So you’ve decided that you want to kick your 9 to 5 to the curb and become location independent. Maybe you’ve picked an employment path, but now you’re wondering how in the world people make money online. Well today, we’ll show you how you can monetize your website so you can start earning an income while traveling the world.
To get started, you obviously need to have a website. Typically, this means you’ve already settled on how you want to become a digital nomad and have already laid the groundwork for building your online business.
If you haven’t gotten that far yet, you can start by checking out the different ways of becoming a digital nomad. Once you figure out which one is a good fit for you, head over to a website like WordPress or Squarespace and build your blog or website. After you finish those two steps, you can come back here and incorporate these monetization strategies.
Already have your website up and running? Great! There are several ways digital nomads and online businesses make money through their websites. We’ll document several of them here so you can start earning money from your website.
3 Tips Before You Start Monetizing Your Website
1. Build and Analyze Your Website Traffic
Before you start trying to earn money on your website or blog, you need to start driving traffic and potential customers to your site. Without people viewing your site, you won’t have much of a shot at making money since no one will be aware of your content. The efficacy of many of these monetization strategies depends on the amount and type of traffic your website receives.
One of best tools to monitor and analyze your traffic is Google Analytics. This is the industry standard for quantifying and analyzing your web traffic. Google Analytics provides statistics like how much time visitors spend on each page of the site, how many page views you get in total, and any keywords that were entered into search engines in order to reach your page. This information is incredibly valuable when it comes to creating content for your target audience as well as for selecting which ways you will monetize your site.
2. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Known in the marketing industry as SEO, or search engine optimization, this is the process of enhancing your content to maximize the visibility of your website in search engines like Google and Bing. Typically, the best ways to do this are to ensure you use proper HTML when building your website and identifying keywords when producing content.
You should do some research and find out which keywords in your industry have the highest amounts of traffic and lower amounts of competition. Once you’ve identified these keywords, you can start curating content to increase your website visibility in your target market.
3. Create Great Content
With more and more people creating websites and blogs, it’s increasingly important to create useful and intelligent content. People won’t return to your website if they find it disinteresting or think it’s lacking in terms of information and knowledge. Focus on writing pieces that are informative, create and provide a solution to common problems in your niche. Try to craft catchy headlines to catch readers’ attention and write interesting content to keep them coming back for more.
How to Monetize a Website: Top 14 Ways to Make Money With Your Site
1. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
If you’ve just started a new website or have under 200,000 visitors to your existing site per month, a great way to monetize your site is to incorporate PPC advertising. One of the most common PPC programs is Google Adsense and this is generally where most successful website managers start. The PPC provider automatically creates ads that are based on the webpage’s content and targeted to your specific audience. You get paid a small commission every time a visitor clicks on one of these ads on your website.
2. Sell Ad Space
Alternatively, if your site gets more than 200,000 views per month, you can consider selling ad space directly. While you can use this method if you have fewer visitors, it tends to be more productive for sites with very large followings. You can choose to feature banner ads, display ads on the sidebar of your site or opt for pop-up ads – the possibilities are almost endless. Make sure to think about the layout of your site and select advertising space that fits the visuals and content of your site.
Most of the time, direct ads as sold on a CPM basis which is where a website publisher pays a certain amount for 1,000 impressions on each ad. Some direct advertising arrangements are also based on cost per action (CPA) where you pay for a specified action such as a like, retweet and so on. If you think your website is a good fit for this time of monetization and want to work with ad networks, check out InClick, OpenX, or DoubleClick from Google.
The important thing to remember when using ads to monetize your site is that the higher your traffic, the higher your earning potential. The fewer visitors you have, the less people will even see your ads and want to buy something. This is why it is so important to make sure you focus on driving traffic and building a following before trying to monetize.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest and easiest ways to start making money on your website. All you have to do to get started is create an account with affiliate programs. Once you have an affiliate account, you can find products that you think would be beneficial to your target audience and then promote them on your website and in any email lists you may have. When one of your readers uses your affiliate links to purchase the product, you’ll receive a commission from the sale. Commissions can range anywhere from 30-70% so there is a great opportunity to make some money endorsing products you find useful.
The Amazon affiliate marketing program is one of the most popular and used by most websites that are monetized. Clickbank is another popular affiliate program that deals entirely with digital products like eBooks. Make sure to include affiliate links wherever you can in your blog posts and other promotional materials to increase the likelihood of earning a commission.
4. Feature Sponsored Posts
As with most of these other monetization methods, featuring sponsored posts works best when you have focused on increasing your visitor numbers. Sponsored content is basically just content from other sellers offering products or services that are relevant to your site visitors.
One way to feature sponsored content is to do product reviews in an advertorial post on your website. You want to make sure that you don’t just sell these products in your posts otherwise you may turn off some readers. You want the information to be transparent and honest, so make sure to include any downsides the product may have and be straightforward when reviewing.
The huge caveat here is that you should never promote products or services you don’t truly believe in. It’s easy to tell when a site promotes a product solely because they get a kickback. This kind of inauthenticity erodes trust in you and your site and will actually lead to less sales in the long run. So focus on promoting and reviewing items that are designed for the benefit of your community and the money will pour in.
5. Sell Digital Products or Services Online
Up until this point, most of these monetization methods mean that someone else is taking a cut of your profits. If you can sell digital products directly to your target market, you increase your earning potential. The most popular digital products that people sell online are e-books. The reason they are so popular is that you can create one for just about any industry and any niche market. You can also take it a step further and set up an e-commerce site, although this takes significantly more work.
To create a profitable ebook, you’ll need to put in a lot of hard work. These products need to be visually stimulating meaning you’ll have to become familiar with design tools to create a polished product. You also need to keep in mind that you need to process payments for these e-books and decide on the best method. You can choose from collecting payments through PayPal, bank transfer and you’ll also need to add these widgets or tools to your website.
If you choose this method of making money, you need to create a stunning landing page that will encourage people to purchase your product. Think about where your visitors will most easily find these products or offer them as a pop-up or in email list promotions. You may also want to track your conversion rates so that you can see if an e-book or other digital product is worth the effort for your site.
6. Create an Email List
We’ve mentioned this a few times now, but email lists are incredibly useful when marketing your products and services to potential customers. Email lists are essentially databases of your most loyal readers and people who have subscribed to get the latest updates from your site. If you choose this monetization method, your first order of business is to encourage as many readers as possible to sign up for your email lists. Most websites use pop-ups on landing pages to convert first-time visitors into followers via email lists.
You can also offer portions of your ebook in a presale to your email subscribers, which enables you to earn a little bit of cash during the long writing process. This is similar to how publishers offer one or two chapters for a small fee to drum up excitement and get people interested in what you have to offer.
While many of these other website monetization techniques are typically short-term, email lists play a long-term game. You may not make a ton of money by signing up 10 people the first day, but you’ll increase your earning potential over the long run by having more and more loyal followers.
So what should you use your email lists for? Email lists are a great way to let readers know what you’re up to, any exciting news regarding the site or to share products and services that may interest them. The key here is to offer free help useful information in order to build a connection with your readers. You want email lists to lay the foundation of a relationship with visitors and the best way to do this is to offer free advice. Be careful promoting too many products or sending out too many emails, as that can turn off readers and you’ll lose subscribers faster than you gain them.
If you want some help creating effective email lists, check out Social Trigger’s guide to building email lists for a comprehensive introduction to the subject. The most popular email list companies include MailChimp, which is best for bloggers, AWeber, which is designed for E-commerce sites, and GetResponse, which is perfect for beginners.
7. Offer Premium Content for a Fee
Once you start building a loyal following, you can start asking them to pay for added services or premium content through your site. This method really only works if people trust your expertise and feel like you have important information to share, so you’ll need to work on being an expert in your field or target market. It’s not generally recommended for websites that are just getting started since there isn’t this basis of trust yet. Therefore, this method is a better monetization option for established sites with larger audiences.
8. Offer Private Forums or Coaching
If you have expertise with a specific skill or expert knowledge about your industry, you can offer private coaching sessions or larger classes in exchange for payment. This is a great way to give back to your community and generate recurring income.
You can choose how simple or complicated you want these coaching sessions to be. If your style is laid-back, you can offer simple Skype coaching sessions without a lot of fluff. Alternatively, you can choose to make coaching sessions a getaway by offering retreats or putting together a large conference where you can meet your online readers in person.
Forums are another great way for website owners to connect with their online community and make money while doing so. The easiest way to monetize forums is to offer paid access to groups tailored to suit their needs. For example, if you run a fitness blog, you can create a paid forum specifically for losing weight or gaining muscle. This way, users can pay to connect with people just like them who have the same goals and may be tackling the same obstacles.
9. Host A Paid Webinar
This is similar to offer private coaching sessions except that you can open it up to a wider audience. Paid webinars are a blend of promoting your content and offering your consulting services. They’re also a great way to further build a relationship with your online visitors and foster discussion. You can use these webinars to get new ideas for content and to react directly to the concerns and desires of your audience.
If you have a hard time figuring out what to charge, do a Google search and see if you can find similar figure sin your industry that offer the same services. You’ll need to be realistic about your standing in the community in terms of expertise and what you have to offer when setting a fair rate. You can also follow up your webinars with a quick survey asking attendees what they thought about your content as well as the value and adjust rates accordingly.
10. Create A Membership Site
This one is pretty straightforward. By creating a membership site, you can start to drive recurring income and increase your monthly earnings. Typically, most membership sites charge a yearly or monthly fee for access to premium content. Since visitors will be paying for this content, you want to make sure it’s more in-depth than the free information you offer on your site so that readers will continue to find the fee worth the money. This is such a popular monetization website that WordPress has created their ultimate guide to creating a membership site, which you should check out if you think this method is a good fit for you.
11. Feature a ‘Hire Me’ Section on Your Website
One of the easiest ways to make money online is by highlighting any freelance services you offer. Featuring this prominently on its own page draws target clients in and offers all relevant information including exactly what you do, how much you charge and how to contact you in one convenient place.
You can greatly increase your chances of getting new clients by featuring examples of your previous work and listing any big name clients you may have worked for. You can find other techniques and information on how to create an effective ‘hire me’ page right here.
If your business involves other team members, you should also include brief biographies on them so potential clients know exactly who they will be working with. Make sure to include whether you outsource work and what clients can expect from a partnership. You can also include quick links to packages of your services and make sure to make your contact information prominent.
12. Start Flipping Websites
A popular way to make money if you’re good at creating websites is to flip them. Just like flipping houses, the idea here is that you buy or build websites and then sell them at a profit. It’s useful to start out small here until you build a reputation for creating successful websites. If you’ve never built a website before, you can approach local businesses in your community and ask to create their sites. This way you will build a portfolio and learn the basics when it comes to website creation and basic coding.
Once you have the basics down, you can start flipping websites. You’ll want to start by identifying domain names that may be popular, viral or relevant to a certain industry. Once you purchase these domain names, the fun begins and you’ll start driving traffic and monetizing the sites. The most popular website markets where you can sell your sites are Flippa and We Buy Websites.
Although it’s generally not recommended because of the focus on the short-term, flipping websites can be a great way to learn what works well when it comes to monetizing in different industries and with different demographics. With enough skill, you can earn a decent living flipping websites. If you’re less risk-averse and this sounds intriguing, you can check out more right here.
13. Generate Leads for Relevant Companies
This is very similar to affiliate marketing except that it doesn’t actually matter whether the reader buys something from the linked site. Instead, websites or companies will pay you to simply drive traffic to their sites, regardless of how long a visitor stays or if they make any purchases.
14. Solicit Donations
If you are just starting out or don’t quite feel comfortable selling products or information to your readers, you can request donations instead. This is also a good method for websites with larger audiences. In fact, Wikipedia, one of the most visited sites on the web solicits donations to keep the site free and up to date.
While this method won’t make you rich quick, it can help cover your basic expenses while you work on earning more money online. You can easily add a donation button using PayPal to your website so there’s not a whole lot of effort involved here. You’ll also want to may a genuine plea for support and mention that these donations help keep the site up and running.
Start Making Money On Your Website
With these monetization techniques you can start earning a living from your blog or website. Keep in mind that you want to take into account the nature of your site as well as your target audience when deciding on which methods to use to monetize your blog or website. Focus on first building a loyal following and then move on to getting creative with ways to make money online. With enough time, effort and patience, you can start making money from your website and become location independent.