After creating a website to break into the online scene, you might be wondering how to monetize it. Allowing you to generate income from traffic and engagement, monetizing your website will provide many benefits, including offsetting development costs and even earning a profit.
Website monetization is possible for almost any online venture. In this guide, we'll teach you how to monetize a website using 14 proven methods that can drive revenue and transform your online presence.
Tip: Use this guide to learn how to make a Wix website.
How to monetize a website
When you think about how long it takes to build a website, it makes sense to make sure you can monetize it properly. Below, we’ll explore several methods for monetizing a website—from affiliate marketing and sponsored content, to dropshipping, siteflipping and more. Regardless of the approach you choose, the key to successful website monetization is ensuring that your strategy aligns your overall goals for running the site. By implementing the right strategy, you can turn your website into a profitable venture generating steady stream of income.
Tip: Check out this article on how much a website costs to know how much you’ll need to earn in order to break even.
01. Sell merchandise
Despite some commentators reporting that the US economy technically went into a recession in 2022, eCommerce revenue continued to grow both in the US and internationally. In turn, many businesses are selling merchandise by launching eCommerce websites or creating online stores on their existing sites.
In order to monetize your website by selling merchandise, you first need to decide what physical or digital product complements your brand's online presence. Church St. Brewing Company, for example, used their online traffic and growing loyal audience as an opportunity to sell branded tumblers, hoodies and other coffee-related merchandise via their online store.
Following St. Brewing Company's lead, businesses shifting to online sales should use an eCommerce platform that allows them to seamlessly fulfill and manage their orders. In addition, be sure to stay on top of the latest eCommerce trends, like personalization, to ensure you stand out from the crowd in this rapidly growing industry.
Tip: Use Wix’s print-on-demand feature to create and sell merchandise through your online store.
02. Build a membership area
The goal of creating a membership area is to turn readers into customers by getting them to pay a small fee for access to more content. Doing this is not only great for website monetization, but also for user engagement.
There are several membership models that you can employ to monetize a website:
A drip-feed membership model slowly trickles content to registered users.
An all-in membership gives users access all at once.
A fixed-term membership model gives users access to everything at once, but only for a fixed period of time.
In return for their membership fees, some ideas for what you can offer audiences includes premium content, online services or downloadable material. You might also use a feature like Wix Forums to create a members-only space where this exclusive community can connect and share information.
03. Send out a premium newsletter
Launching a newsletter is a great way to regularly engage with followers, share your perspective and provide exclusive updates. Newsletter engagement is a proven marketing tactic that can also complement your website monetization efforts.
Charging a subscription fee for exclusive editions of your newsletter can provide a reliable and scalable source of income. But since it often takes time to prove your newsletter's value to readers, it can be helpful to offer both paid and unpaid versions to readers, or at least give them free access at the start.
To start a newsletter strategy that works, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Focus each newsletter on a specific and timely topic that's relevant to your brand and truly piques your audience's interests.
Set a recurring delivery time so your subscribers will know when to expect it and will start looking forward to it.
For yourself, create a schedule for publishing content that you can stick to.
Since newsletters are easily scalable, you can begin to cover more content as your subscription number grows.
04. Offer consulting services
Monetizing a website with consulting services allows you to leverage your expertise and offer valuable services directly to your audience. This can be a profitable and scalable form of monetization, since you can charge a premium for your knowledge and expertise. Additionally, providing consulting services builds your reputation as an authority in your field by establishing a direct relationship with your audience.
To do this, you can start by making a consulting services website from the get-go. However, there are many ways monetize off your expertise using an existing site by integrating paid services. Let's say you've created a blog about staying financially smart—you can leverage your content and following by offering dedicated readers live budgeting consultation sessions for a fee.
To begin, you'll need an online scheduling software where potential clients can book a service or make a consultation appointment directly through your website. Advanced software will enable you to accept payments, host sessions online and manage all clients from your dashboard.
05. Start an online course
With virtual classes on the rise, another way to generate income online is by starting a paid online course. Similar to adding consulting services to your site, a course is a great way to monetize and build your audience using the traffic you already have.
Create an online course that focus on topics related to your expertise, knowledge and passions. It’s also important to ensure that the courses will be relevant to your audience and that you have something unique to bring to the table.
Tip: Use Wix’s video maker so that your courses look professional.
06. Become an affiliate marketer
Affiliate marketing is a popular method for website monetization in which the site owner agrees to promote the goods and services of a business in exchange for a commission. Most affiliate marketers work on a pay-per-sale rate, but some companies will agree to a pay-per-lead or pay-per-click rate.
To monetize your website with this strategy, you'll want to research the manifold affiliate programs available today to find one that's relevant to your brand. Join one that's aligned with your content, with products and services related to your website's niche and target audience. From there, you'll work with your affiliate partner by including links to their products and services throughout your site's content.
Here are some basic guidelines for affiliate marketing:
Select a brand you trust. An endorsement must reflect your honest opinion in order to maintain your reputation. If you promote a brand that's unreliable, your audience will trust your recommendations less, consequently hindering your future affiliate marketing efforts.
Recommend services or products your audience will benefit from. Your audience returns to your site because it offers them value in the form of informative content, beneficial links and recommendations. Every time you add something to your website, think about how it can further enrich your readers' lives.
Be transparent. Disclosing your affiliate partnerships is not only the honest thing to do; it’s also the law. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission requires affiliates to disclose their relationships with brands they're paid to promote. Check out the FTC endorsement guidelines before you get started. For those operating outside of the U.S., be sure to read about your country's laws on affiliate marketing.
07. Try dropshipping
While the idea of selling merchandise is an attractive way to monetize a website, you might not have the physical space or capability to oversee orders. An alternative to that scenario is dropshipping, which is an order fulfillment method that lets you sell products without having to manage your own inventory by connecting you with third-party retailers to pass on the sales order.
Dropshipping also provides flexibility in your product offering, making it easy to adjust your inventory since you're not limited to what's left in storage or what you can manufacture. It also takes little investment to start, especially because there isn’t a commitment to order minimums.
Tip: Wix’s dropshipping feature allows you to add ready-to-ship and print-on-demand products to your online store.
08. Rent ad space on your website
Selling ad space on a website is a popular choice when deciding how to monetize a website, and it’s a relatively simple way to do so. But when using this monetization strategy, its important to strike a balance between generating revenue and providing a positive user experience for visitors. For example, the eye-catching nature of video ads means that they tend to perform better, but they can be distracting to site visitors.
You’ll also need to balance the potential revenue gains with UX when determining ad size and placement. Banners are horizontal and sit at the top of the page. Skyscrapers and wide skyscrapers are vertical and sit on the sides of the page. Squares and small squares typically break up the copy itself.
There are many different kinds of ads you can consider implementing on your website. Here are just a few to choose from:
Static ads are images that contain permanent content. They only need to be assembled once and require no maintenance, for example a banner.
Animated ads are created as Gifs, HTML 5 banners or short videos and typically run between 5-10 seconds. They can be effective in getting the message across faster than the other types of ads.
Native ads resemble the content around it and are optimized to match the platform upon which they appear. They usually take the form of articles, videos and infographics.
There are several advertising networks you can become apart of, but we’ll limit our suggestions to the most popular advertising option: Google AdSense. While the amount you make with Google AdSense correlates with the amount of traffic your website gets, you can expect to earn up $8,000 to $45,000 per year. To get a better sense of your potential earnings, check out the Google Adsense revenue calculator.
09. Make sponsored content
Sponsored content is a way to monetize your own website by using it to also promote the products or services of other businesses in return for payment. Unlike working with ad firms, you won’t need to wait to get paid per click. Instead, you can reach out to brands who have similar target audiences, and offer to publish content that promotes their work, such as product reviews or blog posts.
While sponsored content can be a lucrative, it's important to maintain the integrity of your website and audience by only accepting sponsorships that are relevant and aligned with your website's goals. Stick to products you like, endorse brands that you trust and make sure that these not only benefit you, but also your regular audience.
10. Write an ebook
Ebooks are a fantastic website monetization option for blogs and service businesses. Not only do they provide a source of passive income, but they can also elevate your brand positioning. By offering valuable information to audiences in a format that's accessible and that they can return to over and over again—you'll can differentiate yourself as a trusted authority compared to other brands within your niche.
Like any good product, creating an ebook takes time and investment. Once you’ve decided on a good topic and written the content, you’ll need to invest in additional resources to edit and design the ebook.
Since there’s no middleman, like a publisher, between you and your buyers, you’ll get to sell directly from your site and keep all the profits. That being said, this means you need a solid promotional plan before you publish—share the book on social media, spread the word through email marketing and even consider advertising it to reach new audiences.
11. Create webinars
A paid webinar is another way to simultaneously monetize your site's content while positioning yourself as an authority in your field. Webinars, which is an online presentation held in real-time, typically run up to 45 minutes.
In order to make your webinar to be a success, make sure it stands out from the competition. Invest in its content to make sure you provide attendees with value that only you can offer. Additionally, investigate what similar webinars charge for access to help you figure out what to charge.
Finally, set a date and time for your webinar and spread the word. You can promote using a website a banner, send a message to your email list, use a landing page builder to make a dedicated webpage for signups, and share it on social media.
12. Accept donations
Your website visitors enjoy consuming every single area of your site, from its original content to the thoughtful visuals you continually add or update. That's most likely because you've been pouring in time, effort and resources to make sure its of high quality. With that in mind, consider asking regular readers for donations to help cover expenses and further support your own investment.
One of the easiest ways to accept monetary donations is via PayPal. You can write an open and honest message to your followers and feature it somewhere on your homepage, along with a CTA button that invites them to contribute. Wix streamlines the process of setting up a PayPal Donate button in a few simple steps.
13. "Hire me" page
In addition to monetization tools that can be integrated on your website, you can also create a "Hire me" page to bring you an extra source of income. Simply put, this is a dedicated page where you'll advertise your talents and skills for hire, from personal training to graphic design.
For your "Hire me" page, it's always a good idea to present your past work, or online portfolio, and highlight testimonials from past customers. Remember to add a call-to-action button so people know how to communicate with you. Some commonly used CTAs include, "contact me" or "learn more." You can also place a contact form at the bottom of the page that sends clients directly to you.
Tip: Check out this guide to creating a professional website before you start selling your services.
14. Flip websites
House flipping is all the rage as an investment strategy, and site flipping follows the same model. This is when you purchase a piece of "digital real estate" (e.g. a website), improve it, then sell it for a profit. You can also flip sites that you own.
Websites that have growth potential and a clear monetization strategy are prime digital real estate, so hunting those down is the first step. Once you've purchased a site, you'll make the necessary renovations (such as improving the design, content or UX) to increase its value and implement strategies to increase traffic and generate revenue.
When the site is ready for buyers, you can sell it using relevant forums and marketplaces. In fact, there are even website brokers who can handle the sales process for you and make sure you get the best possible price. Once the deal is closed you'll transfer ownership of the domain name and web hosting account to the buyer.
By Emily Shwake
Wix Blog Editor
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
Small Business Expert & Writer