Many websites out there have quite a bit of content, but are untapped as a resource for making money. Countless webmasters have heard the stories about getting rich working from home on their website. Yes, many people have done it. Yes, those who got in early on it did pretty well, but as I tell people fairly often, the ways to make money online are only limited to your imagination. The internet is the most free medium on the planet. Now, a website which directly offers a service or product is a no-brainer. You promote that produce or service and sell it and you make money. However, if your website is a nice library of content, but with no services or products to provide to the visitors, how can you make some money with it? There are ways and here are a few of them:
Traditional Banner Advertising
Form a subscription service
Host contextual ads
Sell affiliate products
Sell your own content
Banner advertising is the most prevalent method of generating revenue from content sites. Content sites are valuable to internet advertisers. After all, what gives any content site value is the eyeballs looking at it. Its like an internet highway. In the real world, people will pay to put billboards on the side of well traveled highways. The same occurs online. Well trafficked websites are valuable for advertising. If your content site does not have much traffic yet, then get busy promoting, because the traffic is what gives your site value. Without the traffic, your content is worth very little in the real world.
There are many sources of getting advertising in your website, and the easiest is to join a network. A few networks are Burst, Tribal Fusion, Rydium, FastClick, and Google Adwords. Each network has its own requirements for applicants.
Offering a subscription service is another method of generating revenue. The trick here is to figure out what to offer. The best bet is to survey your public for what they need and want from your website and what they are willing to pay for. If your content is updated routinely, you might be able to charge people a fee for accessing it. You might also offer enhanced services of some kind for subscribers. If you have an online forum, you could possibly offer access to private forums or other enhanced profile capabilities for a small fee. The trick on this is to offer something for free. It is the free content which will bring traffic to your website, so finding the balance is something you will need to work out.
Affiliate programs are something you can get into as well. In this case, you don't have to come up with the product yourself, yet you can bring attention to it and get visitors to purchase them from you. Find affiliate programs in which the products offered are relevant to your site. You want something that your public will be interested in. Amazon.com has a popular affiliate program in which you can offer books for sale on your website for a commission. You can also go to the affiliate networks to search for programs. Some well known such networks are Linkshare, Commission Junction and Regnow.
You can also come up with and offer your own products. This is where some imagination comes into play. One possible idea is to author and sell an e-book. You could sell white papers for your visitors to solve certain problems they may have. There are a number of things you can do, and it depends on the type of site you have. On the internet, though, your best bet is to sell your knowledge and expertise. It is a 100% profit margin (after your initial investment of time to put it together).
The trick in any of these ideas is to survey your public and find out what they need and want. People love to express their opinions, and you should not be sitting there guessing at what people want and would spend their hard-earned money for. Ask them!
About The Author
David Risley is a web developer and founder of PC Media, Inc. (http://www.pcmedianet.com). Specializes in PHP/MySQL development, consulting and internet business management. He is also the founder of PC Mechanic (http://www.pcmech.com), a large website delivering do-it-yourself computer information to thousands of users every day.