When you start your own website, the possibilities are infinite. It’s of course important to keep your website current in order to attract traffic, and for some their site may be able to generate money. In order to gain money, though, you must begin by looking at the options available.
First, there’s merchandising. If you know that you already have a fan base, take advantage of it. Sites like CafePress (cafepress.com) and Printfection (printfection.com) offer wide array customizable products, such as T-shirts, posters, and mugs. Alternately, you could use a site like Lulu (lulu.com) to self-publish books and literature, which allows you to earn profits without even having a book deal with a publisher.
You could also revert to advertising. Many sites look to advertising in order to make a profit. There are several forms of advertising available. Text link advertising requires you to put an ad in the form of hyperlinked text on your website, which in turn brings you profits from the advertiser for playing host to their ads. Advertisers generally either pay per click or a flat fee. PPC (pay-per-click) networks include Google’s AdSense (google.com/adsense), the Yahoo! Publisher Network (publisher.yahoo.com), Bidvertiser (bidvertiser.com), Chitika (chitika.com), and Clicksor (clicksor.com). Cost per impression advertising, commonly abbreviated as either CPI or CPM (cost per mille), pays per impression, meaning every time the ad is displayed. This advertising is usually in banner form, but can also refer to email advertising. The disadvantage to CPI or CPM advertising is that advertising rates reflect the amount paid for every thousand qualifying impressions served, so profits can be menial. Nevertheless, CPM is one of the most prevalent marketing practices, along with CPC advertising. Sites like AdBrite (adbrite.com) and ValueClick Media (valueclickmedia.com) offer CPM and CPC advertising options.
If your website is especially popular and receives heavy traffic, you may want to consider banner advertising, which entails putting bannered ad space on your site, which advertisers can then buy. Often, banner advertisers will seek out sites with a larger viewership, rather than site owners finding them. With bigger, better-known websites, you could also add a job board, where you’re paid by companies to post job listings, which readers can then apply for.
Offering premium content to paid users is also a great way to reap monetary benefits. For example, offer a members-only section that only paid users can access that features exclusive content. When users are allowed to feel more personally connected to you, they will be willing to pay for that correspondence. Offering options such as phone calls, text message updates, X-events (online events), podcasts, and videos allow users to feel more interconnected to you. Offering a personal phone call or using websites like TextMarks (textmarks.com), a service that allows you to send out mass text message updates to your paid subscribers, are forms of connectivity that people will want to pay for. There are other alternatives, like e-books, mini-guides, or tutorials, as well.
If you’re selling merchandise, a direct sale via shopping cart technology is wise, if not essential. Every major retailer uses shopping cart technology. Utilize sites like KickStartCart (kickstartcart.com), EasyStoreCreator (easystorecreator.com), ASecureCart (asecurecart.com), NetSuite (netsuite.com), Americart (americart.com), or PayPal (paypal.com) to help initiate a shopping cart option on your website.
The key to monetizing your website is diversification. There are many aforementioned avenues to travel when attempting to garner revenue, but figuring out which methods best-suit you and your website is vital. Don’t hesitate to mix and match services and procedures to ascertain which are going to work best and be the most personally proficient. Fidget with your layout, make it adaptable, and above all, don’t let your content be eclipsed.