There have been numerous posts online about making money from your website. Here are some ideas compiled from many articles on how to monetize your new website or blog. At one time or another, we’ve offered and installed some of these options for our clients. I think you’ll find some great options from the resources below.
One of the most popular methods of monetizing a website or blog is to sell advertising space, usually banner ads. You could manage this manually, but it is much more efficient to either use a network or a plugin/resource that will automate much of the process.
BuySellAds – A popular network that manages advertising for publishers and advertisers.
BuySellAds Pro – A professional-grade ($$) advertising solution from BSA.
OIO Publisher – Probably the oldest and most-used WordPress plugin ($47) for managing ad sales.
WP AdCenter – A popular and comprehensive ad management plugin for WordPress ($49).
AdSanity – Another popular and feature-rich WordPress plugin ($29) for managing ads.
AdPress – A premium WordPress plugin ($35) with advanced ad management features.
Banner Manager Pro – A WordPress plugin ($18) for selling and managing banner ads on your site.
The Deck – An long standing invite-only ad network that targets the web design industry.
Fusion Ads – Also and invite-only network that is owned by BSA targeting the creative community.
Yoggrt – Another invite-only network from BSA that targets the creative community.
Smaato – Mobile advertising network.
This means placing ads within the content of your pages. This is also an option if you create lots of focused content.
AdSense – Google’s contextual advertising solution is one of the easiest ways to monetize a website or blog.
Vibrant – In-text, in-image, and display ads.
Infolinks – Infolinks is a popular option for in-text ads.
Kontera – A contextual advertising solution that has been around for years.
Result Links – Focusing on in-text ads.
Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads – Contextual ads powered by Media.net.
Clicksor – They offer inline text ads, banners, popunders, and more.
Affiliate programs can be extremely lucrative to top earners, and one of the great perks is that there are affiliate programs available in just about any industry or niche you can imagine. You can sign up to promote specific products by joining the affiliate program of particular companies or websites, but large networks also represent a huge number of companies and products. Affiliate networks make it a little bit easier to manage because you can get all of your links and stats in one place, plus payouts for all programs within the network will be combined.
CommissionJunction – A huge network with options to promote products in just about any industry.
ClickBank – The leading affiliate network exclusively for digital products.
Amazon Associates – While it’s not really a network, Amazon sells so many different products that their affiliate program can be used by just about any website or blog.
ShareASale – Another large affiliate network with many products to promote on your site.
ClickBooth – Offer CPA and CPC options.
LinkShare – A major affiliate network that represents many leading brands.
Neverblue – Another popular affiliate network with a lot of options.
Selling products at your own website is one of the best ways to take your monetization to the next level. Here are some great resources for getting your own shop setup.
Shopify – A super-popular and feature-rich hosted e-commerce platform.
BigCommerce – Another popular and feature-rich e-commerce option.
DPD – A simple e-commerce system that is great for selling digital products.
Highwire – A hosted e-commerce platform that includes features like selling on Ebay and Facebook.
ecWid – A easy to user e-commerce platform for selling digital and tangible items. There’s a WordPress plugin that automatically imports the items to your site.
Magento – An extremely popular open-source e-commerce platform.
osCommerce – Another popular open-source option.
E-Junkie – A popular option for selling digital products, although you can use it for tangible products as well.
WooCommerce – The leading free WordPress plugin for e-commerce. You can purchase option add-ons from their store to add specific functionality.
WP e-Commerce – Another popular free WordPress plugin with premium add-ons available.
Cart66 – A premium WordPress e-commerce plugin. They also offer Cart66 Cloud which is a combination of a WordPress plugin and hosted e-commerce.
Easy Digital Downloads – A free WordPress plugin for selling digital products. See this plugin at work on the TWELVE:THIRTY Media project.
Gumroad – Gumroad makes it easy to sell your digital products.
Launch Your Own Affiliate Program
If you sell your own products, adding an affiliate program is an effective way to increase sales exponentially. You’ll allow others to promote your products in exchange for a commission on any sales that they refer. Most affiliate software options offer many of the same features, so I won’t list details, but here are several options.
WordPress Affiliate Plugins
If you use WordPress for your website there are a number of plugins that can help for setting up your affiliate program.
Selling memberships is another excellent monetization option. You can generate recurring revenue by offering members access to exclusive content or resources.
aMember – The most popular software for managing membership websites ($179.95), aMember integrates with a wide variety of CMSs and platforms.
Wishlist Member – Probably the most popular WordPress plugin ($97) for managing a membership website.
Restrict Content Pro – A solid membership plugin for WordPress ($42) that doesn’t include extensive features but is very user-friendly. See this plugin at work on the TWELVE:THIRTY Media project.
S2 Member – Another solid membership plugin for WordPress. It comes with a free version and a Pro ($69-$129) version with extensive features.
Member Mouse – A robust membership plugin for WordPress (starts at $19.95 per month).
MemberWing – Another membership plugin for WordPress ($199.95).
There are also a few resources that help you to make money by selling access to premium content on your site or blog.
Pivotshare – Sell premium video content.
TinyPass – Build a revenue stream based on payment for access to premium content.
Cleeng – Sell premium content including videos, e-books, live events, and newspapers.
Sponsored reviews and blog posts used to be more popular a few years ago, but there are still some options for leveraging your blog to make money from publishing sponsored content.
PostJoint – Accept paid content for your blog.
SponsoredReviews – Get connected with advertisers looking to pay for blog reviews.
SocialSpark – A marketplace find advertisers who want you to review their products.
Giveaway.ly – Make money by hosting sponsored giveaways.
Hosting Affiliate Programs
One easy way to make a little extra money is to join the affiliate program of whatever company is hosting your website. Almost every host offers an affiliate program and you can place an ad or link on your site that says “hosted by ABC Company”. If you’re looking for a new host you may want to consider one that has a great affiliate program.
Bluehost – A very popular host with an extremely popular and effective affiliate program.
HostGator – Another leading host with a generous affiliate program.
WPEngine – They specialize in managed WordPress hosting and they feature a high affiliate commission for referrals.
MediaTemple – A leader in the hosting industry with a potentially-lucrative affiliate program.
1and1 – Our current host also offers an affiliate program.
Add a Job Board to Your Website
Another option is to create an industry-specific job board on your site, and charge companies to post a job listing to be seen by your audience. The following options will all make it easy to setup your own job board.
WPJobBoard WordPress Plugin – See this plugin at work on these projects: Massachusetts Association of Broadcasters, New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters & Colorado Association of Broadcasters.
Jobify WordPress Theme – This is a complete theme for WordPress.
9to5 WordPress Theme – This is a complete theme for WordPress.
Create and Sell Access to Online Courses
Online training and education is a huge industry. You can leverage the expertise and reputation that you have developed by creating and selling your own courses.
Many bloggers also publish podcasts, and podcasts offer some additional opportunities for ad revenue and sponsorships.
Podtrac – Podtrac connects podcasters and advertisers.
You can sell products via auction using these WordPress plugins and themes.
WordPress Plugin for Monetizing a Site
For those of you who are using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that don’t fit perfectly into any of the categories before. Each of these plugins has it’s own unique functionality that helps you to make money in some way.
Sabai Directory – This plugin ($25) allows you to add a directory to your site, and it integrates with PayPal to accept payment for directory listings. See this plugin at work (member directory) in this project: New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters
Page Peel Pro – Use page peel ads on your site with this plugin ($13).
WP Adshare Revenue – Use this plugin ($10) to share AdSense revenue with authors and editors. It’s a great way to encourage others to produce content for your site.
Advert Flap Pro – Create unobtrusive ads that will get your visitors attention by using this plugin ($13).
Interstitial Ads – Use this plugin ($18) to show ads that your users will see between pageviews.
WP-Insert – A free plugin that will insert ads into specific locations within your content.
Google AdSense – A free plugin that makes it easy to implement AdSense into your WordPress website or blog.
WP Auto Affiliate Links – This free plugin will automatically create affiliate links within your content based on keywords and affiliate programs of your choice.
Amazon eStore Affiliates Plugin – Use this plugin ($31) to build a store featuring Amazon products.
Paid Downloads Pro – Sell any digital content easily with this plugin ($18).
Social Deals Engine – This plugin ($15) allows you to get daily deal site functionality, and it integrates with WooCommerce.
FooBar – Add a notification bar with this plugin ($14) to get more attention for an affiliate link or a link to one of your own products.
AttentionGrabber – Another popular plugin ($12) for adding a notification bar.
WP Header Bar – This plugin ($13) allows you to create responsive notification bars with a lot of different features.
Nice Notifications – A notification bar plugin ($14) with a drag-and-drop composer.
WP Pre Post Advertising – This plugin ($10) shows an ad before the actual post/page. The ad includes a countdown and when it reaches 0 the page/post will be shown.
5sec Link Remover – This plugin ($8) allows you to show links only to registered/paid users.
Pretty Link Lite – A free plugin (premium version also available) that is great for shortening your affiliate links.
Simple URLs – Another free plugin for creating shortened links.
WP125 – This free plugin allows you to manage and rotate banner ads.
AdRotate – A free plugin for managing ad spots on your blog. A pro version is also available.