Making money on the internet is no great mystery – many people have done it in many ways, and you can take advantage of their experience. It is not an easy task to accomplish, but then nothing worthwhile is. If you have a website, it is time to start turning your traffic into revenue that you can use to pay your monthly hosting bills, and maybe even work on your websites full time.
While there are a multitude of ways to make money from your website, different methods are better for different websites. From text ads to affiliate programs, choosing the right program is the first step to turning your website into a cash generating machine.
Probably the most straight forward type of website to monetize are those that provide information about a certain topic. You don’t need your users to buy anything or sign up for anything, they simple need to be on your website. The ideal type of ad for an informational website is probably the contextual ad, although depending on your site and your traffic you should shop around the various providers and pick the best one for your site.
The most popular contextual advertiser, and probably the best place to start. Sign up for an adsense account (it’s free) and in a day or so you should be approved. Follow the simple steps to get the code for your website, and then just insert it. Now you’ve got ads running on your website.
As easy as adsense is to set up, maximizing its effectiveness is another matter entirely. There is no easy answer to this, and the best advice is to experiment with different ad placements and sizes. What works for one page may not work for another. The most effective way to use adsense is to integrate it into your page content so it looks like that web page and not an ad. With google’s code generating, you can customize how your ad looks, which helps when integrating.
Adsense also automatically searches your site and displays ads that are relevant to your subject matter. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing, as you run the risk of displaying competing websites on your pages, which you probably don’t want. There is a solution to this, in that you can add filters to your adsense account, so google will not display ads for a certain url that you specify.
Adsense is a great tool to start monetizing your website, and it may be the only tool you need. It is very easy to get up and running, and very little upkeep is required. However, it is most effective when used on sites with a lot of text, so if your website isn’t informational in nature adsense is probably not your best option.
Yahoo Publisher Network
Yahoo Publisher Network, or YPN for short, is Yahoo’s answer to adsense. While it is currently in beta, you can apply for an invitation and begin running YPN ads on your site if you are accepted. Follow the same methods you used with adsense when using YPN, and compare which plan generates more money for you. Note that you CANNOT run adsense and YPN ads on the same page.
If your website has information on a certain product, it might be worth it to join an affiliate network for that type of product. When you sign up as an affiliate, you are basically generating leads for a parent company. So if you happen to have a site that has book reviews, it would be a good idea to sign up as an affiliate to a book store and then send users who wish to buy the book to a site where they can purchase the book, and you get a percentage of the purchase price.
Amazon and commission junction are two excellent affiliate programs. Most good affiliate programs will let you customize the look and feel of how you send visitors to their site, so in essence the only thing they do would be process an order.
While affiliate it can be difficult to get up and running with an affiliate related site, it can be immensely rewarding. The best way to generate revenue is to make it as easy as possible for the user to buy whatever product you are advertising. Set up your affiliate links so they can clink on a single link and be taken to the parent companies purchase page and you stand a much better chance of making a sale.
Not all websites are dedicated to bringing the user information. Many sites bring the user a service, such as image hosting. In this situation contextual ads like adsense and YPN aren’t ideal, since there isn’t a lot of information to determine what ads to display. In this situation, its better to use a non-contextual advertiser so you can control what type of ads are displayed.
Adbrite is a great alternative to the contextual based ad networks like YPN and adsense. Adbrite still runs text ads, but they don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with your page. You sign up with adbrite, and then other webmasters pay you to run their ads on your page. You can again customize the way the ads look, and you can deny sites from running their ads on your page if you wish.
Adbrite is ideal for sites that might not have a lot of text, such as image hosting sites. You are able to determine how much to charge for other webmasters to display their ads on your page, so if your site has good traffic you can make some good money with this.
While there are many other options that you can and should explore to turn your website traffic into revenue, the suggestions above are a good start. Try them out, experiment with different placements and colors, and see how you do. Don’t get discouraged if at first you aren’t making any money, try changing the look, feel and placement of the ads and give it some time.