In 2020, it’s entirely possible to earn a living by making money from your website. Whether you want to earn a bit of pocket money or make a full-time career out of your website, earning money from your website is a very popular thing to do.
The thing is, you don’t need to run an online store, selling products and services, in order to make money. In fact, some of the most profitable websites are those that don’t sell products.
That’s not to say you can’t create your own online store and make money. Because it’s a very profitable market. However, there are other ways too, and it’s how job to show you exactly how to earn money from your website.
We’re going to take a look at the most popular methods and establish how to earn money from your website today…
1. How to sell products
In the U.K. alone, in 2018, there were over 199.7 billion business to customer (B2C) eCommerce sales and 165.3 billion business to business (B2B) eCommerce sales recorded.
Find more statistics at Statista
As you can see from the chart above, these figures are continuing to grow, year-on-year. So it’s no wonder the eCommerce market is a popular opportunity to investigate. It’s now even easier for people to set up their own eCommerce stores, without requiring any coding or web development knowledge.
Platforms like Shopify make it easy to grab a slice of the eCommerce pie. Here are a few reasons why they are so great:
- Pre-designed themes and templates
- No coding skills required
- Easy to add your own products and services to sell
- A wide choice of apps and plugins to enhance your online store
- Multiple pricing plans to suit every budget and business requirement
- Integration with social media platforms
- Newsletter and subscription forms
- Discount codes and coupons
- Analytics and SEO
BigCommerce Review – An in-depth review of BigCommerce and its features
Shopify Review – We list the pros and cons of using Shopify and take a look at their tools for selling
Whilst many eCommerce builders are suitable for beginners, there are also tools for those who are a little more technical. WordPress.org is one of my favourite platforms which I recommend to web developers and people with some coding experience.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS). You’ll need to find your own web hosting if you’re using WordPress.org, but I can assure you that it’s worth it. You can choose to build your website entirely from scratch or make use of their awesome themes and plugins to customise your own website.
Best Free WordPress Hosting – 7 of our favourite WordPress web hosts that are free
Speed Up WordPress – 21 super easy ways to speed up WordPress in 2020
Best WordPress Page Builders – If you want more of a drag and drop style builder, we compare the best WP page builders
If you don’t believe you can create a successful eCommerce website, take a look at Forbes’ success stories.
BeardBrand made use of their awesome branding to stand out above the rest of the beard products market. Although the initial investment to get their brand out there was more expensive than your standard branding, it made a huge difference, and the proof is in the pudding.
In the first year, BeardBrand was hitting $120,000 in monthly sales. Its customers were wowed by the unique branding, along with the more personal experience it offers.
Best eCommerce Platforms – Take a look at our best eCommerce platforms to start your online store journey
Best Website Builders – If you want to start by creating a website, we review the best website builders around
Best Freelancers – Thinking of hiring a freelancer to build your website? We list the best ways to find awesome web developers, web designers, and graphic designers
2. How to sell services
Selling services is very similar to selling products. You just need to know what kind of product to sell, and how to sell it. The key difference between selling products and services is in order to sell services, you don’t need an eCommerce store builder.
In fact, it’s probably a little less complicated to sell services online. Services can be anything from online courses, a hairdressing business, or weekly recipe plans for the family. Finding something you’re good at is the best way to sell a service because it can be pretty much anything you like.
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SquareSpace Pricing – An in-depth look at SquareSpace’s pricing plans to find one suitable for you
Best Free Website Builders – Take a look at the best website builders available in 2020, for free to start your website journey
In order to sell your services online, you’ll need to create a website. There are plenty of simple website builders like Wix and SquareSpace where you can literally drag and drop elements to create your site. This is an ideal starting point for beginners.
The best way you can sell your services is to find out what makes you unique. Think about why people should choose your service over another, and establish your unique selling point (USP).
Even the strangest ideas can turn into a big success. Medium lists 32 examples of strange and successful online businesses.
Comprising of four friends, the Yes Theory YouTube channel was set up with the idea of people saying “yes!”. By changing their mindset, and hoping that others can do the same, these guys have turned their lives into someone what of a fairytale.
They’re now mingling with celebrities, embarking on dangerous adventures, and have over 5 million subscribers on YouTube.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is incredibly popular amongst bloggers. However, you don’t need to be a blogger to jump into the affiliate marketing world. In fact, you’ve probably used an affiliate marketing link multiple times without even knowing it,
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, it’s basically companies offering people rewards in return for selling their products or services. The great thing is, you don’t need to do much in order to gain traction.
It does help if you have a website or blog related to the product or service you’re advertising, but it’s not a requirement.
Affiliate marketing tends to take on two different types of methods, both of which are similar to adverts. These are:
- Cost per click (CPC) – making money when someone clicks on your affiliate link
- Cost per acquisition (CPA) – when a user buys a product or service, after clicking your link, you’ll receive commission or a set rate per converted customer
Many affiliate marketing programmes will offer nicely designed links in the form of banners or adverts you can embed on your website. This tends to be the preferred method in which website visitors like to see advertising, as opposed to random ads that may not necessarily be relevant.
Even if your existing website isn’t relevant to the product or service you’re using affiliate links for, you can easily create a blog and create related content. Alternatively, programmes like Amazon Associates contain a broader range of products that may appeal to wider audiences.
4. Selling advert space
Adverts on websites are everywhere. As much as they can be frustrating when browsing a webpage, they are a great way for people to make money.
Out of all the results on the page, the top three paid spots receive 46 percent of the clicks.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the most popular methods of selling advert space. When someone clicks on the advert displayed on your webpage, or search results, you’ll receive a commission from the advertiser.
If you’re using Google AdWords, the average CPC across all industries is around $2. Whilst this doesn’t seem like much, the more traffic you generate to the website, the more money you’ll make. To put this into perspective, say you get 5,000 visitors all clicking on an advert in a month, that’s $10,000 per month.
The most popular method of selling advert space is using Google Adsense. Google will generate adverts for you to display on your website by way of embedding code onto your webpages. They do their best to analyse what your website is about to find the most relevant adverts.
Another way of selling advert space is to go to the advertiser directly. This is going to take more time and effort, as you’ll need to find the right companies and persuade them to use your website to display their adverts. However, it can be more profitable.
If your website doesn’t generate a lot of traffic, but the user base you have is dedicated and engaged with you, donations can be a great way to earn money.
Donations are often presented as appreciation for your work and services, or a way to keep your work ‘alive’ due to not making money through other avenues. Examples of types of websites that accept donations are:
- Open-source projects
- Information websites
One of the most well-known websites accepting donations is Wikipedia. If you don’t know what Wikipedia is, it’s an online information website that is free to use. The founders of Wikipedia want to keep it free to use, but accept donations in order to keep it going, and to show appreciation for their work.
Setting up donations on your website is pretty easy. Lots of payment gateways will allow you to embed donation buttons on your site, but most people tend to use PayPal. In order to accept donations via PayPal, follow these simple steps:
- Create a PayPal account
- Go to the Donation creation page here
- Enter your information and customise your donation button
- Add your email address to receive donations
- Choose custom donation amounts or allow any donation
- Finish and get your code
Once people click on your donation button, they’ll be redirected to PayPal’s website. Here they can fill in their details and select how much they want to donate.
When people think of subscriptions, they tend to automatically go to magazines and newspapers. However, subscriptions can be for a wide range of products and services. Examples include:
- Magazines and newspapers
- Online courses
- Audio and video
According to Forbes, “15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes”. In the past 5 years, the subscription eCommerce market has grown over 100%.
A great example of a subscription is web hosting. You can’t go to a store and physically buy it, but you can subscribe to web hosting services in order to receive a service. If you’re thinking about creating your own website, you’re going to need web hosting. Companies like Hostinger offer web hosting from just 80p per month, so it’s not going to break the bank.
If you’re using a website builder or CMS platform, most of them will allow you to create a specific subscription-based area, that can only be accessed by subscribers. Often, this is protected by a username and password which you’ll get once you’ve subscribed.
You can set it so this area contains your premium content or services that only subscribers can have access to. A great way to promote a subscription service is by offering exclusive offers and discounts or even promoting giveaways.
After reading this guide, hopefully, you now know that selling products online isn’t the only way to make money online. Technology is growing, thus are methods to make money.
You don’t even need to have a big website or brand to start raking in the cash. Personal websites, bloggers, and even YouTuber’s are becoming millionaires through advertising, subscription services, and affiliate marketing.
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ve learned so far:
|Selling products online||Selling products via an online store. Easy to create a website using an eCommerce builder like Shopify||People who have products to sell|
|Selling services online||Like selling products, but easier to sell services of any kind using a simple website builder like Wix||Creative minds who have a USP|
|Affiliate marketing||Signing up to affiliate programmes like Amazon Associates and embedding affiliate links on your website||Website owners or bloggers|
|Selling advert space||Displaying adverts on your website or blog in return for commission or flat rate when users click on an advert||Website owners or bloggers with high traffic|
|Donations||Receiving donations for your work in appreciation, or to continue doing what you do||Websites that don’t generate much traffic but hold solid customer engagement and loyalty|
|Subscriptions||Offering a subscription-based service that can’t be obtained physically||A range of services like online magazines, software, courses, etc.|
All of the methods listed provide ways to make money online. You can choose which option is best for you by checking the ‘Ideal for’ column in the table above. Of course, this is just a guide, but are my recommendations based on a lot of research.
Many of these methods rely on generating lots of traffic to your website. In order to do this, you’ll want to make sure your website’s SEO is top-notch, to gain you a bigger advantage in the dog-eat-dog world of making money online.
Remember, anything is possible, you just need to work hard and have a good idea of what you want to achieve going into it.