It's great if you love blogging for your own pleasure, but it's even better when your website also generates income. In this article, we have compiled 10 of the best ways to monetize websites. This article will help beginners figure out how to make money on a blog.
Can you make money on a blog?
Before we go directly into the methods of how to make money on your website, let's start by asking: is it possible to make money on your website at all?
Of course, the answer is yes for many bloggers, whose websites are their main source of income. For example, Dale from Wanderherway.com earned $13,505 in 2020 on her travel blog and there are many more successful examples from various niches. Some of them even earn six figures per month!
There is no formula that will allow you to understand exactly how much you will earn, as total revenue is impacted by a variety of things, such as:
The topic of your website;
The traffic volume;
The type of traffic on your site;
Selected monetization methods;
How exactly you place your advertising materials;
You can roughly estimate how much websites earn for their owners based on their sale offers:
Sometimes, offers contain incorrect information; however, sites like Flippa.com, where many sites are listed for sale, are an excellent source for assessing potential income in different niches.
Two bloggers with roughly comparable blogs can earn completely different revenues using different monetization methods. Therefore, it is important not only to learn about the various ways to make money with your blog, but also how to apply them in practice, as well as how to constantly experiment with advertising placements in order to identify the most effective way to monetize your blog.
Best ways to monetize your website or blog
Below, we will consider proven ways to monetize your website that work effectively in 2021. These are not all your options, as we focus only on high-quality websites and safe monetization schemes. We will not consider methods such as click under advertising or push notifications in this article, since they are not suitable for bloggers with long-term plans and can lead to traffic loss.
Contextual advertising is one of the most popular options for making money on websites. To make money on contextual ads, you should join one of the contextual networks and add the code to your website. After that, ads will appear on your pages in the desired places.
Contextual networks are where advertisers and bloggers meet. Advertisers, such as Coca Cola or other brands, need to advertise products or services, while bloggers have traffic and a desire to monetize it. Thanks to contextual networks, such as Google AdSense, advertisers and webmasters can easily find each other to conveniently buy and sell traffic.
Some contextual networks operate on the CPM model, which means they pay-per-1000 impressions. However, the most common scheme is pay-per-click (PPC). In this case, you will earn income for each click on your ads. The rate depends on many factors, but usually varies between 20 to 30 cents.
Income from the contextual advertising depends on:
Your audience. The more solvent your audience is, the higher your advertising revenue will be. For example, a site with traffic of 1,000 people that is mainly made up of kids will tend to generate a lower income than a tax or financial website.
The number of advertisers your site is suitable for. Many networks work on the principle of auctions by showing advertisements of those advertisers who agree to pay for more clicks. The more advertisers are interested in your site, the higher the average click-through rate.
Seasonality. Almost all topics have a seasonality. For example, after the Christmas holidays, webmasters often see a serious decline in earnings.
Block placement schemes. A lot depends on how you place blocks on the page. You must constantly experiment and look for the best accommodation options.
Filtration systems. In the contextual network settings, you can usually set limits of ads by subject. If you greatly tighten the limits, then there will be less advertising and your income can even decrease.
The most popular contextual advertising network is Google AdSense. You are pretty much guaranteed to have seen their blocks many times on other people's websites. You can join this contextual network from Google. After this, you will be able to add different contextual ads to your blog, such as:
This contextual advertising system from Google previously accepted everyone, but since 2019, moderation rules for new accounts have appeared on the network. Today, not all sites are accepted. Your results will depend on:
Website quality. Your website should be modern and convenient for users. Pay special attention to navigation. The menu should be at the top and have a clear structure. Your site must have a mobile version.
Amount of content. The chance to get into AdSense with only one or two articles is minimal.
Moderator's mood. According to unofficial data, the initial check is carried out by a robot. Your site must be approved by a live person from the Google team. Therefore, if your site is great, but did not pass the moderation process, you can always try again and possibly get through.
Traffic. There is no official traffic limit, but as a rule, it is almost impossible for sites with traffic of less than 50 people per day to pass.
After your site passes the moderation process, you can add ads to your site. The code is as simple as possible: there is one code per page and in the place where you want ads to be displayed, blocks from AdSense advertisers will appear.
After this, you can track all statistics in your personal dashboard and receive payouts to your bank account.
Before installing the AdSense code on your website, it is worth reading the AdSense policies, as breaking the rules may cause your account to be blocked without payout.
The platform is quite simple, so you can figure it out on your own. But, to learn it faster, you can check out the guide on how to work with AdSense.
Google AdSense is not the only contextual advertising network. There are many alternatives. But, if you are a beginner, then start with this network, as it has maximum reach and is easy to work with. In AdSense, you can make money on ad clicks which is the main source of income for many bloggers.
Instead of or in addition to contextual ads, you can monetize your website with display ad networks. The principle is simple: you register in the ad network, place the code on your website, and ads are shown on your website for which you receive money.
Among the most well-known display advertising networks are:
Some ad display networks are orientated to a specific niche, such as health or beauty, while others cover various topics. Here is an example of such an ad:
When working with display advertising networks, it is common to pay for the ads being displayed. There is no need for readers to actually click on the ads. Some webmasters notice that display ads are twice as profitable; however, this depends greatly on the quality of your traffic and niche.
As a rule, direct advertising only works for large bloggers and well-known brands. However, you can also successfully sell ads directly, for example, to a local brand that is great for your audience.
Prepare a media kit in which you share information about your traffic, such as its volume, your audience, and other indicators, as well as suggest specific placement options. Next, with this media kit, you need to reach the relevant advertisers.
Direct advertisers often find it easier to work with small websites through contextual networks, so this monetization option does not always work for small sites. With that said, you can offer more favorable terms for long-term cooperation and other benefits. However, it’s usually easier to work through networks, as it usually isn't worth making a contract or solving payment problems and other issues for multiple $50 payments.
One of the most desired ad formats for direct advertisers is website branding, as those advertisers can’t buy such a format in any network. For example, you can add the advertiser to your website background.
Affiliate programs pay for targeted actions: installing an application, registering in the system, booking a hotel, reserving a flight ticket, etc. Affiliate marketing is beneficial to all parties, as advertisers pay for the result, while webmasters can get a fair reward.
In some cases, affiliate programs bring in higher income than contextual advertising or any other type of advertising, since the risks that the advertiser will spend the advertising budget without generating results are lower, which means that advertisers are ready to share a larger portion of their income.
There are several different models for how affiliate programs pay rewards:
Fixed commission (such as $3 for each sale);
Percentage of the cost of a product or service (for example, 5% of the cost of a service);
Share of advertiser’s’ income (for example, 50% of the advertiser's sales revenue).
There are combined models, as well as a progressive rate that grows from sales volume and other factors. At the initial stage, it is important to understand that, in affiliate marketing, you receive income if you have attracted the desired action to the advertiser.
An action in affiliate marketing isn't always a sale. You can also earn from installing the application (Cost Per Install), for completing the application form (Cost Per Lead), and on any other actions that the advertiser has indicated.
If you have at least 50 people per day on your site, you can make money on the sale of goods and services. With less traffic, you are unlikely to see income in a short time, since usually no more than 10% of visitors actually click on advertisements, and, on average, only 10-20% of those that do end up buying something.
You need to find a suitable affiliate program and product for each site. The key rule is simple: offer what your audience needs. Place links, banners, and other tools on your site and earn income every time a visitor from your site makes a targeted action (for example, a purchase) on the advertiser's site. Let's take a look at some examples:
If a reader who came to your site has a need for a travel suitcase, offer him/her a suitcase from Amazon and earn a commission on the sale. Amazon will pay you a certain percentage (depending on the product category) for attracting a buyer.
If you write about travel, you can recommend a hotel (for example, on Booking.com or Hotels.com) and earn income from every booking. The advertiser will assign a buyer to you for the lifetime of the cookie (often 30 days), but there are other periods as well.
You can join the affiliate program directly or through affiliate networks. There are general affiliate networks where hundreds of advertisers are available, such as CJ or Awin, and there are specialized ones in specific niches, such as Travelpayouts.com in the travel market. For example, you can join the Agoda affiliate program and offer your audience hotels all over the world with links, banners, or widgets:
Networks have a huge advantage, as they provide access to many brands from a single interface. You can also receive a single payment and get professional support for any of the available affiliate programs.
Selling links and guest posting
If you don't have traffic on your site, then one of the first ways you can earn money is by posting links or guest posts. However, sites with traffic earn more from link placements, as traffic is one of the most important indicators for buyers that the website is good.
Other webmasters and businesses buy do-follow links for SEO purposes, as backlinks are one of the top ranking factors for websites. Buyers most often check:
The age of your domain;
DA and other domain metrics (you can check all of them online using special checkers);
The number of paid backlinks from your site. Usually buyers look at the ratio of backlinks and indexed pages. The more you have already sold, the worse.
To get customers, you can write emails for websites in your niche or simply create a page on your site where you share your conditions for link buying. For a young website, you are unlikely to receive more than $100 per placement, which is actually comparable to the cost of the content in which the link is placed. However, as your site's traffic and trust grows, you can get hundreds of dollars per link.
Instead of selling links in your own posts, you can offer to accept guest posts and receive content along with links. It is highly recommended to score such content and post only top-quality pieces.
Tip: Be sure to add a contact form to your website. You are likely to be contacted often, as webmasters are always looking for good sites to buy links. Difficulty with communication is one of the reasons you will receive fewer applications.
Be sure to accept only selected offers. It’s better not to post non-topic links and avoid controversial topics, such as content about casinos or sports betting, as backlinks to this sort of content can negatively affect your own website.
Selling your own products and services
Your website is a source of clients not only for advertisers, but also for yourself. Think about what your audience needs and offer it to them.
You can place goods or services both on your website and on popular marketplaces. You don’t need to run an ecommerce website yourself.
Using your blog as a source of clients is very common. For example, if you write about home decor, you can sell your own decorations to your audience. If you run a travel blog, you can create your own travel courses.
Donations from your audience
If you have a loyal audience, this method can be an excellent source of earning money. You can offer your audience additional content for a subscription or simply ask them to support your project.
Even Wikipedia is funded by donations. If you offer your audience a regular subscription, which can be done via sites like Patreon, you can form a steady stream of income that will allow you to more efficiently develop your blog. For example, JoeyDiaz has already collected almost 10,000 patrons that collectively send him thousands of dollars every month.
There are other examples as well.
If your website offers valuable information, you can use the paywall model. With this model, the user must pay to access all or part of your content. Such a model will be effective on websites dedicated to a specific niche and provide unique content that is not available on other platforms.
This option works perfectly for reputable bloggers, as people are willing to pay to access their expertise.
There are many services that make setting up subscriptions easier, such as Cointent, Piano, Pigeon, Mediapass, and Recurly.
Many online services offer rewards for attracting customers. Unlike affiliate programs, you can receive income not once, but constantly, if you can attract regular users.
For example, if you write about web development and traffic, you can offer your audience SEMRush and earn a commission from each client. You will also receive income from renewing your subscription.
Referral programs are not alternatives to affiliate programs, but serve as great additions. You can recommend services to your audience that you yourself use and get a percentage of their payments to said services.
Check if the services that you have previously recommended to your audience have referral programs and replace the existing links with affiliate ones. For your audience, this will not change anything. As a rule, the conditions for a referral link are no worse (and sometimes better!) than for a direct link. For you, this is another way to monetize your site for a long time.
Building a subscriber base
Your site is a source for getting email newsletters subscribers or building a subscriber base via social networks.
If you have not yet started collecting subscribers, it is better to fix this as soon as possible, so you can have another option for monetizing your blog: selling ads via social networks and mailing lists. You can build this audience with the help of a blog.
How to monetize your website like a pro?
Each website is unique, so the methods of monetization in each case may differ. The best approach is to think about how you will make money on your website even before creating one.
The topic of your website is fundamental to how much you will earn later. If you have not yet created a blog, then before doing so, do your research and find the best topic for you. Below is the list of the most popular website topics:
Or find a topic you are interested in and have enough skills to provide high-quality content. You should evaluate each option by:
Amount of available traffic – Check the number of searches through Google Trends or alternatives.
Competition rate – Explore SERP competition with Ahrefs, SEMRush, and alternatives.
Possible monetization methods – Choose the monetization methods for your future website in advance. Research which affiliate programs are available, find thematic ad networks, and more.
This approach will allow you to find the best topic for websites and avoid those where you may run into obvious difficulties with further monetization. For example, websites on health topics are becoming more and more difficult to promote on Google, since the search engine checks the expertise of the content. So, although there is a lot of money in the health niche, if you do not have an expert who will write articles for you, perhaps this is not the best option.
Don't chase quick money. Risky monetization methods can generate a lot of income in the moment, but in the end, you will lose traffic and income. Risky monetization methods that can affect the ranking of a website in the SERP:
Aggressive teasers with shock-content;
Intrusive push notifications without the ability to decline a subscription;
Disguising ads as site elements;
Popunders, clickunders, and more;
Videos with automatic playback;
An abundance of advertising in any format.
If you have long-term plans for your website, we recommend that you do not chase quick earnings, do not post ads all over your website, and do not use aggressive monetization methods. In addition, to monetize your website like a pro, follow these best practices:
Don't focus exclusively on context advertising, such as Google AdSense. There are many other approaches to consider.
Affiliate programs may generate high income, but choose appropriate offers that suit the needs of your audience.
When selling links, it is better to work only with thematic blogs. You should not post links to casinos, adult websites, and other "black" topics if your website does not relate to them.
Gather a database of potential direct advertising partners and make a commercial offer. Regularly remind them about yourself.
Think big and test out-of-the-box monetization methods. Perhaps your blog is a source of leads for your own future business.
The amount of income directly depends on your approach to monetization, your niche, and the quality of your website. However, do not forget the main thing: users visit your website to solve their problems. If they need to wade through a million ads to find their answers, then instead of providing you with clicks and income, users will simply leave your website, which will negatively impact your behavioral factors and, in the end, diminish your traffic and potential income.
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