by Will Rogers
Why does monetizing your website matter? It seems like everyone is hanging a shingle for a monetized website, but how do you do this well? It seems many folks make money from blogging. But, then you have so many people who don’t make a penny.
Where are you when it comes to monetizing your website? I’m not pretending this post is exhaustive. There are so many ways to get at this. But, my hope is the following list will inspire you to think of a way to monetize your site that maybe you haven’t thought of before.
Ask yourself a few questions before you jump head-first into monetizing your website:
I've written previously about how to monetize a blog. There are many similarities (read: and many differences) for monetizing your website. How do you know which one to start with? What follows are just a few ways you could do this—from affiliate marketing, advertising, selling products, to sponsored posts. Each method has its own challenges, time commitment, and sweet spot.
We’re going to focus on seven key strategies that have been proven by many folks.
This isn’t easy. But, if you have the traffic and you’ve written lots of content, then memberships may be the best way to monetize your website.
We've seen folks learn to how to take their communities digital and grow their memberships or launch a membership program with great success. What would this look like for your audience? Maybe it means exclusive membership communities around certain topics? It could fit certain individuals and/or organizations that follow you. The point is, think of your content as a way to provide exclusive access to member-only content and connections. You might have a membership site right on your fingertips.
Depending on your audience and the content you create, strongly consider creating courses to walk your followers through step-by-step on how to do something or get better at something else. Maybe you're an author or leader, what do you know so well that you could teach others? You may be the one to help guide your audience through steps and a process for building something significant.
We often ask people what they find themselves explaining to others all of the time. Boom! That's your first course.
This might mean offering digital or physical products on your website. Selling digital products might mean selling anything from eBooks as short as a few pages to full book of several hundred. But, it’s not limited to this. You can also sell any resource that’s helpful to your audience. It could be any content you can put into a PDF or may mean working with a third party to ship your product. What do you talk most about that could be quickly turned into a purchasable product?
Events may mean hosting live or virtual events. The point is: bring together experts for others to learn from—and everybody wins. Many don’t often think about this strategy for monetizing. But, consider hosting an event for your audience. It could start off small. But, it could generate significant revenue from ticket sales and event sponsorships.
Could you sell coaching or design services? Consider what questions your followers are asking you all of the time. Can you package some consulting services and sell them? What about your teaching or facilitation? What if you trained others in how to do something in person or virtually?
Allow for donations to your organization (one time or recurring). You can do this in an ongoing fashion. Or, create a campaign (or several) that fits with your brand or organization. This could be any endeavor where you want to help or fits your mission, but where you need funds to help move the needle.
The point here is to have a clear goal and amount of funding needed to reach the goal. Knowing your why is vital at this stage. But, this is one strong way, depending on the campaign, you can monetize your site.
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by sharing other people’s (or company’s) products. While there are many different affiliate marketing networks out there, start with one of the biggest—Amazon. Just create an account, find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a small percentage of the profit for each sale from your shared link.
Now that you have seven ideas you’ve either been reminded of or thinking about for the first time. What now? How will you decide which one to do? And when?
Here are three questions you can ask yourself right now to help you pick the right method for you:
1. Which monetization method is reasonable to achieve today (and not sometime out in the future)?
2. Which method gets you the most excited?
3. Do people trust you as a guide?
What to do next? Start with one of these ideas. Don’t overthink things. At this stage, just get started. Pick one of these ideas and run. You’ll figure it out on the way. Who knows, maybe you make a few dollars in trying.
You want to have a dynamic and multi-dimensional community that thrives. In order to do that, you need a strategy of both online and offline engagement. This guide will help you think through your approach to engaging a virtual community. Download the free eBook: How to Take Your Community Digital.
About the author: Will Rogers is the Founder and CEO of CauseMachine. Will’s career has been spent leading organizations and helping to mobilize communities to a shared vision. He has served in various leadership roles to build community engagement and movements teaching him valuable hands-on skills and experience. Will has developed business and community engagement strategies for dozens of organizations in nearly 50 countries. He and his wife have two sons and now live in Kentucky after two decades in Colorado.