How to monetize a website in 2018

How to Monetize a Website in 2018

Any website can make you a profit if you know how to monetize it. In this article, we have collected 10+ monetization methods and shared tips on how to reach higher income levels. But don’t focus just on a high income; focus on the quality of your website and the clever use of monetization methods. In the long run, this will pay off and you will earn a lot on the site.

10+ ways to monetize a website in 2018

The essence of money-making website ideas lies in advertising. It seems clear at first: you sell space for an ad and get revenue. Yet, earning a profit is not limited to this option. Let’s look at a few others.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means that you get paid for sold goods or services. This model of earning is called CPA – Cost per Action.

Affiliate Marketing

Simply find a product/service to recommend on your site and embed affiliate tools into your website. A commission will be paid upon a successful deal: namely, your visitor purchases the promoted product/service via your link.

You don’t have to focus only on physical goods. For example, on a travel-related website, you can earn on flight or hotel bookings.

How it works

To start, you’ll need to join an affiliate program and install affiliate tools on your website. For travel-related websites, you can join Travelpayouts, where you will find a set of offers and tools. These include White Labels, which allow you to build your own brand and not share your visitors. You can join also any other travel affiliate network.

Find suitable affiliate programs, then choose interesting offers and tools to embed in your website. You don’t have to be a software engineer to handle that task. “Suitable” means it contains tools that are appropriate for your traffic. For example, for flights, you can join flight affiliate programs; for accommodation, you can join hotel affiliate networks, and so on.

How much can you earn?

Your revenue depends mostly on terms offered by the chosen affiliate network. You can find the following options:

  • Percentage of the final price (for example, 4,8% of the hotel room booking)
  • Percentage of the revenue share (for example, 50% of the seller’s income)
  • Fixed commission for every item sold (for example, $2.50 dollar per item sold)

Sometimes the rate depends on the sales volume. The more you sell, the higher your rate.

Affiliate networks

  • Rakuten Linkshare
  • Travelpayouts
  • Clickbank
  • AvantLink
  • ShareASale
  • Avangate
  • RevenueWire
  • Amazon Associates
  • eBay
  • And others

Example of monetization by CPA model

From one sold flight ticket, you can earn about 1,5% of its price. A hotel room booking brings more – about 5% of its price. Thus, a vacation for two people who spend $646 for tickets and a bit more than $500 to book a hotel will earn you around $35.

To increase your income, you can participate in several programs or share several products and services. For example, extend your affiliate tools through insurance, car rentals, and so on.

How many visitors do you need?

There is no threshold for visitors, as you do not get paid for website views. For better orientation, you can focus on the average conversion rate. In many niches, CR is around 1%. This means that out of 100 visitors you shared, one person made a purchase.

How to test and increase conversions

Several factors increase monetization: traffic, type of promoted product/service, and placement of the affiliate link. The products promoted on your website should correlate with your subject. Analytical tools like Hotjar are effective. You can use this to determine how visitors interact with the content.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • High-quality traffic generates more income than CPC
  • The income is recurring
  • It’s easy to join

Cons:

  • You must delve into market analysis and research
  • Top-quality (commercial) traffic is required
  • You risk losing your audience if you promote poor-quality products/services

Google AdSense

Google provides two tools: AdWords and AdSense. Both of them are related to PPC, but AdWords is a marketplace for buying traffic, while AdSense is to sell. You can make money on Google AdSense if you place ads on your website. Each time a visitor clicks on the advertising, you get paid. This is a way to earn money from website visits.

Google AdSense

How much can you earn?

The cost per click ranges from $0.01 to $2. However, this is not a strict rule; there are some exceptions, with up to $96 for top-rated keywords in highly competitive niches!

Example

If your site is dedicated to pets, AdSense will choose the best ads for your website based on the topic, keywords, or behavioral retargeting.

How much you can earn depends not only on the topic of your website. Language and region where are you working also matter.  There are two examples of travel websites. First is working for USA audience:

How much you can earn on Adsense

Second is for Czech Republic:

AdSense Czech Republic

Almost similar incomes, but page views and CPC are different.

How many visitors do you need?

To join Google AdSense, you must pass moderation. This is possible if your project meets these requirements:

  • Has at least 50 visitors daily;
  • Made for people;
  • Doesn’t contain forbidden content.

Once you have passed moderation, you can place the ads on your website. However, it must always meet the requirements; Google can turn off access to a website at any time.

How to test and increase conversions

CPC rates depend on several factors, including country, type of advertising, niche rate, and level of Google partnership. The following solutions will help you increase your rate along with conversions:

  • Quality traffic
  • Proper keyword selection
  • Decent SEO level
  • High authority
  • The length of the content on one page should be enough to fill three AdSense blocks.
  • Ad placement analysis. This is one of the most critical optimization methods. An ad’s size, color, location, font, and other parameters are important to increase conversion.
  • Split testing of ads
  • Use of AdSense channels
  • Images and videos in advertising
  • Improvement of the click-through rate metric
  • Heat maps as a tool to increase AdSense metrics.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Free set-up
  • No special knowledge is required
  • Ads created by Google according to niche

Cons:

  • Strict rules
  • Inconvenient money withdrawal system (at least $100)

Create a Membership Website

A membership website is a tool to earn money by selling membership content. Access to content is provided to registered members who make a one-time payment or recurring payments.

Create a Membership Website

You can use WordPress software to create a membership site. This approach requires relatively low startup costs.

How much can you earn?

Your monetization capacity depends on your appetite. As a rule, two payment models are implemented: monthly and annually. Even 100 subscribers who pay $10 monthly will bring you $1,000 every month.

Examples

Here are some examples of membership websites:

  • newchoir.ca
  • connectingforkids.org
  • sna.org
  • bocs.sg
  • bikegso.org

How many visitors do you need?

There is no threshold for visitors.

How to test and increase conversions

Your readiness to start a membership website depends on the metrics of your primary site. If you don’t have a large number of visitors, the above-mentioned ways to monetize a website are better in the long run.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • WordPress option can lower startup costs
  • Flexible payment packages for users
  • Suitable for building a real business model

Cons:

  • Be prepared to deal with set-up and maintenance (or pay for services)
  • Time expenses and cost increases
  • Increased demand for catchy and exclusive content

Sell Advertising Space

A simultaneous problem with and advantage of AdSense is that Google makes everything for you and takes a fee for intermediary services. Wouldn’t it be better to sell ad space directly to advertisers? For big projects, this can be the most profitable method.

How much can you earn?

Your monetization income depends on your traffic and niche. On average, website owners increase the price by up to 50% compared to expected AdSense rates.

Advertising networks

You can sell ad space here:

Example

CPM is the core metric that shapes your ad space rate. A $5 CPM and 200k visits a month will bring in $1,000. On the other hand, you can opt for a direct price shaped without consideration of any metrics.

How many visitors do you need?

The more visitors you have, the more likely you will find advertisers that are ready to pay money. You will be paid for the placement of ads, not for clicks. Of course, buyers require activity; usually, with traffic of fewer than 10,000 visitors monthly, you’ll have trouble finding an advertiser who will buy ads.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No intermediary charges
  • Direct cooperation with advertisers
  • You set the ad rate

Cons:

  • You must search for advertisers
  • Unsteady income

Sponsored Content

You might have noticed that some of your favorite blogs or websites provide content associated with certain brands. This works as follows: An advertiser provides an offer to add a certain link or review of a related product/service, also known as sponsored content.

This monetization method is attractive but has one pitfall – Google can punish you for using DoFollow links that advertisers usually ask you to embed.

How much can you earn?

Pricing usually depends on the traffic and quality of your site. For example, if a post gains 5,000 views per month, you can ask for $10-$200 per post. At the same time, it is more advantageous to sell posts on an annual basis. Advertisers usually rely on modern metrics like Domain Rating by Ahrefs and Traffic Rank by SimilarWeb.

Traffic is not the only parameter which advertisers use to choose a website on which to place an article or link. Some clients will pay you if your domain is old and has a lot of relevant backlinks. This is done for SEO, and the price depends on the site’s quality.

Other factors – such as monthly traffic, audience reach, social media influence, backlinks, etc. – are also considered.

Example

Let’s say a travel blogger agreed to place a sponsored post for Travelpayouts.com on his blog. Here’s an example of the extract from the article he prepared, with the link pointing to travelpayouts.com:

You can also monetize a website by joining an affiliate program. I’ve been working with Travelpayouts, which is a pay-per-action travel affiliate program, for 2 years now.

How many visitors do you need?

A large number of visitors increases your chances of attracting advertisers and, hence, of monetizing your traffic. To be attractive to advertisers, you must have at least 10,000 organic views per month.

This website monetization model also works well for a small audience volume. If you have an old domain, good backlinks, and a portfolio, some buyers will purchase placement of an article for SEO purposes.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • High earning potential
  • Fit for some websites with low traffic

Cons:

  • Possible dissatisfaction of some readers
  • Possible punishment by Google

Sell Your Own Digital Product

Using your website as a trading platform like eBay or Amazon is a sure-fire way to get income. For example, you can sell digital products, including electronic books, photos, video courses, web elements, and much more.

Sell Your Own Digital Product

How much can you earn?

Your income depends on the following factors:

  • Cost of creation;
  • Quality of the digital content;
  • Monetization strategy;
  • Promotion content.

Selling your own digital product is a real business. Your strategy and management will directly influence your income.

Advertising networks

Since your sales will be performed online, you will have to handle promotion via social media, search engines, and other sources.

Example

Suppose you’re selling video courses about handcrafting products. Creating footage requires a significant amount of money. At the same time, to sell the final product, you are free to choose from among several options:

  1. A downloadable one-off course/collection of courses o
  2. A membership/subscription.

How many visitors do you need?

Number of visitors is key to getting a decent conversion rate. Your aim is to increase your audience to generate both traffic and income.

How to test and increase conversions

Versatile analytical tools will be of great help in determining the audience’s perception of your site and product. Another way to get feedback is to join forums to learn the positives and negatives of the content you create.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No dependence on advertisers
  • Flexible pricing policy

Cons:

  • Huge investments of time and resources
  • Need a persuasive website for selling digital products
  • Troublesome issues like payment gateways, taxes, and shipping

Flip Your Website

Website flipping is the process of buying a website, improving it, and selling it for a higher price than what you originally bought it for.

Flip Your Website

For example, you could buy a small travel blog, invest your time and money into it, and sell it later. Your income will come from the monetization methods you use when you own it, and then from the difference between the purchase and sale prices.

How much can you earn?

This depends on your skills in terms of choosing websites to buy and improving them. Some people make thousands of dollars monthly, but of course you will start at lower amounts.

Advertising networks

If you want to make a deal, the following online markets will be of help:

  • flippa.com
  • sedo.com
  • webuywebsites.org
  • websitebroker.com
  • bizbuysell.com
  • buysellwebsite.com
  • ebay.com

Example

Monthly revenue of around $500 from selling ad space to Google can get you $5,000 to $10,000 if you sell the site via a Flippa auction. The price is usually calculated based on the website’s income for the last few years. In risky niches, such as gambling, it can be counted as six months of recoupment. The more stable your project, the more months counted. For example, for projects in a travel niche, you might need a summary for 24 to 36 months of income.

How many visitors do you need?

The price of your website will depend on its attractiveness to advertisers, which requires a large number of visitors.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Possible instant large gain
  • Double earnings: firstly when you own the site, secondly for the sale

Cons:

  • Requires skill to choose and improve sites
  • High risk of losing invested money

Accept Donations From Visitors

A small but strong and engaged audience is a prerequisite for this method. Simply ask your visitors to donate. If you are doing your job well and your audience is thankful for your work, you can collect a significant amount. The best-known example is Wikipedia, which gets money from donations.

Accept Donations From Visitors

To make the process as easy as possible for your audience, you should opt for donation buttons or tools provided by PayPal, Stripe, Fundly, Qgiv, Razoo, and others. A landing page is also encouraged.

How much can you earn?

Because a donation is voluntary, it is impossible to calculate in advance. A site with a large audience might get less money than a site with a small but dedicated audience.

Example

Simply describe the reason (e.g., business development, charitable activities, miscellaneous CTAs, etc.) why you need money and ask your subscribers or visitors to donate. One of the most popular reasons is to support the project. For example, if you have a travel blog, your readers can support your efforts to travel and provide new, informative content.

How many visitors do you need?

Though a large number of visitors doesn’t guarantee a significant income, you should always seek to increase your traffic.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • A large amount of traffic isn’t required
  • You can keep your website free of real ads

Cons:

  • No recurring income is expected
  • Requires a good-quality audience

Build an ‘Email List’

The concept of “selling ads on my website” is clear, but what about email marketing? The main idea is to create a solid foundation of your most loyal visitors, then gradually extend it. Monetization through an email list provides an opportunity to deploy some of the above-mentioned solutions, including affiliate links, direct sales of products/services, simple advertising, and others.

Build an ‘Email List’

How much can you earn?

Your income depends on the number and quality of your subscribers, the tools you use to earn, and other factors. If you choose the CPA model to earn from email marketing, you can expect that, from among 1,000 subscribers, about 30% (i.e., 300 people) will open your emails regularly. Of this amount, 15-20% will click on the links. Then you will get traffic, which must be converted.

Example

You own a travel blog and collect a base of 20,000 subscribers who want to receive information about cheap tickets. You send them emails twice a week. This can give you a traffic for affiliate products of around 800 clicks. How you monetize this traffic is up to you. From Travelpayouts, if the traffic is relevant, you can get around eight sales, which will bring you around $40-$50.

How many subscribers do you need?

In the best-case scenario, out of 1,000 emails sent, 10-30% will be effective. For example, 150 clicks priced at $0.50 each will bring you $75. Do you want more? Then make sure to increase your list.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Email base provides an extra source to earn beyond the website
  • Creation of a good reputation

Cons:

  • A long-term strategy
  • No fast income
  • Cost of sending emails

Set Up an E-Commerce Site

This option for monetizing a site shows that creating content is not the only way to earn money on the Internet. A prerequisite for choosing the described option is the availability of certain products/services to be sold.

Set Up an E-Commerce Site

How much can you earn?

Your website metrics are less important because the goal is to sell a certain product/service rather than the ad space. Therefore, your income is based on what you will sell.

Ecommerce platforms

You don’t need to re-invent the wheel; use existing solutions to start:

  • Shopify
  • Pinnacle Cart
  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • LemonStand

Find the most appropriate service for you. These services can help you build an ecommerce website in one day, without special knowledge.

Example

  • Edible Blossoms
  • Lobotz
  • House of Whisky
  • Adoboloco
  • Blue Star Coffee Roasters

How many visitors do you need?

Visitors are necessary, not to generate traffic and increase your rating, but to sell products/services. To attract the right audience and convert it to sales, you will need to focus on marketing your project.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Requires knowledge in several niches: website creation, product development, marketing, and so on
  • Multiple options to create a website from scratch without significant investment

Cons:

  • Hard work and a detailed strategy are required
  • Success could require investments

How to build great content

Unfortunately, not every website owner can boast of huge traffic. As a rule, there are two main reasons for this failure. The first one is content. The second one deals with web promotion.

If you want to provide great content for your audience, you need the following:

  • Unique expertise or research, as well as a systemized analysis of content from other Internet sources;
  • Brand-new, edgy content;
  • Content you won’t find elsewhere on the web;
  • Content that is beneficial to a reader.

Let’s review some tips to achieve high-quality content.

How to create high-quality content for your site

Validate your audience

Your content might be suitable for a particular audience. Assess future visitors and make the appropriate conclusions about the quality of your content. The best way to do this is to create a detailed questionnaire and interact with users. The sort of questions to ask may refer to appearance, readability, publication frequency, and information relevancy, as well as personal preferences, needs, and other data. Based on the answers, you can provide content that your audience will appreciate.

Find the best types of content

Some types of information are more popular than others. Popular content includes interviews, research data, case studies, electronic books, checklists, how-to publications, product/movie/book reviews, opinion posts, guides, memes, videos, infographics, white papers, long-read guides, and blog posts. The more saturated content you have, the more website monetization you can expect.

Choosing trendy/new topics, actual problems, etc.

The content you offer should be as accurate and relevant as possible. Significant events, current trends, and pressing problems will attract visitors. In addition, trendy topics generate traffic from search engines and social media very quickly.

Learn more about the types of search queries. This will help you find the best topics – those that are useful for the reader and profitable for you.

Creating strong headlines/TRICK: Test them using social media advertisements

Recently, I was hooked by a superb and appealing headline: “Fly free wherever you want to go”. However, my visit to the page was a waste of time because of its poor content.

If you need visitors, try to attract them with a catchy headline but don’t forget to provide appropriate content that fits the readers’ expectations.

Creating detailed content that is better than your competitors’ content

Another point to consider relates to your competitors. Compare your content to theirs to ensure that you have the most informative and well-organized content.

Add good photos and videos

In terms of monetizing your website, the visual representation of your content is as important as the message. If you focus on textual information, make sure to break it up with attractive elements including videos, infographics, visual accompaniments, charts, etc. However, maintain a balance and don’t overdo it.

For more information about how to create high-quality content, visit this page.

How to increase website traffic

Let’s suppose you have achieved a high level of content creation. Still, your traffic leaves much to be desired. The audience must know where to find your site from among billions of web pages. With that in mind, pay attention to the following aspects.

How to increase website traffic

SEO/Content Marketing

Marketing is a well-known term but content marketing may raise some questions. The idea behind this activity is to share information with the purpose of attracting an audience and promoting your site. In fact, this should be a component of your SEO strategy. Optimization for search engines is an integral part of website traffic monetization strategies.

Social media

Most people share their emotions, ideas, events, and experiences via social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. It’s no secret that celebrities and top brands earn profits using these services. Take this information on board and convert your likes and shares into visitors.

PPC advertising

This method of driving traffic is usually employed by online sellers. However, it is not free. Each time someone clicks on your advertisement, your budget drops by a certain amount. Basically, you’re buying your audience using an eye-catching ad.

To succeed in PPC advertising, you must monitor and calculate how much you spend and how much you earn. For example, you can spend $100 for your PPC campaign and earn $120. However, if you get back less than you spent, you should set up your promotion again or abandon this method of attracting visitors.

Other types…

Comments: Leave a comment or opinion on a website, then add a link to your own website. You will have better results if you comment on related forums/blogs.

Q&A: Various web sources (for example, Quora.com) are aimed at providing answers to users’ questions. You can both answer and ask questions; be sure to mention your link when you do.

The best way to monetize a website in 2018

There is no best or worst way to monetize your website in 2018. Every method has its benefits and drawbacks. Try every monetization method to determine which is most profitable for you. Don’t forget the primary aim of every successful project: to help users and provide good content rather than focus only on money.

Affiliate programs and the CPA model of monetization in 2018 seem to be the best options for all sides. If you have good-quality traffic that is able to generate sales, you will be well-paid for it – much more than with contextual ads or the placement of content. However, do not concentrate only on these methods, as they aren’t the best for online monetization in all cases. We already described the main costs of creating and maintaining a travel blog, but remember that with high income usually come higher maintenance costs.