If there is a common factor of outstanding content, it would be a genuine creator’s dedication. But how can you focus entirely on your passion and still make a living? Is it possible to earn enough just from your website?
Each prospering blog or website is a fruit of passion and commitment. Understandably, most digital content creators start by treating it like a hobby to deal with in their spare time. But we’re all aware that the perfect situation would be to do what you love and make money from it. The good news is that there are many ways for online publishers to achieve that goal. Let me show you the five most convenient ones:
1. Collaboration with other brands
Many more developed and prominent companies can be interested in gaining your audience’s attention. Therefore, they might want to carry out some marketing activities within your website. The two most common cooperation methods are worth special attention, i.e., affiliate marketing and sponsored content.
In essence, affiliate marketing is recommending someone else’s product within your website, blog, or social media platforms. You convince your audience that something is worth checking out, and when they take the required action, you get paid. You can either earn a commission from each acquisition or get paid every time your website’s visitor clicks on an affiliate link. Whereas sponsored content, even if that too is about promoting an external good, looks more natural to the users and is much more engaging. It may take diverse forms of an article, a post, a graphic, and many more. You’ll be likely provided with such content ready to publish. It may happen, though, that you’ll be asked to prepare it yourself (and that’s when you bargain for extra money).
It’s good to open up to some cooperatives, as it brings mutual benefits. They expand their audience, and you get paid. Everyone is satisfied. However, be careful who you collaborate with. Say yes only to the partners that will not hurt your credibility nor reputation. Also, always check twice the received materials to make sure those are correct and appropriate.
2. Reviewing products or services
Doing reviews is a type of collaboration with brands. However, it deserved a separate section due to its popularity and prevalence. Many companies gladly exploit users’ trust in their favorite website or blog creators. For this reason, they tend to send publishers their products or offer their services, expecting a review that would convince new people to get interested in what the company has to offer. It doesn’t always end with a payment in the strict sense, though. Some firms provide the reviewed product or service itself as a reward because those are worth a lot of money or are not available on the market yet.
Always be honest when writing about something you tested. If you recommend something you didn’t like, or you’re aware of its poor quality, you will lose your users’ trust. This will not only have a negative impact on your relationship, diminishing your traffic, but it’ll also destroy your credibility. And this way, no one else will want you to review their work. So, as usually, honesty pays off!
3. Patronage, membership, and donations
Psychological fact: people like to be involved in what they find worthy. This is why many websites create supporting communities made up of their loyal users. However, your sites have to be compelling and professional-looking to do that. An erratic and messy blog will not convince anyone to invest in it. You have every right to be a beginner, but you have to give importance to the quality of your content. If you’re satisfied with your website’s presence, you’re ready to set sails!
Let your regulars become a patron or a member of your website’s fellowship by starting a patronage or membership program. It works like this: your visitors decide to pay a defined amount of money (e.g., once, per month, or annually), and in return, they gain certain privileges, like for instance:
- Access to some premium content, like longer articles, interviews, analysis;
- Possibility to join online or offline events with the website’s author;
- Inclusion in closed groups on social media platforms. Those may contain backstage materials regarding your website, enabling users to get to know you and to exchange their opinions and ideas;
- Getting priority over other users to participate in organized events or purchase given goods;
- Your website’s support badge, giving loyal users authority or recognition.
However, some publishers cannot allow themselves to generate extra content and take care of a possibly demanding audience. It takes much more time and commitment. In such a situation, you should think of other solutions, like a paywall. It’s a subscription model, allowing gaining access to particular articles by making a tolerably small payment. Alternatively, you could start accepting donations. Here you can see how to add a “Donate” button supported by one of the most commonly used online payment platforms – PayPal. This is a great way for the users enjoying your website to show their appreciation. That’s also how they can gain certainty that you’ll be able to produce more content.
4. Selling online or offline products
Content redistribution in the form of a digital or physical product is one of the most popular methods to enrich your website and earn extra income. When it comes to what you can make – the sky’s the limit! You can sell anything from an e-book and tutorial to printable templates or your workshop entrance. All you need for an online piece to be made and sold is your website and proper tools or programs designed for those purposes (for instance, check out this guide on how to prepare e-books). But you can also transfer your pieces into the tangible world: here are the two most popular options:
- Book (it can be a collection of your most popular articles or your biography describing how you developed your online business);
- Elaboration (for instance, preceding a significant event related to your industry that will provide your readers with all the information needed to participate in it).
Once you build a strong brand, you can also reflect on executing e-commerce operations. It obviously doesn’t mean having to launch a full operating shop containing hundreds of different items! What I have in mind are various gadgets that will let you enter users’ lives beyond their displays. People enjoy owning unique things that can additionally demonstrate their interests and the fact of belonging to a group. Here’s what you could consider:
- Clothing (t-shirts, hats, and hoodies are a great idea to offer your users something useful, distinctive and making them show off your brand);
- Starter kit (a set of instructions, verified tools, or intermediate products that will help your users prepare themselves better for your courses);
- Website gadget (it could be something industry-related, for example, if you write about cars, you could sell a keychain; if you run a culinary blog, you can produce measuring spoons. It can be anything that will remind people of you, like a notebook, stickers, a mug, or even a board game with your website’s logo and somehow related to what you do).
5. Monetization with ads
Putting it briefly, to monetize a website using advertisements is to sell its ad space. This solution is really time-saving and easy to implement, hence it’s the most widespread form of making money from digital content. There’s a wide range of different monetization methods. Therefore, you can pick one that would match your website’s specifics in the best way possible. For example, direct campaigns are similar to the traditional advertising methods where the deal terms are established in person (including exact ads and rates). In comparison, one of the eagerly exploited options is programmatic advertising based on adjusting the displayed ad to the user’s specific needs and interests.
As the possibilities are numerous and diversified, it’s not easy to find the perfect solution for your website. This is why it’s worth requesting the help of an experienced partner in monetization processes, like – you guessed it – optAd360. Our specialists, supported by the optAd360 AI Engine technology, analyze each website individually to pick the best-suited solutions that will boost your earnings while not disrupting the perception of your content.
Which of the presented methods could you apply? Reflect on how you would possibly approach each of those. Consider how much time you can dedicate and try to predict your audience’s response. After all, your actions should be targeted at your website’s users. You can always just ask them (for example, using a social media platform or a questionnaire) if they’d like to read an e-book of yours or be interested in purchasing a baseball cap with your website’s logo on it. This way, you’ll be able to estimate the approximate interest in your future actions. We live in a digital era, so why not take advantage of it?
Also, let the possibilities come by adding collaboration info on your website and social media. This will show that you’re open to new offers and will facilitate getting in touch with you. Finally, don’t limit yourself! Think of different ways to expand your business, and don’t be afraid to step outside the box. You know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained!