6 January 2011

5 ways to turn your website into a passive income source

Having a website (especially one with a blog) takes a lot of effort. But websites are still one of the most common and most reliable sources of passive income. As a first part of my “Passive Income for Freelance Writers” series I’m giving you 5 ways of earning passive income with a website.


Incorporating ads into your website is still one of the most popular choices when it comes to monetizing your website or blog. The most common tool is Google AdSense (or Chitika, popularized by Darren from ProBlogger.net). But it’s worth remembering that once the website is popular and has a lot of readers, you can always cut out the middle man and start looking for advertisers directly.

Many popular websites and blogs use their sidebars to display “sponsors”. Many of those websites are direct clients paying monthly for the exposure. You can also use the advertising spots on your website to display banners from your affiliates about more on that later.) The key to a successful ad is to make sure it fits into the general topic of the website. The ads will bring profit only if they are of interest to your readers.

Affiliate marketing

By promoting other people’s projects, you are earning a percentage of the profits from each sale. Your partners usually provide you with great promotional materials that you can use to promote their work.

If you’re wondering where to find the right affiliate programs, you’re not looking right. Your first choice should always be products and programs you have personal experience with. It’s the ultimate truth – it’s easier to promote something you know and something you believe in.

When choosing the affiliate programs keep in mind what it is that your readers are looking for. And try to provide it not only with your content, but with the products you promote as well. Even if you choose to work with Amazon Affiliates, you should select the products that can benefit your readers.

Self-made products

You either build a website around a product you wish to sell, or you promote a product on a site you already have. Either way a website has an enormous potential of helping you sell those products and, once again, it allows you to cut out the middle man and earn a bigger profit (when you don’t have to pay commission to anyone else.)

Freelance writers usually decide to create eBooks or online courses and tele-classes and share their knowledge with the world. But those are not the only products that can be sold and/or promoted with a website.

Membership sites

Majority of the websites offer some sort of content to the readers. If they are product pages, they offer information on the product. If they are websites of companies or people, they offer information about that. There are sites that have been created and published and are updated rarely, but there are also websites that are updated every other day.

Websites like that can be turned into membership sites, charging readers a monthly fee, providing them with exclusive content (either in a way of a premium newsletter, special blog posts, eBook reports etc.) that they are interested in. Obviously, the details all depend on the niche, but the general idea remains the same.

But what you need to remember is that nowadays, with all the free content you can imagine, you need to be offering something spectacular and amazing to convince people to join the website. You might consider teaming up with somebody else: a graphic designer, or a programmer; where you provide content and all the written material and they add the extra content.

Launching platform for other projects

Sometimes, you don’t have to earn the passive income directly from the website. But if your website is good and provides great content, attracting a lot of readers, it can become a valuable platform from which you can launch your other projects (especially if the projects are in the same niche, or your website is a personal one.)

Whatever your next project is a CafePress shop, another website covering your niche from a different angle, a book deal or a class you can plug it on your website and some of the readers will follow.

Final notes

No matter how you decide to turn your website into a passive income source, there’s one thing you need to remember. No passive income will earn you money if you just set it up and forget about it. It will only bring in profits if you promote it, offer great content and supervise it regularly.

For the entire series on Passive Income click here.

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