33 Ways To Monetize your Website

Ways to monetize a site

Updated 3rd of January, 2015 by Robert Mening.

It’s not a myth that you can make money with your website. A lot of websites on the Internet are made for one simple reason – to generate income. In most cases, it’s not just a hobby.

Whether you are trying to get rich or just looking for some funds to cover the hosting/domain expenses, here are some of the ways to do so.

Keep in mind that some of the strategies are more or less passive while some other techniques require a lot of on-going work. Make sure you pick something that suits well with your website.

10 most popular ways to monetize your website

 

1) Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a very popular way to make money through your website/blog. In short, you sell (or recommend) someone else’s product(s) on your website. When your website visitor clicks on your affiliate link and buys the product – you’ll receive commission.

The commission is usually 30% – 70% of the product or service price. So if you promote an e-book that costs $100, you’ll get $50 for referring the buyer (just an example).

Where can I find products to promote?

 

2) Pay Per Click Advertising

Google has made a program called Google Adsense for publishers (bloggers, website owners) and advertisers (business owners, marketers, product owners).

This system is quite simple. You place a code on your website that will start displaying relevant ads to your website. For example, if your site is about pets (dogs & cats), Google Adsense will start showing your visitors ads for cat food, dog training and so on.

When someone clicks on the ad, you will receive money for this click. It’s usually $0,5 to $5 per click, but when your site has enough traffic – you can make hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month. Keep yourself known with their TOS, though.

How to apply for for Google Adsense?

  • Apply for AdSense – Before applying, keep yourself updated with their TOS, though. Google is very strict with their rules so it’s pretty hard to get approved.

 

3) Selling Ad Spaceadvertising_on_website

As the name says, all you need to do is sell the ad space. You set up a price, let’s say: “Banner at the sidebar will cost $xxx per month”. You will get paid upfront and the price depends on your traffic. If your site gets ton loads of traffic from different sources, the banner ad price can go up as $5000 per month. However, if your site doesn’t have much traffic, don’t expect much.

Where can I let others know that my website is selling ad space?

 

4) Sell your own digital product (ebook for example)

Selling your own product is awesome because there are no middle mans, no one is going to take the “cut” – it’s only YOU and the CLIENT. You can sell directly through your website and you’ll get paid directly. While it looks like a simply way to make money, it’s actually not.

It takes a lot of time to create a good product that you can actually sell through your site. So make sure it’s well-made and polished before you throw it out on your webpage. In addition, a perfectly optimized landing page for the product is essential to higher your conversion rates.

Additional resources

How to sell products on your website.

How to set up a PayPal “Buy Now” button on WordPress

 

5) Donation / Becoming a sponsor

Setting up donation buttons or simply asking additional funds from your readers is another way to monetize your website. It’s easy to set up, but you have to be aware that it’s not so easy to make money with it. Unless you find a sponsor(s) who pays a lot! However, before you throw up your donation buttons and widgets, make sure that your visitors will see why you need those donations (hosting expenses, new product creation, researching costs etc…).

make_a_website_donation

For example web.archive.org makes a lot of money from donations, but then again – they probably have millions of visitors per month.

How to set up donation buttons?

 

6) Accept sponsored posts & articles

Once your site is getting good amount of visitors monthly, you can offer sponsored posts and articles. There are a lot of advertisers who would be interested in writing sponsored posts for your website.

Another option is make money through reviewing something. Here’s an example: You have a website about Apple products -> marketer from Apple sees your site and contacts you.-> He/she offers you a free iPhone 5 if you make a comprehensive review and post it on your site for followers to read. This is an extreme case, but I’m sure you get the point…

Win=Win situation? Yep. However, make sure don’t accept anything completely irrelevant to your site/blog. If your site is about cats and you post a review of American Express credit card, then your visitors might have a trust issue (case study).

For further reading:

 

7) Generate “Leads” for other companies

Generating leads means you help other organisations or companies to make money. It can be a simple e-mail submit or telephone number, a lead is a lead.

Scenario: Let’s say you have a website about teaching and learning math. You can easily set up links to different schools and universities that offer people to learn math. When YOUR visitor submits their e-mail or a phone number to university for application – you’ll get paid.

It’s very similar to affiliate marketing, but your visitor doesn’t necessarily have to buy something. A short contact information is more than enough. The sales people will take care of the rest.

Where can I find such offers?

 

8) Build an “Email List”

Building a “list” means that you gather your visitors emails. 90% of the websites that get some sort of traffic use that technique – and it’s working pretty well.

You’ll not get rich overnight, but it’s definitely something long-term (and profitable). However, make sure you first create relationships with your followers by simply offering great information and/or help for FREE. Spamming different offers through emails is never a good idea.

opt-in-box

How exactly does it work?

9) Set up an online store

You don’t always have to create a website about something. You can just create a “tool” for your business – an online store.

Bricks and Mortar businesses are becoming more and more popular since the rise of the “Internet era”. If you have enough dedication to make it work, try it out. Be aware of the competition, though. There are thousands of e-commerce website on the Internet, but only few of them make a lot of money. Plan out your strategy, keep your design up-do-date and use the latest marketing techniques.

How do I create a successful online store/shop?

 

10) Sell your site to someone else

I usually don’t suggest people to do that, but site flipping/selling is becoming a very lucrative business model. If you are into short-term projects and more into “quick buck” you can implement it as well.

… but you also have to know that your site has to either get a lot of traffic or generate money through different monetization methods.

The site value is usually based on the income. If your website is making $500 per/month through selling ad space, you can sell the site for $5,000 – $10,000 (12x – 22x monthly income).sellwebsite

Another option is to sell ready-made sites, they are much cheaper, but there’s still some money to be made.

Where can I sell my site?

OK, by now you have learned the ten most popular ways to earn money your website. But that’s not all you can do.

Below here I pointed out another 23 ways to make money with your website. Keep in mind that some of them are slightly connected with the ones above yet they are little “out of the box”.

 

 

Another 23 ways to monetize your website

 

11) Sell text-link ads – There’s still a slight demand for text-links ads, but you need to keep in mind that Google doesn’t tolerate it that much…

12) Set up “infolinks”– It’s quite easy to set them up, but the downside is that it’s not converting too well and the payouts per clicks are quite small. It’s a great alternative for Adsense, though.

13) Use monetization widgets – Very similar to Google Adsense, worth trying out as an alternative.

14) Set up RSS feed ads

15) Give away premium content for extra $$$ – If you are producing mind-blowing, awesome and near ideal content that helps your visitors – you can feel free ask money for that. I’m completely fine with paying for the premium content. However, at first your main goal should be growing audience and visitors; not asking them money right away.

16) Start a private forum or coaching class(es) – If you are good at something, why don’t you start advising others? It’s a great way to earn recurring income from your students.

17) Create a job board – You can set up a job board on website. You can earn money by accepting different job offers from various companies/individuals.

18) Offer consulting – You know something that other’s don’t? Offer consulting GIGs and get paid for your knowledge. You can offer consulting via email, forum and Skype.

19) Add “hire me” page on your website – If you enjoy freelancing, you can leverage your opportunities through your web page. Make sure you list down all your skills and previous tasks – this will improve your chances of getting hired.

20) Sell or rent internal pages – This isn’t very popular way to make money, but if you find someone who is interested in renting your pages – give it a go!

21) Display pop-ups advertisements – Extremely annoying, but another easy way to make some money.

22) Use content lockers 

23) Display audio ads – This is something new and it’s getting more and more popular in 2015. I haven’t tried it personally, but I have read some articles about it and it definitely looks promising.

24) Sell an e-book – Many people sell e-books through their site. Some examples: If you have a website about recipes and cooking, you can easily create and sell your own recipe book. The same applies in every other niche.

25) Create a conference around your website

26) Set up a teaching program

27) Host paid webinars

28) Create a membership site

29) Offer coupons (with affiliate links) – People are eagerly looking for discount & promo codes. If you can offer a valid one, you are able to cut some money as well.

30) Host polls on your website

31) Offer writing gigs – If you are native & fluent – I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t offer writing GIGs. If you are good enough, you can easily ask $20 – $30 per 500 word articles. Just let others know that you are offering this kind of service.

32) Create a paid directory/business page

33) Just copy what others are doing – My personal favourite.

P.S: If you know any other ways to monetize websites, let me know. I’ll add it in the list and credit you by putting your name behind it.

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91 Responses to “33 Ways To Monetize your Website”

  1. I’m currently using Adsense to monetize my website. I’m getting around $200 per month from clicks. Do you think I should try affiliate marketing or BuySellAds to grow the revenue? I created my website around May 2013.

    • I think you are doing pretty well. You should definitely try affiliate links on your website. BuySellAds is also an option, but it requires a bit more traffic than regular websites receive.

      Some sites do better with Adsense while some other make a lot more with affiliate marketing.

      By the way, are you also building a list/gathering emails?

    • Hi Amanda,

      Yes, you can monetize WordPress. It doesn’t matter which platform you are using.
      Robert

      • Hi Robert/Amanda…

        I should chime in here and clarify robert’s point on wordpress. If you are hosted on wordpress.com, you cannot use ad sense. If you have separate hosting and are running wordpress yourself, then yes.. you can monetize it.
        Good luck!

    • Yes you heard it right. You cannot monetize free WordPress blogs that you create using wordpress.com. This is because on these free WordPress blogs, you cannot add any JavaScript or third party code. Only sites with a Domain that have been setup using WordPress.org can allow adding such code and thus only these latter type of sites can be used to advertise and make money.

    • they must have meant wordpress.com not wordpress the CMS software that you install on your own hosting server.That would allow total freedom.

  2. Hi Amanda, just curious but how much traffic does your website get on a monthly basis?

  3. This is an interesting collection of ways to make money with your website. A good way is to perhaps focus on one or two methods first before scaling it up.

    • Yep, it’s wise to start off with 1 or 2 methods and then change/replace if needed 🙂

  4. Thanks for listing all the possible ways to make money online. I like google Adsense so far, but I’ll try others as well. Thanks for the tips.

  5. I have just built a new site and looking at ways to monitize it, the information you have provided on this page is very useful. I’m sure I will be getting back you soon on this platform to inform you how much I will be making after implementing your suggestions. Thank you once again.

  6. Also you can use in-image ads on your website. It is a form of contextual advertising where your images are matched with related advertisements. It means that an ad is displayed within an image. It creates additional revenue and easy to set up. For example take a look at imonomy.com products page
    Olga

  7. Hi Robert,
    great guide on how to monetize our websites!

    Selling banners and writing sponsored posts really work for me
    (and freelance writing services).

    Also, I think affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to generate a passive income online.
    However, not every blogger are able to get good money out of it.

    Using the right tools, producing great content, solving your audience needs and problems, choosing relevant products or services to promote are some tips to reach success with affiliate marketing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I like all the info. that was mentioned. Recently, i just got approved from Adsense having ads to my site. I just want to know, what is your strategy to have more visitors that will also click the ads?

  9. Hi Robert, your article is just spot on! Can’t think of any other ways of monetization (unless spamming can be included, lol). I think for a start before building your own website, one should already have a goal in mind of the general purpose of the site. For an instance, our website is made to promote our web design company; but in exchange, we should also offer valuable content to our audience not only pressuring them to acquire our services or click on profitable ads. Client service before anything else 🙂

  10. What if you’re using AdSense and Commission Junction and still not making much money? I get quite a bit of traffic, but can’t seem to make money off of it, even though my ads are pretty targeted towards my readers.

    • Esther,

      You can combine Adsense with Commission Junction, but you main goal should be building trust in your visitors eyes. Otherwise they just don’t click on your ads/affiliate links and you won’t generate much income. Put more effort in your content and I’m more than sure you’ll see an improvement in your earnings.

      Cheers,
      Robert

  11. Great article !
    I created a site a few months ago and for monetization I am currently using AdSense … but am looking at other options.
    For affiliate marketing I have looked at Commission Junction. Also, what do you think about Amazon Associates?
    Thank you,
    Bob

    • Bob,

      I’ve tried Amazon associate/partner program and it’s pretty good. The only downside is that you’ll earn roughly 4% from the products price, but if you are targeting high-end products; such as laptops, cameras – the 4% can add up pretty big amount of money 🙂

      Robert

  12. Guest blogging can also be one of the best techniques to monetize the blog or website apart from these techniques.

  13. Thanks for the info, what would you recommend to use for building an ad website ?

      • How do you feel about Wix or Weebly? Every time I have tried WordPress it seems impossible to put together and I’m hoping the much easier to use websites like the ones I mentioned also have some tread.

        • If you want to build something great & flexible go with WordPress. Wix & Weebly are pretty limited when it comes to design and they look somewhat “boring” 🙂 But that’s just my thought.

      • I run a website that concerns itself with aircraft maintenance, and do “How to” videos geared toward what aircraft owners/pilots can do to their aircraft. How would you recommend I get several large parts suppliers to pay commissions on their parts sold on my site?

        • Hi Eric,

          This is interesting niche to be in. Here’s what I would do:
          1) Check if ebay sells those kinds of large parts. If so, you could sign up to their partner program and earn 5% from the sales you make.
          2) Get in touch with aircraft parts suppliers and see if they are interested in new clients/buyers. If they are, simply ask for a commission fee.

          Hope this helps
          Rob

  14. Hello Robert,

    Thank you for the useful information. I am using Google adsense in my site, but I couldn’t earn anything from them even after optimizing it. I only receives approx 50 page-views per day. Could you refer me some tips that would help me.

    • Praveen,

      50 page views per day isn’t much, but you could try affiliate marketing to see if it over-performs Adsense.

  15. I appreciate all the good info in your article. I am looking for a good rule of thumb for charging for banner and link ads. My website is the world’s most popular in the field of speech/language pathology, with 6.1 million hits worldwide. The most popular message board on the site has attracted 650 unique visitors from 8 countries, and has 3,000 page views in 5 days. I am sure I can find businesses in the field to advertise, but don’t know how to figure charge and terms. Can you advise or point me to resources that can help? I feel like I am wasting opportunity every day and want to start earning some money through this site, while keeping it free for visitors to use. Thank you.

      • Hi Robert

        I’m currently rebuilding my website after it was hacked and restroyed by spammers.

        I’m planning to offer banner ads and am drafting a media pack and rate card at the moment.

        Would you mind sending me a similar message to the one you sent Pat (above)?

        Thanks

        Jamie

  16. Hello Robert,

    I just went through your post on ways of monetizing the website. You have just posted some of the best methods of monetization and I was exactly looking for such methods to monetize my blog because getting approval from Google Adsense is not easy nowadays.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Sabrez Alam

  17. Hi,

    I own a number of sites. 4 of them alone generate about 4 mill pageviews a month between them. But I can’t seem to find any decent ad networks, and make less than $500 a month for all of those beautiful pageviews. Any pointers you can give me?

    • Hey Rich,

      Shoot me an email to robert(at)websitesetup(dot).org
      I’ll give you some pointers.
      Robert

    • Rich,

      4 million pageviews per month is huge 🙂 Congratulations for that.
      Have you tried Adsense or affiliate marketing – they both could work well.

      Best,
      Robert

      • Hi! New to this. (sorry for the ‘late’ comment).
        What about pay per view ad? I know they make less but if this guy has 4 mil views that could be an easy way to make some cash?
        Thanks for the article!

    • Try Project Wonderful. If they’ll accept you, their advertisers bid for space on your site based on traffic and views, not clicks. I found they work well as a partner to Adsense.

  18. Right on read, Robert. I am pretty well versed on the majority of methods you provide or touch on… however, the one I want to learn the most about “Content Locking” goes to an inactive link. My independent search isn’t doing much better. Is there something on the serious downside to this monetization method? Can you lead me to something that provides; pros, cons, and/or the how-tos of Content Locking?

    Your information is very interesting. I will be back.

  19. Robert,

    Pat had a great question regarding trying to determine how much to charge for banner ads on her site. Is there any information that you can share on the topic?

  20. I am absolutely thrilled that I found you today! I am a 50 something female that didn’t inherit the techy gene. What I have read so far today makes sense where as many of the others haven’t or they want you to pay for their service. I don’t have a problem with doing that, however the level I am at and circumstances I am not able to do that and have been trying to figure it out on my own without much success. Looking forward to getting to know you!
    Marilyn Foster

  21. Thanks for the post. Very informative for a newbie like me. I was wondering in order to apply as an affiliate for Amazon (or any affiliate for that matter) do they require a certain amount of traffic from you? Should I wait to apply as an affiliate until I build up more traffic or is it OK to go ahead and apply in order to start right away? Thanks!

    • Hi Wayne,

      From my experience, it’s pretty easy to get accepted to the Amazon affiliate program. But it’s a bit smarter to sign up once your site has some traffic and content on it.

  22. What are some options for what would be considered adult content? Not porn but may have nudity from a submission post to site? Possibly some profanity?

    • Hi Troy,

      Google Adsense doesn’t allow you to show any nude images. So if your blog/website has nude pictures, you won’t be accepted to their advertising network.

    • Sure, why not. It doesn’t matter whether your domain ends with .org, .com or .net.

      • Thank you for your reply Robert. I have one more question. Does google prioritize (rank) .org websites in comparison to .com and other extensions?

        • Hi Vivek,

          If you are aiming for visitors all over the world, the domain extension doesn’t matter. (.com isn’t more prioritised than .org or .net). They are all equal to each other.

  23. Recently, I have started getting about 3-4000 hits a week. I am a musician/singer and I’m interested in making money on some sort of advertising revenue. I’m branching out into doing weddings, and more parties, and have recently become a notary so I can perform the wedding as well. Any ideas?

    • You can always offer different services on your site. I can’t guarantee they’ll be converting well into clients, but it’s a one way to do it. Just add a “services” or “hire me” link at the top of your menu.

    • You can, but I suggest you to keep your site not too fuzzy with different ads. Your site trust factor goes down…

  24. Can you also do a pay per click link? Such as, set up a web directory on your site, to where you can place a logo or simply just the website of said subject for directory itself and get paid anytime someone clicks on it? For example, you have a sports directory website and include a link with a logo to MLB. Would you be able to get paid anytime someone clicks on this link? Thank you for your feedback, nice website you have here.

    • You could set up a paid directory. If it’s legitimate and gets some traffic then businesses are okay by paying some money for their listing. I’m not so sure about the click = $ thing, but you could test that out and let me know how it goes 🙂
      Robert

  25. Why not sell a website or design a few just for this purpose to sell. Interesting concept. I’m currently using adsense. Good information, easy to read and understand! Thanks!

    • If you know how to build websites with WordPress then why not? Just make sure you built something that your clients would be proud of 😉

  26. Great post Robert, thank you for all the information. I just recently started my blog and I am looking to drive more traffic as I am building my content. Do you have any advice or recommendations on how to improve my blog?

  27. Hi Robert just starting, and no I’m not as smart as a fifth grader!
    Will let you know how following the directions on your site turns out. All in…going to start with an art blog, and then make a webpage to sell art products does that sound like a sensible plan?

  28. Hi Robert. Thanks for sharing these useful website monetization tips. I followed your tutorial on building websites using wordpress, and I’m thinking of building one. But I live in LIBERIA, a country that doesn’t have credit card system and is not supported by paypal. How I’m I gonna get paid for my ads. I’m a kind of worried.

  29. Hi Robert,
    This is a great article. I like it very much. You have explained everything very clearly. Very helpful, indeed. Thanks !

  30. Each weekly blog post averages anywhere between 2,000-4,000 reads. I’m interested in applying for Google Adsense, but not the savvy when it comes to getting the code on my website. Is it easy enough to do myself?

  31. Great article, I currently have a blog and website that I monetize with Adsense. However, I would really like to increase my revenue so I’m looking for ways to do so that will not violate Google’s TOS. Can you please offer me some insight? The money I make from Adsense used to be 1,000-1300 now it has decreased significantly 600-700 if I’m lucky. I really need help because I am not in a great place with my business, well I’m not where I want to be and doubt, and frustration are almost about to defeat me when I have come so far. Can you email me or reply here with suggestions. Thank you in advance and for your insight. I honestly need it because I do NOT want to throw in the towel.

  32. Hi Robert,
    We have just created a new website and looking for ways to create some revenue. Would like to link up with a suitable supplier to sell items online to our members, can you suggest what commissions we should be able to negotiate from sales of this kind?

    • Very hard to say. Depends on the price of the items you’re going to sell. But I’d say anywhere from 5% to 30% is good 🙂

  33. Thank you for taking time clarifying gray areas I had in mind in creating a website and for the many valuable tips in my journey to embark in tapping this avenue as a possible source of passive income.

    Kudos to you Robert..

  34. Hi Robert,
    I really appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into this list; thanks for the time it took.
    A couple of things; 1.for monetization, I know you can make money legally with other people’s rss feed content on your site; my question is if you create an rss feed for a site that doesn’t have one using something like page2rss.com, can you legally monetize that on your site? Does the content owner have to be in charge of the feed like a normal rss? Most likely I’m guessing.
    2.What are your thoughts on mopub for ad revenue vs google adsense?

    And to Rick above, 4million page views is nothing to sneeze at, congrats on that.

  35. Amazing and professional article. Thank you so much. Two quick questions for you.

    Affiliate Marketing : Imagine this scenario. A user clicks on a affiliate link, they love the product but only purchase it a week later. Do I still get credit for the sale?

    Selling Ad Space : I’ve received interest from an advertiser who likes my site and wants to sell their product on my website. How do I got about deciding how much to charge them? If I earn about 1500$ a month via adsense, I was thinking of asking for 2000$ a month for all the ad spaces on the site. Does that make sense? Any tips?

    Thanks

    • Hi Adrian,

      Affiliate Marketing: Depends on the cookie duration. Some affiliate programs offer 30, some 60 days of cookies. I’d say that you’ll still get credited for the sale unless the buyer users some other affiliate link after he have used yours.

      Ad Space: This makes perfectly sense 🙂

  36. Hi Robert. Thanks for the article!
    I hope you can help me figure out what to do. I have a youtube channel with excel tutorial, it’s doing pretty good however, I’m getting lots and lots of questions and e-mails asking for help with different excel problems.

    I also have a website with some basic information and files to download and use with the youtube videos.
    I don’t want to monetize that website, but I’d like to ask for a donation whenever I solve an excel problem through e-mail. I thought about using a donation button from paypal and pasting it to my e-mails however I read that you can only use that button if you’re a nonprofit, and that’s not my case.

    I also don’t want to use a buy now button cause I don’t want to set a price for my help, I just want people to decide if they want to donate and how much they want to donate.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    • Hi Manuel,

      Yep, you’d need to be nonprofit organization to take donations, but if the amounts aren’t big – let’s say less than $200 monthly then I think you can connect it with your personal PayPal account. You can be creative 🙂 You don’t need to use “Buy Now”.

      Use this instead: “If you liked my content, buy me a beer for $5” – in that way it would look like a donation and not buying something. Hope this helps!

  37. Great read and thanks for publishing! My wife is in the process of starting a website and will need to monetize her site. This will give her a nice jump point to get started!

  38. In reference to suggestion (7) of 10 most popular ways to monetize your website, How do I create a link on a website to lead a person to a university and/or college and receive pay in return? Thank you.

    • Hi Nathan,

      Search for “College affiliate programs” or “University affiliate programs”. Additionally, you could get in touch with the university directly and then ask them if they have an affiliate program. Hope that helps.

    • Amazon pays roughly 2-4% of each sale. If you’re selling high-end items, I’m sure there some money to be made 🙂

  39. Number 33 is cute 🙂

    Good article thanks for a needed overview.

    Now, for the rest of your blog..

    🙂