Vast majority of websites is created with profit in mind. Let’s face it – it costs money to create a website, it costs money to host a website and it costs time (time is money) to maintain the website and keep it updated with fresh content. As such, webmasters who enter the online game face this important question – how do I make money with my website? How do I at least break even? What do I need to do to start generating revenue out of money and effort I put into my website(s)? To answer these questions, let’s take a look at some of the most fundamental ways to make money with a website:
Contextual Ad Networks
Contextual ad networks provide simple ways to start making money with your website right away. Once you are accepted as a publisher (publisher is a website owner who will be displaying ads on their website) to a contextual advertising network, you will cut and paste a code provided to you by the program on the page(s) of your website and that code will start displaying relevant ads without your need to do anything more.
Contextual Advertising Networks have teams of experts working to attract advertisers who pay them money to drive traffic to their website. As a publisher, you will be used to dedicate space on your website where these ads are displayed and each time a visitor to your website clicks a link that is displayed, that visitor will be redirected to a website of an advertiser who paid money to the Contextual Ad Network to get traffic and now that you have sent a surfer you will get a share of the revenue that the advertiser had paid.
There are several Contextual Ad Networks that a webmaster can sign up for. They each work differently and have different advertisers but they are all basically the same. As a publisher, you would simply place the code that was generated for you on your website and the program takes care of the rest. These codes are programmed to analyze the content of your page and will attempt to display the ads that are most relevant. This way you don’t have to do anything as relevant ads will be displayed automatically.
The most used Contextual Advertising Network is Google AdSense ™. AdSense is used by millions of webmasters worldwide and is generally regarded as one of the best Contextual Advertising Networks available. There are dozens of other Contextual Advertising Networks, such as AdEngage, AdBrite, BidVertiser, Clicksor or other. It’s often a hit and miss situation so it’s best to try a few of them and see which one performs the best for you.
Using affiliate programs is another of many ways to make money with your website. While Contextual Advertising Networks pay webmasters based on clicks they deliver to the advertisers, Affiliate Programs work strictly on “per action” basis. That means that you will get paid a commission each time someone you have referred to advertiser’s website makes a purchase.
Affiliate marketing is popular with advertisers because they get promotion and traffic which could result in sales without any initial cost. As we have discussed above, advertisers who use Contextual Ad Networks must pay for the traffic they will get. Affiliate websites don’t pay anything up front, they will simply cut you a share of the money they had made out of the surfer that was referred by you.
Depending on what type of website you own, Affiliate Programs can make you more money that Contextual Ad Networks, but can also make less (or none). With Contextual Ad Networks you get paid for each click a visitor to your website makes, regardless of whether that visitor buys something on a website to sent them to or not. This often ends up being only pennies per click. Whereas with Affiliate Programs you always get a cut from what the surfer you sent to advertiser’s website spends. So if it’s an Affiliate Program with 50% shared revenue, and you refer a person who spends $100 on advertiser’s website, then you could get as much as $50 by just referring this one person. However you could also end up sending 100 people and none of them makes a purchase, in which case you won’t make not even a measly penny.
As with all ways to make money with your website, it’s worth giving it a try and see whether Affiliate Programs work for the type of traffic you get to your site or whether you’re better off sticking with Contextual Ad Networks.
Amazon.com or Ebay.com are one of the most popular Affiliate Programs. Many webmasters are able to generate thousands of dollars a month referring surfers to Affiliate Programs. If you have a niche website with niche traffic, signing up for an Affiliate Program which offers products in your niche would likely make you more money than by just using Contextual Ad networks.
Direct Sales of Advertising Space
If you are able to get advertisers to purchase ads on your website directly, then you end up keeping 100% of the profit. Direct Ad Sales are the most profitable way of making money with your website, however getting advertisers to spend money on your site, out of all can be more challenging than it seems. Once you have established your web presence and are considered an authority, getting Direct Ad Sales becomes fairly easy and can make you a lot of money.
There are many ways you can make money by selling advertising directly. You can sell banner sports on your website, you can sell text links, you can sell paid reviews – the possibilities are endless and for as long as you offer good value for money and advertisers see return in revenue, this could be a highly profitable way to make money with your website.
As an alternative, you can join TextLinkAds.com which is a website that will assist as a middle man between you as a publisher and an advertiser. TextLinkAds.com takes care of all communication with advertisers and can help you determine attractive asking price for your “website’s real estate”.
CPM Advertising Networks
CPM Advertising Networks are very similar to Contextual Ad Networks, however in case of CPM you get paid per impressions you deliver, rather than per click (per click advertising is referred to as CPC – Cost Per Click). CPM stands for Cost Per Mille and refers to cost per 1000 impressions. Depending on quality of traffic, you could make around $1 per 1000 impressions however sometimes you could only get $.10 but sometimes it’s $10. How much you can make per 1000 impressions depends on the position of your ad, the size of your ad and what network you’re using.
If you have a website with high pageviews (forums tend to have high page views, for example) CPM Advertising Networks could be a great option. However most quality CPM Advertising Networks are very picky about their publishers and unless you have a very high traffic website, you may not be able to get accepted. Following are some of well established CPM Ad networks you can try to apply with to be a publisher:
- Tribal Fusion
- Casale Media
- Right Media
- Burst Media
- Value Click
Selling the Website
Selling your website is one of the ultimate ways to make money off hard work you have put into making it a success. When your site grows in popularity and gets steady flow of traffic and starts generating revenue, it becomes an asset which has value. As such, you can sell it for profit. When it comes to websites, the value of a website is often determined by monthly profit which is then multiplied by 12 (in other words, you could see your website for the amount of money it would make in a year).
However, profit a website generates is not the only indicator of website value. YouTube was an operation which cost millions of dollars per month and was making none. Yet it was sold to Google for $1.65 Billion. Even though it wasn’t making any money, YouTube had a lot of steady traffic and popularity was undisputed. The owners sold it in the right time and made nice nine figures.
There are other ways which can be used to make money with your website but they are outside of the scope of this article. I will get back to those at a later time. This article outlines the most used and the most popular ways to make money with your website because they are easy to implement and you can start generating money with some of them as soon as your website has been launched. Monetizing your website is a whole science which requires constant studying of the market trends and of your traffic. I hope this article covered the basics of making money with your website and can get you started with earning your first on line dollars.