When many start-up websites launched (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others), they didn’t have much of a monetization plan initially. Their primary goal was focusing on creating something that would attract attention and big traffic.
Once they had the traffic in place, lots of different ways to make money will present themselves. Although, I suspect that none of us will be creating the next huge internet start-up (like Facebook), we would be wise to have a few things in mind when creating a new site.
First, we should make sure there is a market for our site (keyword research is big part of this). Secondly, we should try to create something of value. Finally, we should ideally find a niche that has money being spent in it.
Today, I want to focus on different ways that you can make money from your website.
In the past, I’ve primarily focused on Google Adsense for my own niche sites. I did try out a few Adsense alternatives, but I came back to Adsense because its the highest paying contextual ad network out there…by far. Its easy to implement, pays the most, and just works.
However, as I set out to start my very first public niche site project, I have decided to use something besides Google Adsense to monetize my site. (You can learn more about the niche site project and live webinar to be held here).
I’m not going to pick a particular monetization strategy until I pick a niche and keyword. Right now, I’m thinking that I would like to build an email list and monetize that list with affiliate offers or my own products. However, this is not set in stone, and could change as I pick my niche OR as I test different strategies on the same site.
However, as I contemplate how I should make money from my new niche site, I am again reminded of how many options are out there. First, I’m going to list the general ways to monetize (categories like CPA, contextual ads, etc) and then I’ll number off the specific networks or options within each of those general categories.
These are networks like Google Adsense that have ads displayed based on the content of your site. Typically you will get paid per click from these types of contextual networks. Here are a few (there are likely many many more):
2. Media.net (now manages both the Yahoo and Bing ad Networks)
6. GumGum (In-image ads)
8. Clicksor.com (both eCPM and pay per click).
Rather than paying on a per click basis, these ad networks pay on a per view basis (usually a dollar amount based on 1000 pageviews). Most of these networks require that you have a large visitor base to be approved to their network; therefore most of these won’t work for a smaller niche sites.
10. Tribal Fusion (500,000 unique visitors per month required).
Adbrite (update – Adbrite is shutting its doors on Feb. 1st 2013).
12. Casale Media
15. Advertising.com (part of AOL)
16. Burst Media (25,000 monthly page views)
17. CPX Interactive
18. Technorati Media
There are a TON more CPM ad networks out there, this is just a small sample. You need to find one that fits your niche or works best for your site.
These types of ads pay a fixed dollar amount based on an action taken (like an email submit form filled out). Many of these ad networks listed below offer both affiliate commissions (% of the actual purchase price) AND CPA opportunities. There are also a LOT more ad networks out there than I could possibly ever list in this category – this is just a few.
19. Neverblue Media
24. Adscend Media
About a thousand others…
An affiliate network pays out a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale amount. You refer someone through your link and get paid if someone actually buys something. As mentioned, some of these networks bleed together; meaning some of these affiliate networks pay out on CPA offers as well.
27. Amazon Associates – Can be a good option because you get paid no matter what the person buys on Amazon within 24 hours (not just what you referred them to).
30. SkimLinks (This is actually an in-content ad network, but it pays out based on actual sales made. So its not a per-click basis, but does display ads automatically based on the content of your site. Its a pretty cool option actually that I’ve used and like).
33. eBay Partner Network (Actually pays on a per click basis – but the amount you earn goes up or down based on the history of actual sales you’ve generated. So if lots of people buy through your links, you get more per click.)
35. Google Affiliate Network (different than standard Google Adsense).
Thousands (yes thousands) of companies offer their own affiliate programs that are NOT listed in any network. These can be harder to find, but often pay very well. Here are just 2 examples of companies that run their affiliate program in house:
This is probably the biggest category because you can also contact companies directly and ask to start an affiliate program with them or otherwise work out a deal with them directly.
This is a big market as well with lots of options. You can contact people directly on your own or use an ad manager/network to help. Here’s just one option:
The most profitable way to monetize your site is usually going to be with your own product. Obviously the kinds of products you can create are only limited by your imagination. Here’s just a few common options:
42. Create a video training course
43. Create an eBook
44. Create a membership area or paid forum
45. Sell a physical product and ship it.
46. Create a piece of software
47. Create other tools, services, or information that customers are willing to pay for
Obviously this won’t be right for everyone and many consider questionable. But there’s a huge marketplace. Here’s just a few places you can sell links:
51. Warrior Forum
When all else fails, you can ask for money . Many sites have done this in the past.
52. Ask for donations
Even if you never monetize your site, you might be able to sell out for a pretty penny! If you build the traffic of your site or otherwise have an audience, there is value there. If the traffic is high enough, you could sell for a lot (think Twitter kind of traffic…). And of course, people buy brand new sites all the time that have no traffic or audience based on design and niche (but usually for very cheap).
53. Sell Your Site
To be honest, I probably missed several other ways that you can monetize your site, but this is a good start! And most certainly there are thousands of other ad networks or affiliate programs out there that you can use. But for the most part all your options for monetization are going to fit in these main categories covered: Pay Per Click Networks, CPM Ad Networks, CPA Networks, Affiliate Networks, Direct Affiliate Programs, Selling Ad Space, Creating a Product, Sell Text Links, Donations, or selling your site.
Overall, as I begin the process on Thursday evening on the live webinar, I’ll be thinking these different ways to monetize my site. I’ve excluded Adsense as a choice, but I have at least 52 other ways I could make money from my niche site.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Did I miss any major money making networks or methods? Let’s discuss below.
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