Having your own website gives you a number of ways to make money. There are a number of ways that you can earn money from a website. To give you the most opportunities, we recommend creating a WordPress website.
What you will find is that many of these start the same way. You have to create content that readers want and that they find entertaining or helpful. Your first efforts should be focused on building an audience. Once you have that audience, it becomes easier to earn money from your website. You will find that most recommendations, including ours, are build on search engine optimization (SEO) which is a series of techniques and strategies that focus on getting readers from Google and other search engines.
That isn’t the only way to build an audience. It’s generally the cheapest, but it’s also not fast. Done right, you can use search engine marketing (SEM). This involves paying for advertising to draw an audience to your website. Done well, this can generate an audience very quickly but it has its challenges. The primary challenge of SEM is that it costs money. The second big challenge is that when you turn off the ads, the audience stops coming to your site.
Many have had success using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to generate a good audience.
Once you have enough of an audience, you can start to display ads on your site. Google AdSense is what is called a PPC, or Pay Per Click company. Google analyzes traffic on your site and your audience and displays ads on your site. It tries to display ads that your audience will like in hopes that they are more likely to click on the ads. You get paid for each click. It doesn’t pay much, averaging about 20 cents to $15. Most sites don’t make more than a couple of dollars for a click. Your goal is to get a lot of clicks and then the numbers add up.
Check out Sign up with Adsense.
Other PPC Companies
Google isn’t the only PPC company. There are others out there. Google AdSense can be difficult to get signed up with, especially if you don’t have much traffic. There are companies out there that focus on smaller sites, bigger sites, and all sorts of other options. Sometimes these can be more lucrative and easier to work with than Google AdSense. Check out the best AdSense alternatives.
CPA (Cost Per Action) is a different concept from CPC. You will not get paid for clicks. Instead, they pay you for different actions. These could be for downloads, completing a survey, giving an email address, or any number of actions. Generally, these arrangements do not have the same formal programs as CPC advertising. With these, you often will be forming a relationship with a specific company and not a network.
CPM means Cost Per Mille or Impression. You will get paid for every ad impression. This is more similar to traditional advertising like TV, newspapers and magazines where the advertiser doesn’t know how many people buy from the ad or how many take action. The metrics only tell them how many people saw, or likely saw, the ads. Your average CPM ad earns you about $2-$3 per 1,000 views, so you need a lot of traffic to make these ads worthwhile.
Affiliate marketing is a model where you get paid for a referral to their product. Typically, you will only get paid if someone purchases from them and you get a set amount of money or a percentage of the sale. This means that you really want to keep your audience in mind when you are making recommendations. You can, of course, just recommend anything and there are affiliate programs for just about anything. After a while, though, you will likely find that you aren’t attracting the right audience and that your audience isn’t actually purchasing anything because of that.
The best affiliate marketers create quality content and then provide their audience with recommendations that are valuable to them. Affiliate marketing sites tend to follow a few different models. Some build review sites where they review different products. Some provide tutorials or they provide more information on the product than the product manufacturers themselves. This way, you can create some real value for your audience, build trust with them, and when you recommend a product, they are more likely to purchase it.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
There are a lot of affiliate marketing companies out there. Many companies have their own programs but here are a few to take check out.
- Amazon Associates – Amazon Associates is probably the biggest affiliate program around. It actually doesn’t pay the biggest commission but they sell, well, pretty much anything anywhere. This means that you can set-up an Amazon Associates account almost anywhere and the breadth of products allow you to make a blog on almost anything and still find products that work.
- Share A Sale – This is a network that allows you to sign up for multiple affiliate programs using one login. You can manage them from the same interface and often, they make it easier to get approved for a program. This is one of the biggest programs.
- ClickBank – This is another big affiliate network.
Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative but requires a dedicated audience that is willing to buy what you are recommending.
One last form of advertising on your website is to sell advertising directly through your site. With the ad networks, this isn’t a very common way to earn money from a website. One option is to sell direct advertising through your website. In other words, advertisers pay you directly, rather than a network to advertise on your site. You then place the ads on your website through code. You manage the billing, placement, and many other things that are usually handled through the ad networks. If you have enough of an audience and you specialize in specific products or categories, you can earn more advertising money this way. It’s more work and more difficult to sell advertising.
Accept sponsored posts
Basically another form of advertising, some advertisers will pay you to place sponsored posts on your site. They may write the posts or they may ask you to do it. Either way, the sponsor will have to approve the post. This isn’t incredibly lucrative but can be a great way to make some money. You will be obligated to certain conditions. Here are some of the things you can expect an advertiser to want to dictate
- Content – They may not directly write the content but they will certainly want to approve the content and may require certain aspects of the content.
- How Long the Post is Up – You will have to leave the post up for a certain amount of time.
The Risks of Sponsored Posts
You can make a few hundred dollars off of this but be careful. Especially if these sites are obviously ads, it may turn off your audience, and trying to earn a few hundred dollars could cost you some audience. When negotiating with the advertiser, be careful to protect your own voice and your own messaging. If it’s a product you like or believe in, this can be easy. Then, you can write an honest post. Sometimes, explaining how to do something complicated or unique ways to use their product can be great posts both for your audience and for the advertiser.
For example, some bloggers have had success with sponsored posts where they write a recipe with a specific food type that they recommend. The audience sees another recipe and it is a valuable sponsored post for the advertiser.
Lastly, Google will penalize when it detects a sponsored post. Since you are required by FTC rules to disclose these posts, they’re not hard to pick up for either your audience or Google.
Earn Money from a Website Through Selling Products
So far, we’ve talked mostly about opportunities to make money through advertising. That’s not the only way you can make money through your website, of course. Advertising is one of the major ways and it doesn’t require special skills. You don’t even have to know how to write. You can hire people to do the writing for you if you want. Another common way to make money through your website is through selling things. There is an almost infinite number of things that you can sell. With WooCommerce you can easily create a store. If you don’t want anything fancy, you can usually do this for free. This will let you create a store, create products, sell those products, and take payment. You can even manage shipping and sales tax if you want through the core WooCommerce.
Often, for more complex or higher-level functions, you may need to be buy plugins. For things like subscriptions, digital downloads, etc. paid plugins are often required. Many of these are very affordable depending on the complexity and features.
There are some really creative ways to earn money from a website out there. Here are some of the main categories that you can make money on your website by selling things.
Sell Your Own Products
You can make money by designing and selling your own products. People have had some amazing ideas of things to sell, many of them profitably. The good news about selling products online is that you can make money more quickly than through other ways like blogging. You may need to pay for advertising but if you know what your product costs to produce, you can figure out what it costs to advertise. Add all the costs together subtract the advertising and if the result shows a profit then it can make sense to pay for advertising.
When you add up those costs, make sure that you include everything. Each product and service is different. Here are some of the costs you need to consider:
- Manufacturing or Production Costs – Especially for physical products, it will cost something to have the product designed and built. Make sure you know all of these costs. Even digital products may have production costs. For example, you may have paid a designer or a writer. You need to recover those costs.
- Shipping Costs – Include costs to ship the product. For physical products, remember that you have two shipping events to consider. The manufacturer needs to ship the products to you and you need to ship the products to your customers. If you are paying for a Third Party Logistics company to receive, ship and process orders for you, including those.
- Costs of Returns – If you are selling a physical product, you need to account for the costs of processing returns. These could be losses of the products, costs to ship it back to you, credit card processing, etc.
- Hosting Costs – Maybe not the best term, but whether you are using Shopify or WooCommerce, Etsy or Facebook (or all of them), consider the costs associated with it.
- Miscellaneous – You will likely have credit card processing fees and other costs. Make sure to include these.
Types of products
You can sell almost anything online. Some people have gotten really creative when looking at options of things to sell. Let’s take a look at a few broad categories.
Someone Else’s Product
Companies like AliExpress exist to allow you to sell products from other companies. There are drop shipping companies that do much the same thing. You can order products from them at a cheap price and sell them on Amazon, through Third Party Logistics companies or other companies. These companies will ship the products for you. Basically, you don’t have to do much. That’s the good news. The bad news is that what is easy for you is easy for everyone else too, so it’s really easy to compete.
Your Own Product
Of course, you can design and sell your own product. You can use the same drop-shipping companies, including Fullfillment by Amazon, if you want. These companies will receive, store and ship your product. The good thing about this is that you don’t need the infrastructure to do these things out of your basement of you can’t. The bad news, of course, is that these things aren’t free and they come out of your profit.
Readers really like guides, cheat sheets, and books. You can produce these products really cheaply. Once they are made, they don’t cost anything to produce, store or ship. If you have the knowledge that people need, you can make a pretty good business. These could be guides, books, courses or almost anything that someone willing to pay for.
Where to Sell Them
There are a number of places to sell your products and services. Everything from Amazon to Etsy or Ebay. You can start your own website.
Offer Membership Site
Some sites will offer paid memberships or even free, exclusive memberships which can give you an audience. These can be themed, or exclusive, or even non-exclusive where they allow anyone in.
With systems like WordPress, websites are easy to start and they are very affordable. It takes work but if you are willing to put that work in there are a lot of ways you can make money with your site.
You need three things to get started with a site
- A Domain Name – This is the URL or what you type into the web browser to find the site. For example, www.wordpressprotips.com is our URL. We recommend Namecheap. For a few dollars, you can get a domain for a year.
- A Host – Your site needs a place to live. This is called your host. You can find hosting for all sorts of prices. You’ll see a lot of names mentioned on different sites. We recommend Siteground and WP Engine. They have great prices, support and can get you going really easily.
- WordPress – You don’t need any programming skills to create a blog, You can create and write content with WordPress. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) and used to create a website or blog without any coding knowledge. It can do a lot of other things too, but just starting a blog is pretty straight forward. Siteground has tools to install it and get it started for you.
You can write your own books and sell them on your site or even on Amazon. It’s not all that hard to get a book published on Amazon (not including writing it.) Some authors even give their books away on their sites. This might sound crazy but a short book isn’t all that hard to write, especially if it’s written on a topic that you know well. These can be great attractions for your audience. Many authors will give the book away but require the reader to provide an email address. They can then use that email address to market to and, hopefully, eventually, sell them something worth far more than a book.
Sell Your Services
If you have special skills like web design, consulting, translation, or almost any other service, you can advertise and sell those services on your website. There is an almost endless list of skills that you can advertise on your website. Create a blog to help with SEO and build a following.
Sell Your Website
You can actually make money by selling a successful website. Websites will often sell for 30-40 times the monthly income. You can sell it privately but that makes it tough to find a buyer. The more common way is to go through a broker. There are a number of private brokers out there, but they usually handle larger sites. For smaller sites, it might be best to go through one of the following online marketplaces/brokers:
Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses. The good news is that they will all walk you through the process.
Come Up With Your Own Way
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to earn money from a website. They are some great starts but you can mix and match or even come up with a whole new way. Give it a try! Build your empire and let us know how it goes!