Issue 91 / May 2009

You've built a website, and you're getting a decent amount of traffic. Now it's time to make some money! Here are some ideas on how you can turn a profit from your website, or at least make it pay for itself.

1. Sell Banner Ad Space

If you can show businesses that you have a steady stream of traffic (targeted traffic is even better), you may be able to bring in some money by charging for banner ads on your website. Log into your analytics account and look at your unique visitors. This is the number advertisers will be interested in because it shows roughly how many different people visit your website on a regular basis. That translates into the number of impressions their ad will get. The higher your number of unique visitors, the more you can charge for the ad space on your website.

2. Place Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) Ads on Your Site

Joining a PPC or CPM program is one of the easiest ways to make money with your website. The programs are generally free to join. Once you are approved to participate, the ad networks will send ads related to the content on your website. With PPC, you earn money when your visitors click on those ads. With CPM, you get paid every time an ad is served regardless of the number of clicks.

There are many programs to choose from. Internet Giants like Google and Yahoo! each run their own ad network. Smaller providers such as Affinity are also worth looking into.

3. Add eCommerce Functionality to Your Website

A website is far less expensive than opening a store front. If you have a product to sell, you can easily get an ecommerce store up and running, and it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. You need shopping cart software to create your online catalog and track your inventory, and you need a payment gateway and merchant account to collect your payments.

4. Join an Affiliate Program

The concept is simple: you refer business to another website, and that website pays you for your efforts. Many different companies have affiliate programs. Find an affiliate program that fits your business. If you're in the technology industry, join a Web hosting affiliate program. If you sell books, is an obvious choice.

5. Offer Premium Content for a Fee

If you have a niche audience willing to pay and a source for stellar content, you could make this model work for you. You may want to offer some low-level information free on your website to hook your readers, then ask them to sign up and pay for a subscription to your more in-depth information they can't get anywhere else.

6. Write and Sell Ebooks

If you have an idea for a book, but don't have the money to publish it yourself, consider writing an ebook and selling online. Because there are no printing costs, your sales are almost 100% profit.

7. Start a Subscription-Based Web Community

You can make money and provide a valuable service to your friends, acquaintances or business network by creating a Web-based community and charging a subscription fee to maintain an exclusive membership. Whether it's a dating site or networking site, you'll need to review applicants and monitor activity to make sure it provides top-level service. Otherwise your audience will turn to similar services offered for free.

These are just a few ideas for site-driven revenue streams.  The bottom line is your website can certainly help earn its keep and maybe a whole lot more.

eCommerce in this Economy


U.S. online retail sales (excl. travel) are expected to rise 11% this year, outpacing overall retail by 10%, per recent Forrester research. Reasons for online's growth? A more affluent customer base, a rise in comparative shopping and market share stolen from offline counterparts. Forrester projects online sales will grow from its current 5% of all retail to 8% by 2012 (excluding cars, travel and prescription drugs.)

Interested in adding ecommerce to your site? Merchant Manager is available as an option on both Unix and Windows hosting plans.

Bookmark This!

Do you know Who is visiting your site?

While Google Analytics can tell you what pages visitors view while on your site, Quantcast can help you understand who's visiting with demographic, geographic and business segmentation. Sign up for a free account, and Quantcast generates a tag of code that you paste into the bottom of each page of your site. It collects and analyzes the audience data and provides a profile of your visitors.

  Learn more.


Gate Community

quote The setup was easy, it worked seamlessly,... and the value was outstanding."

Larry Harrett
Real Estate Development Director, Columbus Urban Growth Corporation

Ask the Expert

RSS Feeds:  A really simple syndication (RSS) feed is a page on your website where you post content you want to distribute. RSS aggregators, such as Google Reader and MyYahoo, check that page about once a day for updates and distribute updates to any of their accounts registered for your feed.

Subscribers receive updates without having to continually check your site and are not required to provide you personal information such as their email.

If you rarely update your site, you don't need to have a feed. But if you regularly produce content such as blog posts, new products/promotions, press releases,  you should consider creating an RSS feed.

To learn more on how to set up a feed, check out Google's Feedburner help section.  

Brain Teaser

The average YouTube video is 3.5 minutes in length. About how many minutes of video are uploaded to YouTube each week? 

a. 3 million minutes

b. 6 million minutes

c. 9 million minutes

d. 12 million minutes


More than 9 million minutes of video are uploaded each week. That's roughly the equivalent of 86,000 full-length feature films.

See previous Brain Teasers.

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