The idea of making money online has been growing tremendously in recent years. Whether you want to sell a product, a service, or if you’re looking to place ads on your website, the internet is full of ways to make money.
Maybe you’re not sure how you want to make money online yet but you know you want to start. We’ve put together a list of seven ways to monetize your website.
CPM, CPC/PPC, CPL: How do I Monetize My Website?
One great way to start generating revenue from your website is to serve ads. You don’t have to spend a lot of time (or money) upfront to create a product nor do you need a specific skill to sell a service. As long as you have a website that has significant traffic, you can get started serving ads.
Getting started monetizing your website with programmatic ads can be confusing for most people. To help you get started, we’ve gathered many possible ways to place advertisements on your blog or website. We’ll also talk about some different types of ads you can utilize.
The CPM, or Cost per Mil, is a display compensation: this is the amount that advertisers are paying to display 1,000 impressions on your website. This metric can give you an idea of how advertisers value you’re your website as well as your overall earnings.
It might seem like $1 per 1,000 ad views seems like a very small amount, but remember that CPM involves impressions only. Visitors don’t have to click on the ad, they don’t have to fill out a form, and they don’t have to make a purchase. They will count toward the total ads displayed simply by having the ad appear on their page.
This is what makes the CPM method really interesting: you are paid each time a visitor visits one of your pages and is served an ad, no matter how they interact with (or don’t interact with) the ad.
Real Time Bidding (RTB) and CPM
You should take into consideration that the digital advertising industry is rapidly changing and evolving, especially its technologies. The most common process of buying and selling ads is currently programmatically; which is the automated process of buying and selling online ad spaces.
Programmatic makes it simple for advertisers to connect with publisher without the two sides ever having to speak to one another.
These two sides connect through a virtual market or ad exchanges. Here, websites of all sizes have the chance to sell their ad space space and display ads from big, well-known brands without directly interacting with those advertisers.
We mentioned earlier that visitors don’t have to interact with a CPM ad in order for your website to make money. That’s not always the case. There are plenty of other advertising campaign methods.
The CPC (Cost per Click) or PPC (Paid per Click) are also often used by the advertisers. These are based on a click compensation model: you are paid each time a user clicks on a banner advertisement of your website.
This type of compensation can be more profitable than CPM. They’re often priced much higher than $1 per 1,000. However, it’s also a bit more risky because it does not guarantee any minimum income. Indeed, if no one clicks on your ad you earn nothing. However, it perfectly suits niche websites displaying targeted ads which likely have a high click through rate, or CTR.
For example: suppose you own a fishing website talking about the best places to fish and other fishing tips and you see many engaged visitors each month. If you show ads for fishing accessories, your CTR will most likely be fairly high. Because the ads on your site are strongly aligned with the content that you’re producing, your visitors will likely expect to see those ads there, and they might even be glad for them. Well-targeted CPC ads can be smart revenue boosters.
Several ad networks offer the PPC compensation, including Google’s ad network, AdSense, the leader of the market.
So for a CPM ad to pay out, a visitor has to be shown an advertisement. For CPC to generate revenue, someone has to click on the ad. Next up is Cost per Lead, or CPL.
CPL goes one step farther than CPC campaigns. Visitors not only have to click on the ad, but they must do take one more specific action. The publisher is paid each time a user does this action on the advertiser’s website. It might be subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a white paper or purchasing a product.
Just as CPC ads were worth more than CPM, so are CPL more valuable than CPC. This is because the advertiser is getting more out of the end user. When a visitor sees an ad in a CPM campaign, the advertiser might get some brand recognition out of the encounter. In a CPC campaign, the advertiser has now brought someone to their website. Maybe they’ll read a post or even make a purchase. With a CPL campaign, the advertiser gets a lead, and they now have some way of following up and contacting them, which makes this person much more valuable to the company.
There’s also an important gap between the ad display and a lead. Only one person out of 1,000 clicks on an advertisement. Further, in the internet world today, email addresses are treated like currency, so it can be difficult for a brand to convince a potential customer or client to hand that over. By installing a pixel or other piece of code that tracks ad conversions, advertisers and publishers can see how well ads are converting, and how well CPL campaigns are paying.
What Is Affiliation?
Before we get started in this section, we need to make something clear: there are two types of affiliation. Right now we’re going to talk about affiliate advertising. Later we’ll talk about affiliate marketing as a means of monetizing your website.
Affiliate advertising is a system based on link and banner exchanges. An advertising website (called an affiliate) exchanges commercial links with another website (termed the affiliated). Each time a sale is made on the advertising website, the affiliate gets a commission on the revenue generated.
The affiliation technique can be compared to CPC, except for the fact that it’s based on a true partnership system. Some ad networks, such as Affilinet form relations between publishers and advertisers in order to form partnerships. CPC, on the other hand, has nothing to do with partnerships or relationships – any eligible brand has the ability to purchase a CPC space on a website selling one.
Just like PPC, the affiliation program is based on a “performance” system. Therefore, it is important to carefully choose the right partners and advertisers.
What are Ad Formats?
Now that we’ve talked about the types of ad campaigns you can host on your site to make money, let’s take a look at the formats of the actual ads that will be shown on your site.
There are many types of formats that exist: classic ones (IAB standards), high impact, video, mobile, etc. The biggest challenge for publishers is to choose the right combination that will allow them to maximize their revenue without disturbing the user’s experience.
Generally, the more visible the format is, the more revenue you will get. However, if an ad is too visible and gives the user a bad experience, they might associate your site with that unpleasant experience and might not come back. Each of the ad FORMATS has unique characteristics. Some ad formats work best in certain situations. For example, in-text video ads work well on pages that have long blocks of text. They help break up the monotony of long stretches of text with something dynamic and interesting to see.
Your advertising income will depend on the ad formats you choose, the number of ads displayed, the traffic your website gets, as well as the time of year. Yes, you can have the exact same ads run in two different months and make different amounts of money! It is obvious that there are more ad campaigns just before Christmas, beginning around mid-August. This is why your revenue is subject to change throughout the year. Chances are your Q4 advertising earnings will be higher than other quarters.
Other Ways to Monetize Your Website or Blog
We spent a long time talking about advertising options because that’s our specialty. Although using ads is our favorite way to monetize a website, we know there are plenty of other ways to bring in revenue. We’ll share a few that we like here.
Direct Ad Campaigns with the Advertiser
Direct ad campaigns are the most basic way to monetize your website. They can also involve a lot more work, especially from your side. With a programmatic ad spot, you can essentially hand all of the hard work over to a company like The Moneytizer and let them handle selling your advertising spots.
If you are a “premium” publisher (with more than 1 million unique visitors each month), you might want to bring your website to big brands’ attention. In this case, you can ask an ad network to display ads on your website and give them a commission on your revenue.
Or, if you want to reach out to an advertiser individually, you can try to begin a direct ad campaign. Once you have their attention, you can suggest any number of direct advertising campaigns.
In the case of a direct ad campaign, the advertiser and the publisher agree on a particular number of ads in a particular compensation method, whether that’s impression, click or conversion in exchange for an undisclosed amount of money. You can also target your audience with special ads for a certain category of user.
This kind of campaign can be very profitable but also very time-consuming. It’s entirely on you to find an advertiser or negotiate pricing.
Sponsored articles could almost be classified as a special type of direct ad campaign. They are similar in that you have to reach out to a brand, or if your site is popular enough, a brand might reach out to you, and you have to handle negotiations.
Writing sponsored articles is a subtle way to earn money without directly displaying advertisements. The goal is simple: you write an article about them, typically about using one of their products. This article is then totally integrated into your website. It will meet whatever requirements you and the brand agreed upon, whether that’s a certain number of visuals of their product or even links to purchase that product..
Chances are you’ve seen an article somewhere that was marked as “sponsored content.” Maybe you cared, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t. Users may not directly realize that they’re reading a hidden advertisement even though it’s marked as “sponsored content.” It is mandatory for sites to mention if a post is sponsored, following the Article L.121-1 of the Consumption Code.
This type of advertising can therefore be very profitable, especially if the campaign is important and well-targeted. It’s also a great method of advertising if you have a large following but don’t want to impact their user experience on your website with traditional banner or video ads. Many users trust the people they follow online, especially if they’ve been following them for quite some time. Because of this, they are far more likely to listen to a recommendation than an ad, which in turn makes sponsored articles like this more valuable to the advertiser than a traditional display ad.
Highly profitable once in place, this type of monetization needs constant work. You should be always researching potential partners so that you can have content for sponsored articles whenever you want to publish one. In addition, an advertiser will likely only be interested in your site if you have a very good reputation. This means you need to put significant time into creating quality content and growing your audience.
We briefly mentioned affiliate marketing earlier, when talking about affiliate advertising. Now let’s look closer at affiliate marketing to see how the two differ.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t involve traditional advertising methods at all. In an affiliate marketing system, brands partner with affiliates, who are other people (often past clients or customers, but affiliates can also be bloggers or influencers) who try to sell the brand’s product. In essence, brands can use affiliate marketing to increase the size of their sales force.
Brands often like affiliate marketing because they don’t pay for the affiliate’s time or posts unless they actually sell the product. Because of this, affiliates are often much more vested and involved in the process.
Becoming an affiliate can be a great way to monetize your website. If you’ve taken an online course, see if the creator would be interested in having you as an affiliate. Or, if you’re someone whose blog posts involve lots of products, consider becoming an Amazon affiliate. Just remember that you have to include a disclaimer that you’ll make money off of links you include.
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to monetize your website is to sell something. One of the best ways to get inspiration for something to sell to your audience is to listen to them. Are people constantly commenting on your blogs wishing that they had a certain tool or product?
Have you been posting high-quality blog posts for a very long time? If you have a big backlog of posts, you could consider gathering all of those articles into a book.
Or maybe you are in the education space and you’re constantly hearing teachers from your audience talking about how they need or want a better way to organize their content for next school year. Perhaps, as a retired teacher yourself, you created an organizational system that worked well for you. You could package up the binders, tabs and whatever else you used and sell them online.
Create an Ebook
This is very similar to creating and selling a product, like we mentioned above. For example, if you have a photography blog, you can create an ebook that gathers your best articles.
Maybe you’re a food or recipe blogger in a particular niche, like in the keto space. Consider creating an ebook that goes one step beyond what you publish on your website. Whether that’s shopping lists, exclusive recipes, monthly meal plans, or anything else your audience would like, simply make sure you create something valuable.
Just remember that creating a book, whether it’s digital or physical, is a lot of work and your visibility could be low, unless you want to devote a lot of time to promoting your ebook.
Create a Course
Creating and selling an online course is one of the most popular methods of making money online right now. No matter what industry you’re in, chances are you’ve seen someone sharing about an online course they took. Whether it’s a marketing course about using Facebook ads or a course on, well, how to create courses, there are many different ways to bring a course to your niche.
Now, it’s important to realize that courses are not a get-rich-quick method of making money. Not only are they a lot of work to actually create, there’s also the matter of selling them. Typically courses are fairly high-dollar, and people don’t usually invest in high-dollar purchases simply by visiting someone’s website. (Certainly there are exceptions to both halves of that sentence, and you know your industry better than we do.)
Creating a course also requires you to have a lot of knowledge about whatever you’ll be teaching. If you’ve been working in your industry for many years and you know plenty of information that can help others, you’re good to go. If you’re slightly newer, it might be a good idea to work with people one-on-one to understand what it is your audience really wants to learn.
How to Monetize Your Website Intelligently
The worst thing that can happen when you go to monetize your site, no matter how you choose to do so, is that your audience reacts poorly and abandons you and your site. Your website is valuable to advertisers, brands and you because of the audience you have. If your visitors go away, so will your ability to monetize them.
Our biggest piece of advice is to think before you place ads or make any other monetization changes to your pages.
– Sensitize your visitors: some of your visitors can be reluctant to see ads while surfing on your website. Your role is to sensitize them by telling them that advertising is a way for you to earn the money that allows you to continue punishing your blog every week. If you want, you can mention that using an ad blocker stops you from being compensated for all of the work you’ve put into this site.
– Don’t overload your website: too much advertisement kills advertising. You’ll be better off to choose non-intrusive formats that will integrate in the website without interfering with the user’s experience. Our advice is to not exceed 3 formats per page.
– At the top: the formats displayed at the top of your site are the most profitable because they bring very good visibility to advertisers. Make sure you think strategically about what ad spots you choose to sell at the top of your page. Learn from your audience and how they interact with the ads you serve them. Begin with the best practices, but don’t be afraid to try other ad types to see what works best for you.
– Choose a format based on your audience: if your audience mainly comes from smartphones, you should choose formats that are designed for mobile. Now, you also don’t want to abandon the other formats for that purpose. Most formats are now mobile-compatible, so you should be okay.
– A/B test your ad formats: while the ad content that your visitors see will likely change depending on who is actually seeing the ad, the ad formats typically stay the same. You can determine what types of ads work best for your visitors by using A/B testing. For these tests, you display one ad format to half of your people and another type to the other half. Then compare the results. From there, you can see which worked best, and you can either choose that one or continue testing.
There are many different ways to monetize your blog or website. You know your website better than anyone, so it’s up to you to decide how to maximize your revenue. Based on your traffic, the device of your audience used, the time you are willing to devote to your website and the type of website you have, there’s a lot for you to consider.
It’s also important to remember, though, that you don’t just have to choose one format. You can certainly begin to serve CPM and CPC ads and also sell an online course. Or you can become an affiliate marketer, offering more value to others’ products while simultaneously writing sponsored posts. Another combination is to become an affiliate marketer and then put display ads on your own website for the product you’re selling.
The possibilities and combinations are limitless. There’s also no “right” choice. It might take you some time to experiment with various revenue-generating models to see what works well for you, your site and your visitors. In the end, as long as your audience responds well to the choices you make, whichever way you want to monetize your website is a good choice.
If you want to include display ads as part of your monetization strategy, we can help you get started today.