You’ve read blogs and ads about people making a killing online and you’re wondering how to make money on your own website. This is your very own piece of virtual real estate, and just like the physical type, it can be a real money maker.
Whether you blog about your hobby or your passion, advertise your business or have an affiliate marketing site, you have a variety of ways open to you to make money. Here are five of the most popular and lucrative.
This is the granddaddy of online ways to make money. The concept is simple: you promote someone else’s product or service on your site in return for a commission. Every time someone clicks the link and buys from it, the seller pays you a percentage.
There are two ways to do this. You can find your own sellers who have an affiliate program or you can check out affiliate marketplaces. If you have a very specific niche or like a particular product, it is worthwhile to check with the seller to see if he has an affiliate program.
The big advantage with this method is that the more experience you have with a product, the better you are able to promote it with passion. This works especially well if you have a blog about your hobby or passion. Your visitors will pick up on your sincerity and enthusiasm, making your comments about the affiliate product come across as honest.
Most affiliate marketers use affiliate marketplaces. One big advantage is access to products that have sold well for others, so will likely be profitable for you. The second is how streamlined the entire affiliate process is. Since affiliate marketing is what they do to make money, they are very professional about it, making it easier for you to concentrate on promoting products instead of nursing the affiliate process. The two biggest are Clickbank and Amazon, both with literally millions of products in every niche you can think of.
To find products at Clickbank, you need to create a free account, then locate products in your niche that sell well. The site lets you check each product’s track record. You want one that has both a high percentage of sales and commission for you. Most products have professional banners, ads and sales copy available for you to put on your site.
Amazon is one of the biggest shopping destinations on the web. By becoming an Amazon Associate, which is free, you can promote their products and make a commission on thousands of products. The program has numerous advantages to affiliate marketers, including:
- It’s dependable. Once you reach the minimum for payout, Amazon will pay you by check, direct deposit or a gift certificate.
- For anything a visitor buys within 24 hours of clicking your link, whether it is a product you have promoted or not, you will make a commission.
- The product range is huge.
- The buying experience is reputable, so people trust Amazon and are more willing to click your affiliate links.
- Amazon knows how to convert visitors to their site into customers, which adds money to your account.
- As you sell more, your commission rate goes up.
Once you find a product, how to you promote it? One of the most popular and effective methods is a review site. You write about the product, listing its pros and cons. Potential buyers are hungry for reliable information about the products they are researching. Many review sites are obviously geared to simply getting them to click the link so the website owner can make money. Internet visitors have become much more cynical and sophisticated over the years.
The way to ensure a steady stream of visitors is by providing honest information, which includes the negatives about a product. You want visitors to trust your honesty by giving them the most helpful advice possible about the products you review. This means they are more likely to come back in the future and to tell others via social media that you are a trustworthy review site.
This doesn’t mean you need to buy the product in order to review it. You can write it based on the sales copy available, by checking out reviews on Amazon and other shopping sites, and by reading blog posts and other reviews available online. You are saving buyers time by aggregating this information in one spot, your review website. Provide a well rounded summary of what people have written about the product to produce a trustworthy review.
When you write your review, include keywords. Google picks these up, increasing your chances for good rankings on the search engine results page. People researching a product will see your review when they search, click on the link and end up at your site. Always write your reviews with keywords in mind.
Pay Per Click
With this method you get money when visitors click on an ad, banner or contextual ad that is linked with an advertising network. It starts by signing up with a network, which will insert text or image ads that are relevant to your content. Each time someone clicks on one, you earn a small amount of money. Over time this can really ad up.
Google’s Adsense is the most popular of all the networks, but others are available including Chitika, Clicksor and Bitvertiser. This method works best for websites that have a steady flow of traffic. It’s biggest advantage is how automatic the entire process it, requiring little work on your end. Be sure to select ads that are suitable for your website’s target audience. This will result in more clicks.
Collect Email Addresses
The cliche for online marketers is “the money is in the list.” And like so many cliches, it’s true. Building a list of loyal visitors allows you to sell affiliate products as well as your own products and services.
It doesn’t matter what type of website, niche or business you have, collecting email addresses will help you make money consistently and for the long term. Not collecting them is leaving money on the table and simply walking away.
The people who are willing to give you their contact information are a highly targeted audience, the perfect group to sell to. They have shown an interest in your website and its content already. That indicates they are open to what you have to say and are willing to consider your products.
One of the easiest ways to get email addresses is by offering a freebie, in the form of a report, short course or chance to watch a video. Make the free download or information valuable to your visitors. Be willing to give away solid content in exchange for their contact information, or you won’t get too many signups.
Make your opt-in form or pop-up box easy to spot and quick to fill out. You can ask for a person’s first name in addition to the email address, but don’t request more information. People will simply pass up your offer rather than give you more in-depth data.
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Privacy is a big concern online. In the early days of marketing, it was often considered an intrusion and an invasion of privacy to collect addresses, but this hasn’t been the case for years. At this point in internet history, visitors online expect to be asked for their contact information. However, most limit the amount of information they are willing to give you.
When you get a list, send out usable information on a scheduled basis, usually weekly. By providing news they can use, you make it easy for them to become loyal readers of your email. Periodically offer an affiliate product or your own in an email. Be sure it is something you can honestly recommend. Put the emphasis on helping your reader, not on selling.
You will need to subscribe to an autoresponder service like Aweber, which automates your communication with your list. You then write a series of emails to be sent out at intervals that you determine ahead of time.
How much money can you make? That’s hard to pinpoint because it depends so much on the products you sell and, more importantly, how many people are on your list. Though there is a general rule of thumb that you will make $1 per email a month, the fact is many marketers make far more.
If you have expertise in a specific niche, you can monetize that by setting up a premium membership area on your website and charging a monthly fee to join. There are many advantages:
- you get a steady stream of income
- as a rule, your startup costs are low
- the profit margin is high
To attract subscribers and keep them, you need to offer in-depth content in the form of tutorials, videos, ebooks and posts that help them solve a problem or pursue an interest. Internet visitors are getting more sophisticated each year so you need to produce high-quality information that is easy to access and is continually updated.
The good news is that if you have expertise in an area, you are poised to produce solid content that people are willing to pay for. If you have a regular flow of visitors to your blog or website reading the information that you are posting for free, you are definitely in a good spot to put together a membership site.
Why would visitors pay for information when you are currently giving it away? There are several reasons:
- the content is in one place, not in numerous places on your blog
- more in-depth information is provided, in several forms like video and tutorials
- they have the chance to interact with others who have the same interest if you also set up a forum or private Facebook page
- people like to belong to something exclusive
Internet marketers are always looking for profitable sites to buy. After building up your site, sprucing it up with graphics and content and promoting it regularly, you’ll should be earning a monthly income. At this point, you can list it on a website marketplace like Flippa. The rule of thumb is that you can sell it for 10 times your monthly income, but in reality it’s a bit more complex than that.
The process can be compared to selling your home. You might think it would be a slam-dunk to find a buyer quickly and at the price you want to get. Even if you’ve put in numerous improvements, they may not add substantially to the home’s value. That’s because it all depends on finding a buyer who wants your specific house. For your website, it all comes down to locating a buyer interested in your niche, the look of your site, your content and the potential income.
Here’s what buyers look for in a website:
- consistent earnings
- consistent growth in visitors and income
- traffic from a number of sources
- something unique about the site that makes it stand out and easy to promote
- more than one stream of income
- design and structure for the content and for marketing is already in place
There are numerous places to sell your site. The biggest is Flippa, but you can also try BuySellWebsite.com, Forums.DigitalPoint.com and GeekVillage.com forums. You can also sell directly by finding a marketer in your niche and pitching your site. The advantage of using a popular marketplace is that it attracts a steady stream of buyers ready to spend money.
Making money from virtual real estate is much like making it from your physical real estate. One of the most common tips from financial advisers is to own your own home because real estate tends to increase in value over time. Since you own it, the money and energy you put into keeping it up are worth it because they add value to your property.
The same is true for your website, which is your virtual real estate. Take the time to add great content and grab attention with attractive graphics. Promote it on social media. Experiment with different methods of making money.
All of them take time and effort to learn and put into practice, but in the end you have a valuable piece of property in the online world. All your experimenting with how to make money on your own website will definitely be worth it.