As a tool, the internet continues to get increasingly popular and it’s no wonder. After all, we can get online from pretty much anywhere, using our laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets and other devices. With all this popularity, it shouldn’t be surprising that many people also turn to the internet as a way to make money.
There are many reasons to do so, especially as people often struggle to find traditional jobs. For some people, the online environment offers the chance to earn a little extra money on the side, while for others it may even be a full time income.
With how wonderful this idea sounds, people often end up trying to figure out whether it is even possible to make money this way. More specifically, can you actually make money with your website or is the whole idea just a scam?
First of all, you don’t have to have a website to make money online but having one certainly helps. In fact, most of the more powerful approaches for making money online are connected to having a website in some way or another.
You might also be surprised to know that there are actually a large number of different ways to make money with your website. In this post, we’re going to cover some of the most common approaches and why these can be effective. After all, you have to know about an approach before you can decide whether it is right for you.
Why Have a Website?
Before we get into actual techniques though, the first thing to consider is why people even bother with websites.
I’ve often heard people argue that the process of making a website is simply too complicated, especially as it is an ongoing process. Likewise, some people feel that doing so simply isn’t worth the time or the effort.
To start off with, building a website isn’t as hard as people assume. Over time, the process of making a site has become easier and easier, to the point that anyone can do it. In fact, many website builders simply use ‘drag and drop’ approaches, so you don’t need to use any coding at all.
In fact, you can do most things on a website without ever having to touch the coding side of things. Plus, there is a lot of tutorials and guidance online for anything that seems a little tricky.
Not only is it fairly easy to make a website but websites are also powerful. For example, you can use a website as a platform to talk about any topic that you can imagine. That’s one reason why you find so many websites that focus on people’s hobbies or their passions. For example, I’ve lost track of the number of food bloggers out there that photograph their dishes and provide recipes to a large readership.
One of the most powerful things about a website is that you have the ability to draw traffic to it. That one feature is the key reason that websites work as a tool to make money, because once you get people to your site, there is a range of ways that you can make money from them.
And, here’s the thing.
You don’t have to be an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert or a website expert to get that traffic. You may have had to in the past but nowadays search engines are increasingly paying attention to quality and content. This is why some sites manage to be successful even without doing any SEO at all. Additionally, you can learn any SEO that you do need pretty easily.
With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some ways to make money from a website once you do get traffic to it.
Using ads on a website is a fairly common approach for earning money. In many cases, the advantage of doing this is that you can basically write whatever content you like, without having to try and promote a specific product.
However, using ads can also be tricky because some people run ad blockers and other people get annoyed. Because of this, you have to find a balance with the ads that you run and make sure that you don’t have an excessive amount of ads.
You will also find that ads work better for some types of websites than for others. This may be related to your topic area (your niche) and to your audience. For example, audiences that are tech-savvy are going to be much less likely to click on ads as a general rule.
When it comes to making money from ads, there are a few different approaches.
One common one is PPC ads, which stands for Pay Per Click. There are many different networks that offer this type of advertising and one of the most common is Google Adsense. With this approach, you earn money based on how many people click on the ad.
As such, the aim is to get people to actually go to the ads and you have to place them accordingly. Getting this right can take time and effort but some people do manage to make money this way.
Another approach is CPM advertising, which stands for Cost per Mile. In this case, you earn money from the amount of people that see your ad. Needless to say, this approach tends to pay relatively low per impression and it works best if you have a high amount of traffic.
There are other types of ads too. For example, some sites rent out advertising space. In these cases, they may be earning money for having the ad up, rather than earning based on how the ad performs.
Overall, ads can be effective but they are also tricky, especially for beginners. It can take time to figure out how to get the most out of ads and you need to make sure that you don’t scare your audience away. Likewise, you may simply find that ads aren’t a good approach in some niches, so it’s certainly worth doing your research first.
Selling Your Own Products or Services
Websites also work as a powerful platform for promoting your own products and services. With a website, you have a much larger reach that you could ever get promoting the same products or services locally or through sites like Craigslist. In fact, you can even sell to an international audience with a website, although you don’t have to.
Having your own website can also work better than relying on sites like Etsy to promote your products. While sites like Etsy can work well, they also make earning money that much harder, especially as you face so much competition from other members.
There is certainly still competition when you have your own website but with your own site, you have a greater chance to compete.
For example, many people create themed sites where they sell their own products and appeal to a specific audience. The image below is one example of this. Doing this allows site creators to attract a much greater audience and to get people coming back time-and-time again.
Websites can be used to sell many different types of products and services. In some cases those products might be physical, like clothing or jewelry. But, they may also be digital, such as eBooks.
Some people also use sites to market services. For example, you may use a website to promote a service that you do in person, such as house cleaning. This approach tends to be effective but it can also be a little frustrating as you have to market towards a local audience.
On the other hand, you also people using websites to sell services online. For example, freelance writers will often have their own websites, where they promote their services.
Regardless of the product or service, having a website gives you the potential to develop a theme or a style and to highlight examples of whatever it is that you are promoting. Likewise, you do have the ability to reach a wide audience and this is a major advantage.
Another approach that you see from time-to-time is when sites get sponsored. For example, food bloggers will often get sponsored to do a post (or posts) on a specific ingredient or product, like in the example below.
Often you can also spot a sponsored post by the disclaimers that the authors give.
In some cases, a sponsored post just means that the person got free product for doing the post but there are many cases where they earn money from it.
As a general rule though, sponsorship doesn’t work well for earning money in its own right. More than anything, it can simply be a way of recouping some of the costs of your website.
The key reason for that is simply that you need to have a decent amount of traffic and popularity on your own to be able to land sponsored posts. Likewise, sponsored posts seem to be more common on sites that don’t use a lot of advertising or other ways to make money.
As such, this is an option for making money on a website but it is more suitable for some websites than others.
When it comes to making money with a website, the technique that I come back to most often is affiliate marketing. This is the approach that I use personally but that’s not the reason I favor it.
Affiliate marketing is a particularly popular approach because you don’t need any special skills or experience to be successful and you don’t need a product of your own. You also don’t have to worry about a physical product, so there is no inventory to manage and no need to ship anything.
Instead, affiliate marketing involves promoting products from other companies. With this approach, you provide links to products and if people make a purchase then you earn a commission. In some cases, you even earn commission from any purchases that people made on that site.
For example, if you were part of Amazon’s affiliate program, you might promote a specific book sold on Amazon (such as a cookbook). If someone clicked on your link and purchased the book, you would get a commission. Likewise, if that person still clicked on the link but purchased something else, you would still get a commission.
Many affiliate marketers focus on product reviews as a way of getting people interested in products but I’ve also seen other approaches, like ‘best of’ lists (as in the image below) or people simply mentioning products they like in posts.
Basically, the options with affiliate marketing are pretty much endless, especially as there are so many sites that currently offer affiliate programs. In fact, you would probably be able to find dozens of decent companies to promote in just about any area that you could imagine.
With affiliate marketing, you are typically only earning a percentage of how much the product sells for, which can seem unappealing. However, even small commissions add up over time.
In fact, affiliate marketing ends up being very effective as a money making tool. This is simply because you don’t have to manually sell products to people. In fact, you don’t have to have direct interaction at all, unless you want it.
This makes affiliate marketing much easier to scale up as a business model. Over time, this can mean that you make many more sales and earn more commissions, without having to put additional hours in. In comparison, if you’re selling a physical product, then every sale will involve some work on your part.
Because the product isn’t your own, it’s also very easy to change the products that you’re promoting or to switch companies altogether. In fact, some affiliate marketers will sell products from several different companies at the same time. All of these factors mean that there is a lot of potential in affiliate marketing. The process can also be surprisingly easy once you get used to it.
On a side note, affiliate marketing also has the advantage of not being intrusive. For example, this approach lets you avoid banners and ads on your pages (unless you want them), which can make your site look better overall.
Making Money from a Website
I do also want to point out that these approaches are not exclusive, not by any means. Instead, there are many sites out there that make money through a combination of these approaches. For example, food bloggers will often sell their own cookbooks, do sponsored posts from time-to-time and may also have advertisements on their site or do some form of affiliate marketing. You could also get into leveraging other business's websites like with Etsy, Ebay, or Amazon FBA.
Likewise, there are other approaches out there that I haven’t covered, like drop shipping, and the options for making money from a website do seem to grow over time. In fact, there are 13 total ways to make money that I could count.
Ultimately, the approach that works best for you is going to depend on the site you build and on your audience.
But, regardless of the approach you use, learning how to build a website effectively and do some basic SEO can provide a major advantage. Doing so can help you make sure that your site stands out and that you have a fighting chance.