Ways to Make Money with a Website

by WorkFromHome on January 2, 2012

Making money with a website can be an exciting prospect, especially for work at home entrepreneurs who are willing to put forth some effort. Launching a website is easy, but getting it to make money takes work. No matter how you put it together, no online business will run itself. Turning a profit requires a great deal of ongoing care and cultivation.

You can find literally dozens of legitimate ways to make money with a website while working from home, and we explore a few good methods here. Some are tips or techniques to increase conversions on an existing website or blog, and some are full-blown website development ideas. Some of our ideas will require seed money, but most are low-cost or free to try.

It might be tempting to try all of them at once, but don’t. You’ll just end up creating a hot mess. Instead, select a few money-making methods that seem to suit your budget and abilities, and experiment a little bit. A conservative approach will allow you to find the methods that work best for your unique business.

Launch your website(s) and test the ecommerce waters for a few weeks or months. Continually measure, monitor and quantify your successes and failures. Concentrate your efforts on the channels that are working, and throw out the ones that fall flat. Pretty soon you will discover some good ways to make money with a website.

Affiliate Advertising

Let’s start with one of the most popular online marketing methods around. Affiliate advertisers are online partners who will pay you to promote their products on your website or blog. Affiliate ads pay a commission or small fee for each clickthrough or action performed, or for the number of times the ad is viewed. For highly-trafficked websites, affiliate ads can add up to some serious income.

Depending on the preferences of the advertiser, the ads can be configured to pay out as cost per lead (CPL); cost per click (CPC); cost per action (CPA); cost per impression (CPI); or cost per mille (CPM), which is cost per thousand views. Other terms for this are PPC (pay per click) or (PPV) pay per view.

Affiliate advertising can be automated through an ad feed service, such as Google or Bing, or sold directly to industry partners. If you decide to sell the ads yourself, you can negotiate with advertisers to find the best terms for your site.

Some Popular Affiliate Advertising Networks:

Keyword Ads

Keyword advertisements can be linked to particular words on your site, providing a steady source of passive income. Keyword ads can be configured as pop ups or as direct links to sponsor sites, and they can be set to pay by the click or by the number of views.

  • Linked keywords should fall naturally within your site’s content, and not seem forced in any way.
  • To avoid a cluttered look, keyword ads should take up no more than 3 percent of copy.

Some Popular Keyword Ad Companies:

Link Ads

Link ads are similar to keyword ads, but set up to link directly to the sponsor’s page. Links can be embedded in content on your site, or listed in a special column or section. Although link ads may not be as popular as they once were, they are still a viable way to monetize websites and blogs without much effort.

  • Be aware, if link ads are not configured correctly on your site, it can ding your search engine page rank. Consult with an online marketing specialist for advice on best practices for link advertising.

Banner Ads

Banner ads are a direct method of affiliate advertising, and definitely one of the most profitable marketing tools of the affiliate genre. Unlike text ads or link ads, banner ads are graphic in nature, which makes them stand out and catch the attention of web visitors. Banner ads can be configured to pay out by the number of impressions, clicks, or conversions.

The most visible position for banner ads is directly across the top of your web page, in a 728 x 90 configuration known as a leaderboard. Another highly visible placement for banner ads is a tall column known as the skyscraper, which is generally sized 120 x 600. Smaller ads, in squares or rectangle shapes of various sizes, may also be configured as banner ads. Pop-up banners, known as hover ads, are another way to monetize a website. Well-placed banner ads can be quite profitable for businesses with a high volume of web traffic.

Google Advertising

Google advertising is recognized by most online marketers as a standard method to monetize websites. The search engine giant offers a couple of excellent advertising tools for online businesses, known as AdWords and AdSense. They can provide some intriguing options to boost your work at home business.

The two main ways to use Google ads are as a host or as an advertiser. If you decide to be the host, you will permit affiliate ads to appear on your web content for a profit. If you decide to be an advertiser, you will purchase Google advertising to generate more traffic and sales for your website. Both methods can be effective for making money online.

  • AdWords
    AdWords actually puts your keyword ads directly on Google’s search result pages. You can program certain keywords to prompt the advertisements to appear, and pay only if your ads are clicked. Google advertisers are required to compete with other marketers for the best search page position, and they do it by selecting good keywords and bidding competitively. Although it can take a bit of skill to bring a profit, AdWords offers an economical and efficient way to funnel highly-targeted web traffic to your online store.
  • AdSense
    AdSense ads are similar to AdWords in that they are triggered when certain keywords are used. Rather than appearing in Google’s search results, though, AdSense ads appear within actual web content. Ads are automatically chosen by Google for their relevance to the content, which makes the ads more likely to be clicked. Every time an ad is clicked, you make money.

    AdSense ads can be embedded on your web pages, blogs, or even in videos. You can also create a custom search engine on your site that is monetized with AdSense ads. Anywhere there is web content (even mobile content), AdSense advertising can be integrated to bring in a profit.

Tip: In addition to AdWords and AdSense, Google also offers dozens of free software tools and apps that can help your business make money with a website.

Highlighted Content

Similar to banner ads, your site could feature articles or blog posts from paying sponsors. Consider your business niche and what your site has to offer other businesses, and sell sponsored space to related industry experts. Space for sponsored posts can be sold or rented; it can also be configured to pay by the number of views or on a pay-per-click basis. Some businesses may be willing to pay extra to be featured on a regular basis.

Internal Pages

It is actually possible to rent or sell whole pages on your website and make money. One of the most best known examples is The Million Dollar Wiki, which sells web pages to businesses or nonprofits to use however they see fit.

The pages you sell or rent should be considered ad space that is designed and configured to suit individual needs of each buyer. As the host, it is your duty to promote the advertising pages as much as possible. It’s an ingenious moneymaking idea, and easy to implement with a little technical savvy.

Multiple Selling Channels

Why limit yourself to selling just on your own website? Broadcasting your products over several different selling channels or networks can bring you more attention and more sales. Although it takes a bit more management and financial accounting to sell on several networks at once, the dividends can be enormous. Multiple selling channels can provide you with a low-risk, low-cost way to make money with a website.

Your business will stand out better on alternate selling channels if you:

  • Define your products well, with unique descriptions and appropriate titles
  • Provide good photographs of your products
  • Provide customer reviews, if available
  • Offer competitive pricing

Two well-known examples of alternate selling channels:

  • eBay Stores
    If you are already an established and reputable seller on eBay, you are probably eligible to open an eBay Store. Your branded eBay Store can provide a high-traffic method of promoting and selling products with little startup cost. While an eBay Store is not the same as registering your business on eBay, it can provide work at home entrepreneurs with a quick and simple way to make money online.
  • Amazon Webstore
    Amazon Webstore can be a good choice for ecommerce start ups. The platform comes with beautiful web-building software, state-of-the-art accounting tools, and some of the highest ranking search engine pages around. It is a breeze to launch and operate Amazon’s alternate selling channel.

Zero Investment

Zero investment means starting from scratch with absolutely no seed money. Although the percentage of profit may not be as equitable as some riskier ways of making money online, the initial financial outlay is completely eliminated. For the work-at-home investor who doesn’t want to spend a dime, zero investment is the only way to go.

There are lots of zero investment ways to launch a website and make money. One of the quickest methods is to sign up with a niche selling channel (especially one that fits your specific business), and open your own online store. Choose selling channels that are free to join, and won’t charge a fee unless you sell an item.

Here are three examples of zero investment start-ups:

  • Etsy
    Etsy is a free to try online platform where you can open a branded web store and sell hand-made crafts and vintage items. Qualified items can be catalogued on Etsy for free, with no initial investment. The only time users are required to pay a fee is when they actually sell a listed item. If you can spare a few bucks to invest in some paid advertising, Etsy offers some good opportunities for marketing on its site.
  • Cafe Press
    Select from dozens of useful products and gifts that can be individually imprinted with your logo or slogan, and sold from your own, branded web store. T-shirts, baby items, pens, mugs — you name it. Users can see exactly what the unique creations will look like before they are printed. Cafe Press provides one of the coolest zero-investment ways to launch a website, and it can be used to monetize a primary website or blog too.
  • Antiques Republic
    Although it is currently in Beta, Antiques Republic provides a robust, zero-investment platform for sellers and buyers of antiques. Antiques Republic’s hosting site allows antique sellers to hold auctions right from their own web stores, and set their own special offers. It provides a great place to network with other antique sellers, and to launch an online store with no start-up costs.

Email

Email may be one of the oldest ways to make money online, but it is still one of the most effective methods around. Email is inexpensive, targeted and efficient. The hardest part about email is collecting solid leads for your email list, but there are lots of tricks to make it easier. Try social media, contests, reviews, polls and surveys to gather email leads and build excitement. Your email sign-ups should be highly visible, and featured prominently on the home page of your site or blog.

Once you have a solid list of willing email subscribers, you can start reaching out with newsletters, coupons, discounts, and special invitations. Include a persuasive call to action, link back to your product pages, and watch the sales begin to happen. For more monetization clout, integrate a few affiliate ads into your email campaigns. When used to its best advantage, email is one of the most powerful tools to get more sales and earn more money from home.

For the most professional-looking email campaigns, take advantage of the many list management tools found online. There are several specialized email managers that can help you organize and maintain your email lists. Use the email manager to gather analytics information about your subscribers too. It will assist you in developing email campaigns that have the best chances for success.

Two low-cost list email managers:

Facebook

The largest social network in the world can also be used as a selling platform. Facebook allows business owners to embed custom apps on Facebook pages, where users can browse and shop for products while socializing. Facebook selling pages can be customized to add a sense of familiarity to the shopping scene. Your social shop can funnel buyers right to your primary website to process the sales.

Selling on Facebook is a chance for your small business to build brand recognition in a controlled social environment. To get the action started, put a Facebook badge on your home page or blog. Entice users to visit your business on Facebook by offering engaging content and links to discounts. Ask fans to share links with their friends and fans for even more action. Consider adding Facebook advertising to your campaign to bring even more targeted traffic to your social-based store.

If you enjoy engaging in social networking, Facebook selling can provide you with an easy, low-stress way to make more money with your website. Although it takes a bit of social savvy and a lot of marketing ability, it is quite possible for your business to make money with Facebook.

Job Boards

Online job boards are a popular destination these days, and companies that need workers will pay to post job listings on popular websites and blogs. In order for your job board to perform at its peak advantage, the listings should be relevant to the content of your site. For example, a website that provides online marketing advice could set up a job board for online business marketers, SEO copy writers, web developers, online sales specialists, and other interested parties.

A side benefit of job boards is that they can help a website rank higher in search results. Better page rank with engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! can help push a fair amount of targeted traffic to your site, and possibly generate a few new customers in the process.

Determine to automate your job listings so that advertisers can pay and post jobs 24 hours a day. With automation, there is minimal maintenance involved, and your job board will practically run itself over time. For more information, seek the advice of a web developer.

Memberships and Premium Content

Some business owners are able to charge a fee for a bit of premium information. It starts with an authority website or blog, where you establish yourself as a web authority on whatever your specialty happens to be. For instance, if you sell shoes, you are a shoe authority. Your business doesn’t matter, your authority does.

Your authority site should provide a few pages of helpful information that is visible to everyone, but also offer a premium membership status in exchange for a fee. Make the offer stand out. Premium members could be offered more comprehensive advice, better discounts, more interaction with peers, more bonus value points — any incentive is appropriate if it adds value to your membership status and persuades visitors to pay for the privilege.

To automate this monetization method, seek a web server that provides online subscription services, a customer management platform, or membership software. Here are two resources:

Networking

Similar to the membership model, a social networking site for your business niche could generate some extra money online. Build a networking platform for industry peers or other niche group, and charge users a small fee for an account.

To maintain interest, keep your network active and lively, with a variety of interactive discussions and member activities. Increase your membership by providing regular occasions for members to invite their interested friends to join your network.

Web Design and Development

If you have a creative talent for web design, you can leverage your skills and make money online. Good web designers are always in demand, and you can put it to advantage for your home-based business. Offer web design services right on your own beautifully designed site, or design web page templates for blogging platforms or ecommerce websites, and sell them for a profit.

Buy and Sell URLs

URL stands for uniform resource locator, but it really means a web address or “domain name,” and buying and selling URLs is just one more way to make money online.

According to some statistics, as many as 2,000 online investors are currently making money by selling URLs. In fact, web developers often plan to sell a URL before the domain is even launched. While buying and selling URLs can be a good way to make money at home, it is a long-term investment that takes a bit of start-up capital and a lot of patience.

It is true that a good URL is worth a lot for the right buyer, but its value is not necessarily in the domain name; what makes a URL valuable is its ability to consistently make money. For the best odds, choose meaningful and short URLs that are easy to remember and not hard to spell. Over time, add value to your domain by embedding affiliate advertising. Additionally, work social media avenues and keyword strategies to increase its SEO presence.

When buying and selling URLs, always keep your exit strategy in mind. When it is time to sell, potential buyers will likely request traffic numbers and rates of conversion to prove the worth of your domain. You will be required to provide comprehensive records of your site’s ability to make money. Websites that average at least $50 profit per month will have the best chance of selling.

One of the most popular resources for buying and selling domains for a profit is GoDaddy. Domains can be purchased for a few dollars, developed with the included website tools, and sold right on GoDaddy’s auction platform.

Domain Market Places for Buying & Selling Domain Names:

Drop Shipping

The function of a drop shipper is to process your orders for you, and ship products directly from their warehouse to your customers. Online drop shipping services offer many advantages for the work at home business. The main advantages are that you don’t need to source or stock your own products, and there is no need to negotiate fees with shipping partners.

Most drop shippers are able to stock hundreds, thousands, or sometimes millions, of items for immediate shipment. Due to their high volume of transactions, drop shippers are able to process and ship items at greatly reduced rates. Many will also handle customer service and transactions involving returned merchandise. The best drop shipping sites are fully automated with management tools and other helpful ecommerce resources to assist the stay at home entrepreneur.

Using a drop shipper can make a lot of sense for a start-up business, especially if there is not much seed money available, but drop shipping is not cheap. Your provider will charge a hefty fee or percentage for every transaction, and it may also charge you for shipping. Many drop shippers will demand a setup fee, and some will charge monthly or annual membership dues as well.

For overall flexibility and ease of operation, drop shipping is an unbeatable choice. While not always the cheapest option, a reputable drop shipper is like gold. Find a good one, and discover a low-stress, low-risk way to make money with a website.

Sample resources for drop shipping:

Conclusion

These money-making ideas are just the tip of what is possible for your work at home business. A sensible approach is to consider the amount of capital you are willing to invest, as well as how much time you can spend working your online campaigns each day. Be sure to carefully monitor and track the progress of your online campaigns, and you will discover the best ways to make money with a website.

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