Publishers who make their living from selling links on their sites had a warning shot delivered to them last month with the Google PageRank update and its anti-paid linking initiative. This targeting of high profile sites is meant to discourage sites with paid links and had led to some publishers scratching their heads as to how to continue earning revenue online.
Don’t fret just yet however, the paid link business is still rather lucrative and if you are selling relative link advertising which drives results and possibly conversions, your site should be fine. On the other hand, you do not want to have your business at the mercy of Google PageRank (although there are other search engines out there too), and publishers should look at the whole picture, especially providing products or services which generate sound revenue.
Here is a look at various ways to earn revenue on your site without selling links. It’s not an alternative to selling link advertising, but instead, should serve as a complimentary strategy.
- Contextual Ads : Contextual advertising, one of the most effective ways to advertise, is geared for effective audience targeting. Advertisers are constantly seeking websites that share their targeted audience. In order to capitalize upon this market, you will need to join a contextual advertising provider like AdSense, Chitika or Yahoo Publisher Network. When you join, your website will automatically update with ads that are related to your content and target audience’s interests, and you get paid each time a user clicks through the ad.
- Lead Generation : Lead generation is similar to affiliate marketing in the essence that you get paid per action, but by selling leads to different companies to then act upon, you can make much more revenue than just having someone click on an ad or get 5% of an affiliate sale. Start off with some lead networks like Hydra Media or Service Magic, then find what’s best for your niche. Furthermore, once you begin driving more leads to sales divisions of various companies that convert, you can then negotiate better pay per lead prices and recurring revenue from those leads.
- WidgetBucks : WidgetBucks is new way that you can make money online. Every time a user clicks on a WidgetBucks ad widget that you have displayed, you earn money. You can also earn money from referring people to WidgetBucks. It is easy to sign up, configure widgets, and paste the code to your blog or Web page. How much you earn then depends on the amount of traffic your site receives.
- Display Ads : Selling display ads is another way to generate revenue for your web site. You can choose to sell ad space on your website for ad networks (like FederatedMedia or even Advertising.com) to place campaigns, or sell the space out yourself by giving the potential advertiser the chance to pay with PayPal subscriptions. Displacy advertising can be sold per click, CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or for a flat fee.
- Affiliates : Affiliate marketing is a powerful revenue generation tool, and your website can simply be used as a marketing platform for larger site. Simply choose a topic that you are interested in, and focus all of your content and advertisements on that particular subject. You can then get paid when readers follow links on your site to other larger sites and purchase products and services. The key here is to become an expert in your field, encouraging people to visit your site first to hear your reviews, thoughts, and analysis.
- Domaining : Do keyword searches in a given topic, and then register domain names that go along with these keywords. You can then resell the name to the highest bidder, either by placing a “for sale” sign on your working website or hiring a website broker to find a buyer. You’d be surprised how investing $8 into a domain and then uploading WordPress and some originial content can then turn into a $100 site, that’s a rather large return on investment.
- Sell Hosting Space : Web host reselling is another way to generate income for the computer savvy. You buy the reselling account or VPS and then rent out extra space to website designers that need a host for their latest and greatest website ideas. If you know a lot of small bloggers, this can come in extra handy.
- Paid VIP Subscriptions : Creating paid subscriptions to e-Books or email newsletters is an excellent money strategy for those who have a specialization in their knowledge field. For example, there are many investment newsletters that generate high incomes, but the income is only sustained if you are an expert in the field.
Again, you have to find a topic that is interesting and compelling to a broad audience, and then you must be the authority in the topic. Offering tools and other perks to your subscribers is a nice way to get them signed up and paying, especially if the savings offsets the subscription price for them.
- Sponsored Reviews : Sponsored blog posts are somewhat controversial, but can be very lucrative. There are companies that will pay anywhere from ten dollars to thousands of dollars for blog writers to review their products publicly. If your blog generates a good amount of traffic, and loyal traffic at that, chances are there are companies that will pay you to review their products.
- Sell a Product or Service : Selling tangible products is, of course, one of the best ways of making money online. If you can find a discounted supplier, or niche distributor, then you can find a target to which you may sell your products.
Taking search blogs as an example, some sites serve as promotional vehicles for services, like SEO or web development companies, or conferences, such as the ClickZ network or Third Door Media. When you have a loyal, trusting and responsive audience, the sky is really yhe limit.
As the Internet continues to evolve, the methods of generating profits online will change as well. There are a myriad of options for you to choose, and often it is a mixture of profit opportunities that will generate the highest revenue for your website.
Diversification is really the key in this respect, so if you get booted by AdSense or the value of the links you sell begin to fall, you always have enough in the reserve tank to keep running.