Show me the money! This is what comes out of the mouth of most Entrepreneurs when they get started with their first blog or website!
Using WordPress, both individuals and businesses with little to no technical knowledge can get their fully functional website online in a matter of minutes. But how do you monetize it?
First, it’s important to note, that unless you’re doing something shady (or perhaps illegal), millions aren’t going to come overnight. However you CAN start making money (even millions) as long as you’re persistent and willing to put in the hard work.
Here are five ways to make money with WordPress:
1) CPM/CPC Ads (i.e. Google Adsense)
By far this has been the most popular route amongst webmasters since it just requires you to copy and paste an ad code on your site. However your results are going to depend on the quality of traffic you’re sending.
Google Adsense is looking for visitors (traffic) that actively click and convert on the banners. If your traffic is just clicking the banner or simply viewing it, don’t expect high earnings. A good way to “estimate” the value of your traffic, is use the Google Keyword Planner inside of Adwords. Search for keywords and take notice of the estimated bids. The higher they are with the more competition, the more likely you are to have a nice eCPM:
Exponential is another company that pays based off CPM (cost per one thousand impressions). They are another good backup for the inventory Adsense cannot monetize.
You need a lot of monthly visitors to make good money with CPM/CPC ads. If you overload your pages with ads it’s likely Google will penalize your search engine results and/or visitors won’t return to your site for poor experience. So this is a slow and steady method. Don’t put all your eggs in this basket, but have patience it will build over time.
2) Native Ads (i.e. Taboola, Outbrain)
Similar to CPM/CPC Ads, Native Ads are designed to look more like that content of your website or blog. This allows for higher performance including more revenue. It’s likely you’ve seen these ad formats even on popular websites such as Weather.com:
Getting started with these type of ad networks is easy, you just have to integrate their code after your website / blog is approved. As with traditional CPM/CPC ads, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in this basket, but as your traffic grows your revenue from this will too.
3) Affiliate Networks (i.e. CJ.com, ShareASale)
If you have a loyal audience, you can make a freaking killing with affiliate networks. Unlike traditional CPM/CPC ad networks, affiliate networks pay a commission for each sale or customer you send to one of their advertisers.
Products can range from physical goods to services such as web hosting or domain registration. For example, we pay out several thousand dollars to affiliates each month. If your audience needs a service such as this, you can expect to earn far more revenue with a lot less traffic. Other successful examples of websites using the affiliate model are coupon websites like RetailMeNot:
Prior to launching your website or blog it would benefit you to examine affiliate networks for potential advertisers.
4) Memberships (i.e. aMember)
Name Hero is an official partner of the aMember Membership software. I’ve personally used their software along with WordPress to make a lot of money selling subscriptions to ‘premium’ content. An example of this can be found over at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
If you are knowledgeable at a certain trait then it’s very possible you can charge for access to certain articles or section of your website. Another good example of a subscription website is the folks over at SEOBook.com. They have thousands of members paying to learn how to do search engine optimization.
The benefits to charging for your own content is that it doesn’t take as much traffic to make some good revenue.
5) Sell Your Own Ads (i.e. OIOpublisher Plugin)
We know from experience you can make good money selling ads using the OIOpublisher WordPress plugin. Each month we spend several thousand dollars on blogs throughout the Internet that use this very plugin. While some sites we’ll go out of our way to contact the webmaster to purchase ad space, this plugin allows us to buy media quickly without having to go back and forward with email chains.
Start by settings your prices to be reasonable and charge a fixed rate for the month. If your website or blog is in a niche similar to web hosting, you stand to make a good bit of revenue this way.
In conclusion, when I got started working online in the late nineties it was much more difficult. Content Management Systems such as WordPress didn’t exist, so before I could even get my first website online, I had to learn how to code HTML, CGI, and design basic graphics. Having a “successful” idea or way to “monetize” didn’t come until I spent months getting my actual site built. So the good news is, using WordPress, all this complicated stuff is done for you!
Before you get ahead of yourself you need to make sure whatever your website is about is something you’re passionate about. I’ve spent a good bit of time coaching Entrepreneurs over the years and the most common point of failure is losing interest. Since money isn’t going to come overnight, you’re going to have to actually be interested in what you’re doing. Over time, money will come. But it may take a year or two to get things really rolling. Don’t let this discourage you, once it’s built, it’s out there to earn!
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.