13 ways to monetize your online business and make money
[Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, this means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links. This is at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure information for more details.]
We all want to make money through our online business. The way to do that is through monetization. In this article I talk about a few ways to get your online business monetized so you can start living the life you want.
What is Monetization?
If you Google it, the answer is “the action or process of earning revenue from an asset or a business”. Pretty straightforward, right?
The word monetization is most often heard when talking about blogs or YouTube channels but for this article I’m going to include both of those as well as general online businesses.
How can you monetize your online business?
Here are some of the most common ways to monetize your online business.
Google Adsense has been a thing for many many years. I remember making money from my shihtzu page on blogger.com. Back then I tried to make some niche sites but I was inconsistent and you know with blogs, that is a no-no.
It is recommended that you have at least 10k pageviews per month to start monetizing with ads.
However, Google is not your only option, there are many more companies now that can make you more money like Ezoic or Mediavine. Some have pageview requirements like Mediavine that requires you to have at least 50k pageviews per month for you to be able to become part of their programs.
Most of these programs work in conjunction with Adsense, so you need to be in good standing with them as well.
Display ads are still the easiest form of monetizing your business but you depend on the amount of traffic that comes to your website. Others will tell you to drop the display ads and start gaining subscribers so you can convert them into customers. We’ll talk more about email marketing later on in this article.
Selling ad space
With display ads so easy to implement in your site, selling ad space is not as popular as it used to be. However, if you have a specific niche that you serve you have a good chance other businesses that serve that niche will want to advertise on your site if the traffic is good.
For example, if you have a camping website, you could contact companies that sell outdoor gear or survival equipment. If you have a destination site, you can contact hotels in the area to advertise on your website.
All of this depends on how much and how good your traffic is.
A lot of people have made tons of money with affiliate marketing. Their whole business model depends on affiliates. Some companies will sign you up with no questions asked, however, others will give you a trial period,like Amazon, where you have 180 days to make a certain amount of sales to be fully approved into their program. I just learned that Canva does this as well. For those programs you need to have good traffic so you make the required sales by the deadline.
When you are an affiliate marketer you need to display this in your website or near where your links will be advertised. If you newsletter contains affiliate links you need to put a disclaimer somewhere in the email. I have it in the footer.
Some people apply to any affiliate program that has good percentage but it is better to choose carefully and try to actually use the product and know it so you can better promote it.
Selling Digital Products
Digital products range from ebooks, courses and templates to printables and software. Nowadays you don’t even have to make the product from scratch, as there are commercial license templates ready for you to customize and sell in your shop (Read my article “Should you be making your digital products from scratch”).
Courses have been all of the rage for the past few years but they do take some time with filming and editing and just putting the material together.
Digital planners are really fun to make with the right template (see the Digital Planner Template Kit, that I used to create my first digital planner).
Ebooks can be a little harder to sell depending on where you sell them. If it’s Amazon you need an author platform or audience to be successful. If you are selling on your own website or ecommerce store you’ll need that email list I mentioned earlier. (More information on creating ebooks in my article “Want To Create An Ebook? Here’s How”).
When you’re watching your favorite YouTuber you might find that midway through their video they say “and by the way this video is sponsored by…” and then they go on and explain all the features and benefits of a certain brand.
In order to get sponsorships from brands you’ll have to do some outreach to get them to notice you. When they open the door for conversations you need to have your pitch ready to stir their curiosity and so they can find out what you can do for their brand.
The Savvy Couple recently launched their course Sponsorship Secrets, where you can find a lot of good information on how to go about finding brands and even negotiating with them. You can get their FREE Sponsorship Secrets Starter Guide for more information.
From consulting to being a virtual assistant your skills are valuable. Why not sell these services? Sure, you’re trading hours for money and there is a cap to how many hours you can work but this can be a good way to pay your bills while your company is just getting started.
Freelancing sites like Upwork and Freelancer are good places where you can sell your services. I won’t recommend Fiverr because it’s very competitive and a lot of work for very little pay. Somehow, some people catch a break and make lots of money on Fiverr but I haven’t found that key yet.
If you have built a couple of blogs you might offer website setup services. A lot of people find WordPress confusing and need help setting up their initial site. After that, charge them for basic training on how to handle posts and images and using the block editor and you’ve got them all set. Or even better, charge them a maintenance fee where you will add x amount of posts per month and keep their site updated and hacker free.
You’ve seen those little Paypal buttons on sites where people ask for a cup of coffee’s worth of a donation. I used to see this a lot on software pages where the developers were building an open source application.
These days you also see these “pay what you want” offers and some people are having success with it when the customers actually know the value of the product they are offering.
I personally believe that if you are building a product you should sell it. There are ways to release software in stages so that you don’t have to release the entire product right away. And then you can sell it in packages like gold, platinum, etc.
Do you enjoy building websites? Maybe even getting them to be making the first few dollars, then need to change projects because you are bored? Flipping websites might just be for you.
I haven’t researched this very well, but it seems promising. Especially to someone like me that actually likes building the websites for myself (not for customers). I find the whole process of niche selection, domain purchasing (I’m a domain hoarder) and choosing themes and setting them up really exciting!
I just read this article on Niche Pursuits where this young lady does this for a living. She buys small blogs, makes them profitable, then resells them for profit. She makes around $5k+ per month doing this (read the article “How Dale Makes $5k+/month Flipping Blogs And Inspiring Others”).
Finally the golden goose, or so everyone seems to tell us. Email subscribers are valuable assets, more valuable than followers or likes. This is why a lot of experts insist you must start building your email list as soon as you launch your blog or business.
Of course our minds are tricky and we let our fears get in the way. What will I write to them? Wait, what? I need to write an email EACH WEEK? I can’t be constantly selling to my subscribers, that’s nasty!
Here’s the thing, the way to be successful in business is to create and nurture relationships. You might think because your business is through the internet you don’t need to have contact with them. Sure, that’s an advantage, but your business will boom if you actually nurture your audience and give them value consistently.
There’s that saying “Know-Like-Trust”. And, by the way, don’t “talk to them” as if you were preaching. Share, engage, give value. Be trustworthy.A high level goal to be sure.
Premium content/Membership sites
Membership plugins are easy to install in your WordPress site, the tricky part is setting up the payment processor, so you might want to hire that out. A lot of artists use Patreon for their premium content, adding weekly and monthly content and assets to their patrons.
Some membership sites give access to a bunch of courses the company has and you have access to all of them while you are a member. Sarah Cordiner has this for her Edupreneur Academy and she charges $79 dollars a month. When I first found her two years ago she was charging only $47. I was able to make my first online course with her course “How to create profitable online courses”, which is included in the membership.
The important thing with memberships is that you have to keep giving the customer reasons for staying and paying the price.
It seems lately everyone does paid workshops and webinars and sometimes they lead to more expensive products down the line.
Monica Froese is now selling all of her workshops and truth be told, they have immense value. So I’m not fussy about paying for them. Her workshops don’t usually guide you to more expensive products but she does have affiliate links when she packages them up for you to watch the replay later.
Webinars should last from 60-90 minutes and, of course, provide value.
Lead generation is different from affiliate marketing as the customer doesn’t have to buy at the end for you to get paid. You get paid for each lead you send to the company. This is new to me so I’ve found an article by a marketer called Tyler day called “how To Start A Lead Generation Business”, which can explain it so much better.
The key point is getting quality leads, not just any ol’ lead will do.
There’s several ways to do this. You can be a reseller or do dropshipping or Amazon FBA, but also, if your brand has taken off, you can start selling your own branded clothing or promotional items. This will work best if you have become an influencer or if your brand is beloved or meaningful in some way.
For example freeCodeCamp sometimes has gear like shirts or caps with their logo on them. Wearing it means you are learning to code or are a coder already because you’ve studied through their self study programs. Right now they only have a donate page.
Finding ways to make money on your business sometimes takes a creative touch. It’s a bit of an art, really, and the more you learn the more profitable your business will be.
For this blog, I’m going with affiliate marketing and selling digital products. I don’t like display ads because they drive me crazy when I see them in sites, always drawing my attention away from the content I’m reading. But a lot of people make a good living with them.
So choose one of these ways and implement them in your business. Most won’t generate income immediately but if you stick with it, they will start giving results.