Start With Reverse Engineering Your Competitors
The first thing that you do is to look at what everybody else is doing. Look at your competitors. How do you think they make money from their websites? You already have your list of competitors. Visit each and every one of them and look at their ads. Write down your notes and collate them for all your competitors.
What do they all have in common? Look up your competition’s ‘industry standard’ monetization model on the list below.
AdSense is an advertising platform owned and run by Google that pays per click. When AdSense detects text on a page, it will then try to show ads targeting that text. This is called contextual advertising.
It’s fairly easy to get an AdSense account – especially if you live in the United States.
Another awesome advantage of AdSense is that they have such a massive network of advertisers, that you don’t have to worry about finding advertising for whatever content you have. Chances are, there is already an advertiser looking to show their ads on pages that contain your type of content.
While AdSense does pay you per click, depending on the content you have on your pages, you might not get that much money per click. It’s not unusual to get a few pennies per click. The rate really depends on where your traffic is coming from and the keywords you are targeting.
Another big disadvantage to AdSense is that is is very traffic-dependent. If you’re just starting out and you don’t have much traffic volume, AdSense is probably going to pay you very little money. There are ways around this. You can strategically place your ads. You can also make sure that you’re targeting only high-value keywords and try really hard to get mostly American or British traffic.
But given all the variability and randomness of AdSense ads, you really are at the mercy of its algorithm.
Amazon Affiliate Program
You can place Amazon affiliate product ads all over your web pages. These would show different products. When people click, and they buy something from Amazon, you can earn a commission that can vary quite a bit.
Amazon covers a huge number of product categories. It’s almost unimaginable that your niche is not going to fit under one of these categories. Accordingly, you can sell physical products related to your niche. This goes a long way in somehow supplementing the content of your niche because not only would people learn how to do certain things or solve problems, but they could actually click on an ad that physically solves their problem.
Another key advantage to this program is that usually, people do not just buy one product. They often look at other related products to supplement the product that they are buying. If they any other type of product, you get a commission on that as well. It’s not unusual for website owners to earn hundreds of dollars every month on a very passive basis because the people that they attract to their website end up buying a wide range of products on Amazon.
The big disadvantage to the Amazon affiliate program is that people actually have to buy something for you to make money. Also, sometimes, there is not really a tight fit between your content and products your visitors might be interested in. In that situation, they are less likely to click on Amazon ads.
Finally, Amazon is quite stingy on certain types of products. If your niche fits into these low commission products, you’re not going to make as much money from Amazon as you would using other monetization models.
CPA stands for cost per acquisition. You join an affiliate program and you get a link to products or services offered by businesses who have enrolled in that affiliate program. If you show these ads on your website and when people click on them and buy something, you earn a commission.
The big advantage to this type of monetization method is the fact that you can select affiliate sponsors based on how much they pay. It can get quite lucrative. For example, there are gold IRA affiliate programs out there that pay thousands of dollars per sale. You can a lot of money pushing those programs.
The big disadvantage to these types of programs is that you pretty much take all the risk. You generate traffic. You show the ads. If somebody buys, great, you make money. The problem is, prior to that point, you’re taking all the risk. Usually, the more expensive the product, the higher the commission, but also the less likely people would buy stuff.
Another disadvantage to this type of model is the fact that you are at the mercy of the conversion page of your sponsor. What if they don’t know what they’re doing? What if they are lazy and just put up a sales page that converts way below its fullest potential? You end up taking the hit, not them.
Email Of Zip Code CPA Programs
This monetization model pays you money every time people you send from your website to fill out an email form or enter their zip code. These forms can get quite complicated. Some forms ask for a lot of information. Other forms have two pages. Generally speaking, the less information the CPA, email or zip code form requires, the less money you make. The more information it asks for, the more money you make.
The big advantage of form-based CPA is that people don’t have to buy anything. They just have to enter their email address or zip code or fill out a form, and you get paid. Of course, this assumes that these entries are real and not fraudulent. Also, there is a lot of testing going on to make sure that you are not just defrauding the program.
Another big advantage to this type of monetization model is the fact that it’s very flexible. You can drive traffic from your properties to these forms in a variety of ways as long it’s approved by the program.
The simpler the form and the less fields it has, the less money you make. But thankfully, this is more than offset by the fact that this is a fairly easy way to make 25 cents per email collected or 50 cents per zip code collected. Compare this with making a few cents per click on AdSense.
Another big disadvantage is that this type of program favors traffic coming from relatively few countries. If your traffic is mostly American or British, you would do well with this type of program. However, if your traffic comes from developing economies, then these programs are usually not available to you. The ads won’t show up at all if you force them to show up and people click through without a proxy, they go to a blind page or a warning page.
ClickBank / JVZoo Programs
ClickBank and JVZoo are affiliate programs that sell mostly digital products like books and software. These programs have made quite a name for themselves because they offer a wide range of digital products you can sell on an affiliate model basis. People usually have to buy something for you to get paid.
Depending on our niche, these platforms can give you access to a wide range of products your audience members may appreciate. These platforms also work best with a mailing list. If you are converting a lot of your website visitors into list members, show they ads for JVZoo and ClickBank and they may convert.
The great thing about these platforms is that they are never short on product launches. This brings me to another crucial advantage they bring to the table. If you know that a new product is launching on these platforms, you can beat the competition by building a little page or a blog post around the upcoming launch product.
The big disadvantage to this model is that you are penalized for refunds. If somebody buys a product, you get all excited because the statistics page shows that you’re going to be getting a commission. Unfortunately, when you check back two weeks later, you get discouraged because you find out that that person refunded.
Publish Your Own Kindle Books And Sell Them On Your Brand Websites
Sell books that you, yourself, wrote or you outsourced to places like ozki.org. The great thing about selling your own books is the fact that you will sell products that are directly related to the content of your websites.
There is no guesswork. You’re not worrying whether the ads that you’re showing will fit the content of your pages. Since you control what you write on your book, you can bet that there is going to be a direct connect connection. You can even be very aggressive with your website’s ads to promote your books.
You pretty much run the show. You can promote your Kindle book with text links or graphic links. You can hold all sorts of giveaways to get people to buy your book. You give yourself a tremendous amount of options to market your book because you control the playing field.
Please understand that in the context of this method, Kindle is just a distribution platform for your Kindle book. That’s all it is. The heavy lifting, as far as selling goes, is all up to you. You have to make it happen. Nobody is going to help you.
Selling Your Own Digital Products
Besides Kindle, there are all sorts of digital products you can sell on your website. You can sell templates. These are all downloadable. You can sell graphics or even software. As long as it’s digital and downloadable, you can sell it on your site.
The big advantage that you get, selling your own digital products, is you get passive income. You create a product once and then you sell it many times over on your website. Who can argue with that? What’s not to love? You also control the platform. You can talk about your products all you want. You can create podcasts, videos, pictures, knock yourself out. You are in full control.
Finally, you control the conversion mechanisms of this process. I can’t emphasize this enough. My biggest complaint about affiliate programs, whether it’s on Amazon, ClickBank or elsewhere, is that sometimes the conversion page or landing page doesn’t go a good job. I work really hard to drive traffic for my website, but somehow it falls flat.
The key disadvantage with this monetization method is the same as selling your own Kindle books. You must have set up a high-converting platform first. If you don’t bother to do that first, then
chances are, your products are not going to sell. Make sure you tighten up your website first and qualify your traffic, so everything works out.
Otherwise, you’re just going to be wasting your time. Offer your own dropship store This is my personal favorite. As awesome as your brand may be, you need some physical products to sell with your brand. You need branded stuff to promote.
When you open a dropship store that has your brand and carries products that you talk about on all your websites, you not only make money from each product sale, but you also get to brand your audience members.
How many people do you see in any given day, walking around with a Nike logo on an article of clothing? How many people do you see, walking around in shoes have a prominent logo? These people are walking billboards. Think along these lines when considering building your own dropship store. This can be a branding gold mine.
You worked hard to build an online community around your brand. It really would be sad to see all that effort go up in smoke because you did not take the next step and offer physical products that carry your brand.
This monetization model is really something that you should reserve until the very end. This is the key. If you do this early on, your brand may still not be airtight. You may not be qualifying your traffic well enough. There are just so many things that could go wrong.
Owning your own dropship store also carries some costs. It’s not free. So, do yourself a big favor and make sure that your brand is set up properly before you venture into physical products.
Mix and match among the different monetization models above and see which works best for your brand. Scale up the ones that are working and get rid of the ones that fall flat.