Methods of Monetization
Methods for profiting off websites are not the same as the means to make more profit from them. Techniques for increasing the click-through rate or traffic directed toward a website may increase profit, but are not techniques for making money by itself.
Incorporating AdSense advertisements into the content of a website may be suggested as a way to profit from a website, for example. Technically, it is not. It is simply a method to get more revenue by upping the advertisement click-through rate. A PPC advertising network is the true way of monetization behind it.
The following is a listing of direct methods of creating revenue off your website from the ground up:
Direct Methods of Creating Revenue
1. PPC Ad Networks
The most well-know PPC advertising network is Google AdSense. Enroll by signing up with the network and pasting bits of code on your site. The network will then display contextual text or image-based advertisements. These ads are pertinent to your website, and will give you revenue via an amount of money per click.
PPC advertising makes money based on the website’s traffic levels, and its CTR (Click-Through Rate) and CPC (Cost Per Click). The click-through rate relies on the website design. Advertisements which are interspersed with content, for example, tend toward greater website CTRs. The niche of the site, on the other hand, dictates its CPC. Some profitable niches are college education, financial products, and mortgages. Clicks for these markets may be as much as a couple of dollars. Technology-related subjects usually receive lower CPCs, and may get only a few cents per click.
Traffic origin also contributes to the general CTR. Traffic coming from search engines (organic traffic) typically performs better as these visitors already know what they are looking for. These users also click on ads more. Social media traffic gives very low CTRs, as visitors are usually ‘techies’ who ignore advertisements.
Some popular Networks for CPC Advertising are BidVertiser, Chitika, Clicksor, Yahoo! Publisher Network, and Google AdSense.
2. CPM Ad Networks
CPM, or Cost Per Mille, means the cost paid for a thousand impressions. The logic behind CPM ad networks is similar to that of PPC networks, aside from the fact that one obtains revenue for the number of page views that a site’s ads generate.
If a blog site garners a hundred thousand monthly page views with an ad banner with a one-dollar CPM, the site will produce a hundred dollars monthly.
CPM rates depend on the network, format, and position of the ad. The more popular ad networks usually give higher CPM rates, as they have more advertisers. The closer to the top of a page an ad banner is, the greater the CPM. If the ad has a larger area (in pixels), the CPM is usually higher.
CPM ads tend to be more profitable when used by websites with a higher ratio of views per user or visitor. Websites that can benefit highly from working with CPM ad networks include magazines and online forums.
Well-known networks for CPM advertising include Advertising.com, Burst Media, Casale Media, Right Media, Value Click, and Tribal Fusion.
3. Direct Banner Advertisements
One of the most lucrative ways of making money from your website is direct banner advertising. Selling advertising spaces of your own allows you to omit the middleman and decide your own rates. Typical banner formats on the Internet are the 125x125 button, 728x90 leaderboard, 300x250 rectangle, and the 120x600 skyscraper.
A disadvantage of using the direct banner system is the need for a large audience. Only then will qualified advertisers work with you. You are also required to put in time and effort to manage sales, banners, and payments.
4. Text Link Advertisements
This method of website monetization has declined in popularity after Google’s declaration that sites which sell text links without ‘No Follow’ tags would be fined. Some website publishers have retained the use if text links to monetize, with some still utilizing no-follow tags while some do not.
This method works as it is non-intrusive. A publisher can directly vend text links through a website. One also has the option to employ dedicated networks such as DigitalPoint Link Sales Forum, Text-Link-Brokers, and LinkWorth to computerize the sales process.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a wildly popular method for site monetization. This system allows one to use the services of a merchant. The merchant lets affiliates sell their products and/or services directly or indirectly, for a percentage or commission. This advertising type is also known as CPA (or Cost Per Action), and CPL (or Cost Per Lead).
Affiliates may use different tools, suck as banners, text links, and product reviews to send prospective customers to the merchant.
Individual companies, such as SEOBook and Dreamhost, can help a publisher find affiliate programs. A website owner can also join affiliate networks and marketplaces.
An excellent example of an online marketplace would be Sitepoint. A number of blogs and websites are striving to emulate its model to a lower degree. A marketplace (catering to a lucrative niche) which offers buying, selling, and product trading opportunities to its visitors is potentially profitable. In time, a publisher could start to exact fees form its users for the latest product listings.
A drawback of this business method is the lack of standard software on the Internet. A coder would be required to incorporate a marketplace into one’s website.
Marketplaces are used with EasyWordpress and Mashable.
6. Premium Content
Some blogs or websites charge visitors for access to exclusive content and tools, while allowing use of some portions of the content at no cost.
SEOMoz is an example of this site. The website’s blog disseminates information and advice on a large number of topics associated with search engine optimization. Users may opt to pay an additional fee. This fee gives them access to exclusive material as premium members.
7. Private Forums
A publisher can create private forums. Admittance to these forums requires single or recurring fees for members to join.
A private forum like SEO Blackhat charges a monthly fee from each of its thousands of forum users. One has to provide good value (in terms of tools, techniques, etc.) to each member to justify charging a fee for membership in a forum.
The Hive is private forum focused on networking was recently launched by Performancing. It also charges membership fees in exchange for forum access.
One can rely on myriad possibilities to develop a moneymaking private forum. An engaging angle is mostly what a publisher needs to attract members to it.
Some forum software are phpBB, Simple Machines Forum, Vanilla, and vBulletin.
8. Paid Polls and Surveys
Many services pay money for a publisher to run short polls or surveys on a website. Vizu Answers is one such service.
A website owner needs to enroll with a service, and then choose the types of polls to integrate into the site. These services mostly use the CPM method.
Pop-ups are a widespread form of Internet advertising. Experiment with these if you are trying to make as much money form your site as possible.
Avoid pop-up advertisements if you want to increase traffic and attract devoted visitors. Pop-ups interrupt the visitor’s Internet habits, so pop-up blockers are popular for a reason.
Some advertising networks that utilize pop-ups are Adversal, PayPopup, PopupAd, and Tribal Fusion.
Widgets that help a publisher monetize a website are one of the most recent trends on the Internet. SmartLinks and WidgetBucks are just a couple of examples of these services. These widgets may function through PPC schemes, operate like text link advertisements, or boost affiliate links.
The main advantage of these tools is the ‘plug and play’ feature, which allows these web widgets to service the website easily.
Some popular monetization widgets include: WidgetBucks, ScratchBack, and SmartLinks.
11. Sponsored Reviews
PayPerPost pioneered this model. There was some controversy initially, as they did not entail disclosure for paid posts. Other entities soon followed this method, with Sponsored Reviews and ReviewMe streamlining and expanding the paid blogging system.
One can cover a large spectrum of subject matter and create sponsored posts after enrolling in this marketplace. Some bloggers may not agree to write about a website or product and receive payment for doing so (as this may endanger editorial credibility), but the percentage that does makes a satisfactory profit off this practice.
A publisher can offer direct sponsored reviews if the blog has a large following. This produces more money as the intermediary and his commission are eliminated.
Some paid blogging and sponsored review networks are: BlogVertise, Sponsored Reviews, and Smorty.
12. Column or Events Sponsors
If a website contains columns or events (such as regular interviews, surveys, podcasts, and/or special projects, a publisher can find entities to individually sponsor these features or events.
This model gives advertisers the potential ability to target more specific niches (at a lower level of commitment) while expanding monetization options for the owner.
Mashable is a site that uses this sponsorship method. Its site offers various advertising opportunities, such as the option to buy sponsorship per column or article.
Problogger also publicly announces projects for probable sponsors before running occasional writing projects.
13. Job Boards
Many well-known blogs are integrating job boards into their websites for extra money. A sensible amount of traffic and a specific demographic are needed to develop a dynamic, moneymaking job board.
This mode is a passive method of monetization. After the structure has been established, the job listings will naturally follow. A website owner can charge a fee of up to a hundred dollars each.
Popular software for job boards includes Jobbex, JobThread, Web Scribe Job Board, and SimplyHired. Some renowned blogs that leverage job boards are Problogger and ReadWriteWeb.
14. Highlighting Sponsor Posts
This method has not achieved as much popularity as the other modes of site monetization yet. Techmeme is one of the more notable pioneers of this method. The aggregator shows editorial posts on one column, with the ‘Techmeme Sponsor Posts’ contained in the sidebar.
That portion of the site has highlighted posts from advertiser blogs, thus directing quality traffic toward them.
15. RSS Feed Advertisements
Multitudes of Internet denizens have adopted RSS technology, and publishers are identifying ways of monetizing this channel of content distribution.
Feedburner’s publisher network already allows owners to enroll, and subsequently, display CPM-type advertising on their feed footers. Bidvertiser has also introduced a PPC-based RSS feed advertising option.
Some blogs, such as Marketing Pilgrim and John Chow, have been vending sponsored messages or banners directly on their feeds.
16. Sale or Rent of Internal Pages
This concept has been in circulation around the Web for years, but has been made popular by Million Dollar Wiki. These sites, in exchange for a one-time or recurrent charge, sell or rent internal pages in their domains. Users who buy pages benefit from this as the sites typically garner a high Pagerank or ample traffic.
This method would most likely prove to be profitable on higher-traffic sites, rather than on small blogs.
17. In-text Advertisements
Ad networks using the in-text method attach sponsored links to some of your site’s text. These links appear with double-underlines to distinguish them from ‘normal’ text. An advertisement will pop up when the user’s cursor rolls onto the link. The website owner receives money if the visitor clicks on the link.
Some publishers profit from this concept, but it intrudes on the visitor’s surfing. Not many of the mainstream sites have integrated this into their systems.
Incorporating a ‘donate’ button or link into a website may be a good way of making money. This is especially effective if your blog centers on a niche that imparts great value to your visitors through its content.
The Buy Me a Beer plugin is a variation on this method. The WordPress tool allows you to place a personalized message at the end of an article, requesting a small donation.
Blogs focusing on productivity and personal development have worked well with this system.