’s sub-standard. If it meets your criteria for quality, then you can write an effective review for your audience. Then you can wholeheartedly feature the product on your esteemed website.
10. Write an ebook
Bring your expertise into the fold of long-form content. By writing an ebook you can further develop your ideas rather than with a single post that typically tackles one concept at a time. And with a book, you can present a lot of critical information in a way that people will be more willing to read.
Like the creation process of any good product, you'll need to take time to put together an ebook. First, you’ll need to do research about your topic. Second, you’ll need to invest in additional resources, such as the design for the cover and potentially hire a professional editor. However, since there’s no middleman, like a publisher, between you and your buyers, you’ll get to sell directly and keep all the profits.
11. Create webinars
Position yourself as an authority figure in your field and share your knowledge in the form of a paid webinar, which is an online presentation held in real-time. It typically runs up to 45 minutes.
You’ll need to pick your topic and do some research. In order to make your webinar stand out from your competitors, make sure you provide attendees with an extra value that only you can offer. Then, you’ll want to investigate what similar webinars are charging for access to help you figure out your admissions fee.
Finally, set a date and time for your webinar and spread the word. You can say it in a banner on your website, send a message to your email list, create a landing page, write a blog post or hit social media.
12. Accept donations
Your web visitors enjoy consuming every single area of your site, from its original content to the thoughtful visuals you continually add or update. That means you’ve been pouring in time, effort and resources to make it look good.
Consider asking your readers for donations to help cover expenses and further support your way to internet success. One of the easiest ways to accept monetary donations is via PayPal. You can write an open and honest message to your followers and feature it somewhere on your homepage, along with a button that invites them to contribute. Wix streamlines the process of setting up a PayPal Donate button in a few simple steps.
13. ‘Hire me’ page
In addition to monetization tools that can be integrated on your website, you can also create a “Hire me” page to bring you extra source of income. Simply put, this is a dedicated page where you’ll advertise your talents and skills for hire, from personal training to graphic design.
For your “Hire me” page, it’s always a good idea to present your past work, or portfolio, and highlight testimonials from past customers. Remember to add a call-to-action button so people know how to communicate with you. Some commonly used CTAs include, “contact me” or “learn more.” You can also place a contact form at the bottom of the page that sends clients directly to you.
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
Small Business Expert & Writer