How to Use Your Small Website to Make Money
December 5th, 2016 | Natasha Englehardt
If generating a reliable stream of income with your website sounds like a dream come true, you’re in luck. There are many ways to use your small website to make money. Not all of these strategies will work for everyone, but at least some of them will work for most people.
Affiliate marketing is among the most common and easiest ways to use even a small website or blog to make money. First choose a product you like and feel comfortable recommending to others. Then endorse it on your site in posts or on your regular pages. Your goal is to convince visitors to click on your affiliate link and buy the product; when they do, you’ll get a share of the money from the sale.
Pay per click advertising/Google AdSense
AdWords ads are the ones you see at the top of the page whenever you Google something. If you sign up for Google AdSense you get into the act by placing a code on your site from Google; this lets Google see what kinds of content you’re creating for the site so they can place relevant ads on it. For example, if you’re a food blogger, Google might place ads for kitchen gadgets on the site. Whenever one of your visitors clicks on one of those ads, you get paid.
Sell ad space
You can also sell ad space directly to people who want to buy it. Usually it works best to set prices for ad space based on placement; you’d charge a set price for a sidebar banner ad, for example. Most companies want to know how much traffic you get before they invest in this kind of ad.
Giveaways and reviews
If you blog you can make a deal with a company to use their product and review it, or even write about it and run a giveaway among your audience members. Remember to tell your readers that the product was given to you by the company so you could review it or write about it, but that your opinions are your own.
Sell your own products
Obviously, if you have something you can sell online you can use your website to do that. Just remember that you’ll need some SEO work to get people to your page, and you’ll also need to manage how you get paid, returns, shipping, and taxes.
Webinars, courses, and podcasts
If you have a skill or knowledge to share, you can create webinars, courses, or podcasts that make money for you on an ongoing basis. You can use tools like GoToWebinar for webinars and Udemy for courses, and here is a list of podcast tools to get you started.
If you have a very active community on your site and some engaged users, a “donate” button might be a great choice for your site. This is especially useful for sites that offer a lot of value.
Sponsored posts and articles
Sponsored posts are a great way to bring in money, especially if you’ve got a fair amount of traffic and/or a very engaged audience. Make sure any sponsored posts you do are relevant, though, and don’t stray from your overall message. For example, going back to the food blogging example above, it makes sense to write a sponsored post for a flour company and give a great bread recipe; it doesn’t make sense to try and peddle insurance on a baking blog, however.
Remember to disclose the sponsorship right up front just like you did with the review/giveaway post: “[Company] sponsored this post, but all of these opinions are mine.”
Build an email list
One of your goals with your site should always be to turn visitors into subscribers. Email marketing is one of the best ways to sell, whether it’s your own products or those of an affiliate. Email lists also help you maintain traffic to your site. Just remember that spamming people will scuttle your progress, so don’t abuse your list.
Premium content and memberships
If you have especially valuable content that everyone wants, you may be able to set up a paywall to grant access to it.
Enable directories and job boards on your site
If you enable directories and job boards on your site, you’re essentially creating a space for people to put up classified ads. It only makes sense if your website is a place where people in a niche area connect, but if you have that kind of sense this can be a good way to earn money. If you use WordPress, you can even find directory themes—but don’t choose them unless that’s the only purpose of your site!
From advertising, strategic marketing, and creative content creation, you have options when it comes to your site. There are many ways to use your small website to make money! If you choose wisely based on your lifestyle and the goals you have for your site, you should be able to take advantage of at least some of these tips.