How Do Websites Make Money? How Blog and Site Owners Make Big Money Online


This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

A website is the most powerful communication tool in this digital age. With a website, it’s easier than ever to express your thoughts and share them with the world. Beyond that, a website allows people to work remotely and make money in a number of ways. In today’s post, I’ve compiled all of the ways you can monetize a website or blog:

how do websites make money online store

Set up an online store.

It’s among the tried and tested ways to make money with a website, but it requires a lot of work especially if you want to sell varied items. As an online seller, it’s important to build trust among your customers. On a technical side, it involves installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to guarantee safety and security of every transaction.

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Avoid the mistake of trying to go big from Day 1. If you want a clearer focus I suggest you try niche marketing. It’s more effective than mass selling because you don’t have to promote heavily or cater to everyone.

For example, there’s this e-commerce website called Pixie Faire selling doll clothing patterns. They make around $50K-$60K a month through an effective branding strategy. They also utilize their blog effectively by sharing tips on making doll clothing patterns from scratch.

If you want to try niche marketing but you’re worried about managing inventory or hiring staff, start with digital products like eBooks, graphic art, and photography. You can focus on eBooks and sell them from your website. You just have to add a landing page with a PayPal button to direct site visitors to the download page. Have it converted to PDF and create a cover image using Adobe Spark, Canva, or Blurb Bookwright.

A digital product may have a lower perceived value compared to a physical product but it’s less risky to sell and you don’t have to get stressed about managing stocks or calculating shipping costs.

Create a directory website.

It’s easy to build a directory website with WordPress. You can create a directory from a number of categories, ranging from properties to restaurants. All you have to do is find a suitable theme for your new site. You can find many responsive and beautiful themes especially created for directories, with features like built-in listing and location filtering. If you think restaurant and property listings are too common, consider these types of online directory:

  • Classified listing
  • Job portal
  • Travel directory
  • Coupon directory
  • Yellow pages

Yelp is the best example of a yellow page directory. In 2016, the site was able to make around $713 million in revenues, which come mostly from ads. If you will notice, Yelp has targeted ads that help businesses target their local audience easier. Yelp also works like a social network that enables users to engage with others. This kind of business model helps them attract millions of visitors from desktop, mobile, and app. In mobile alone, Yelp already has 74 million unique web visitors.

Apparently, the quickest way to monetize your directory website is to charge businesses for listing. If you want to demand more, you will eventually need to provide a few more information about that company. You may add things like their images or social media links. Yelp also uses this kind of strategy. Those who want to avail their full services will get to have features not included in free account, like the CTA button, featured video, competitor ad removal and call tracking.

Like blogs and other types of website, you may also sell your ad space to generate more revenue. You may choose to run ads using programs like Google AdSense or sell the space direct to companies.

You can also blog from your directory website or run webinars from there. Maximizing your website’s potential is not just an opportunity to earn more but also a chance to attract more subscribers to your directory.

Read also: Blogging for Dummies: How to Start and Grow Your Own Profitable Blog

Are you struggling to get more traffic and leads without breaking the bank? Get my Pinterest Traffic Playbook for free, showing how I've driven 1.5 million pageviews to my websites with a unique Pinterest strategy that you can replicate.

how do websites make money advertising

Place ads on your website.

Google AdSense is a widely used advertising program that lets you earn money when ads are seen or clicked. To be eligible for the AdSense program, make sure your website, blog, or other original content is ready for it. It should have unique content, to keep users engaged.

With changes to their policy, it’s more challenging to get accepted to AdSense these days. For example, publishers looking to place ads on more than one site will have to add every individual site to their account. If you want to place ads on your website, you need to undergo a two-part verification process. In case you’re considering ad programs that work just like AdSense, here are the top choices:

  • Adsterra
  • RevContent
  • PropellerAds Media
  • Infolinks

Ad networks have different sets of rules, but most of them requires publishers to have a specific amount of monthly visits to be eligible for their program. RevContent, for instance, requires that you have at least 50,000 monthly visits each month.

To increase your revenue from ad spaces, consider using more than just one ad network but make sure they are compatible together. Otherwise, you might be banned with one network or both. What’s nice about AdSense is that it can be used alongside other ad networks, such as Yahoo! And Bing’s, Infolinks, an Outbrain.

If you think ad networks are taking a big chunk of your earnings, just sell your space direct to advertisers. Cutting the middleman will give more chances of earning better. To make things easier on your part, run an ad manager on your blog. For WordPress, the best ad managers include:

  • DoubleClick by Google
  • Ad Inserter
  • AdSanity
  • OIO Publisher
  • Insert Post Ads

Write sponsored posts.

A sponsored post, also called promoted post, refers to a piece of brand journalism that lives on a publisher’s website. To start receiving requests for sponsored content, a website has to reach an ‘influencer’ status or has a number of active followers.

Alexis Schroeder of FITnancials make $3,000 a month writing sponsored posts. Alex, who started her blog in 2013 to document her 60-pound weight loss journey, believes bloggers should never charge less than $250.

It just makes sense, since you’re putting your brand on the blog and you devote your time and effort writing. As a sponsor of a product or service, you will need to disclose that you are writing with that brand. Not labelling a sponsored post is against the Federal Trade Commission’s Endorsement Guides and may get you in trouble later on.

Be an Affiliate.

Affiliate marketing is pretty much like writing sponsored posts, but you will not get paid for your work if your affiliate link did not convert to a sale. With a sponsored post, a company will pay you a one-time flat fee regardless if your content generates views or not.

On a positive note, an effective affiliate placement can provide passive income especially if your content is evergreen or serves as a timeless resource for your audience.

If you’re struggling competing with other sites, forget about endorsing the most popular products or the biggest brands out there. You will only find it more challenging to convert leads or sales. Many experienced marketers actually go for products with low competition because it gives them a better chance of generating a sale through their affiliate link.

how do websites make money email marketing

Start email marketing.

Email marketing is still an effective method to earn money because it allows you to market directly. In able to do this, you need to come up with a list or a database of contacts.

List building is quite a complicated process, especially if you choose the traditional route. You will need some tools, like MailChimp to build your email list or send out newsletter to your contacts.

To make things a little less complicated, I suggest taking small daily actions like what Nathalie Lussier recommends in her book, List Building: The Ultimate 30 Day Formula To Double Your Email List: Email Marketing Training To Take Your List Building Efforts Off The Charts.

There are several books about list building, but for beginners who are having a hard time getting new email subscribers, it’s one of the best resources you can find online.

A 2018 research by The Direct Marketing Association indicates email marketing still delivers a strong ROI with a $32 average return for every dollar spent.

That’s not big, but what’s great about email marketing is that you have a number of ways to make a sale. You may cross-sell or suggest add-ons when a site visitor purchases through email. You may also use email marketing to convince those who abandoned their cart to complete the check out.


There are many clever ways to monetize a website. It only takes some strategy, patience, and a bit of creativity to make money through your site or blog. These are a few more ways to earn from your site in addition to the ones we mentioned above. You may run some ads on your RSS feeds, accept donations via PayPal (recommended for sites with strong community), or host paid webinars.

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