Part 2-B: How To Monetize A Website Without Ads
You might find the concept of making money through ads distasteful or counterproductive. You aren’t alone in that aspect. There are several drawbacks to ads that detractors readily point out.
- Searching for advertisers eats up time
- Ads don’t always pay that much
- The income stream is unreliable
- Sometimes advertisers will refuse to pay you
- Ads can be creepy and intrusive
- They also slow down site performance
- You’ll have to forfeit some control to please your sponsors
To make money from your site without giving in to “the man” you have to build value and an audience. Once you’ve established your value, you have several methods of turning that into cash.
Start Selling Something
We touched on this earlier. You might have a product or merchandise of your own that you can market. A book, T-shirts, or something else physical in nature.
You might be offering a skill or consulting services. You could use your site to build yourself up as an authority on a topic. Then you charge for people to hire you for your expertise. You could even start doing classes and charge others to learn your unique talents.
As an expert, you can parlay a massive online following into an offline one. Set up a speaking tour, seminars, or day-long lectures. If your followers like what you do, they’re likely to attend.
If you’re an entertainer, the website becomes a similar means for getting people interested in your art. Then you direct them to your live shows, where you earn money from people that want to see you perform.
Set Up A Paywall
Somewhat related to the earlier concept of “selling something” is the paywall. In this case, you’ll be selling your content rather than a physical product.
You can block off segments of your site to “members” who pay a fee to access it. You could deliver individual portions of content as “drip” with each content block costing a small fee. You might even try a subscription service so that users pay a monthly fee to access your content.
Portions of your site can remain free to all, to entice new visitors. The “premium content,” however, is only available to your “premium membership.” If your content is that compelling, you can gain a fair number of members who will gladly pay.
There are several approaches to setting this up. Quicksprout has an awesome guide that lays it all out in plain terms. The short of it, though, is making sure that you are providing value to your visitors, and they feel that the value is enhanced by paying extra.
Value For Value
The third option involves creating incredible content, then leaving it all free to access.
Politely ask your audience to donate to the cause, reminding them that their patronage will allow you to continue bringing them what they love about your site.
You provide value in the form of your content. The audience reciprocates, offering value in the form of monetary compensation.
You won’t get everybody to donate. You might not even get half of your audience to donate. If you have a good amount of traffic and strong content, though, you’ll receive enough support from contributing visitors to finance your operations quite nicely.
You could set up a donation button on your page to allow users to contribute directly through options like PayPal. You might even try setting up a page on a service like Patreon. It allows audiences to browse content creators and finance the ones they like best.
Part 3: How To Monetize Your Site By Selling It
You could also try building up your site and selling it to someone else for a lump sum. Plenty of entrepreneurs are looking for sites with steady streams of visitors that they can “leverage” for their own ends.
There are also tons of resources for selling a site. In particular, website brokers who can get your site in front of interested buyers and handle all the tedious paperwork.
To sell a site right, though, you can’t simply slap WordPress onto an existing domain, bill it as “having potential,” and then call it a day. You have to turn it into a worthwhile investment.
This means going back to the two fundamentals that we’ve harped on this entire guide. Create good content, then build up your site traffic.
Those two building blocks are the foundation from which all website monetization strategies grow. If you remember nothing else, remember this: get your site in order first. The money will follow shortly after.
Once your site has great content and lots of visitors, it doesn’t matter whether you want to sell ads, sell T-shirts, or sell the content itself. You’ll be able to do it because you have the audience in place to support your efforts.
You may also do well by employing more than one monetization strategy at a time. Different audiences will react to different approaches.
A thorough analysis of your audience (along with some trial-and-error) will reveal what methods will work best for turning your web presence into a steady source of extra income.
I trust you have gained from the series? Share your experience by leaving your comments below. Expect a fresh and intriguing topic in my next edition.