About two weeks ago I interviewed a friend of mine called Sarah. Now Sarah makes a great target profile for the OneSpoonAtATime.com website – hence the interview – and in the course of our 45 minute chat I was able to get a great idea of the kind of questions and problems that my target profile would have.
The gold for me in that interview was three specific questions that Sarah asked on creating an online business.
The first question was: How can I create and maintain a professional looking website? I answered that question in this article: How To Set Up A Professional Article Using WordPress
The second question was: Once I’ve created a website how will people find it? And I answered the second question in this article: Once I’ve Created A Website – How Will People Find Me?
The third questions was this: once I’ve created a website, and am getting steady traffic, how can I generate an income from that? And that’s what we’re going to look at in this overview article – 4 distinct ways that you can use your Website to generate income.
The first method you can use to generate income from your website is to use Advertising.
There are several different methods of Advertising that you can use on your website.
Probably the most common is known as ‘Google Adsense.’
With Google Adsense you basically apply to Google to join their Adsense program and assuming you get approved you can then insert code that you get from Google onto your website – and this will display the Adsense ads. (If you’re ever on a website and you see the phrase ‘Ads by Google,’ that means you’ve landed on a website that’s using Adsense.
Every time someone clicks on one of the Adsense ads displayed on your website you make a few cents. The exact amount depends on what kind of ads Google displays on your website – and Google tries to make the ads that appear on your website relevant to the content on your website.
Self-development blogger Steve Pavlina – whose website gets a ton of traffic – was once earning around $50,000 per month from Adsense alone on his website. I say once, because he decided the ‘Adsense model’ didn’t fit with how he felt about earning a living from his website.
Adsense is not the only advertising method available though. You can also sell ad space on your website in the same way that newspapers sell ad space. Again – the more popular your website is the greater fees that you will command. You can either approach companies in your market yourself – or there are third party brokers who you can register with who will connect you up with appropriate advertisers. (And of course, they’ll charge a commission).
2) The Affiliate Sales Model
The Affiliate Sales Model of generating income is something I’ll have more to say about in a longer article.
But here’s how it works in simple terms: you create a link on your website to a product (or service) that pays an affiliate commission. The vendor of that product or service will give you a unique link – any sales made by people clicking to purchase the product or service via the link on your website will result in the vendor paying you an affiliate commission.
That commission percentage payable to you can range from 30% right up to 100%!
And you can find products and services that offer Affiliate payouts – ranging from computer training to eBooks and eCourses on knitting!
There are third party websites that are set up to facilitate the Affiliate Sales Model as well. If you want to do more research try looking at Click Bank or Commission Junction. Amazon also has its own Affiliate Program too that you could look at to get some ideas.
3) Sell A Service
You could set up your website to be an online sales and leads generating machine for a service you offer. That service can be just about anything – one of my businesses is a Band that plays at weddings, charity events and corporate parties, and about 40% of our business comes from potential clients finding us on the old Interwebz and liking what they see (and hear) and going forward from there.
But you’ll find just about any service you can think of listed on the Internet – from plumbers to restaurants to makers of coffee grinders to Aardvark trainers! And using some of the strategies we’ve already talked about on the blog – and some strategies that we’ll talk about in upcoming months – can be an excellent and cost-effective way of attracting new clients.
4) Sell a Product
The fourth way to use your website to generate income is to sell a product. Now this can be a physical product, or it can be a digital product.
Selling digital products is a very popular way for online businesses to generate income – these products don’t need anywhere to store them, they can be delivered via email or download so they are almost instantaneous, and taking the payment for digital goods is now easier and cheaper than it has ever been.
You’ll find digital products in just about every market you can think of – ranging from 7-dollar eBooks to 5000 dollar digitally delivered training courses.
So Which Model Is The Best?
There’s no definitive answer to this question. Which model you use depends on a combination of the market that you’re in, and your goals for your online business.
Additionally you can combine the methods. Steve Pavlina, who I mentioned above, used to use a combination of all 4 – he had Google Adsense on his site, he had affiliate links on his site, he sold services (notably ‘conferences’ and training) and he sells a physical product too (his own Self Development book).
The OneSpoonAtATime website will eventually make the majority of its income from selling its own products and services, but there will also be some income generated using Affiliate links. And although I’m intending to stay clear of advertising – you never know what’s round the corner. And that viewpoint could change in the future.
This article is an overview of the 4 methods of generating income for your online business. Those 4 methods are:
2) Affiliate Sales
3) Selling Services
4) Selling Products
Which method you choose for your online business depends on a combination of factors unique to your market and your skill sets.
Over the next few days I’ll post some further thoughts on generating an online income, so keep your eyes open for that. Or subscribe to my list to get an email notification delivered straight to your inbox!