Monetising a website

The question of how to monetise a website often comes up. In most cases my clients have interesting content and have gained reasonable traffic in the order of 30 - 100 k unique visits a month. The issue then arises, how to take the next steps to monetize the website (generate revenue).

I categorize monitization into a series of categories, each building on the previous in terms of time and complexity to achieve and manage:

Lazy day, dream away

Here one the website generates revenue simply by placing adverts from one affiliate network or something like Google AdSense. Once the correct code has been added to the website and the account set-up there is little or no work (aside from maintaining the content - and making sure one gets the traffic). The returns here are typically low. However, one can expect to generate 100`s of pounds a month, if not more.

Lazy day, optimize

With some work on making sure your adverts are as relevant as possible to your target audience, some additional revenue might be generated. This involves correctly setting up keyword triggers and possibly using multiple affiliate networks, constantly scouring for the best deals. I.e those clicks that would generate the most revenue for your website. This requires slightly more work and attention and some more in-depth research and experimentation. 

Not so Lazy, Becoming a salesperson

Next in the level of complexity and possible returns is to sell premium space on your website. Naturally there is a cost associated and one must be sure that the investment yields the corresponding required return.  Naturally depending on the complexity, niche, reach etc of your site - you can structure your sales in a number of ways. In the simple case automated online advert placement - in the extreme a dedicated sales and after sales team. In this category you may mix affiliated networks with dedicated sales.

Even Less Lazy, Becoming Sales Focused

Next up is becoming wholly sales focused, so all revenue from dedicated advertising sales.

Starting to Work, Adding value

A further step would be to start officering value added services, the sky is the limit as to what these may be. But usually some kind of subscription in exchange for information or relevance. Most often you would still maintain sales of advertising space.

Working, Offering a product

Here there is some value add to your advertisers and clients and furthermore you are offering a product. A physical product related to your website or a webservice of some kind. This requires that you develop or source the product, have a CRM system - possibly a way to ship and bill etc.

Back from the Virtual, going physical

Lastly you not only are selling advertising space, some value added services and some products - but you also have a physical presence. I.e your business is not entirely on the Internet. Many traditional business start this way and later develop websites - few websites develop a physical presence. However, if done may add a competitive advantage and grow the brand.


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