Monetizing your website can be a great source of revenue both as a publisher and as an association and there are several creative ways that you can accomplish this besides selling banner advertising. As an association, it’s your job to be the voice of your industry and provide the online hub that your industry needs in order to conduct business. By accomplishing this, your traffic increases and you open the door to selling higher priced banner advertising, but there are other ways that revenue can be generated with little to no effort.
All revenue generated by your website is coming from one of two places.
1. Someone’s Paying to Be on Your Website
This is your advertising revenue which can come from multiple sources. Traditional banner advertising is priced based on a CPM model (cost per thousand views). Typically, because your publisher is performing a direct sales campaign for these banners, the sale price per CPM is a lot higher than usual. Average CPMs range among industries, but the average CPM in North America right now is roughly $25.
This means if you have one ad on every page of your website that has 10,000 page views per month, your monthly revenue would normally be about $250 ($25 * 10 (thousand)).
Of course, advertising is worth whatever an advertiser is willing to pay and if you serve a niche with a higher average CPM or advertisers who wish to support your association, you may be able to command a much higher price.
Another great option which requires significantly less attention to manage is Google Adsense. Google will place ads on your website and pay you either by 1,000 ad views or per click. The most common model is pay-per-click (PPC) which means it’s very important that your ads are in noticeable spots that your visitors will be able to look at long enough to click on.
Generally, with Google Adsense you can expect to be paid about $2 per 1,000 views. This is significantly lower than directly selling the advertising but it requires much less attention to manage. All you have to do is insert the codes on your webpage and leave Google to do its work. If you have a website that sees huge amounts of traffic (over one million page views annually) then this might be a good option for you. It’s especially good for smaller content publishers that don’t have the option to hire dedicated sales teams to manage these ad placements. Many bloggers use Google placements.
Another highly effective form of advertising is native advertising. Native advertising is advertising disguised as content, similar to an advertorial in a magazine. There are plenty of companies that would jump at the opportunity to guest post on your blog or website. This allows them to communicate a problem and how their products or services can solve the problem. This is often more effective and in higher demand than banner advertising.
I would recommend you place a disclaimer at the top of the content stating it’s “sponsored content” so your viewers don’t think that you’re endorsing any one particular company. Also make sure you place no-follow tags in these articles.
The last and most creative way to monetize your website is by providing a marketplace for your users to be sourcing new products/services. Revenue is generated by an affiliate commission.
Affiliate programs are very popular on the internet right now. Essentially, you sell a product on your website on behalf of another company and they pay you a percentage of the sale price.
For example, if your association serves the hotel industry and one of your members purchases $10,000 worth of new plates through one of your affiliate links, your payout could be anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
Unlike banner advertising, having a marketplace on your website could be considered a benefit of membership in your association. By positioning the companies paying you for sales as “trusted vendors” or something similar, you’re now saving your members time when they’re sourcing new products.
The best part of affiliate programs is you don’t need any inventory or capital investment in order to start making money. The key is to have high traffic and your users need to have trust in you.
2. Users Pay You
Associations have membership levels which unlock certain benefits at each level, but as you become more of a prominent voice in your industry you’ll begin to see many professionals who are not members of your association engaging with your content.
There could be a variety of reasons why they may not be members yet, but if they’re actively following your content then it’s safe to say that they find some value in what you publish. At this point, you can start charging for certain types of content.
One of the most common ways that companies and non-profits accomplish this is by selling ebooks online. In the age of Amazon, self-published digital ebooks are becoming extremely popular and one of the biggest upsides is that you don’t need to worry about expensive production costs associated with print and mail.
Other offerings that you can sell are exclusive webinars, premium content such as research papers, and even building out full e-commerce platforms.
Make sure to ask your publisher what options you have for building websites that can accommodate some of these revenue generation opportunities.
Have something to add? Comment below!