There are so many ways to make money with a WordPress website it boggles the mind. Essentially, what you have is a digital property and unlimited potential. There is not only a crazy number of different ways to generate money from the site, but there is no ceiling on the amount you can earn.
The entire world of 3 billion internet users is your potential audience instead of the limited area that a brick and mortar business can cover. MORE people are shopping online every year, and MORE people are getting internet access every day.
It’s a very exciting time to start an online business.
There is no question about whether or not you can make money with a website. The question is how much you want to make, and how exactly you’re going to earn it.
That’s why I wanted to create a resource where you can look at potential ways to monetize your online business so you can decide what’s best for you.
Oh, and why WordPress?
- It’s easy to use
- There’s lots of community support
- Plenty of developers available (you probably don’t need one though)
- You can customize it easily with plugins and themes
- Finding a WordPress optimized host is simple
So let’s get to it. Which one of these sounds like a great business opportunity to you? What method are your current skills/experience best suited for?
Table of Contents
- 1. Display Ads
- 2. Sell Ad Space
- 3. YouTube Revenue
- 4. Affiliate Links
- 5. Create Your Own Digital Product
- 6. Create Your Own Physical Product
- 7. Ecommerce (Online Online + Brick & Mortar)
- 8. Podcasting
- 9. Dropshipping
- 10. Local Marketing
- 11. Email Marketing (Build A List)
- 12. Make More Money At Your Job
- 13. Drive Traffic Anywhere
1. Display Ads
All you do then is grab a bit of code, place it on your website in a few strategic location, and they will serve up appropriate ads for visitors to your website. You get paid per click.
The trouble with display ads is that you need a TON of traffic to make good revenue from them. Though a site with 3,000-5,000 visits per day could get you $36,000 per year, that's still a relatively small income that took a lot of work to build!
That being said, there are millions, if not billions of people online and that number is always growing. There are folks that generate $40,000+ per month with display ads. It’s very slow going though, since traffic generation can take serious time, especially for a new blogger.
As a long term strategy, if you produce a lot of content and are very active in social media, this can totally work.
2. Sell Ad Space
Selling ad space another method of earning money from a website that’s easy to understand, and you’re probably already familiar with. You simply charge a certain amount of money for advertising a company or product on your website. Prices vary wildly from $5/month to $5,000+ per month, and everything in between.
Typically, you need a lot of traffic or at least a trusted brand to earn good money doing this. Although you probably want to charge a lot of money for allowing advertisers the privilege of displaying on your website, they are behind the scenes counting clicks and sales.
If you can’t deliver either, it’s not a good investment for their dollars!
This is why it’s best to hold off on this method while starting out. Wait until you have at least a few hundred visits per day and a somewhat-defined audience you can pitch. When the time comes, buysellads.com is a great place to hook up with paying advertisers.
3. YouTube Revenue
You can earn ad revenue from YouTube in the same way that display ads work: Get views, get paid per click. Google runs YouTube, so it’s the same network as Google Adsense. But why would I be talking about making money on YouTube in an article about building a website?
There’s a secret that even the big YouTubers are ignoring: the fact that there’s an entire internet outside of viral video!
YouTube is like its own search engine, and there are people that simply browse online video when they are bored or need to learn something. A HUGE chunk of users start out in search engines and never end up on the YouTube platform though.
Creating a website to advertise your YouTube videos has a two-fold benefit. One, you can get people viewing your videos on your website, and that will still earn you ad revenue. Two, you can link from your website to YouTube, driving more traffic to your channel.
Because you can embed videos on your site, you can essentially double up, ranking twice for the same keyword, and earn 2x the revenue. Your video will rank, and your website will rank as well. You can also use plugins to improve how your videos look and behave on your website.
You’ll need more than a blank page with a video embed, but creating written content for a website page that compliments your video is pretty easy. Add supplementary content to the written page, and you can also send traffic from YouTube to your website cross-pollenating subscribes and engagement.
This “one hand helping the other” method is a powerful strategy. On top of all that, you can also compliment your YouTube channel and website with other traffic driving strategies like podcasting and social media.
4. Affiliate Links
This is how I make the majority of my money online, and it’s the method that I really push on One More Cup of Coffee because it’s worked out so well for me.
The basic idea of what you’re doing is writing informational articles on your website, then linking to relevant products and services within the content. There’s a number of ways to do this effectively:
- product reviews
- how-to’s & tutorials
- answering questions & solving problems
Product reviews are pretty self explanatory, and I’ve written an epic article with 15 ways to turn product reviews into affiliate sales you can use as a way to get started.
How-to’s and tutorials take a lot of work to produce, but if your instructions are easy to follow and useful, it can be a great way to hook people in to buy anything you used in the tutorial. Before my motorcycle trip across the USA I needed to cook up a way to carry backup fuel for my motorcycle. The YouTube video which showed me how to do just that definitely earned a commission from my purchase of the fuel bottle and the bracket.
Answering questions and solving problems works in the same capacity in that you attract visitors to your website by publishing free information. In the context of your article you can link directly to books, products, and services which solve a problem, or link to reviews of these items when then contain affiliate links.
This is one of the most powerful ways to create passive income because your website is online 24/7 and can reach billions of people world-wide. A single article that ranks well could generate thousands of dollars of income after publishing. It's how I'm able to make over $10,000 per month from just one website.
5. Create Your Own Digital Product
Creating your own digital product much easier than it sounds! Actually, a digital product is just a downloadable product like an ebook or set of videos. They can be published in many forms, including PDF, Kindle, YouTube videos, Vimeo videos, apps, or software.
Most people opt for publishing in written format because all you need is a laptop and a word processing program.
The selling point is knowledge. If you are good at something and want to teach others how to do it, you can get paid for it! This goes for just about any subject you can think of. Seriously, anything works. Here's a couple of random ideas:
- how to build a chicken coop
- how to cure illnesses naturally
- how to brew and serve tea properly
- how to start whiskey tasting
- how to grow tomatoes
- how to cook in a small kitchen
- how to save money on minimum wage
- how to raise smart children
- how to train at home without exercise equipment
- how to lose weight as a diabetic
- how to start a podcast
- how to make the perfect espresso
- how to get a girlfriend/boyfriend
- … and the list goes on
Anything you enjoy doing, can do well, or want to learn how to do can be published and sold online. Things like where to publish and how to do it will take some research. One method is publishing a Kindle Ebook. Another is to go through Clickbank or JVZoo and sell your product through their platform (meanwhile enticing affiliates to help you sell).
You can sell it for $0.99 or $99+ depending on the type and volume of content.
What do you need a website for? For driving traffic to your product.
Creating something and putting it online isn’t going to make money by itself. Once the product is done, you need to do advertising for, which can easily be done by writing articles related to your topic and establishing yourself as an authority on the topic.
A DIY homebrewing website could market a book of custom beer recipes, or a weight loss for working women website could sell a recipe guide or series of home gym workout videos. Teachable.com and Udemy are two other platforms out there which allow you to host your digital products.
6. Create Your Own Physical Product
This is something I have no experience with, but the principle of the digital product remains the same: Once you have the product at hand, how do you sell it?
Owning a website is a perfect way to create sales. If you own an Amazon store, you can expand your reach beyond Amazon by ranking pages of your website in Google. You could even dominate page 1 and grow your revenue significantly by having your Amazon product show up at the top of search results, plus have your own website turn up on as well.
Some great places to start a store would be Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Shopify, or CafePress (among others). You could even sell directly through your own web property by integrating Paypal or a credit card processing. There are many plugins for WordPress that can allow you to add these features seamlessly.
7. Ecommerce (Online Online + Brick & Mortar)
Have more than one product you want to sell? Have a brick and mortar store that you want to expand to online sales? You guessed it! An online store is a perfect way to start making sales or increase revenue from a current business.
It’s 100% possible to create an online store with no brick and mortar entity attached to it. You can store inventory at your house and ship yourself, or “drop ship” it from a supplier. You can manufacture your own products, or “white label” them, having someone else produce them with your logo.
Are these starting to sound complicated and tough to do? Some business models are! However the key to making money online is not being a master of everything, it’s digging into just one method and doing it well, then growing vertically to increase sales or horizontally to incorporate new types of selling.
Ha! Here’s one you didn’t think of. Podcasts can be extremely profitable. The guy from Entrepreneur On Fire generates millions of dollars from sponsors. Joe Rogan is wildly successful because of his world-wide podcast interviews.
Again, we run into the issue of how to get your name out there so that sponsors way to pay you to advertise their products and services.
One very strong way to grow your brand is with a website. Since WordPress is so easy to set up, and you can integrate your podcast directly into your posting, it’s a no-brainer that you need a website to accompany your new online radio show.
(I had a podcast back in 2013, although I didn't follow through with it and it fizzled out after about 30 episodes. I didn't enjoy all the talking and editing!)
You can also video tape your podcast recording, and put that on YouTube. Embed the video into your site, and tweet a link with a related hashtag. Now you have a social media strategy as well.
Are you starting to see how a lot of these methods of making money can be combined to feed off each other and grow your online business?
Dropshipping currently has a mythical status online. It sounds easy because you get to ship inventory but you never have to touch it. You can create a ecommerce store on Amazon, Ebay, or your own WordPress website with an ecommerce plugin. The product you want to sell, in this case, would be stored at a facility somewhere.
When a customer orders through your store, you get the money and then the order is forwarded to the warehouse where the product is stored. They ship the product, you just take care of the selling part. It sounds pretty hands-off, right?
Well, like any business, it takes a lot of work to set up. You have to find the products, and it might requires a minimum inventory purchase, meaning your startup costs will be bigger than if you did affiliate marketing (like me).
The hardest part of course will be driving quality traffic to your sales pages, regardless of where you are taking orders. How will you get traffic to your website? How will you establish yourself as a quality, unique brand on Amazon amongst all the other dropshippers?
There are plenty of challenges with the dropshipping model, but it can of course, be super lucrative once you get rolling.
To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about making money with dropshipping – just the basic concepts. I just wanted to let you know that it’s definitely an option to set up your website to drive traffic to an online store or to make sales directly from your site.
10. Local Marketing
This one is a twofer!
1. If you own a local business, having a website can be immensely helpful to increasing foot traffic, phone calls, and email inquiries about your products or services. Even if your competitors have websites too, by learning bit about WordPress your site can have a much better user experience.
It still shocks me how many local businesses I search for online that do not have websites, or have something that looks like it’s left over from the 90’s. Google listings are out of date, there’s no pictures to sort through, and there’s broken links all over the place. It’s horrible!
By doing just a few simple things to increase your online presence, it makes it easier for customers to get a hold of you, which means you make more money, get more reviews, and growth snowballs from there.
2. If you don’t own local business you can help local businesses achieve all the things I just listed above. This method does require a lot of cold calling, emailing, and hard work to get those first few clients Once you get the foot in the door though, it’s pretty easy to get referrals and grow from there.
So not only do you need to create and maintain a website for your local clients, but you should also have one for yourself! You’ll need to display your website creation skills and have proof that owning a good-looking website can create a good first impression. Having a business website set up for potential clients to look at will certainly help you convince them you know your stuff.
Having a blog about local activities, online marketing, and a social media presence can also help land you clients by ranking in search engines.
11. Email Marketing (Build A List)
This is probably the most famous way to make money online. Have you ever heard that “the money is in the list”? They are talking about collecting email addresses and sending promotional emails.
The basic idea of how to make money with this method is that you offer some kind of incentive for someone to join your email list. It could be a free product, a discount code, or the offer of exclusive information.
Once they submit their email address, you use an a service called an autoresponder to send a series of emails. These will be a mix of helpful/interesting and promotional emails. Done well, you can create trust with your reader, and as you recommend products or services related to the topic they were researching when they signed up, you can make money!
Email marketing is a very powerful way to make money with a WordPress website. Once you have that person’s personal contact information, assuming you execute an effective campaign, they could be a repeat customer for many years to come. That’s a heck of a lot better than a one-time sale from a blog post!
12. Make More Money At Your Job
Your new employer is going to look you up online. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had a bi-weekly blog where you talked about your passion in life, which just so happened to be related to the job you’re applying for? That sounds a whole lot better than a Facebook feed of you partying on the weekends or useless Twitter arguments.
For those of you that are interested in landing a great job and turning it into a lifelong, passionate career, self improvement doesn’t stop when you leave at five o' clock.
A Walmart door greeter probably wouldn't benefit from building a work-related website, but if you are applying for a position as head brewer, you bet your butt a cool-ass blog about your homebrewing experiments, local beer tasting notes, and thoughts on the brewing industry is going to be gold star on your job application!
How about a teacher with a website with free lessons plans for others to share, or a scientist that writes his thoughts on new studies coming out in his field?
Having a stellar job application is one way to help you negotiate a higher salary, and an awesome website can be a part of that process.
Even if you’re already in a career you love, spending some free time every day to improve your knowledge in your field is going to produce tangible results over time. While everyone else is watching Game of Thrones in the evening and you’re doing online research or keeping up with trade magazines, blogging about your craft, and maybe even creating YouTube videos, you are creating more opportunity for yourself.
This may manifest itself in promotions, salary increases, job mobility, or just general leverage with your superiors.
13. Drive Traffic Anywhere
In general, owning your own website (or many) is a good idea. No matter what your interest is in business… whether you have a few failed businesses under your belt, have sold a multimillion-dollar company, or are just getting your first tingles of wanting to be an entrepreneur, a website can be a way to funnel your followers where you want them to go.
We talked about a lot of topics in this post! You can funnel visitors to a sales page on your site, to a store located on Amazon, to an email collection form, or to a local phone number.
You can use a website to grow your Twitter following, to increase YouTube revenue, or just to rant about things you’re passionate about (and get paid with ad clicks).
At the very least, you should own a personal website with your name. You don’t have to be part of the oversharing generation and talk about your deepest fears! But having a positive presence online, even if infrequently updated, can help you get a better job, find a good apartment, or prove to a new girlfriend that you’re a cool dude.
There's a huge amount of potential at your fingertips just by owning a simple WordPress website. It's an opportunity to start a business, grow your brand, expand your reach, or just improve yourself as a person. Right now is a perfect time to build your first website and get started.
It's a million times easier to build a website in 2019 than it was in 2006. Imagine how much the technology is going to change over the next decade! If you are at all interested in starting an online business or brand, take the first step NOW, and learn as the industry changes. You'll get your foot in the door early on, and be way ahead of the game as this method of earning a living becomes more mainstream.
If you'd like to learn more about affiliate marketing, which is how I earn money online, you can follow my free series of posts and videos that start with picking a niche topic. That should get you set up picking a title and topic for your site, as well as finding hosting, getting ranked, and finding companies to work with.