Monetising Your Website
Over and above working hard for your business – bringing you new clients and improving customer service for example, there are also many opportunities for your website to own its keep with a passive income that many business owners don’t know about or consider.
As an expert in your field or a business operating in a niche, you are well placed to share your traffic and audience with other related businesses and earn an referral fee or commission.
There is also the opportunity to reserve advertising space on your website pages to carry relevant, paid ads.
Bloggers and vloggers can become influencers making recommendations and reviews for products and services for a shared audience. It does take considerable work to get results in this space such as growing a social media audience or an email marketing list. However, there are other opportunities that are less overwhelming and could be a perfect way to monetise your website.
There are businesses around that purely earn their income from affiliate marketing, it really can be that worthwhile, but what we’re talking about here is an additional income stream for your existing business. Signing up with affiliate programs and sharing your affiliate links on your website, in your blogs, in recommendations and social media can result in recurring income when someone clicking on your link buys.
If you regularly recommend a product or service you can find out if they have an affiliate programme that you can join. There are also services you can join (for free) who manage the affiliate marketing for lots of organisations – from household names through to start-ups. Even Amazon has an affiliate programme so if you regularly recommend a product sold by Amazon, you can earn a percentage on those sales.
Having said that, most affiliate programs have strict rules and there are often requirements to join. Being able to explain how you will be promoting the products or services, what social media exposure you can offer, the quality of your contacts and website traffic will help with this.
Three golden rules of affiliate marketing are:
- Properly disclose any affiliate links or relationships you have.
- Recommend relevant products and services your audience cares about.
- Don’t go on a frenzy of promoting anything and everything (without testing the product or at least checking its reviews)
Most affiliate programmes have a pay-out threshold – for example you need to reach $50 in commission before a payment will be made to you. It is therefore a good idea to pick products, services and organisations that you can regularly recommend and expect to effect a sale for.
How-to guides, recipes, workbooks and more as e-books can be sold from your website without a full-blown e-commerce solution. A series of concise and low priced guides for example can be relatively low-cost to create, easy to promote and an excellent source of recurring passive income. You do of course, have to create that content in the first place! See Content Marketing for the possibilities in this area and how easy it can be to publish your own e-book.
Most websites can facilitate a private area for members. If you can pack this full of value-added content and support to justify the price-tag then this can be an excellent way of taking your website to the next level, servicing more customers and providing extraordinary value. Some examples of Memberships that work well are:
Private communities and special interest forums offering masterminds, access to specialists, members directory, discounts and offers.
Education – access to bundles of courses, learning materials such as videos and webinars as well as texts.
Accountability and mastermind groups for group sessions, information exchange, think tanks and collaborations.
Advertorial and Sponsored Content
Other businesses may be interested in publishing content on your website in the form of a sponsored blog post or advertorial (a mixture of advertisement and editorial), which they pay you for directly and can be charged more for added social media exposure.
All sponsored content must be marked as such, properly disclosing any advertising relationships.
Ask for Donations
Since Covid-19 struck, we’ve all become more comfortable with the concept of asking for donations. Non-profits and charities certainly shouldn’t miss this opportunity but anyone can add a donation form to their website, especially if offering free downloadables or advice.
It is absolutely possible to allocate some of your website real estate for advertising programmes to serve ads to. Google AdSense for example, will allow you to configure the advertisers relevant (and not) to your site. However, many business owners are wary of the wrong ads being served onto their website, the potential negative effect on their brand as well as the user experience. At least 25% of internet users use ad blocking and a lot of people just don’t like ads! The return on investment isn’t great either – you need to generate a lot of relevant traffic to get the clicks and build revenue.
It is possible however, to run your own website advertising by charging businesses that you know and trust to take advertising space on your website. WordPress in particular has some powerful plugins that allow you to input the creative assets, choose when and where they are displayed and rotate ads automatically.