So, the last refresh meeting was focused on how to make money online, with websites mainly. It’s such a vast topic that it becomes hard to discuss the matter in a way which appeals to the majority of people. The methods for making money with websites can be as myriad as making money period. Just making money.

Web Site Monetization methods which I’m most familiar with are:

  1. Driving leads for my consulting services or my company’s offerings.
  2. Driving leads to other companies for a fee, commission, or to a CPA network which can pay serious money for each “action” (generally a form being filled out).
  3. Pay Per Click programs for publishers such as Google AdSense, Yahoo Publisher Network or other similar ads which you earn revenue from based on how many clicks your pages generate for the ads within.
  4. Doing any/all of the above, or others, and selling the website at a healthy multiple.

The most important considerations for Making Money with Websites are:

  1. Who is going to provide the necessary ingredients to have a successful, monetizable website? Who is going to fund this endeavor?
  2. How are you going to obtain traffic and how long will it likely take to obtain a level of traffic which sustains the continued efforts to build and improve the offerings of the website?
  3. How important is usability vs. monetization vs. credibility, etc. - ads and certain monetization methods can affect your site’s value in the eyes of your visitors.
  4. Who is your target market? If you’re getting traffic currently are you sure you really know those visitors and can match them to advertisements that they would find useful?

People asked about what level of traffic is required to make real money. People asked about what industry or topic is best for making money. Both questions are rigged as you can make money from any amount of traffic (other than zero!) and you can make money in any niche. It’s really the combination of how much traffic you are getting, the value of the traffic, and the conversion rate of your site or landing page.

  1. If you have very general traffic it’s likely that you will need a lot of traffic to make serious money (serious money meaning more than ~$200/day). That’s because your traffic is not really targeted for any specific action. However, I’m quite confident that many serious marketers could argue against that statement quite well. If you know your traffic and you are creative it’s likely you can find offers (affiliate deals, etc) that will convert well. It just depends on how far you’re willing to go with testing, searching for offers/partnerships, etc.
  2. In general, if you have a site about a high-value topic such as auto insurance, diamond jewelry, attorneys and law, telecommunications, dating, diet and health, or similar subjects you need much less traffic to make substantial amounts of money. However this in no way means that writing 6 articles about these subjects and slapping together a site is going to net you a huge cash cow. To the inexperienced SEO/Internet marketer, these are insanely competitive industries. Your best bet if you don’t have the expertise as a writer or developer to create a truly valuable website on high-dollar subjects is to pick a close niche which is being underserved and become the authority on that. Or focus on a controversial aspect of those industries (diamond jewelry scams, dangers of online dating, beware of fad diets, etc, etc).
  3. In most cases it’s far easier to improve your conversion rate than it is to increase traffic. So, one of the things you should be constantly working on is increasing your conversion rate. Your conversion rate is basically the percentage of visitors which convert to an action. That action can be any number of goals such as clicking an ad, signing up for your newsletter, filling out a lead form, or even adding a review (free content) to your site. I recommend starting with something like crazyegg.com which is very easy to setup in order to start experimenting with conversion rates and analyzing your visitors’ actions.

My earlier list items warrant full posts themselves. I unfortunately don’t have the time for that right now but hope that some of this information puts you on the right path if you’re serious about making money on the web.

Some useful resources for making money online: