Whether you are a site owner with a healthy readership or you have just bought an established high traffic website, you might still have the question “How should I monetize this website?”
The first monetizing option that comes to every website owner’s mind is advertising. Be it Adsense or renting advertising banners on your site, advertising is a proven way for high-traffic websites to make money. But how about other options? This article discusses 5 innovative ways besides advertising for your website to make money.
Sell your own product or services
If you have gathered solid experience and knowledge in one field, consider using the website as a launchpad for your own product. The website could have a section to showcase your own product or services. Besides physical products, e-books are also a popular commodity. Say you are a passionate accountant (Yes, those do exist!) who wants to publish a book or an e-book about general accounting principles. Where is a better place to launch and advertise your book than in front of an audience that has loved and followed your writing?
Services like consulting are also an attractive option for website owners with training and experience in a specific field. This is definitely not a monetizing method for someone who is just starting out or having a brand new website. However if setting up a business is on your agenda, an established website or blog can be a godsend.
Sponsor someone else’s products
You don’t have to sell your own products to be in e-commerce. Many websites have a “Shop” or “Store” link on their navigator to a page that showcases various products. However when you click on the “Buy-now” links, they lead to another website where the actual products are sold. An example of such a website is Exposure Guide, whose “store” is actually links to external photography e-books and camera guides.
Another twist to this monetizing method is to offer coupons with your affiliate links to other stores on a “Special deals” page on your site. People are always actively looking for discounts and promo codes so this would be a win-win situation: your visitors get discounts and you get a nice chunk from each order.
Add a paid business directory
A nifty way to earn monthly recurring income is to create a paid directory for businesses in your niche. Say you have a high-traffic website specialized in a certain destination. Businesses in that area would be more than happy to get their name in front of their target audience. Engdex, a website providing practical information about life and business in Germany is an example of such monetization method. Their website includes a directory section enlisting local German businesses that offer services in English.
Starting a business directory on its own is a case of “chicken-and-egg”: no business wants to join your directory when your site has no traffic and an empty directory has no appeal to visitors. Having an established website with regular flows of traffic, your directory building work is half done.
Webinars are getting more popular everyday as a way to communicate and educate a large audience online. If your website has gained authority status, a good way to monetize is to host paid webinars around your website’s content areas. You can create periodical webinars about different topics and charge a fee for each participant. In addition to paid webinars, podcasts are also in high demand. Even though your podcasts are free for listeners, businesses can sponsor them to be featured in your podcast episodes.
Co-registration (or co-reg) is a form of lead generation in which the visitor is presented with an option to register for a free membership or discounted offers from another website while checking out or signing up. I have seen this form of monetization several times in practice and I’m sure you have seen it too. However surprisingly, many site owners are still not aware of this monetization method. Despite its scarcity in usage, co-registration usually works well as the visitor is already in a “buying” mode, and is likely to co-register if the 3rd party offer is relevant and compelling enough.
To make use of this monetization technique, you can either contact directly relevant companies in your niche for co-registration collaboration or use a co-reg network. The two biggest names among existing co-registration platforms are Opt-Intelligence and CoregMedia. Because of complicated technical requirements, going through a platform instead of setting up a co-registration program from scratch may be a wiser option for small website owners despite the smaller profit share.
There are a million ways to monetize your website. The ideas mentioned above only scratch the surface of website monetization. The ultimate skill required to earn money from a website is the skill to connect a hungry audience with businesses that can add value to their life. If you already have a high-traffic website with an audience hanging on your every word, finding a way to monetize is a breeze.
*Giang Nguyen is a veteran internet marketer and director at Contentation.com.
Building an engaged readership takes brainwork and dedication. Contentation helps website owners keep their blog fresh and their visitors engaged with weekly high-quality well-researched content at budget-friendly rates.