Seven Ways to Monetize Your Web Site

Hostway Tech Team - May 20, 2009

You’ve built a Web site, and you’re getting a decent amount of traffic. Now it’s time to make some money! We’ve compiled seven ideas on how you can turn a profit from your Web site, or at least make it pay for itself.

1. Sell Banner Ad Space

If you can show businesses that you have a steady stream of traffic (targeted traffic is even better), you may be able to bring in some money by charging for banner ads on your Web site. Log into your analytics account and look at your unique visitors. This is the number advertisers will be interested in because it shows roughly how many different people visit your Web site on a regular basis. That translates into the number of impressions their ad will get. The higher your number of unique visitors, the more you can charge for the ad space on your Web site.

2. Place Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) Ads on Your Site

Joining a PPC or CPM program is one of the easiest ways to make money with your Web site. The programs are generally free to join. Once you are approved to participate, the ad networks will send ads related to the content on your Web site. With PPC, you earn money when your visitors click on those ads. With CPM, you get paid every time an ad is served regardless of the number of clicks.

There are many programs to choose from. Internet Giants like Google and Yahoo! each run their own ad network. Independent ad networks such as Affinity are worth looking into since they tend to provide more control and customization options to the publisher.

3. Add Ecommerce Functionality to Your Web Site

A Web site is far less expensive than opening a store front. If you have a product to sell, you can easily get an ecommerce store up and running, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You need shopping cart software to create your online catalog and track your inventory, and you need a payment gateway and merchant account to collect your payments.

4. Join an Affiliate Program

The concept is simple: you refer business to another Web site, and that Web site pays you for your efforts. Many different companies have affiliate programs. Find an affiliate program that fits your business. If you’re in the technology industry, join a Web hosting affiliate program. If you sell books, is an obvious choice.

5. Offer Premium Content for a Fee

If you have a niche audience willing to pay and a source for stellar content, you could make this model work for you. You may want to offer some low-level information free on your Web site to hook your readers, then ask them to sign up and pay for a subscription to your more in-depth information they can’t get anywhere else.

6. Write and Sell Ebooks

If you have an idea for a book, but don’t have the money to publish it yourself, consider writing an ebook and selling online. Because there are no printing costs, your sales are almost 100% profit.

7. Start a Subscription-Based Web Community

You can make money and provide a valuable service to your friends, acquaintances or business network by creating a Web-based community and charging a subscription fee to maintain an exclusive membership. Whether it’s a dating site or networking site, you’ll need to review applicants and monitor activity to make sure it provides top-level service. Otherwise your audience will turn to similar services offered for free.

Now you’re ready to take your Web site to the next level. Click around the Web Resources section for other ideas on how to improve your Web site and generate more traffic.

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