Did you know that if you currently have a website that gets a decent amount of traffic every month, it’s possible to generate a passive income from it? You might be asking, but why would I want to monetise my website?
You may want to scale or pivot your business in the near future and want to use your website to generate enough funds to run itself until you do, or you simply may want to boost your website’s earning potential. Whatever your reason for doing so, there are options available to make this happen.
We’ve put together a few ways you can use your existing website to make money.
Using Google AdSense is possibly one of the simplest ways to set up your website to make money. You allow Google to place ads on your website and each time someone clicks on an ad, you’ll get paid.
While there are different platforms available, Google AdSense is a popular one because it’s fairly straightforward to use. To get started, you’ll need:
- A Google account
If you’re using Gmail (or any other Google service), then this step is complete. If you don’t have one, then you’ll need to create an account.
- A phone number and postal address
These contact details must be associated with the bank account you’re going to link to your Google AdSense account for payments.
- A unique code
You’ll get a code to add to your website that lets Google track click-throughs.
Once your account is active, Google AdSense does all the heavy lifting in the background, matching ads to your site based on the content you publish and the visitors you get. The ads that will be placed on your website are created and paid for by advertisers. If, however, you notice an ad that you don’t like, you can remove it from the Brand Safety page on your account.
A second option is to sell space for ads on your website directly to advertisers, giving you more control over the selling price. Display ads – or banner ads – are placed in high-traffic locations on web pages, such as across the top or down the sides of a webpage. They’re typically put in places where your eyes are likely to look when you’re browsing.
Generating leads doesn’t need to be difficult – you can create an “Advertise here” page that directs potential advertisers to a form where they can submit their details or to your contact page.
If this sounds like an option that will work for you, make sure you keep the user experience top of mind. A good rule of thumb is that less is always more. Running too many ads can slow down your page loading speed, which in turn can affect your SEO. The quicker your website loads, the better the experience for your visitors. In addition, search engines favour fast-loading sites.
You’ll also need to optimise the ads for web and mobile, as your visitors are likely to access your site from different devices. Optimising how the ads display is important, too and you’ll need to consider their size, location and type (static vs animated).
If you’ve got a blog section on your website, you could explore affiliate marketing – basically, you promote a brand or product to your audience. Think of it as a performance-based marketing strategy where you’ll get paid for each successful sale.
When you sign up as an affiliate, you’ll receive a link or tracking code that needs to be embedded on your site. Every successful sale or lead generated through this affiliate link means you’ll earn a commission.
SME South Africa does caution against pushing brands and products too heavily. They say, “The key thing is that you should only promote affiliate products that add value to your audience. If you come across as too salesy, your audience could lose interest.”
Locally, there are a number of brands that offer affiliate programmes, such as:
Ideas for content creators
If you have a blog or vlog on your website, chances are you are passionate about a certain subject or industry. If you have knowledge that can benefit someone else, you can monetise this. Consider creating an ebook, audiobook or even an e-course to sell from your website.
Many popular bloggers and streamers sell merchandise from their websites. This is a great way to build loyalty among fans who want to support you.
If your blog is popular enough you can even sell reviews or sponsored posts. Alternatively, you can gate premium content behind a paywall or offer this content to readers who support your content with donations. There are plugins that can help you with this. PayPal also offers this functionality.
Monetising your WordPress website
The beauty of WordPress is the ease with which websites can be customised. Adding a paywall to your content, automating your affiliate marketing or hosting ads is as simple as adding the right plugin.
When adding a plugin, always look at the number of active downloads, and its user review rating, and check whether it’s compatible with your version of WordPress and your Starter Site or theme.
Another way to monetise your WordPress website is to add an online store. Our e-commerce Starter Site, Athletic, available as part of our Managed WordPress Hosting product, has everything you need to easily set up your online store. If you’re already a Managed WordPress Hosting customer making use of one of our other Starter Sites, you simply swap out your Starter Site for Athletic. You can find the steps for switching to Athletic here.
Whatever option you consider, remember that it will take time before your website starts to make money. While there’s no timeframe on how long this will take, factors like how many visitors you get and the quality of your content will play a role.
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