How do websites make money?
When it comes to making money with websites… we recommend using a variety of strategies.
You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket!
Here, we list 14.
You don’t have to implement them all.
Focus on 3 or 4 main methods and to a lesser extent the rest.
~ The 14 Ways Most Websites Make Money ~
Many people are looking for a magic wand.
A wand that will make them rich and successful!
I can’t provide a Magic Wand, but I can provide you with perhaps the best low-cost way to get make a significant income online.
What is that, you ask?
Drum roll, please…
An authority website or blog is a popular online place where people go to for information on a particular niche or topic.
When a visitor lands on an authority site they get excited – at last, they have found what they are looking for! [Like we hope you felt when you landed on this webpage]
An authority website is a trusted, reliable source of information.
Our friends at Authority Hacker have the best step-by-step plan for creating an authority website or blog that we know!
I have built and sold several authority websites, the first over 10 years ago!
Selling a website is my favorite way to create a big payday. I have now done it several times and plan to do it again soon.
In the meantime, this article explains authority websites in more detail.
14 of the smartest ways you can make money with a website right now!
(No 14 is our favorite!)
1. Email Marketing
Of all the ways to make money with a website, this has earned me the most money over the years.
It helps build a solid brand.
It encourages readers to come back to your site.
Website traffic may go up and it may go down, but with an email list and a good offer you are always in business.
Email marketing can make you money in a few different ways, such as email promotions, which deliver free reports that are monetized (have affiliate links in them). I like this method best – and it is where I recommend everyone starts.
Typically, you offer your readers a free report or eBook or access to a video in return for their email address.
This is referred to as a lead magnet.
The important thing here is to offer something of value. Ideally, something that people would pay for if it was not FREE.
I see too many bloggers offering low-quality lead-magnets – poorly produced and often with information that is out of date.
Don’t be that blogger!
My preferred strategy is a free report or eBook – here is an eBook we did several years ago (a little dated in places now, but still useful information)
I emphasize the need for QUALITY information. A simple word doc with quality information will beat a fancy PDF with rubbish information every time.
A Fast and Easy Way To Make a Professional Looking eBook
QUALITY information combined with QUALITY production is of course the better option.
An inexpensive product that makes that easy is SQRIBBLE
- Choose from 50 eye—grabbing designs across 15 profitable niche categories!
- Each template comes with a table of contents and professional page layouts that convert readers into buyers!
- Sqribble claims to be the only eBook creator you will ever need. [I am inclined to agree]
Recommended Reading: Making Money with Email Marketing and an Autoresponder Series
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to get visitors to subscribe – if you use the right approach.
A few years ago, we added a lightbox popup to IncomeDiary.
Overnight, we went from getting 20+ subscribers a day to well over 100 per day!
At the time, most websites hated using popups because of the negative association people have with them. But these popups were different.
Instead of popping up in another browser window, they pop up as part of the page you are on.
It was a lot less intrusive. Even better, it wasn’t to promote something spammy, but something of value to the reader.
After seeing the massive results, we created our own software, so that other website owners can experience the same huge gains we have.
Another list-building technique you should try is a squeeze page. A squeeze page (also called a landing page) is a dedicated page on your site to getting a visitor to sign up for your mailing list.
Here is our squeeze page for our report on how to turn your blog into a money-making Authority Website.
Another example is our Traffic Domination report!
To collect and manage emails, I recommend you use an email delivery service like Aweber.
Use their service to send messages, create follow-up campaigns, split tests, etc.
- A direct way to market.
- One email can make you thousands.
- You can do it.
- Considered by most to be the no1 way to make money online consistently.
- Can work on autopilot, if you set up an autoresponder series.
- If subscribers don’t like your emails, they will unsubscribe.
Recommended: 10 Little-Known Email Marketing Tips for Bloggers
Essential tools for anyone who wants to make money online…
Peter Drucker is credited with perhaps the most important quote in business.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Successful online entrepreneurs are constantly measuring their results. What works? What does not work!
If you are not doing that, you will never create a successful business. When it comes to measuring your online success there are in our opinion two essential tools you need. One is Google Analytics and the other is SEMRush
SEMRush is our favorite tool for checking how much traffic a website gets. Check out their Traffic Analytics tool – This is the best market competitive research tool on the market, allowing you to get estimations of any website’s traffic. It is perfect for spotting your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses and testing a fresh market or niche. If you are ready to use SEMRush then IncomeDiary readers can take advantage of a 14-Day PRO trial. [instead of the usual 7-day trial]
2. How To Make Money Online – Promote Products as an Affiliate
A hot topic here at IncomeDiary.
We earn around 30% of our income from promoting products as an affiliate.
What this means is we can receive a commission payment is a visitor clicks on an affiliate link.
Don’t be alarmed, we only promote what works for us, not because we will earn a commission. You should adopt the same policy. Never promote anything just because you receive a commission.
It is essential to believe in the products you promote.
Fortunately, nearly all products that exist, have an affiliate program.
If you can’t find an affiliate program for a particular product, type product name + affiliate into Google.
For example: [product name] Affiliate. This should bring up an affiliate page if they have an affiliate program.
In my experience, affiliate marketing works best when paired up with email marketing.[above]
Top marketers consistently agree, year after year, that email marketing is their most important income source.
Combine that with affiliate marketing and you have a winner.
There are so many ways to go about finding a product to promote, it often depends on your industry.
For a fitness blog, you could go to Clickbank, find a product about six-pack abs and grab an advertising banner from their resources area, and put it up on my website.
You could also do a blog post such as 7 Best Exercises To Get Six Pack Abs, then at the end, promote the product.
We have a photography blog.
One of the ways we use affiliate marketing is to promote the cameras and accessories that we use.
All of these are available on Amazon.
So we joined the Amazons Associate program and receive a commission every time a customer buys something through our link. We also get a commission on anything else in their shopping cart which is a nice bonus!
One of the best tips I can give you for maximizing affiliate sales is to make sure that the products you are promoting, are as targeted as possible to your content.
Most websites have advertising space, it could be on the sidebar, above, or below blog posts.
The mistake most website owners make is, always showing the same advert, on all pages.
Using condition marketing, we display different adverts depending on the topic of the page.
This is done by creating conditions for different tags, categories and authors. For example, any blog post with the tag make money online, will show an advert about making money online and any post with the tag drive traffic will show an advert about the best ways to drive traffic to your site.
This kind of targeting will significantly boost your conversions.
- Can earn you big bucks!
- Easy to set up and doesn’t require much support.
- Passive income.
- Earnings are not guaranteed, can earn $100 one month, $1000 the next.
- Great products can have low converting sales pages.
- High converting sales pages can have rubbish products.
Get Automatic Link Suggestions As You Write
Recommended tool for all bloggers: Links Whisper
Links Whisper is smart. Powered by artificial intelligence, Link Whisper starts suggesting relevant internal links when you start writing your article right within the WordPress editor.
Does your blog have “orphan” content without a single internal link built to it?
With Link Whisper you can quickly find pages that have little or no internal links pointing to them. (which is terrible for SEO)
But it doesn’t stop there!
You can just as quickly click “add” new internal links to those “orphaned articles” right within the WordPress editor. Get Link Whisper Here
3. Create & Sell Your Own Physical or Digital Product
This is something I’m experimenting more and more with and I’m not sure if it’s just me.
Physical products include items like books, toys, clothes and white goods. They make up the bulk of online sales.
Digital products include eBooks, software, online courses, etc. This is what we will focus on in this section.
In the past, the simplest version of creating a product was to create a 30+ page word document about a NICHE or IDEA and turn that DOC into a PDF and sell it. It is still possible to do that, but it is more likely you will create a digital training course (inc videos) these days.
You can find out more about creating a product and selling it online by reading these posts.
Personally, I think your first steps would be to ask your audience what they want to know more about and then create a product around that and sell it!
Next time you email your list include a survey of potential product ideas and ask for feedback.
When it comes to selling any product of your own, I recommend using SamCart for your checkout page, upsells, and affiliate program. They have a free trial, so make sure to try it out.
- Affiliates send you traffic, build your business.
- Passive income because of affiliates promoting it.
- Great for building your brand and authority.
- Big Money Earner.
- Time-consuming to set up.
Recommended: How to set up a Shopify Store
It can take a while to work out how to best way for you to make money with your website. Patience is a virtue. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Don’t give up.
The main reason people fail at blogging and website creation isn’t that their idea or website is no good but because they give up too soon.
Something else to consider if you are serious about making it online: Digital Marketing Certification
4. Sell Advertising Space
While I am not a huge fan of this myself, one of the easiest ways to make money from a website is by placing ads on it. Google AdSense is one popular way to get ads appearing on your website fast. But make sure to abide by Googles Rules – you cannot click on the ads that appear in the hope of earning a commission.
We all know what ads look like, but did you know that they function in many different ways such as Pay Per Click, Pay Per 1000 Views or Pay Per Time Frame.
The biggest downside of website adverting, is that most people know what they look like and avoid clicking them.
When selling advertising, you typically have two choices:
1. Find and work with advertisers yourself.
2. Work with a middle man who takes a cut for bringing you advertisers.
It all depends on you…
Is this a business for you or is this just an opportunity to make a bit more money?
I always lean towards finding advertisers myself. In my experience you get paid more, build better partnerships and can do a better job for them.
Advertising sales makes up only a small portion of my earnings but it’s nice to know that money is almost guaranteed to come in each month.
Be warned: Google does not like the practice of buying and selling text links.
People buy text links because Google rank sites better based on quantity and quality of links.
When you link to someone, you are telling search engines that you trust this site and you are giving them some of your authority.
Google likes this to happen organically.
Please don’t you buy/sell links on your site for the purpose of SEO and gaming the search engines. If you do this and get caught, Google will punish you by slapping your site down in the rankings. It is not worth the risk.
BuySellAds is another company that makes it easy to sell advertising space on your website or blog.
- Often guaranteed income.
- Little effort to monetize.
- Saves you a lot of time.
- Great way to connect with others in your industry.
- Takes away from user experience.
- If you set a set price per month, you can’t make any more even if you double your traffic.
- Advertisers come and go, you have to spend time editing, adding, deleting and finding more advertisers.
Recommended Reading: How to tell how much traffic a website gets.
5. Do Product Reviews
I know a good number of bloggers who review products on their blogs. It makes for great content and if the product you are reviewing has an affiliate program, can make you can earn money.
You can review anything from software, to bikes, cars, hotels, holidays, food, anything you could think of and it can be tax deductible (I believe) if you buy something to review.
Check this post out about How To Start a Review Blog.
I personally want to review one product a month, it’s not so many that readers will be turned of but enough that it will make up a high proportion of my income. Doing small amount of reviews means you can pick all the best products and don’t have to speak about negative ones.
Occasionally, especially when your blog becomes more popular, you will get sent products free of charge in the hope you will write a positive review. If that happens it is important to declare that you received a free sample. Frankly, your reader may well think that in any case – and I find it best policy to always be transparent in these matters.
Additionally, your review should remain fair and impartial. Don’t make it a glowing positive review – well, not unless it deserves that!
- Great source of income.
- Converts higher then banner ads and email promotions.
- Often free products are sent to you for review.
- Connect with industry leaders.
- Get noticed as a top affiliate.
- You can’t always say nice things.
- If you say bad things, the company may not send you future free samples.
- Products become irrelevant quickly in some industry’s. (content becomes dated and needs replacing)
Be Your Own Success Story – Launch An Authority Website
Every wondered how websites like this make money? Do you want to create a lucrative side income that grows into a substantial full time income? This PDF Report explains how. A step by step guide to creating an authority website. Essential reading for anyone who is serious about turning their humble blog into an authority site.
To request your free copy CLICK HERE.
6. Selling Services
Selling services is a very popular technique people use to make money from a website and is often the reason for them building a blog in the first place. They want to get more clients, to do that they need to get traffic and blogs are great for that!
The easiest way to start selling your services on your blog is to create a new page within WordPress and call it services. Here you can put in the information about what you offer, testimonials and a buy now button.
To collect payments, your best two options is either PayPal or Stripe.
- High converting, they see your blog and want more!
- Highly profitable.
- Easy to deliver.
- Low refunds.
- Exchanging time for money.
- Customers are always right (which we know isn’t true).
- Can be periods of time where you have no customers!
7. Create a Job Board
This works like this:
People looking to hire someone will post a job on your board and readers will apply for the job. This is a great method of monetizing a website which I have seen done by a lot of authority websites.
On the other hand, I have seen smaller blogs try to do this and completely fail because it’s competitive and if you can’t send them anyone to apply, it’s pointless for them to post a job. Jobs can be anything from, writers to trainers.
As for what software to use, I recommend you check out Fiverr. They have a selection of freelancers who specialize in creating job board websites.
When it comes to marketing your job board, you will want to use some of your advertising space to promote the job board so that readers will see it and apply for jobs.
Charge a low price at the beginning so that you can attract a lot of customers and when they get applications and customers they will be happy to return.
Problogger is a fantastic example of a Job Board.
Ask yourself, can I create a job board for my niche?
If you can, it can become a very good source of income.
- Completely hands of, you don’t have to do anything.
- Adds to credibility
- Doesn’t work for small blogs
- Very competitive at times.
Want to make more money with your website?
Top Tip: Take the time to understand Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
An essential software tool that we recommend comes from SEMrush.
It will put your SEO efforts on steroids!
SEMRush software is our favorite SEO tool. They are especially good for keyword research. Use this SEO Tool to analyze not only your own website but your competitor’s website. Easily see what keywords your website or a competitor ranks for. Useful information that allows you to see which of your posts are not ranking well and what you can do about it.
Right now IncomeDiary subscribers can take advantage of a 14-Day PRO trial.
8. Offer a Membership Site or Premium Content
This technique has become more and more popular over the last few years.
The idea is simple, people come to your website because they want to read your content. They love it and want more. So you offer them even better content, for a price.
Your first step should be to work out what you’re going to offer. Then, you will want to go ahead and create a membership area for them to log in and see the information you’re selling.
Once you have set it up, you will want to focus on marketing it. For best results, I recommend focusing on email marketing and adding an advert at the bottom of every page, mentioning that if they liked what they have read so far, they should take a look at your even better-paid content.
Another option would be to release an affiliate program for your membership site. This not only will increase sales but will bring you even more traffic.
For billing, checkout pages, upsell pages, and affiliate program software, I recommend you use SamCart.
If you want someone else to set up your membership website, you can hire someone to do this on Fiverr.
- Continuity income, keep making money, month after month.
- Can be set and forget, if you time release.
- Affiliates will send you traffic!
- Can be a huge earner, it accounts for over $90k a month for Tutsplus.
- Can be a lot of work to set up.
- Regular work to release more content.
9. Sell Paid Directory Listings
This isn’t very common but I believe it should be.
I see it as a smart way to sell advertising, you see instead of putting adverts on your sidebar, you have a directory on your blog where you link to different company’s and websites in your industry and charge a premium for the listing. If you charged a monthly fee, so for example, say you had 1000 people listed in your directory and charged $7 a month, you would earn $7000 a month in continuity.
In some ways, this is actually beneficial to the reader, say you have a website about becoming a model, in the directory could be a section for photographers, where photographers pay to list their services. Models will come and look for the right person to take pictures of them for their portfolio, helpful and profitable.
Just like a job board, I would add adverts to my blog, promoting the directory to make sure customers are happy with the number of people seeing their ad and the traffic they get. To start with, I would even advertise on other sites to get people to list in your directory, as well as reaching out to people and company’s to buy a listing.
- Highly profitable.
- Useful to readers.
- Makes you stand out as your doing something different.
- Nearly guaranteed income.
- Costs to setup.
- It may not work well for smaller sites
10. Host Webinars & Sell Something
Webinars are great at selling high price products, either as a product owner or as an affiliate.
Alternatively, you could set up a free webinar that you replay once a week, teach something, and then at the end, you sell them into 4 more webinars. Once you complete the webinar series, you now have a product that you can sell as a home study course
Here is a great introduction to how to sell with webinars.
- High priced, low amount of customers, so low support.
- Readers want to connect with you.
- Highly beneficial to those who buy.
- Great way to teach.
- If you’re doing live webinars, your exchanging time for money.
- Investment for software.
- People have to turn up at a specific time, hard for different time zones.
11. Write Tutorials & Promote Something
Another thing I don’t see often, but I love to do!
Content is what everyone is after, that’s why they come to your website, so create content that includes them buying something so that when they do buy, they buy via an affiliate link, and make you money!
What I do to create a tutorial, is I start with the product, find one that you are using and you get a lot out of, it of course needs to have an affiliate program. Then do a tutorial about doing something using that tool.
So for example it could be a post about Photography and take a specific type of photo but you need this lens to do it.
- Makes great content.
- Good for search engines.
- Profitable long term.
- Quick to produce.
- Finding enough products that have affiliate programs.
- Some people may not be interested because they don’t yet have the product.
12. Publish a Book
A lot of people want to write a book, however, they have no audience.
A blog can bring you branding, can help you connect with other people in your industry, help you understand what people like to read about, more importantly, what people don’t like. Here is an article we published on writing a best-selling book.
A lot of people don’t consider a book because you only get a couple of dollars a book but that’s not just what you earn.
Publishing a book can allow you to then launch a product because people always want more, also a more exciting prospect is being paid to speak. If you are published, you’re automatically seen as an expert, it doesn’t matter if you never sell more than a dozen books, this means you can charge to speak and charge a lot more for consulting.
There are so many different ways to go about publishing a book, most choose self-publish but if your blog is successful, either they will find you or in my case, a friend connected me with his published and told me I should write a book. Someone in your industry who blogs will also have published a book, help them and they will help you.
- Long-term earnings.
- Increase your charge for consulting.
- Paid to speak at events.
- Timely or expensive if you have a ghostwriter.
- Doesn’t make you a lot of money on its own.
13. Offer Live Training and Workshops
Just like selling consulting and services, you could also use your blog to sell live training, workshops and seminars.
People read your blog but I wouldn’t be surprised if over 80% don’t act on what you say. Having a workshop means they learn from you and implement with you, this is a very attractive offer to some people and they are willing to pay high prices to do it.
You don’t just make money from the price of the ticket but you can also make money from selling follow up workshops and masterminds. If you bring in speakers, then you also collect 50% of everything they make if they sell from the stage at the end. Another thing to consider is recording the event and then selling that as a product on your blog.
Putting on an event is a daunting thing, however, it really isn’t to hard. Ring up a hotel, book a conference room, now you have a date, write a blog post and send everyone on your mailing list to that page.
Mention your event everywhere and keep hustling! Apart from that, all you NEED to do is create your slides and turn up. Some of my friends even hire people to run everything for them so they don’t have to worry about the event side of things.
- Can make you a lot of money.
- Can be made into a product.
- People will invite you to speak at their events so that you can sell yours.
- Makes you an authority.
- Selling can sometimes be hard.
- Stressful for first-timers and often the pros. You think the deal is done and then it falls apart at the last minute.
14. Sell Your Website – The Ultimate Way To Make Money Online
My favorite of all the above and also the one that pays the most.
Transforming your blog into an Authority Blog or website will give you one of the biggest paydays ever.
Typically, websites sell for 12 – 24 months revenue, however, if your site is old, has something unique about it, or is the authority in your industry then you can expect any figure you want. I have seen some blogs go for over 200 years of revenue and it didn’t even make $100,000 a year.
Work hard and it will pay off.
It is important to remember if you sold your site for 2 years revenue and it made $5000 a month, you would get $120,000. To earn that amount of money it could take you 6 or 7 years because of expenses and taxes. You also have to factor in how long it took you to build your business. If it took you two years and you sell for $120,000 – then it would be like earning an extra $60,000 a year.
Where can I sell my website?
A lot of people use Flippa.com. With over 200,000 buyers looking to buy your website or online business, Flippa.com is the go-to place for both buyer and seller.
Flippa is good for smaller sites making under $100,000 per year in profit – although they do handle larger transactions.
- A large amount of cash.
- Can be sold within a month.
- Enough money not to need to work for years.
- You lose an asset.
- You lose an income stream.
Our top 14 ways to make money from a website.
Here is a quick recap of what I recommend you do:
- Get Aweber.
- Get OptiMonk or PopUp Domination.
- Get Optimizepress.
- Create a free report or eCourse to give away as an incentive for joining your list.
- Create your own online training to sell to your subscribers.
- Find highly rated products to promote as an affiliate to your list.
- Reinvest earnings to make even more. [That includes training]
- Get Samcart to increase checkout and upsell page conversions.
- Use Samcart to release your own affiliate program to get other bloggers and competitors to promote your stuff.
- Expand, expand, expand!
And here are some more posts on monetization that I recommend you read:
~ 14 Ways To Make Money Online ~
Two Final Thoughts:
#1 Start now, get perfect later
Too many people spend all their time being a Perfect Polly or a Perfect Dan.
Trying to get everything just PERFECT before they start!
Don’t do that, really the best policy is to get started RIGHT NOW.
If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it.
~ Criss Jami
#2 When life forces your hand, embrace the new chapter.
Blogging, Entrepreneurship, Business, Life – often does not go to plan.
There will be good days and there will be not-so-good days.
=> Life happens for you, not to you.
=> This too shall pass.
=> Be with what is.
Successful people think differently…
Get started today!