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The three types of making money with your own website
There are many different ways to make money with your own website, of which the most important ones are discussed in this article. All of them can roughly be divided into three types:
- Selling something yourself
- Offering services
This article will introduce you to the three different types and their subtypes, but not go into detail on how to best implement them.
You can use your own website to advertise for others. There are three main types; pay-per-click advertisement, affiliate marketing, and selling ad space for a fixed price.
Pay-per-click, or PPC for short, is a form of advertising on your website, in which you get paid a certain, small amount, of money for every click on a link or banner you place on your own website. The most well-know PPC program is Google Adsense. Advertisers pay Google (or any other PPC company) to get a certain amount of click to their website. Google then distributes their ads on websites that display AdSense Ads, for instance your website (you are the ‘publisher’). For every click, you’ll receive 68% percent of the amount the advertiser pays to Google to display their ads.
PPC advertising is really easy to implement. The rewards, however, are relatively low. For me, it took about a year to receive my first $100 payout from AdSense (it is, of course, possible to do a lot better than this).
Therefore, PPC advertising should only be considered a secondary way to monetize your website, if there are more lucrative possibilities like affiliate marketing possible in your niche.
- Easy to get started with
- Hands-off ‘passive’ method once traffic has been established
- Relatively low earning potential
- Fluctuating earnings
With affiliate marketing, you sign up as an affiliate to a website that sells something, for instance a webshop, and place links to products on their website. Those ‘affiliate links’ contain a tracking ID and will place a cookie in the visitor’s browser. When the webshops records a sale from a visitor that came from your website, they’ll grant you a percentage of the earnings from the sale (a commission). Commissions for physical products usually range between 5-15% of the sales price. For digital products (e-books, courses, software), the commission can be a lot higher, even 50% or more.
Affiliate marketing is an example of a Pay-Per-Sale, and therefor a Pay-for-performance model.
Affiliate marketing can also be done on other media than your website. You can, for instance, share your affiliate link on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. However, having your own website is often a requirement to sign up as an affiliate.
Affiliate marketing is the method that earned me the most money so far. I can highly recommend focusing on affiliate marketing as a beginner in online business. You could also use affiliate marketing to prospect the market before going into e-commerce yourself by selling your own products (better margins).
- High earning potential
- Easy to get started with.
- More hands-off, ‘passive’ method once traffic has been established.
- Can be used on other media than just your own website.
- Fluctuating earnings (read more about estimating your affiliate marketing earnings here)
Amazon Associates – Most well-known affiliate program for physical products, as well as e-books.
ClickBank affiliate program – Huge digital information products affiliate
For more affiliate programs and networks, see the startpage.
Paid advertisements / selling ad space
This means you’re placing an ad for a specific company or website, and have them pay you a set price per month. This means you’re contacting advertisers yourself, or have them contact you, and negotiate the rate.
- Generally, higher earnings than with Adsense or other PPC advertisers.
- Earnings known beforehand.
- It’s hand-on. You’ll have to reach out to advertisers and negotiate.
- Harder to get started. You’ll need a website with high traffic numbers to convince advertisers.
2. Selling products
Selling your own products with your own website. There are digital products you can sell, and physical products.
Selling digital products
Selling your own e-books, courses, software licences, etc. You’ll first have to create a digital product, and then sell it on your own site. It’s also possible to sell it though other media, but you’ll preferably still have your own website to advertise your product.
- Very high earning potential. You’ll make (close to) 100% of the money for each sale.
- Very high upfront time investment, or financial investment for outsourcing.
Selling physical products (e-commerce/webshop)
The most typical way of selling physical products would be having a webshop. People that visit your website place an order, and you ship the product out to that customer. This also requires an upfront investment to create/import, and store the physical products
There are other options that don’t necessarily require a your own website, like selling through Amazon or Ebay.
- Very high earning potential. Way better profit per sale than with affiliate marketing.
- Upfront costs; risk.
- Very hands-on. You’ll have to create or import the products, box them, and ship them, as well as doing customers support.
WooCommerce – WordPress plugin to host a webshop
A membership website, is a website with (part of the) content that only paying members can access. I consider a membership website a product; the content on your website is the product, which you’re selling access to for a specific amount of time. Usually, this is a month or a year.
Your content has to be really valuable to readers, and you’ll have to create and post new content periodically to keep paying members interested. You first need to proof that the content they’ll be buying access to is really valuable. You can do this by offering trial memberships, or just by having part of your content available for free.
- High earning potential
- The monthly earnings are more steady and predictable than with other methods.
- You’ll need an existing audience to get started.
- Very hands-on. You’ll have to keep publishing content (or have others publishing contents to keep members interested.
This is often completely overlooked, but still a very good way to make money, especially if you’re starting out online. You’re basically offering your services ( to do work for someone) on your own website. It could be an online service, like building a website for someone, writing an article, or creating graphics. Often, this can be effectively marketed in your existing network, and also offline, while using your own website like a brochure for your services. Your website could be a portfolio of your work as a graphic designer.
You’re basically leveraging your existing skills using your own website.
- You can start earning good money immediately.
- Earnings for a specific amount of work known beforehand.
- Hands-on, trading your time for money.
Lots of opportunities to make money with your own website! Whichever type you prefer, you can do it by having your own website. You could even start out with one method, and switch over to the other. Obviously, you can also combine different methods. However, this is not always recommended. For instance, using both AdSense and affiliate marketing on the same website, might earn you less than just using affiliate marketing. There is only one way to find out what works best: test it.
Looking to do business online, but don’t have your own website yet? For a free WordPress website to get started, I recommend Site Rubix, and a starter account at Wealthy Affiliate. Here you’ll get step-by-step training, and learn to get started with affiliate marketing.