How do websites make money?
This is a quite interesting question, because a lot of people use websites to earn money online and make a damn good living of it. I've done a detailed research on this and I want to share the results with you, so that you can start making money online with your website right now.
I've started my career as internet entrepreneur four months ago and during this time I've found a lot of opportunities to earn money online. I want to list them here to give you a first insight on the chances waiting for you online! Each of those topics is so complex that you could easily write a book about it, so please bare with me, that I'm just briefly describing those.
How Do Websites Make Money
...With Advertising Spaces?
Selling advertising places works in the real world. You see it over and over again, regardless whether it's billboards, advertising pillars, or shirt advertising. I'm sure you can come up with more examples.
When you're asking yourself "How do websites make money", you should consider to sell advertising space on your site. In my sidebar I'm showing four 125px by 125px squares with affiliate products. You could sell those ad spaces to other website owners.
Given that your site has a reasonable amount of traffic, you can go out to webmasters and offer them advertising space on your blog. Smashing Magazine has published a highly valuable article on successful strategies for selling advertising space.
You should have between 500 - 1000 daily unique visitors to start with selling advertising spaces. Remember that you must generate a decent amount of traffic to the sites of your advertisers, so you shouldn't start with less unique visitors.
Finding advertisers is probably easier than you think. Look at your competitors and see who's advertising on their pages. Those people might be interested in advertising on your page as well. You might also want to take a look on the Google Adwords ads showing on your page. Google says your page is relevant to the ad, so you can contact the businesses behind those ads directly.
You could also join an ad network, if you don't want to contact businesses directly.
... With Google Adsense?
There are many websites using Google Adsense, I'm using it on my blog as well. But how do websites make money with Google Adsense?
The most important thing to make money through Google Adsense is traffic. I can't state this enough, the more traffic you have, the more money you'll make with Google Adsense.
Behind this strategy is the principle of getting paid when somebody clicks on an ad. Google runs a network of businesses who pay Google to display their ads online. Displaying ads on websites has the benefit for the advertiser that his ad is shown in a content-related context. Google analyzes the website and then decides which ad matches the content on the site best.
That means that Google Ads drive targeted traffic to the advertiser's website. And that means that advertiser's are willing to pay you for each click.
So, when you're asking yourself "How do websites make money with Google Adsense?" you now know the answer. They try to get as many people as possible to click on the Google ads on their page. Normally webmasters try to find topics with a high payout per click. There are subjects where advertisers are paying up to $50 and more per click, so it can be quite profitable to monetize a blog or a niche site with Google Adsense.
Since "How do websites make money" was a very crucial question for me right from the beginning, I decided to start a Micro Niche Site Challenge. I wrote blog posts about finding your niche, setting up a niche site with WordPress and about how to make money with Google Adsense.
And I found out, that Google Adsense is a pretty good way to start making money fast. In fact, I earned my first few bucks after two weeks! I'm using the eBook Adsense Secrets 5 (affiliate link) by Joel Comm to maximize my profits with Google Adsense and it really helped. After two weeks I'm constantly earning 3€ to 6€ per day and I'm sure that it will go up to at least 7€ - 10€ a day. That's a pretty nice passive income for the start, don't you think?
... With Selling Information Products?
How do websites make money by selling information products?
Selling information products is probably the hardest way to start making money online - but it's also probably the most effective way in the long term.
It all starts with building a relationship to your visitor. When you try to sell a product you need to make the visitor trust you. Think of yourself. Would buy a product from a person you don't trust? Of course not. Well, building a relationship based on trust is a long and challenging process. It usually takes some time to make yourself stand out as an expert and to gain other peoples trust.
To sell an information product you need to exactly know your customers needs. When you take a look at the websites that make real a lot of money by selling information products you'll quickly recognize that those websites solve problems for their customers.
If you have a product that solves a problem your potential customers face in their daily routines, you're good to go to make a ton of money! People like to pay for products that really help. And this is the way to gain people's trust. When people see that you solve their problems, they tend to trust you more quickly.
But people don't like to be sold. Make sure, that you're connecting with your audience before you ever mention your product. Let them decide whether they want to buy your product and don't pitch it too much!
... With Affiliate Marketing?
How do websites make money with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a popular way to earn money online, though it's image is quite unserious and not very trustworthy. But it doesn't have to be this way!
People like Pat Flynn prove, that you can earn $40,000+ each month from affiliate marketing and be one of the most respected internet entrepreneurs in the world.
When you earn money with affiliate marketing you're basically recommending products to people and get a comission for each sale. If you do it right (like Pat) you can earn a pretty good income with that method.
Monetizing websites with affiliate marketing isn't quite as easy as it sounds. Similar to selling information products, you need to have a relationship with your audience. Otherwise people just don't buy the products you're recommending. When the people trust you, they believe that the products you're recommending can really help you.
Make sure, that people understand WHY you're recommending the products to them. You should only recommend affiliate products that match the needs of your audience, because nobody will buy a useless product - regardless who recommends it.
Read more when you want to know how to start with affiliate marketing. Or you could join Fizzle.co (affiliate link) and learn affiliate marketing directly from Pat Flynn.
... With Memberships?
How do websites make money with memberships and training programs?
Well, it might be pretty obvious. You can monetize websites with memberships and training programs through regular fees for monthly access or one-time fees for livetime access.
But again, you'll want to have a connection to your audience and to make it immediately clear to them, how they can benefit from being part of your membership program. If you can't convince people and don't provide a lot of value in your programs, you won't get any signups.
The key reason why people join membership programs might not necessarily be the original content provided in the membership, but getting in touch with likeminded people. Of course you need high quality content in your program and you need to make sure that you make it easy for your members to follow along.
But offering forums, private Facebook groups, and other communities where your members can connect to each other is a must-have for any membership program.
On the technical site, it's quite easy to install a membership platform. There are lots of different themes and plugins for WordPress, though most of them are paid plugins or require payment to unlock all features. You could use OptimizePress, s2member, or Membership by WPMU Dev (the last one is an affiliate link).
... Selling Physical Products?
How do websites make money by selling physical products?
What we're talking of now is the classical online store. You'd sell products on your website and ship them to customers.
The great thing is that you can nearly completely automate your online store!
Several people are already doing this and making a damn good living from it. A great example is Jun Loayza, who interviews numerous entrepreneurs, who successfully run dropshipping online stores.
Basically what you do is to provide the platform for vendors to sell their products. Then you head out to businesses and convince them to sell their products in your online store. The vendors are taking care of customer service, shipping the products, heck even of maintaining the products in the store.
The only thing you have to do to make money with this is to get started. Ok, it's a bit more complicated, but it's definitely no magic behind this!
You can find a great guide to get started on this here (no affiliate link).
Ok, now you've seen many answers to the question "How do websites make money online?".
I hope that those answers are inspiring you to start taking action. If you need more inspiration, feel free to download my 100-page eBook about my story in founding my business, the entrepreneurial lifestyle, and the importance of the right mindest for FREE.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or if you like this article.
To your success,