What could be better than having your own cool new website? Lot of ways to make money with a blog or a website. If you are wondering how you are going to monetize your site, then you’ve come to the right place. Well, how about if it helped to pay for itself? The way for your site to generate income is to allow companies to place small advertisements on your pages which try to entice your visitors to go to their website next.
You begin by signing up on an advertising agent’s website to become what’s called an affiliate. This is a very simple process and it is free so don’t let the sign up scare you off (but as always exercise caution with your personal information). There are many programs out there but Google’s AdSense is one of the best and most popular. Once you are a member you will be given simple instructions on how to insert the ads or links into your web pages. And that’s pretty much it.
So what kinds of things can you expect to see advertised on your website and making money? Well, Google’s famous AdSense program uses a very clever program to look through your website to determine what it’s about, and then displays only ads which are most likely to be of interest to your visitors. Basically all the hard work is done for you. Then, when a visitor to your website finds the ad interesting and clicks on it, your account is credited with a few cents. This is called pay-per-click advertising and has become extremely popular on the internet. Although a few cents per click may not seem like a lot, try to imagine how many times these ads might get clicked on during a month… 100…1000…10000…more? What ever the number is, it’s bound to help you cover the cost of your website.
You can sell advertising space in the form of banner adverts to businesses and people. It isn’t quite that simple though, you get paid differently by different advertisers.
CPM – Pay Per Impression Advertising
Your website receives revenue as and when you generate impressions for the sponsor. This rewards a website for every thousand impressions that it generates. You may get paid anywhere between $1~$7 per thousand impressions depending on your sponsor’s industry. Most well known CPM advertising network is BuySellAds.
PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising
You make pennies every time someone clicks on a banner or link. It generally works out to a higher amount per click when compared to CPM but it might depend on your niche.
Selling advertisements via contextual ad networks is best when you have a site that covers a large spectrum of subjects. If your site targets specific niche or keywords, you’ll find that Affiliate Marketing is probably a better money making strategy for your site.
Also known as CPA or Cost Per Action, Affiliate Marketing is an extremely profitable way to generate revenue for your website. The section of Affiliate Marketing goes into a lot of detail, rightly employed it can make your site very profitable relative to running CPM or PPC advertisements. It’s also a lot tougher to utilize, so let’s talk about affiliate marketing.
As the name might suggest your website acts as an affiliate for someone else’s product or service.
How does affiliate marketing work ?
You promote a certain product on your site, your visitor identifies the product as an effective solution to his or her necessities and purchases the product. You get a predetermined percentage or fixed commission for each purchase made by visitor or reader who passes by your site to discover the product or service and then makes a purchase on the affiliate sponsor’s website. This works because the company that sponsors the affiliate program finds a new customer, your visitor found a new product and you get a commission. All three parties involved end up with something they might not have had otherwise. You works as a middleman between buyer and seller and get paid for doing so.
Affiliate marketing campaigns produce new leads for the sponsor and generate commissions for your site effectively only when the niche of the campaign is close to your site’s niche. The further the distance between your niche and the campaign’s niche, the less effective the affiliate marketing efforts.
- Tip #1: Keep the niche of any affiliate campaign as close to your site niche as possible. Ad networks ensure that the right adverts are displayed on your site with PPC & CPM, but with CPA you need to find the right affiliate to endorse.
Write honest content/reviews, never go over the top and recommend a product or service you have not used. It is okay to verify the features of a product and write a dispassionate review. To give a positive review for any product, use it first or read extensively about the product, reviews provided by domain authoritarians who have a history of being impartial and fair in their assessments (Your eventual aim should be to make your site in their image). And be informative, add value and try to help your readers find the best products. If you’ve used the product better still, be insightful.
- Tip #2: Be honest & informative. And if you have used the product be insightful. Else you stand to lose your reader’s trust and you lose revenue.
Write about alternate choices. Never recommend a single product, always offer choice to the reader. Your site’s business is to inform your readers. Bestwpthemes writes about 20~50 themes in our collection roundups, it is to help provide choice and that’s for free themes. The choices provided should cover as wide a net as possible, when you expect your reader pay for a product.
- Tip #3: Present reader with alternate choices. Doesn’t mean you can not recommend the best choices in your opinion but try to include as many alternates for your reader as possible.
- Tip #4: A small piece of a bigger pie is better than, well you know how it goes!
- Disclose affiliate income, always inform your reader that you receive a commission for products that you recommend. Let your reader know that, this is how your site generates income to pay for writers, website development and hosting. I am sure they’ll understand.
- Tip #5: Disclose affiliate marketing on your site on pages where there are affiliate links.
Do not push products on your readers. Stop cramming your content with multiple links, try to keep it to a minimum. It might turn off someone, allow for the possibility that your reader is skeptical about someone who profits from their suggestions. Never allow anyone to ever feel that you are merely trying to sell them things.
Always attempt to connect with your audience by being informative, insightful and very importantly helpful. After you’ve described the problem that you’re attempting to solve which should be one that your readers can relate to, only then should you proceed to promote a product as a possible solution. I think subtlety is underrated.
Remember that affiliate marketing can help make a great deal of money for you, if you target the right niche. Not only should your site be relatable to that niche but your niche should have sufficient traffic from the specific niche. Affiliate marketing tends to be very targeted, it will not work if there is no money in that market to begin with.
Before you decide to run an affiliate marketing campaign on your site, try reading the about the affiliate programs offered by the ten biggest players in your industry. Look at their customer numbers and their commission percentages. See if the numbers make sense and whether affiliate marketing is right for your site’s niche.
MyThemeShop offers 70% commission on any new customer you bring to them. We use their affiliate program on our website and highly recommend it.
In comparison, Elegant Themes offer a 50% commission and StudioPress offer a commission of 35%. If either of them had sales exceeding MyThemeShop by a great extent, they will make for better affiliate options but given that there isn’t too much of a difference, you will be better of using all three affiliate programs. This way you can present your readers with multiple choices.
Check out for how long the tracking is valid when you bring new traffic to these sites under affiliate programs. This also known as the tracking cookie period. Most reasonable affiliates have periods of 60 days or greater. After that any sale made as a result of traffic your site brought them, doesn’t earn you a commission.
My examples may have been specific to the WordPress niche, because I am familiar with the WordPress. The commissions vary from sector to sector as the size of the deals vary. Look at all affiliate programs and identify the likelihood that they will generate a steady cash flow which is sustainable and builds over time. And test a few of them out before you settle on one or two of them.
NameCheap and Bluehost has a great affiliate program for many reasons, rather than boring you with “Why?”. I’d like to talk about Pat Flynn who made $424,800 which accounts for about 40% of his site’s revenue in 2014 via BlueHost’s affiliate program and about $670,000 from all affiliate programs. Now remember his website has multiple sources of income and apart from his BlueHost affiliate program all his other income sources are at best $50,000 and not more. I’d recommend that you have a look at Pat’s site and his income statements, you’ll notice that despite the diversity in his income sources he makes about 65% of his income via affiliate programs. This should quite clearly illustrate the power of affiliate marketing.
A Few Things About Advertising – PPC, CPM and CPA
- Tip #6: Banner adverts are not really your best option, their click through rates are rather low in comparison to in-content links. But if you aren’t using all the space on your website, then perhaps you could add banner advertisements to add to your revenue.
- Tip #7: Cut out the middleman, many ad networks take out a chunk of your revenue. Remember direct deals are always better than going through an intermediary. It’s also a lot harder.
- Tip #8: Never crowd your content out with too many advertisements banners or in text links.
- Tip #9: Use a heat map plugin and try to figure out which parts of your website attract the most attention. Place your adverts appropriately.
- Tip #10: While plain banner adverts (Not based on PPC, CPM & CPA) pay on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and offer some security of income, even if your traffic doubles or triples, you still get paid the same. PPC, CPM & CPA based advertising on the other pay based on how well your site does and how well it converts traffic into sales/impressions.
Sell Your Product/Service
Creating a website to generate revenue is primarily based on projecting yourself and the people who post content on your site as domain experts. Sometimes it is very easy to prove that you know your stuff, example would be a WordPress theme developer and writer. Aigars writes a great deal about themes and he gets a lot of interaction because he is a pretty awesome web developer.
Projecting yourself as a domain expert is crucial as it is what your site relies on to generate revenue. It is aided by creating products in that particular niche or in the alternative offering services in the same niche or even a related niche.
Of course this works both ways web developer turns writer and the otherway around, the same is applicable to any niche.
We publish a great deal of content about WordPress – Caching plugins, Themes, Hosting and so forth. You can read more about it here. It helps boost credibility and therefore helps with product sales.
- Tip #11: Generating good and most importantly useful content will help project authority and domain expertise and bring more sales.
This is not limited to digital products like themes, it can be extended to almost any industry for which there is sufficient interest on the internet. Companies of any niche or sector can sell their own products via the internet.
- Tip #12: Selling stuff services/products and generating good content on the same industry/niche/sector brings in more visitors and as a result more prospective customers to your site.
You may have noticed by now selling products and generating useful content go hand in hand. One aids the other and vice versa.
Whilst selling your own products and services creating an affiliate program will help sell your product better. You will obtain a greater reach by sharing a percentage of your product’s price for sale that may have gone unrealized otherwise.
Some people may be reluctant to share their profits, but what they fail to realize is that the profits you share would not have been realized at all had there not been an incentive for your affiliate to share and recommend your products.