It may not be a get-rich-quick scheme, but you can earn enough revenue from your blog or website to fully support yourself if you know what to do and are effective. Whether it’s growing your side hustle into a full-time gig or finding easy ways to earn passive income, we’re here to give you the low down on how to make money online. From strategies used to sell products from your website or a physical store to more passive methods of earning income – here are the 9 best ways to make money online.
Passive ways to make money online
OK, so these methods aren’t entirely passive, but they don’t require a full-blown e-commerce effort, even one using third-party sellers such as Amazon. These methods to make money online involve changing what you already do on your website, mainly creating valuable content. With relatively little effort, you can use these strategies to make money from your website without an entirely new tactic.
We positioned this piece in terms of using your blog or website to make money online. However, don’t stop there. These passive means to make money online work in your email marketing programs, social media marketing, and other online marketing efforts.
When it comes to making money with a blog, many website owners opt to start with affiliate marketing as it’s a great way to make passive income. Affiliate marketing promotes products from other online businesses to visitors to your website using visual advertising, such as banners embedded on your sidebar, the bottom of your posts, or on your pages.
Affiliate marketing works by including direct links or codes triggered when users use your ads to perform a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a trial. Each conversion earns you a commission. The commission varies from brand to brand, but some publishers boasted making up to 50% of the sale price. Some programs require a conversion from the visit, while others retain the information for a period of time and pay a commission if the individual converts within that period of time.
There are tons of affiliate programs for publishers to join. Start by exploring your options, focusing on affiliate programs that match your visitor demographics and needs. Most importantly, to successfully pull off affiliate marketing, don’t join every affiliate program out there. For instance, if your blog revolves around cooking, partnering with a tool-kit provider doesn’t fit your visitors. Moreover, many affiliate programs are selective in who joins their program. Some require a certain number of visitors before they’ll let a publisher join while others drop publishers that don’t deliver sales for a period of time.
If you want easy, passive, and lucrative income, ads are the way to go. Advertising works by setting aside specific sections on your website, called ad units, available to advertisers. Although functionally ads look very similar to affiliate marketing, the main difference is in the payment structure. Ads pay for clicks and don’t require conversion, although the payment is much lower than in affiliate marketing.
Google’s Adsense is the most typical starting place for beginners, as it offers easy setup and maintenance. They operate on a pay-per-click model, meaning you get paid whenever users click on an ad.
AdSense is just one of the many ad networks offering publishers its services. Before partnering up, ensure they provide a fair deal and limitations are the right fit for you. Many networks have strict guidelines and policies, so you want to ensure that your site is fully compliant.
Header bidding, the best alternative to AdSense and other similar ad networks, is one of the easiest ways to maximize ad revenue. It’s an advanced programmatic technique that brings an array of ad networks to simultaneously bid for your ad units.
Header bidding platforms often use a CPM, or cost-per-thousand system, to measure earnings, meaning you get paid for impressions rather than clicked. So, if your site has a generally low click-through rate but a ton of daily impressions, header bidding offers superior revenue. AdSense offers a CPM system whereby publishers receive a small commission based on impressions and a larger commission for clicks.
Starting with a provider who’s ‘non-exclusive,’ meaning you can still use other services like AdSense with no issue, is the best move for your earnings. In addition to working with a network that meets your needs, you benefit from an increase in profits from the extra competition. Besides delivering more advertisers to you, header bidding providers assist in optimizing ad units, page loading speed, and user experience, so you don’t have to.
Sponsored posts are articles a company pays a publisher to place on their site, written by the publisher or advertisers to endorse or review products and services. With the right effort, they can easily appear organic and balance promoting a brand with giving users valuable information. Equally beneficial, keeping sponsored posts relevant to trending topics and brands could lead to an influx in traffic for your site.
Active ways to make money online
If you enjoy writing–this one is for you! Offer your expert writing services to other bloggers or brands. You can connect with others in your niche and get paid to write guest blog posts on their websites about anything from reviews to solutions. Much like freelance writing, guest blogging is a great source of income if you like to write. This strategy works in one of two ways.
First, websites need fresh, valuable content on a consistent basis. Hiring writers to craft great content helps support their efforts to gain authority and drive organic traffic to their website. Second, guest blogging benefits brands by containing links to purchase their products embedded within the content in a very natural way that doesn’t look like advertising.
Websites also benefit from your brand’s traffic and credibility, and you get money in your pocket as well as strong backlinks to your website. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Image courtesy of Host Papa
While this isn’t the most passive income method, it generates good money and can even fuel your other revenue streams. For example, if the owner permits, you can always add your affiliate links for a chance at a sale.
Though this won’t get you rich, it can bring you lovely little bursts of revenue from time to time (vacation, anyone?). With lead generation, you’re connecting third-party organizations with relevant users in your audience/niche. Publishers get paid for supplying data (emails, names, etc.); no user purchasing of products or services required.
With the tightening of data privacy and protection laws, be sure to avoid selling any information without user knowledge. Instead, opt for placing a referral form on your website where users can actively apply to connect with a specific company. This way, users are aware and active in the decision-making process to communicate with a third-party brand.
A simple type of lead generation is blogger outreach. If you start writing blog posts for a company or plan to, many of them will pay you for any blogger you can successfully refer to write as well. Oddly enough, Twitter has a large community for blogger opportunities–just log on and start exploring some hashtags!
Sell Digital Products
Digital products require an initial upfront effort but are a highly profitable revenue stream for publishers. You can create online products such as an Ebook, course, or guides for popular topics or solutions their viewers seek. You then sell these products on your website or even use affiliate marketing or advertising to sell them from other websites, as well.
An interesting take on this strategy involves creating a subscription-based section of your website where you make money online from users willing to pay for access to this protected area of your website. Lots of successful financial analysts use this strategy to sell newsletters containing investment insights.
With a little social listening, you can craft digital products relevant and valuable to your audience. And the best part is, once you made the digital product, you get to sit back and enjoy money every time someone makes a purchase or pays their subscription fee.
Offer Your Services
As a publisher, you already have a solid portfolio (your website!) and access to a strong client pool (your readers!). If you’re good at other aspects of blogging (graphics, monetizing methods, etc.), feel free to freelance your services. Your dedicated readers trust you, and it’s the perfect chance to help them further. Allow them to reach out and work with you on an individual level with a ‘hire me’ or ‘work with me’ call-to-action button on your website.
This is more of an honorable mention, but you never know. There’s no shame in asking for a monetary donation if you invested a great deal of effort into crafting a quality website for your readers. It’s important to make a subtle request for a contribution to support your sustained efforts. Setting a simple call-to-action button like “donate please,” somewhere on your website should get the job done! State how much money you hope to raise and why you want to raise these funds (more of a one-time deal) may encourage many to help.
A large number of sites offer tools for taking donations, such as GoFundMe, which makes it easy to raise money online. If you offer creative products, Kickstarter and Patreon might help support your efforts. If you run a non-profit, a number of online sites help with raising donations. These sites work best if you offer something in return for the donation, such as a copy of the finished product or mention in a written work.
So long as you work to ensure people are reading your blog, the continuous traffic helps you make money online without running an e-commerce site involving products. When switching from an ad network like AdSense, publishers see a 50-200% boost in earnings. Newor Media has partnerships with some of the largest networks and does more for your ad space while taking care of the heavy lifting. A dedicated account representative helps you optimize your units to make the most money possible!
Still not sure where to start earning with making money online?
I manage Hausman and Associates, a full-service marketing firm operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. We provide a host of digital marketing solutions including content marketing, email marketing, SEO/ SEM, social media marketing, lead generation as well as marketing strategy, branding,, market research, and a variety of… View full profile ›