Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions for webmasters has to be: How do I monetize my web pages? How do I earn revenue from my online content?
As a full time online marketer and webmaster, this is a question I have considered many times and found my own answers through many years of trial and error. Of course, I have taken the passive route in my quest for that online income. This means instead of producing my own products, I market and promote affiliate goods and services. I do no direct selling on any of my websites. I collect no money and I don't even have a payment program or system in place.
All my income and commissions come from referring traffic or clients to the affiliate companies which I promote. Totally passive.
These companies do all the selling, delivery of products, customer support, everything... I just get a small percentage for having referred that customer or client. This passive method has worked extremely well for me but keep in mind, selling your products and services will be much more lucrative since you will receive the majority of the income instead of just a small commission or referral fee.
However, if you're like me and want a more "hands-off," passive income from your web content, here are some of the things I have learned over the years. You might find some of these tips helpful in your monetization. I have placed these tips in the form of a "q and a" format...
1. Should I use Google Adsense?
While placing Google Adsense ads on your site or blog is very easy, the rates are extremely low. You can make 10 to 100 times more by using affiliate links instead of these ads. For example, for one Adsense clíck you could get anywhere from a few cents to several dollars, whereas with an affiliate program you can get from $10 to $100+ for a click which turns into a sale. However, Google is one of the most respected and reliable companies on the web. They pay on time and should not be ignored. I have used Adsense for years mainly because you can't always find affiliate programs for some content and besides, you can place both affiliate links and Google Adsense on your pages.
2. Should I use Amazon?
Another very simple way to monetize your content is to place Amazon products and referral links on your pages. Amazon's referral rates are slightly better than Google Adsense especially if you have high volume sales, but they are still lower in general. However, I have found users tend to really trust Amazon and purchase from them more frequently and more often so conversion rates are much higher than any other affiliate program I have used. For this reason alone, Amazon should be on your list if you want to earn money from the web. I have been using them for years and find building your links is really easy. So too is building whole "A Stores" on a particular topic or line of products.
3. What is ClickBank and Should I use It?
ClickBank is one of the biggest affiliate networks for downloadable products such as ebooks and software. They pay some of the largest commissions. 40% to 50% or more is very common. Very reliable. I have been using them for years and you should include some ClickBank products on your pages. Please note that ClickBank does deduct a small percentage of your commissions to cover any returns, but it also means you don't have any dropped commissions - once you make a sale, you will get paíd for it.
4. What are Affiliate Networks?
Affiliate networks, like Commission Junction and LinkShare, are major players in the online affiliate world. These affiliate networks represent thousands of companies which provide products and services that webmasters can promote. They handle all sales transactions and send out your commission checks each month. Most of my affiliate programs are through these affiliate networks with CJ being the top one mainly because they have excellent feedback and tracking.
5. How do I Find a Profitable Affiliate Product or Service?
Regardless of what you're promoting, you must be very careful to pick quality products that are closely related to your content. These two factors will mainly determine your conversion rates, although product ads and display images do play a small part. If you use a network like Commission Junction, they will indicate which company is making the most sales and will also tell you which ads are getting the highest return with the actual dollar amount (EPC earnings per 100 clicks). I always use this data when picking which companies and products I promote on my sites.
6. Why do I Need to Create Different Income Streams?
The real beauty of running an online business is that you can have many different income sources which pay you each month. You should plan on having at least 10 to 20 income streams. If one should dry up, you will have the others to depend upon. Once you have quality traffic coming to your website, it is just a matter of placing different affiliate links on your pages. I like including at least three or four different companies on a page, this way you can easily create different income streams for the same page. Don't just rely on one company or product. Have many different affiliate links and companies throughout your site.
7. What Should be Your Main Strategic Objective?
Don't make this mistake - instead of making one sale and getting paid for it once, pick products and services which give you a recurring or residual income. You do the same promotion and work but get revenue for years to come. I am still earning income on sales I made five years ago. This will significantly improve your bottom line or your return on investment. Products and services which have a monthly billing element are good candidates for residual income... such as web hosting, autoresponder services, telecommunications and so on. Don't rule out forming partnerships with businesses in the same niche as your website. You might be surprised at the response you get.
Effectively monetizing your web content will largely determine if you succeed or not, so try some of the tips above. Of course, there are many other ways to monetize your traffic such as selling direct ads and links on your pages. The list above is not my full list but does include some of my top-performing programs and should also work for you and your web content.