If you’re not using the right website monetization strategies, you won’t be able to make money from your blog even when your content is getting consistent traffic from search engines.
What are the best ways to monetize a site?
Passive income methods that free up your time and do not require you to spend countless hours in front of your laptop screen.
What I’m saying might sound obvious but you’ll be amazed at how much money bloggers leave at the table by not employing the right monetization strategies.
In this detailed article, I’ll share three broad approaches to website monetization that’ll instantly allow you to make more money from your existing traffic without doing anything extra.
Why Most Bloggers Struggle To Make Money Online?
Making money from your website isn’t a myth.
But it’s certainly not as common or as easy as some bloggers make you think.
Let me share a few interesting stats to back my claim.
According to a study by Ahrefs, 90.63% of all content on the internet gets ZERO visitors.
That’s right! They don’t receive any traffic at all.
And when there’s no traffic on a site, there’s no way to make money from it either.
This is why a completely unrelated survey of around 1000 bloggers found that more than 60% of active bloggers who’re driving traffic to their sites make less than $500 (the majority of them earn nothing)
Why is this the case even for bloggers who’re getting traffic to their sites?
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, low-income bloggers are inconsistent and lack the discipline required to make money from their sites. They treat their blogs as side projects and never put in the consistent effort that’s required to grow a profitable blog.
A study by GrowthBadger found that almost 70% of low-income bloggers don’t even research their audience and create content based on their perception of what their readers want.
The second reason for not making money despite getting traffic to your site is not employing the right monetization strategies.
According to a study of more than 4500 content creators by Social media Examiner, here are the most popular ways to make money from blogging.
As you can see, advertising, selling your products, and affiliate marketing are among the top passive income methods bloggers use.
But it’s not just about choosing a monetization model for your site. You also have to apply it properly with the right strategy.
For example, selling digital products and courses is a popular way to make money these days. But no one will buy from you just because you’ve created a course and put it on sale.
You have to attract the right prospects, convert them into subscribers, nurture them through email marketing, and convert them into customers through convincing sales content.
Similarly, every other monetization strategy requires a different strategy to work for your blog.
Which ones should you focus on?
Read my detailed answer in the following sections.
3 Most Common Ways To Generate Passive Income From Your Blog
There are dozens of ways to make money from your blog once you have enough traffic on it.
But generating passive income is the ultimate dream of every blogger.
This is why I want to share three methods that you can apply to start making passive income almost immediately from your site.
Plus, I’ll share the exact strategies to make these monetization methods work for you.
Let’s dive in.
Monetization Method #1: Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is among the most popular ways to make money online.
Why is it so popular?
Because it has a low entry barrier, requires almost no investment, is widely used by brands around the world, and gives you the ability to earn passive income from anywhere.
This is why it is equally popular among established and beginner bloggers.
But what exactly is affiliate marketing?
It is a passive website monetization method in which you get paid for selling products owned by someone else or by generating leads for other businesses through your marketing efforts.
You don’t have to worry about creating the product or providing after-sales service.
Your only job is to promote affiliate products to the right audiences and earn a fixed commission every time you facilitate a sale.
According to a study by Forrester, affiliate marketing is expected to become an $8 billion industry by 2021.
It is also fast becoming one of the top ways advertisers and brands drive sales. According to a survey of the top marketing brands that are making at least $200 million per year, 81% of them actively recruit affiliates to generate sales.
This shows that advertisers are already spending a significant portion of their marketing budgets on affiliate marketing.
And it makes sense for them to do so because they only have to pay their affiliates when they make a sale.
If you have a high traffic website, affiliate marketing is the fastest way to monetize it. You simply have to find the right affiliate products that are in line with the needs of your target audience, start promoting them on your blog, and the commissions start flowing in.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing
Theoretically, there’s no limit to how much money you can earn with affiliate marketing. The more sales you can drive, the more money you’ll make.
In reality, though, your earnings depend on several factors.
– Price of the product/program you’re promoting
– The commission rate of the product you’re promoting
– The commission model of the product.
– The conversion rate of the product pages on the advertiser’s site.
– The number of visitors on your site per month
– The conversion rate of your affiliate pages.
– The percentage of return traffic on your site.
– Your content strategy
Let’s take the example of Amazon Associates, the world’s most popular affiliate marketing program.
Beginner affiliate marketers who promote Amazon products on their sites typically reach $500-$1000/month in commissions in 12-15 months (depending on their content marketing and SEO strategy).
But there are countless examples of bloggers who started from scratch and crossed 5-figures/month within a year.
Adam Enfroy, for example, started his blog in early 2019 and was making more than $20K/month from affiliate marketing before the end of the year.
His most recent income report shows he made more than $82K in August 2020 out of which $68K+ came through different affiliate programs.
10Beasts is another popular success story of an Amazon affiliate review website in the tech niche started by a 22-year-old from his bedroom.
The site reviewed gaming accessories and gadgets, drone cameras, and other tech products and grew to more than $40K/month within a year.
After running it successfully for a couple of years, the owner flipped 10Beasts for more than $600K.
One of our NicheHacks Facebook Group members, Al-Amin Al Kabir, is another amazing success story of making it big with Amazon niche sites.
He started his niche site from scratch and earned more than 6-figures as an Amazon affiliate in less than a year. He has documented his whole journey in this article.
All of the above examples are of talented individuals who had limited resources and no money to outsource work or invest in advertising.
Yet, they still pulled off amazing feats and made life-changing money with affiliate marketing thanks to their hard work, and intelligent marketing strategies.
I’ve not even mentioned multi-million dollar affiliate sites like BestReviews, TheWireCutter, NerdWallet, etc.
If you want to see more examples, I did a pretty in-depth post here on NicheHacks which lists 20+ successful affiliate sites with their exact revenue and traffic numbers.
In short, there’s a lot of money to be made with affiliate marketing if you adopt the right strategies.
Affiliate Marketing – How Does It Work And How To Get Started
The affiliate marketing process involves 3 main stakeholders.
Advertiser/Product Owner: The company which owns the product
Affiliate Network: The affiliate platform that connects advertisers with affiliates
Affiliate Marketer: The person who promotes the products and earns a fixed commission for every sale.
Customer: the end-user who purchases the product.
Here’s a visual representation of how the whole affiliate marketing process works.
Step by step details of how you can get started with affiliate marketing:
Step 1 – You apply for registration to an affiliate marketing platform (usually free).
Step 2 – The platform reviews your application and approves if it meets the requirements (which can vary from your website topic, how high quality it is, whether it has enough traffic, and appears credible).
Step 3 – You're given access to the marketplace from where you can choose affiliate offers and products to promote on your website.
Step 4 – When you choose a product, you're given a unique tracking link by the affiliate network that you need to use so that all the sales you refer are credited to your account.
Step 5 – You promote the products on your website, email list, or any other platform where you have an audience.
Step 6 – Someone from your audience clicks your link and buys the product.
Step 7 – The sale is credited to your account by the affiliate network and your commission is added to your digital wallet immediately or after a certain period (in some programs).
Step 8 – You get paid when the payment date arrives or when you choose to withdraw it (varies with platforms – it can range from 30 to 90 days typically).
If you’re starting from scratch, grow our site to at least 100-200 visitors per day before applying for an affiliate program. I say this because most affiliate programs reject applications from completely new sites.
Plus, if you don’t have enough traffic there’s no point in promoting affiliate products because you won’t be able to drive any sales.
However, if your site already receives a healthy number of visitors every month, just find the right affiliate program, and immediately increase your income by promoting relevant affiliate products.
The 3 Main Types Of Affiliate Marketing:
The core concept of affiliate marketing is simple – you get paid for promoting and selling third party products.
However, there are several types of affiliate marketing that differ in how you can promote affiliate products.
Let me quickly describe them to you.
Pay Per Sale Affiliate Marketing
In Pay Per Sale affiliate marketing, you earn a commission only when you promote a product and your referrals end up buying it within the time period defined by the advertiser.
This is the most popular affiliate marketing type that’s followed by the majority of affiliate programs including Amazon Associates, the biggest affiliate program in the world.
Pay Per Lead Affiliate Marketing
In Pay Per Lead affiliate marketing, your job as an affiliate is to drive traffic to the advertiser’s landing page where they can convert into leads by filling a form with their contact info.
Pay Per Action Affiliate Marketing
In Pay Per Action affiliate marketing, you get paid when your referrals perform a certain action (defined by the advertisers) such as making a phone call to a specific number or watching a video, etc.
The 2 Main Types Of Affiliate Products:
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s a popular model in every niche which means there’s an infinite number of products you can promote as an affiliate depending on the needs of your audience.
There are two broad types of affiliate products you can promote.
These are real-world products that must be shipped to your customers when they place an order.
Due to the rise in eCommerce, physical product sales have skyrocketed. According to Statista, the global retail eCommerce is set to exceed $6.5 trillion by 2023.
And since Amazon Associates offers an unlimited range of products that affiliates can promote, most affiliates prefer to promote physical retail products.
Digital products include video courses, training content, membership sites, eBooks, audio content, mastermind groups, software, mobile apps, and other products that can be accessed and used online.
This is also a highly lucrative area for affiliates especially in the software and online education niches where product prices are high and the commission rates are very attractive.
The Types Of Affiliate Commissions:
Most affiliate programs offer one of the following commission types.
Fixed One-Time Commission
In this commission mode, the affiliate earns a fixed commission (a certain percentage of the product price) when they facilitate a sale.
This s a widely followed commission model that’s equally popular in the physical and digital product space.
A2Hosting, for example, offers a one-time commission of $125/sign up to their affiliates.
One-time commission programs usually offer higher commission rates than recurring programs which is why most affiliates prefer them.
In this commission model, the affiliates earn a recurring monthly or quarterly commission as long as their referrals keep using the affiliate products they’re promoting.
It is mostly used in the digital marketing space in niches like B2B SaaS, online education, and software.
To promote high-quality affiliate products to your audience, you need to sign up for the right affiliate programs.
Here are some of the best affiliate networks and platforms where you can find products from every niche.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms – How To Find The Right Affiliate Products:
- Amazon Associates (read our detailed guide)
- eBay Partner Program
- BestBuy Affiliate Program
- Clickbank (read our detailed guide)
- Commission Junction (read our detailed guide)
- ShareASale (read our detailed guide + FAQs)
- JVZoo (read our detailed guide + video)
- Dream Host Affiliate Program
- ClickFunnels Affiliate Program (read our detailed guide)
- Shopify Affiliate Program (read our detailed guide)
- SEMRush affiliate program
- GetResponse affiliate program
- ActiveCampaign affiliate program
There are many other niche-specific affiliate programs as well that you can find through Google Search.
I’d also recommend reading this detailed article in which we’ve described and ranked 20+ top affiliate networks and this guide to the top influencer marketing networks.
6 Proven Tips To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Before I move on to the next monetization method, here are some quick but practical tips to help you succeed as an affiliate marketer.
i. Choose A Profitable Affiliate Niche
Niche selection is one of the most important factors in determining your success or failure as an affiliate marketer.
What is a niche?
It is a well-defined subset or a more specific target market within a larger industry.
- “Pet supplies” is a broad industry but “dog food” is a niche.
- “Weight loss” is a broad industry but “post-pregnancy weight loss” is a niche.
- “Sports” is a huge industry but “soccer tips” is a niche.
You can go even more specific and target micro niches (here are a few examples)
Here are the four key components of the right affiliate marketing niche.
- It is specific but expandable
- It is based on passions and problems
- It has high commercial intent and eCommerce activity
- It is evergreen and always in demand.
If you want to learn more about niche selection, I’ve written this detailed step by step niche selection guide that’ll help you find the right niche for your affiliate site.
ii. Focus On Building Trust With Your Audience
Trust is the key factor is sales because people buy from brands they trust.
If you want to drive affiliate sales consistently, you need to build trust with your audience and position yourself as a niche expert.
According to a study, 61% of consumers prefer clicking on affiliate links from the experts they trust.
And the best way to do that is by consistently publishing actionable and high-quality content that targets the problems of your audience.
Driving sales becomes much easier when you pitch the right products to your audience. Always make sure that the products you’re promoting are relevant to your audience and solve their key problems.
When you do that, you won’t have to do a lot of convincing.
iv. Create Useful And High-Quality Content
Your job as an affiliate is to help your audience make more informed decisions and choose the products that are truly useful to them.
This is why you must create content that objectively reviews different products, shares their pros and cons, and recommends the best products based on facts.
According to research, consumers trust the content that shares both the pros and cons of a product.
Simplifying the decision-making process of your readers should always be the number one focus of your content strategy.
v. Diversify Your Affiliate Portfolio And Traffic Sources
Never limit your site to 1 or 2 affiliate programs only. The same goes for your traffic sources.
Use as many affiliate programs and traffic sources as possible so that your business is never dependant on a single platform for its existence.
Monetization Method #2: Make Money With Google Adsense (And Other CPM Ad Networks)
Have you noticed the text and banner ads that appear on different websites while you’re browsing the internet?
You see such ads on a website when it is monetized with Google Adsense, the world’s biggest ads program through which bloggers and content creators can make money online.
Google started the Adsense program in 2003 and is currently used by more than 10 million websites around the world.
Adsense has a simple business model.
It offers both CPM and CPC advertising options to publishers.
In CPM ads, you can place Google Ads on your site and get paid for every 1000 impressions.
In CPC ads, you’ll earn money whenever your visitors click on an ad.
Like affiliate marketing, monetizing your website with Google Adsense has a very low entry barrier which is why it is among the top ways content creators monetize their sites.
If your site has regular traffic, you can start earning money with Adsense immediately.
What Is Google Adsense?
Google runs the world’s biggest advertising company through its Google Ads platform. Millions of advertisers use Google Ads to market their products and services by displaying ads on different websites, mobile apps, video networks, and other online properties.
Google Adsense is the opposite of Google Ads.
Adsense is a publisher program in which you can register your website or any other online platform where you want to show relevant Google Ads.
In short, Google Ads is the platform from where advertisers can run ads and Google Adsense is the platform using which Google recruits publishers and website owners like you who want to earn money by showing ads.
How Much Money Can You Make With Google Adsense
Your earnings with Google Adsense depend largely on two things.
- Your niche
- The location of your audience
If you’re in a niche like finance, mortgage, insurance, B2B Saas, etc. where there’s stiff competition between advertisers who’re willing to pay more than the others to drive clicks to their sites, your earnings will be significantly higher.
Because Google pays 68% of its total ad fee to publishers like you and keeps 32% to itself.
So if an advertiser is paying Google $100 per click and you display their ads on your site as an Adsense publisher, you’ll earn $68 per click while Google will keep $32.
To give you an idea of how much money Google pays its publishers, have a look at its advertising revenue for the last 20 years.
In 2019, Google earned almost $135 billion in advertising revenue. The majority of those ads were displayed on different websites and online properties registered with Adsense.
Since Google pays 68% of its advertising fee to its publishers, Adsense publishers around the world earned almost $87 billion in 2019.
That’s a lot of money.
If you choose to get paid for impressions instead of clicks, Google pays around $2-$3 for every 1000 impressions.
So how much can you earn if you monetize your site with Google Adsense?
No need for guesswork, simply use Google’s own calculator to get an estimate of how much you earn as a publisher.
If you’re in the “pets & animals” niche and the majority of your visitors come from North America, you’ll make $7452/year ($621/month) with Adsense for 50K monthly page views.
The more page views your sites have, the more revenue you can earn.
There are some great examples of people who’re making six-figure per year with Adsense.
Jon Dykstra of FatStacksBlog earns more than $70K per month from 8 different niche sites. A large portion of his income comes from showing ads by Google Adsense and other ad networks on his sites.
Giant publishers like Mashable, BuzzFeed, CNN, BusinessInsider, and countless others make millions of dollars every month with Adsense.
Monetization With Google Adsense – How Does It Work?
Signing up for an Adsense account is pretty simple.
You need to have a Google account using which you can sign up for an Adsense account for free.
The main part of the signup process is when you have to describe the website where you want to display the ads.
Make sure your site is already getting at least 100 visitors per day, has unique and high-quality content, and has no black-hat SEO or banned content (gambling, porn, etc.) in it.
As a part of the signup process, you’ll need to copy/paste the Adsense code to your site that will be used to display ads.
Once the signup process is complete, your site will go under review and you’ll be notified if it is approved for the program.
The great thing about Google Adsense is that Google serves unique ads to every visitor of your site based on their browsing habits, interests, and location.
This increases the probability that your visitors will click on those ads and help you earn more money.
The Best Google Adsense Niches For 2020
As I’ve already mentioned, how much you can earn with Google Ads depends on the location of your audience and your niche.
However, publishers in the following niches generally earn the most per click with Google Adsense.
- Online education
- Marketing & Advertising
- Internet & Telecom
- Online banking
Why do these niches pay so well?
Because there’s a lot of competition in these niches and the advertisers are willing to pay premium rates to run their ads.
Have a look at the PPC advertising rates for the top niches in the US.
This is what advertisers in the US are paying Google for every click in these niches. 68% of this amount goes to you, the publisher.
However, these numbers (and the top niches) are different for every country.
Other CPM and CPC Ad Networks -The Best Google Adsense Alternatives
Google Adsense is the clear market leader when it comes to CPC and CPM ads for publishers.
However, there are many other alternatives that you can explore in case you don’t want to use Adsense.
- Sovrn //Commerce (Formerly VigLink)
Each of these networks has its own policies so make sure you research them thoroughly before joining a network.
Monetization Method #3: Make Money By Selling Ad Space
Let’s say you’ve already monetized your sites with affiliate marketing and Google Adsense.
But you’re still looking for ways to generate passive income.
How about selling advertising space directly on your website and other platforms that you own?
If you have an established website that receives thousands of visitors per month, direct advertising partnerships can be your biggest revenue source.
There are different pricing models for direct advertising partnerships
- You can charge for ad space irrespective of the number of clicks or impressions an ad receives
- You can charge for the number of clicks on an ad
- You can charge for impressions on ads.
The best option is to charge a good amount for ad space so that you don’t need to measure the number of clicks or impressions.
Here are a few ways you can use it.
4 Ways To Make Money With Direct Advertising Partnerships And Selling Ad Space
There are lots of ways you can use direct advertising to make money but the following four are most commonly used.
01 – Sell Site-Wide Ad Space On Your Website/Blog
You can dedicate advertising space in your blog’s sidebar, header, or footer and sell it to the highest bidder.
Site-wide ads are visible on every page of your site which is why advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for it.
Sewrella, a blog about knitting patterns, is a good example.
According to its latest income report, the site made more than $8K by selling site-wide advertising space.
02 – Sell Ad Space For Specific Content
If the majority of your site’s traffic goes to one or two pages, it makes more sense to sell ads on those pages instead of your whole website.
This is a good option for new websites because even if your site has a couple of high traffic pages you can monetize them with direct ads.
However, you need to make sure that the ads are relevant to the content of your page to make sure that the user experience does not suffer.
03 – Sell Ad Space In Your Email Newsletter
If you have a large email list (or even a small one) with a high engagement rate, you can make a lot of money by selling ad space in your email newsletters.
Almost every top website that has a large email list uses this monetization option because it’s in high demand and advertisers are willing to pay a lot of money for it.
For example, here’s an email newsletter from a leading marketing website. Notice the “Sponsored Content” section which has links to different websites.
The advertisers must have paid thousands of dollars for those links because this newsletter goes out to more than 200K email subscribers.
If you have such a big email list, your weekly newsletter can become a huge revenue source without any effort.
Another form of direct advertising partnerships is to publish sponsored content on your site.
According to a study by Ahrefs, the average amount of money websites charge for publishing sponsored content is $361.
But that’s just the average amount.
High traffic sites with a large audience and high domain authority easily make thousands of dollars by publishing multiple sponsored articles every month since there’s so much demand for it.
Here’s an example of a top marketing site charging to publish sponsored content.
However, make sure that you mark such content as sponsored and tag the backlinks in it as no-follow and sponsored. Otherwise, you can get into trouble with Google algorithms.
Are You Ready To Increase Your Website’s Earnings?
The website monetization strategies I’ve shared in this post are easy to implement and don’t require much time to set up.
Plus, they’re completely passive income sources that, once activated, require no time commitment.
And the best part is that you can use all of them together at the same time.
However, to make money consistently from any of these monetization strategies, you’ll need to drive lots of traffic to your site every month.
This is why I’d strongly recommend that you read our detailed traffic generation guide to build a sustainable traffic generation strategy for your site.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a website monetization strategy?
In simple words, a website’s monetization strategy lays out how it is going to make money from its visitors. There are many different ways to monetize a website depending on its audience and traffic sources.
What is the best way to monetize a website?
Affiliate marketing and display advertising are the primary monetization strategies used by most websites and blogs because they have a low entry barrier and require no prior investment.
What are the most popular website monetization strategies?
The most popular website monetization strategies are affiliate marketing, Google Adsense advertising, and selling advertising space on your site.
What is the difference between CPM and CPC advertising?
A CPM ad network pays you based on the number of impressions the ads on your website recieve. A CPM ad network pays you for the number of clicks on the ads placed on your site.
How much does Google Adsense pay per 1000 impressions?
How much Google Adsense pays you for ad impressions depends on where your traffic is coming from. For sites where most of the traffic comes from the USA, you can earn around $3 for 1000 impressions.
How much do websites make per click?
If you monetize a website with Google Adsense, you get 68% of the per-click cost that Google charges its advertisers. The amount of money per click with Adsense depends on your niche. In general, you can earn anywhere between $0.20 to $15 per click.
What are the best Adsense niches?
The most profitable Adsense niches are the ones where the advertisers are selling high-ticket products/services and are willing to pay a lot of money to Google for advertising. For example, insurance, mortgage, loans, legal services, B2B SaaS, etc. are among the best niches for Adsense websites.
What are the best Google Adsense alternatives?
The most popular Google Adsense alternatives are Media.net, Ezoic, Infolinks, Skimlinks, BuySellAds, and VigLinks
What are the most popular affiliate networks?
The most popular affiliate networks include Amazon Associates, ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten, ShareASale, BlueHost, and WarriorPlus
How can I make $100 a day?
There are many ways to make more than $100 per day, for example monetizing your site with affiliate products from Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, or selling advertising space on your site to relevant advertisers.
How long does it take to monetize a website?
To make money, websites need to receive consistent traffic. How much traffic? That depends on how you’re monetizing your site. For example, if you’re promoting a high-ticket affiliate product and have a good conversion rate, even 2000 visitors might be enough to make you six figures per year. For Adsense websites, though, you need at least 40K-50K visitors per month to earn a decent amount of money per month.
What types of blogs make the most money?
To be successful, a site needs to have a clear goal, a well-defined audience, and high-quality content that’s optimized for the right keywords to attract search engine traffic. You’ll make money in any niche with any type of blog if you do these things well.