10 Ways to Earn Money from Your Site

Share this article

Earn money from your site
Earn money from your site

This article was updated on the 9th of November, 2016 to modernize the list of suggestions and improve formatting.

Take your site to the next level. Watch our course on Build a Successful Web Design Business.

Two years ago, Jacco Blankenspoor wrote a wonderful article detailing the 10 best ways to earn money from your website, but as the web evolves at an accelerated rate (and as a result, the way we engage with the web evolves), it’s ever the more important that our monetization methods evolve with it. If we want to monetize our websites effectively, it’s essential that we stay up-to-date with the current web and social trends.

Let’s discuss 10 of the best ways to monetize your site in 2016.

1. Cost-Per-Click Ads

Cost-Per-Click advertising (CPC for short) is still very relevant in 2016. CPC works by displaying ads on your website, and when a visitor clicks on one of those ads, your website generates revenue.

Google AdSense (yes, it still exists!) is still a viable choice, but Infolinks might be a better alternative (you can use AdSense and Infolinks side-by-side to see what works best for you).

First of all, Infolinks works by finding relevant keywords in your content and displaying ads when you hover over those keywords, which is far less intrusive than Adsense. Other than inline ads, Infolinks offers several other options, and a useful self-serve ad buying platform for those who’d like to boost their own traffic.

Infolinks ads are also loaded after the content so that the ads don’t affect your website loading speeds. Despite still being the third largest ad marketplace, Infolinks actively try to help their publishers increase revenue, whereas AdSense tends to save these efforts for their more premium users.

2. Cost-Per-Mille Ads

Cost-Per-Mille (CPM) basically means “cost-per-thousand-impressions” — it’s all about how much traffic your blog has.

BuySellAds offers you 75% of the revenue share and pays out on-demand, and with no minimum traffic requirements, it becomes an ideal option for those starting out. Even better, you can substitute unsold space for AdSense ads, ensuring that you’re always making money. Personally, the only downside that I’ve noticed is that there’s a lot of competition among design blogs.

Exponential (formerly Tribal Fusion) is at the other end of this spectrum, requiring a whopping 500,000 monthly views. That being said, the payout rates are very lucrative. Its highly targeted ads make it an excellent choice for niche websites, so it’s certainly something to aim towards while building up your audience with Adsense or BSA.

FYI: Google AdSense also offers CPM advertising.

3. Fixed-Price Ads

Fixed-price advertising is when you set a flat fee for your ads, a setup that tends to attract smaller advertisers with a very specific budget. I’d also recommend BuySellAds for this due their extensive range of tools that can help the smaller website (those with less than 100,000 impressions) sell their inventory directly to advertisers. Fixed pricing = clear expectations.

4. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is a terrific way of monetizing your website without using up your screen real estate, for those that like to keep the focus on the content without distracting the user with web ads. Sponsored content is supposed to be cohesive with the webpage, as if the content would still be there even if it wasn’t sponsored to be. When you observe eye-tracking studies it’s clear that traditional ads tend to be ignored — that’s if they aren’t blocked by ad-blockers that is.

Sponsored ads (sometimes called “advertorials”) can deliver relevant, useful, high-quality content, and when relevant content equals higher engagement, higher engagement equals more value, and more value equals more revenue. If you’re looking for a modern monetization method, make sure you consider sponsored content.

Remember to stay in the ethical clear and disclose sponsorship, at the top of the content before the user invests time in reading the piece.

Cooperatize and Taboola are two big names in this field.

5. Subscriptions and Paywalls

Subscription-based content isn’t anything new, but as traditional web ads start to fall out of favor, paywalled content can generate high income when done right and with integrity. It also gives you full control over what actually appears on your site. By paywalled content I mean online courses, ebooks, downloadable goodies and so on.

Looking for inspiration? Check out Skillshare and Envato Tuts+, which offer both free and premium high-quality content side-by-side.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the underdog in this list. While networks like CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) still exist, affiliate marketing for the modern web works best when you connect directly with affiliates you feel are relevant to your website. Have a blog about iOS apps or books? Try the iTunes Affiliate Program. Sell design resources? Try promoting other makers on Creative Market. I’m a digital nomad that lives in a different country every month (and sometimes blogs about it), so the apartments that I live in and recommend via the Airbnb Referral Program can sometimes earn me a lot of Airbnb credits!

Connect with affiliates that mean something to you. By working directly with affiliates you’ll find that the revenue share is a lot more competitive as well!

7. Related Posts

While this type of advertising does have a bit of a bad reputation for being spammy, there are a number of ad networks serving relevant, useful content — Disqus is making bold leaps with their “Sponsored Story” and “Sponsored Links” advertising that are built into the comment widget you might already be using. Even though Disqus take 50% of the revenue, you don’t really have much to lose if your website already has Disqus installed.

8. Email Advertising

Email advertising falls into two categories: sponsored content and traditional display ads, both of which are effective. You can find advertisers using many of the same techniques as you would with web advertising (BuySellAds, having an “Advertise Here” webpage, etc); the difference is that email advertising doesn’t take up any screen real estate on your website and in fact engagement rates tend to be higher (users often know what areas of a website to avoid if they don’t want to see ads).

9. Podcast Advertising

Podcasting is a unique skill I must admit, but the results are, well, they’re good. Midroll claims that 61% of listeners made a purchase after listening to an advert, so it’s no wonder that their customers are pretty world class (Dunkin’ Donuts, HBO, Squarespace, etc). If you’re not much of writer but you’re not exactly shy either, podcasting could be for you.

10. Selling Your Website

Selling your website may seem a little nonsensical. If your traffic is sky high, why sell it? If it’s too low, is it even worth it? Actually, it’s more common than you might think for high-traffic websites to have difficulty with monetization. Check out these ten reasons you might want to sell your site.

Often enough, while a website might accumulate a tonne of visitors, somebody else might be able to monetize it better, and that’s why we have marketplaces (like Flippa, for example) where you can sell websites for a profit.


Bottom line: we’re not done with traditional advertising yet, but you may find some of the modern approaches more interesting at the very least. It’s important to try everything until you find a method that suits you — networks like BuySellAds offer anything from sponsored tweets to display ads and still allow you to integrate AdSense into empty ad placements, so there’s a lot of room for experimentation there. Just remember to give each type of advertising time to blossom before writing it off.

Here’s a shout-out to those who have been successful with monetizing their website: do you have any success stories you’d like to share in the comments? Tell us how you monetize!

Take your site to the next level. Watch our course on Build a Successful Web Design Business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Earning Money from Your Website

What are the most effective ways to monetize a website?

There are several effective ways to monetize a website. The most common methods include advertising, affiliate marketing, selling products or services, and sponsored posts. Advertising involves placing ads on your website, either through a network like Google AdSense or directly with businesses. Affiliate marketing involves promoting other companies’ products and earning a commission for any sales made through your referral links. Selling products or services can be anything from physical goods to digital products like ebooks or online courses. Sponsored posts are articles or reviews that a company pays you to publish on your website.

How can I increase my website’s earning potential?

Increasing your website’s earning potential involves attracting more traffic, improving your website’s design and usability, and optimizing your monetization strategies. You can attract more traffic through SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing. Improving your website’s design and usability can involve making it more visually appealing, easier to navigate, and faster to load. Optimizing your monetization strategies can involve testing different ad placements, promoting different affiliate products, or adjusting your prices.

How can I attract advertisers to my website?

Attracting advertisers to your website involves demonstrating that your website can provide value to them. This can involve showing that you have a large and engaged audience, that your website ranks well in search engines, and that your content is relevant to their products or services. You can also reach out to potential advertisers directly, or join an ad network that can connect you with advertisers.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other companies’ products on your website. You earn a commission for any sales made through your referral links. This involves signing up for an affiliate program, choosing which products to promote, and then sharing your unique referral links on your website. When someone clicks on your referral link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.

How can I sell products or services on my website?

Selling products or services on your website involves setting up an online store. This can involve choosing an ecommerce platform, adding products to your store, setting prices, and setting up payment and shipping options. You can sell physical goods, digital products like ebooks or online courses, or services like consulting or coaching.

What are sponsored posts and how can I earn money from them?

Sponsored posts are articles or reviews that a company pays you to publish on your website. This can involve writing about a company’s products or services, or publishing a post that the company has written. You can earn money by charging a fee for each sponsored post. To attract companies for sponsored posts, you need to demonstrate that your website has a large and engaged audience and that your content is relevant to their products or services.

How can I increase traffic to my website?

Increasing traffic to your website involves using strategies like SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing. SEO involves optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results. Social media marketing involves promoting your website and content on social media platforms. Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage your audience.

How can I improve my website’s design and usability?

Improving your website’s design and usability can involve making it more visually appealing, easier to navigate, and faster to load. This can involve choosing a visually appealing color scheme and layout, organizing your content in a logical and intuitive way, and optimizing your website’s speed and performance.

How can I optimize my monetization strategies?

Optimizing your monetization strategies can involve testing different ad placements, promoting different affiliate products, or adjusting your prices. This can involve using analytics to track your performance, experimenting with different strategies, and making adjustments based on your results.

How can I get started with monetizing my website?

Getting started with monetizing your website involves choosing a monetization method, setting up the necessary infrastructure, and promoting your website to attract traffic. This can involve signing up for an ad network or affiliate program, setting up an online store, creating valuable content, and using SEO and social media marketing to attract traffic.

Daniel SchwarzDaniel Schwarz
View Author

Previously, design blog editor at Toptal and SitePoint. Now Daniel advocates for better UX design alongside industry leaders such as Adobe, InVision, Marvel, Wix, Net Magazine, LogRocket, CSS-Tricks, and more.

advertisingaffiliate marketingblog monetizationcpccpmgitCSgoogle adsensejoelfmake money blogging
Share this article
Read Next
Get the freshest news and resources for developers, designers and digital creators in your inbox each week