Successful monetization of your website depends on audience and traffic development, but it may also depend on your going off the beaten path a little to find new options in revenue development.
Of course, the revenue development methods most appropriate for your site depend on factors like your niche, your audience, the type of content you produce, and the loyalty of your traffic. But don't be afraid to consider monetization strategies that may seem unorthodox at first. Here are five revenue development approaches you may never have seriously considered. Perhaps you should!
1. Online Events and Courses
Sponsored webinars and paid online courses require work, but when they're done well, they can develop into a powerful income stream. If you're able to supply an engaged, targeted audience, you may be able to find a sponsor for your webinar or course, and this can improve your chances for success. If you're able to satisfy continuing education requirements, you can often draw a willing audience. Entrepreneur.com has some terrific tips on hosting a successful webinar, and the Marketo blog has some great ideas on increasing webinar attendance.
2. Online Stores and Product Creation
Setting up a section of your website for visitors to buy branded merchandise can be lucrative if you have a loyal audience and a strong brand that your audience identifies with. If, on the other hand, your audience is more transient and your number of repeat visitors is low, your site may not be ready for a store yet. Linking to products offered by third parties as an affiliate can be a good way to ease into the online selling game. For example, Amazon's affiliate program has worked out very well for many sites.
3. Custom Job Boards
You have probably encountered job boards in your daily Internet research and general surfing, but perhaps you're not aware of what a terrific opportunity a white label job board can be. Job Boards drive traffic from job seekers and hiring managers back to your site, increasing site traffic and therefore advertising opportunities. Additionally, a job board opens up a new advertising opportunity with HR, hiring personnel, and recruiters looking to fill open positions as quickly and efficiently as possible. If your site has a niche or local audience, it should be a great forum for recruitment advertising.
Online recruitment also adds valuable and relevant content to your site, keeping your existing audience engaged & coming back for more. RealMatch offers recruitment advertising solutions for digital publishers and media companies with a revenue sharing plan that can develop into a powerful, reliable income stream. Why not check out RealMatch's monetization solutions for your website?
4. Social Media Consulting
To successfully compete online, digital publications have had to develop strong social media and online marketing skills, and some are marketing these services to other businesses. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat in California, for example, now offers a full range of online marketing services to local merchants, which in its first year accounted for roughly one-quarter of the paper's digital revenue. Nebraska's Grand Island Independent created giNetwork, a service where local businesses pay for the newspaper's web editor to set up their accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Local business posts are then aggregated onto the paper's home page and on a dedicated giNetwork page.
Podcasts have been around a long time, and monetizing them isn't the easiest game out there, but it can be done and done successfully. The key is developing a targeted, loyal audience and finding podcast sponsors. Technology makes it easy on podcasters, and listeners have a much easier time enjoying podcasts today with the rise of mobile devices. It's taken awhile, but podcasting is finally outgrowing its "amateur hour" reputation and can now attract lucrative sponsors. Podcasters also supplement income by selling products like mugs, books, and t-shirts. Podcasts definitely require commitment, but they are finally starting to come into their own.
The decision to charge for access to content can be fraught with anxiety. We've all heard of big sites that have put up watertight paywalls and alienated entire audiences. While a paywall can work with some publications, particularly daily news publications, there are other ways to monetize content. Offering sufficient high quality content for free, then selling subscriptions to premium content can work well, as long as the premium content is worth paying a premium for and as long as it's priced right. Audiences are becoming more used to the idea of paying for premium content, and success with paywalls (The New York Times) and digital subscriptions (The Economist) is becoming a realistic possibility.