We’re almost at the end of the series on building a profitable niche website. Today we get to talk about the chaching, the cash, the monetization strategies.
In the first part of the series, keyword research, I touched a bit on giving some thought to your monetization strategies, as your choice does have some impact on keyword selection.
What drives your monetization strategies, apart from, well, wanting to make a ton of money?
Assuming all other things being equal, how much you want to engage and build a brand will have a high impact on your choice of monetization.
If you’re not interested in a brand or a business that bears your name, is reliant on your skills and persona, then advertising and affiliate marketing are for you.
If you do want to build an authority in a specific niche and grow a loyal audience, then creating your own product as well as selling related products via affiliate marketing are for you.
If you want to become a major (personal) brand, consider your own product, as well as speaking engagement and consulting gigs.
Let’s look at each of the options.
Google Adsense is the big player here, although there are plenty of other networks, such as Chitika. You build a nice website, get yourself an Adsense account (usually approved within a couple of business days), and throw some nice ads on your site.
Adsense income can be lucrative if you manage to rank in niches where the cost per click is high.
For blogs with high traffic, you can also sell banner space. Even if you don’t have high traffic, but cater to a super-targeted niche, you could approach product owners in your space and strike a deal for displaying their ads.
The downside of the advertising monetization model is that it is heavily dependent on traffic. Most ads are sold on a 1000-impressions or per-click basis, so without traffic, it is unlikely you will squeeze any earnings out of your blog.
A little bit more involved than advertising, affiliate marketing rewards you when someone you refer buys a product – you then get a commission.
Amazon and Clickbank are two great places to start for products that you could be an affiliate for. Simply insert links into your content or sidebar, and when someone clicks through to the product site and purchases, you get anywhere from 4% (Amazon) up to 75% (Clickbank) depending on the product and terms the owner of the product has set.
Amazon is easily the top online retailer, and Clickbank is the leading marketplace for information products.
A word of warning: there is intense competition being an affiliate marketer for these two marketplaces. On the other hand, there are likely hundreds of untapped niches outside of the super-saturated weight loss, relationships and online marketing markets.
Selling Your Own Product
This monetization strategy is by far the one with the most longevity and return on investment. It is also the one method most have a mental block about.
It is not hard to create a product. It is hard to believe you can create a product that people will pay for. Remember, you don’t have to be the most knowledgeable about a specific subject in its entirety. You do need to know enough to have experienced it, and to be able to show someone else the way.
One final word about choosing your own product as a monetization strategy: with advertising and affiliate marketing, you are earning, but not building a long term asset. When you create your own product, you are building an asset.
So if you’re going to write great content to attract advertising and buyers, why not channel all that great content into your own product?
Once you’ve created your own information product, you can sell it directly from your website using Paypal or Google Checkout. Alternatively, you can use a service like e-Junkie to handle the transactions and hosting of the download for a small monthly fee.
If your product is an ebook, you could also consider Amazon Kindle, and keep up to 70% of the ebook price, while Amazon does the hosting and even helps with marketing.
Finally, you could list your product with Clickbank or DigiResults, and offer affiliates a percentage of your product’s revenue. This is a popular method for getting your product our there and making a name for yourself in your niche.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I strongly advocate creating your own product for a sustainable, long-term business model for your profitable niche site. Advertising and affiliate marketing are great starters, but definitely consider building your own assets that will live on, long after any Google update.
Ready to think about your first product?