Monetize Your Website
(Part 2 of Making Money With A Website) 

 

If you’re going to make money with a site you must first monetize your website.  There are several ways to do this.  Before you start trying to make money with the site you want your site to be at least 30 or more good content pages.  Also, you want some traffic.  40 visitors or more per day is a good starting point. 

Here are 13 ways to turn your website into a money maker:

1)  Affiliates:   Having affiliate businesses is a great way to monetize a website.  You put a link on your site to your affiliate’s site.  When a visitor to your site clicks on the link and then buys something from your affiliate, the affiliate pays you a commission on that sale.  You have virtually no overhead.  No product to stock or ship.  You don’t even have to process the order or deal with customers.  The affiliate company takes care of it all.  It cost nothing to join a company’s affiliate program.  You can see RV Beachbum affiliates here.

Don’t load your site up with too many affiliate links.  It’s hurts your credibility.  If you are planning to use Google’s Adsense, you need to know that Google will spider your site.  If the spiders find too many affiliate links Google may not let you into the Adsense program.

2)   Adsense:   Adsense is a Google program that reads the content of your pages and then supplies ads that fit well with your content.  If your content is about fishing you will get ads related to fishing.  Google also has interest-based ads.  If a visitor to your fishing site was just looking new cars on another site, he may see car ads on your site.  When a visitor to your site clicks on an ad, you earn money.

Adsense is very popular because it works, is easy to set up and use.  If you’re thinking about using Adsense on your site,   it’s a good idea to look it over in the early stages of building your site.  You want to make sure you’re building a site that will qualify for the program.  You can learn more about Adsense here.

3)   Sell ads on your site:   Once your site is big enough and has a good number of visitors per day, companies may want to put ads on your website.  They may approach you or you can approach them.  Selling ads on your site can be very profitable buts it’s more complicated than using Adsense.  You’ll have to decide what kinds of ads, how you’re going to get paid, and how much to charge.  Are you going to offer just text links or banner and button links?

Will you offer pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, or monthly and yearly fees?   My advice is to wait until you have a good-sized site with lots of traffic (1000 visitors per day) before attempting to sell ads on your site.

4)   Referrers and Finders:   This is a simple but effective way to monetize your website.  You’ve built a solid website and a good reputation with your readers.  The great content about travel on your site has established you as in expert in your field.  Your readers trust you.  If you give them a recommendation, say a restaurant or hotel, they would very likely try those places.  Those businesses would be happy to pay you a finder’s fee for “finding” those new customers.   You can charge on a pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale basis.  You would never give a recommendation just for the finder’s fee.  Your reputation is much too valuable.  On your site you’ll have a disclosure which will further enhance your trustworthiness.

5)  Accept donations:   Accepting donations can be a hit or miss kind of thing.  It will depend on what your site is about, who your readers are, and how you ask for the donation.  You can try the standard, but often ineffective, “If you like this site…” approach.  Or you can try to get a little more creative and ask for a donation that comes with a thank you gift.  Like an e-book or a bumper sticker.

I gave a $60 dollar donation to my local PBS station because I wanted to give back.  And it came with a Red Dwarf T-shirt.

6)   Sell memberships:   You can make a lot of money selling memberships but you have to get everything right.  With so much free content on the web it can be hard to sell information.  You have to find something that folks can’t get anywhere else.  You must have a lot of traffic to end up with a good membership base.   Once you have members you are obligated to them.  Membership sites are labor and time vampires.

7)   Selling hard goods:   As an RV full-timer your only limitation is storage space for your products.  If you want to sell something that is too big for you to keep an inventory in your RV, you can always set yourself up with a bumcave (pronounced BUM KAH VAY). 

Another way to go is drop shipping.  You put an item on your website.  When a visitor buys it you process the order (get paid) and then forward the order to the distributor.  The distributor sends the item directly to the customer.  You pay the distributor the wholesale cost plus shipping and handling.  You keep the difference between wholesale and what you sold it for.

At first glance drop shipping looks a lot like an affiliate program but there are some important differences.  With drop shipping you usually have higher profit margins than you do with affiliates.  Most drop shippers will only do business with businesses.  You’ll have to get a business license, fictitious name, business bank account, and a resale permit.  You’ll have to deal with customers yourself and you will have to be able to process credit cards online.

Setting up an online store is not that hard.  The hard part is finding great products.  You’ve got to find cool, original stuff.  Things folks can’t find anywhere else.   That fits with the theme of your site.  

8)   E-goods:   The secret to selling e-goods is to create a website with lots of good, original content first.  Become established as a trusted expert in your field.  Build traffic before you monetize. 

If you had a website about exotic travel, you could create an e-book about your favorite places.  Selling e-goods is not hard.  There are lots of programs available that you can install on your site that will allow you to process sales of e-goods. 

 9)   Recruit your own resellers:   Advice you hear from people with successful websites goes something like this, “Once you’ve built a website and have good traffic, you should create your own products to sell.  Then get others to resell for you. “   If you run your own affiliate program people will link to you.

10)   Network Marketing  (MLM):   Network Marketing is a great way to monetize your website.   I cover the reasons why I like MLM here.   I think many of us (me included) who are building a network marketing business make a common mistake.  We put links on our site, to soon, that will take the visitor to the MLM company’s landing page.   “Once the person sees a professional presentation they will be more likely to sign up.  All I have to do is get more traffic on my site and that will result in more sales and more people joining my business”, so the logic goes.  There is some truth to this.  It’s simple math.  But it rarely works out that way.

The goal should not be to get people to click on a link that will take them to a landing page.  The goal should be to provide quality, original content, not loud ads, on your site that will make your visitors want to contact you.  You want to talk to interested people in person.   If you have built the site right, your readers will see you as the expert you are.  They will trust you.  You will be seen as a real person with an expert’s understanding.  Make yourself available so they can get the whole story from someone they have come to trust.  It goes without saying that you will be candid, honest and will put their interests before your own. 

A woman I know signs up 3 to 5 new people every week in her MLM business.  She says that 98% of her sign ups come from people on Facebook.  What’s her secret?  She doesn’t try to “get” people into her business.  Her goal is to make new friends.  This is not a gimmick.  She is sincere.   She doesn’t push her business on folks.  She talks about her business like you would if you were talking to a friend.  In fact, she rarely brings it up.  Sooner or later (for some it takes many months) people will ask her about her business.  Now she has permission to talk about it…as a friend.

11)   Sales and rental agents:   If you have specialized knowledge in a niche area you could be a sales or rental rep for a company.  For example, many years ago, when I was starting my janitorial business, I bought several thousand dollars worth of equipment from a sales agent.   There were three reasons I bought from him.  I liked the products he represented.  I liked his personality.  And he was a wealth of information.  He had owned a 60 employee janitorial business.  He made himself available and gave me a lot of good information and advice. 

If I were a sales agent for a janitorial equipment company today, I would create a website loaded with content about starting and running a janitorial business.  I’d make myself available.  People might come to me with all kinds of questions but they would also come to me for their equipment needs.  I would monetize the website with affiliate links, adsense, hard goods and e-goods just for starters.

12)   Web Professionals:   Many small business owners, with less than 10 employees, want a website for their business but don’t have one.  They don’t have the skills to create a website and they can’t afford to pay a web design firm $10,000+ to do it for them. 

If you know how to build and market a website you could offer web master services for less money and still make a nice living.  If you’re not a master of HTML you can still learn how to build websites using  programs like Solo Build It! or WordPress. It takes a little time and practice to master these programs but it can be done relatively fast.  Start by building your own websites.  When you’ve built two or three sites for yourself that have an Alexa ranking of 150,000 or better you will have the experience and credibility you need to start a successful web building business.

 

13)   Service Business:   There is no limit to the kind of services that can be sold online.  For example, lets say you are a Human Resources Specialist.  You could create a website to help small business owners with H.R. issues.  On a local level you could visit the business and train their people or help them get into compliance with government rules and regulations.  As an RV full-timer you could travel around the state helping out small businesses.   

Maybe you’re an expert gardener.  Could you teach it?  Help folks set up a garden?  What would your website look like?  How would you monetize it?

Many, if not most, small service businesses don’t have an effective website…if they have one at all.  If you have a good website you will have a big advantage over your competitors that don’t.  Your website allows potential customers to get to know you.  People do business with people they know and trust.

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