How to Make Money With Your Website

Over the past few months we’ve been asked by multiple authors the same question: how can I make money from my blog/website? As authors - whether self-published or not - we need to be looking for as many avenues of income as possible. "Monetizing" your website may seem like an easy way to make buck, but as with everything in life, there are tradeoffs.

So we thought it might be helpful to offer four common ways authors can make money from their website, along with some quick pros and cons for each: 

 

Use your website as an online store to sell your book yourself.

Pros: You have full control of your store and get a much bigger percentage of the revenue compared to selling it just on Amazon and other retail websites.

Cons: Requires lots of work to fulfill physical orders, and maintaining a secure and easy to use commerce website can be quite involved (unless you go with a really good easy-to use website service like Squarespace).

 

Charge people a subscription fee to access all the content on your website.

Pros: You get monthly recurring revenue from membership payments.

Cons: Requires larger financial commitment from your readers, membership website frameworks are a lot of work to maintain and can be buggy, and the amount and quality of content required to make it worthwhile is much larger than a typical free blog website.

 

Share affiliate links within your posts.

Pros: Promoting services you like and use yourself that give you a small kickback is a no-brainer.

Cons: Since it requires people actually making a purchase with your specific link, income is often very little.

 

Display ads and/or have sponsors on your website.

Pros: Advertising network services, the best of which have very targeted categories that can be chosen for your specific audience, provide very easy to use code to add to your website and they handle the rest. Getting your own sponsors directly can be very profitable.

Cons: Large open and automated advertising network services like Google Adsense pay very little, and more profitable targeted services have very strict qualifications to join their networks. Both targeted advertising services and getting your own sponsors directly requires extra work with analytics and reporting to prove to them that advertising on your site is worthwhile. It also requires a ton of traffic (thousands of unique visitors per day) to really make it worthwhile for you to clutter up your website with visual noise from the ads.

 

So where do I start?

No matter which methods above you use to monetize your website, they all require one thing: lots of traffic to your website - especially if you go with the advertising angle. Getting lots of page views and unique visitors to your website starts with offering a steady flow of really great content. But just posting good content isn’t enough: you have to get out there and let people know about it on your social media platforms. And you have to actually connect with people on a personal level as opposed to just using them as self-promotional tools for yourself and your products.

Here's what that whole process looks like:

post great content on your website ➔ share links on social media ➔ get steady traffic to your website ➔ connect with your readers ➔ convert them to loyal fans ➔ make money

It is a lot of continuous work and takes some time, but it is definitely doable - IF you have a good strategy and plan up front. If you wanted a quick easy fix, you may be able to find one out there, but from what we’ve seen the quick methods of making money online typically don’t last long term - and they are often disrespectful of your audience.

In our next post will address some things to be aware of when using ad services on your website, which can also be helpful to know just as a user of the web when browsing sites yourself. We are also working on some exciting new things to help you connect with your readers and ultimately make more money for yourself.

We value what you do as an an author, and we greatly appreciate you taking the time to listen to what we have to say! We also greatly appreciate you helping us help others by sharing this post with people you know who may benefit from the information we provide.

 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU: What ways have you monetized your own website? Have you had any successes or failures with specific methods? We and our readers would love to know, so please share your experiences with us using the comments on this page, and on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Photo by Trenten Kelley