I’m sure you’re opening your eyes to the many aspects of building a successful online business, doing what you love and making a living from it? Exciting, isn’t it? Following are some easy and other more complex methods of making money online, and a 6-step beginner’s guide to start monetizing your online business.
Every business model is unique regarding its offering, approach and audience, but when it comes to the money-making strategies, the basics are very much the same. Here’s a rough explanation of the most basic ways to monetize your website. As long as you got traffic at your site, you can make a lot of money on either one of these, or you can combine several to differentiate your revenue streams.
To maximize your earning potential you should test out what suits you best by experimenting with different ad networks, monitor your performance and make the necessary adaptions of giving ads more or less space on your pages (without overshadowing your own content). This will take you way further to achieving your business goals.
Sell Your Own Physical Products
This is mainly an option for those of you who are already in the business of selling physical goods, or have previous experience with producing their own or wholesale-buying other companies’ products. Since these goods must also be shipped to their buyers, you should be prepared for some upfront costs as well.
Offer Your Services
Creating and selling your own products can be a bit too demanding, particularly for online businesses that are just getting started. As an alternative, if you have skills that others can benefit from, you can offer and sell consultancy services, web designing, PR and branding, content creation, etc.
There is no direct material or shipping costs when selling your skills and knowledge, but to set your price, keep in mind that you usually have to work one-on-one with each of your clients. Also consider the niche you work in so your targeted readership would be able to afford your rates.
Create Your Own Digital Products
Digital products include ebooks, online courses, software, smartphone apps, design files, videos, audios, or anything else you can create online. It can take some time, energy and money to create a digital product to sell on your website, but once it’s completed and ready to merchandise, it can become a really profitable income source to your business if it’s valuable to your readers and they trust your recommendations.
One thing to watch though is not to overprice your product, as you risk putting-off customers from buying from you again.
Join Affiliate Programs
If you’re not good at creating your own products, you can sell someone else’s, especially if you already have an audience of regular readers to your website who trust your opinion, and if you publish relevant in-depth reviews and articles that promote those products and/or services.
Affiliate marketing can be a pretty lucrative and easy way to make money for starting online businesses. You are given a special affiliate link to include on your web pages, and if someone clicks the link, signs up, registers, or makes a purchase, you get a cut of the company’s profits.
Sites like Commission Junction, ClickBank, ShareASale, and Amazon Associates have thousands of products and services that you can sell for a commission. Jaaxy also have a special “affiliate program research” feature that lists dozens of affiliate offerings in your niche in seconds, which makes finding the best affiliate program for you easy as pie.
Keep in mind that affiliate marketing might not be the best for you if you already sell your own stuff, as the links may distract visitors from buying your own products.
Run Ads on Your Website/Platform
Selling advertisements works great if advertisers are interested and pay well for your niche, and if you already have a core audience with solid traffic to your site. You can go directly to Google AdSense, Bidvertiser, or you can try selling slots for banners, text links, in-text ads, and other PPC (Pay Per Click) options.
Make sure the ads are related to your industry and your readers’ interests, and be careful not to over stuff your pages with too many advertisements, as they’ll make your website look unattractive, not user-friendly, and eventually chase the readers away.
Look for Sponsors
To diversify your online business incomes you could also look for sponsoring companies and brands that will pay you for every mention they get on your website or platform. Again, it is crucial to look for sponsors that resonate with your audience and niche so your reviews won’t sound insincere and push away the readership.
Organize Workshops, Trainings, Webinars
They can be virtual or live conferences with the people you meet online. These are just other variations of selling your skills and knowledge, where you teach people something and charge them for tickets and presence.
Make a Membership Website
If you feature top-quality and unique content on your website that could interest a large readership and create a sense of community around your topics, you can turn it into a membership site and require visitors to pay a fee (usually monthly) to get access to certain sections, pages and pieces of content.
You should provide customers with technical support and expect a tougher promotion as this is not a one-time payment option like with selling your own digital products.
Ask for Donations
It’s not a very profitable money-making strategy, and it might make your website look kind of amateur (though not necessarily), but if you have a loyal following that’s willing to support you, their donations can help you cover some initial costs and provide you with a financial foundation to explore and test other monetization solutions.
If you want to try it, just add a “tip jars”, “buy me a coffee”, “buy me a beer”, or other creative donation buttons.
How Do I Start Monetizing My Online Business?
Step 1: Build a Website or Blog
You need to be online if you want to make money online. Simple as that. It all starts with building a professional blog or website, a virtual space where you’ll sell your products, services, ads, etc.
Check out my guide on How to start your own website for free, if you still don’t have one.
Step 2: Create High Quality Content
“Content is king!” said Bill Gates back in 1996. Though he could add “high-quality” to it, the concept is now truer than ever, considering the fact that today, this is one of the most important factors of all ranking efforts.
Great content is how you attract online readers and get them to see and share your unique expertise. You give it away for free, but the traffic you receive will later help you sell your own services and products.
Step 3: Bring Traffic to Your Pages
But even the most amazing content won’t be worth anything to you if no one knows about it. You can use SEO to get organic traffic from search engines, promote your website on forums, Reddit, and social media, or rely on paid advertisements to boost your online presence, but make sure the readers you bring are well targeted to your business needs.
Also see: 13 Ways to Attract Visitors and Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Step 4: Collect Visitors Emails
Your email subscribers are your online business’ most valuable asset. These are the people who are interested in your products and services, who want to know more about your offering, so make sure you send them relevant and helpful content to develop and nurture these relationships, if you want them to be evident in the sales you’ll later see.
Recommended reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing: 7 Steps to jump start your campaigns
Step 5: Sell Your Products and/or Services
Once you have established a system for generating quality content, and you have a steady stream of visitors regularly coming in, you can start converting these visits into leads and then sales. Remember, you must first establish authority and trust so people would be willing to buy from your business.
Step 6: Convert One-Time Into Repeating Customers
I’m sure you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule of sales, or that 80% of your business future revenue should derive from just 20% of your existing customers. That’s how you make sure your business stays profitable on the long run.
The customers who just bought from you are like your family, – you should love and take care of them, help them on their journey, so they’ll get back to you when ready to make another purchase.
This is the foundation of online business monetization
Sure, there are many other ways you can make money online, but this is the basic foundation on which you can later explore some more advanced methods. If you would like to learn more about building your own business and making money online, check out my #1 recommended tool for creating and managing your own online business, making money online, socializing directly with experts of the industry and achieving online success!
Feel free to share this guide if you find it helpful. And let us know what works best for you in the comments below.