If you’re starting an online business, obviously your goal is to make money off your website. Depending on the nature of your site and your online business goals, there are several possible ways to monetize your online presence. While hucksters can promise instant online riches, learning to make money off your website takes careful thought, creativity, effort and time.
While there are no sure-fire, instant solutions for getting rich quickly with your website, there are several opportunities you can pursue for making money online. The purpose of this article is to discuss several of these options so you can start to think about what option or options make the most sense for you.
First Thing’s First – Let’s Get Real
Today’s online consumers are generally savvy and aware shoppers who know that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This means that if your website appears to be a scam rather than a trustworthy online retailer, your potential customers will quickly click the “back” button on their browser and take their money elsewhere.
The most important part of giving your customers the impression that your website is not a get rich quick scam is easy: Do not attempt to scam your customers. Trying to scam customers and make a quick buck will only lead to trouble – both for your website and most likely for you and your business. Regardless of how you’re trying to make money off your website, stick to the principal of providing your customers with a valuable product or service at a reasonable price (keeping in mind that this price might be free if you’re operating a blog and selling advertising on your site).
Make Money Off Your Website By Selling Products
When selling products on your website, you generally have three options. The first is to sell products that you personally stock. These could be products that you manufacture or make yourself or products that you buy in bulk from wholesalers and store in your own inventory.
The second option is to use drop shipping to make money off your website. In a drop ship scenario, you’ll take an online order from a customer and send the order to the wholesaler or manufacturer of the product. They will then pack and ship the product to the customer. In some cases drop shipping is a good solution because you don’t have to purchase and store product inventory yourself.
The third option (which may fall as much into online advertising as it does product sales) is affiliate product sales. To make money off your website with affiliate products, you refer the visitors that come to your site to an affiliate site using a specially encoded link. If your visitor buys a product on the affiliate site, you earn a commission for that sale.
Make Money Off Your Website By Providing Services
You can also use your website to make money by providing the services that you provide online. There are a variety of professional services that can be managed virtually. The benefit of selling your services online is that typically your geographic reach will be much larger than if you simply sell your service locally.
For example, if you have a talent for graphic design, such as creating logos, then you could sell your logo design services through your website. Other service business ideas could include freelance writing, computer programming, bookkeeping, or screen printing.
Keep in mind that when providing your services online, you’ll still likely need to interact directly with your clients either by phone, email, or even in person. But offering your services online is another great way to make money off your website.
Passive Revenue (sort of): Selling Advertising
In some instances, selling advertising on your website can be a great way to make money online. If you plan to launch a website that provides valuable content on a specific topic, you may be able to attract advertisers who will pay you to place their ads on your site. Some website owners work directly with advertisers while others choose to use one of the many network advertising options available such as Google AdSense.
Selling advertising on your site shouldn’t automatically be considered an add-on revenue stream. In other words, if you’re selling your own products and services from your site, it’s probably not a good idea to sell advertising as well. Think about it…your singular goal is to keep your customer on your site in hopes that they purchase your products or services. If you showcase advertisements then you run the risk that your visitor will click on an ad and leave your website without purchasing anything from you.
Selling Rights To Mailing List Subscribers
If you have built up a large list of e-mail subscribers, then you may be able to benefit financially from selling the rights to that list to another company. This is particularly lucrative for online retailers or blogs that are concentrated in one niche area. Whether it is power tools or dried fruit, if your list of subscribers is concentrated in a particular area of interest than you may be able to monetize your subscriber list.
At all costs, allow your subscribers to opt-out of partner email communications at the time they sign up for your list as well as any time afterward. Not only will unsolicited emails annoy your subscribers, you’ll likely lose customer goodwill and may also run into legal issues.
Exit Strategy: Selling Your Website
Although it may not have cost you very much to set up your website initially, if you have built it into a successful business you may be able to sell it for a tidy profit. Whether it is because you are retiring or just are ready for a new venture, selling your website can be a great way to reap the financial benefits of your hard work online.
As you would when selling any business, whether it is online or brick and mortar, the first step when selling your website is to find out how much it is worth. This is best done through a formal valuation process by professionals. Valuation experts can tell you how much your company is worth based not only on your sales revenues and profitability, but also on the value of intangible items like company goodwill, online recognition, website traffic and keyword rankings.