Finally, we’re going to talk about the best way for a website to turn a profit, and that’s making actual money.
There are a many, many ways for a website to make money, and we’ll talk about a few of those.
First, you can sell advertising on your website, either directly or through a broker like Google AdSense, where they find the advertisers for you and automatically place them on your site. Direct selling of advertising on your site cuts out the middle-man and can, therefore, be more profitable. However, Google makes it very easy to set up AdSense on your website. AdSense scans the content of your site and links to relevant sponsors that pay Google when someone clicks on those links. Then Google pays you when someone clicks on the links, taking a cut off the top. The ads can be placed anywhere on your website. You can see in the screenshot to the left where ads were placed at the top of the website.
A website can be a lead-generating tool. You can find people who are possibly interested in your product by offering an e-book or report on a topic related to your business that potential clients and customers would find interesting. Just ask for very basic contact information and have your website automatically email them the report for free.
You generate leads similarly with giveaways, newsletters, or even with a simple “Get a Quote” form. Anything that collects very basic contact information and offers a benefit can help you to capture leads with your website. And the less information you request, the more likely people will be to sign up.
When you link to any such form, make sure the link is prominent on your website. It needs to be one of the first things that visitors to the website see. Website visitors tend to start looking at the top right of the page, then they look to the right, then down the page. So towards the top is generally a good place for the button. You can see good button placement on the website screenshot to the right.
The last method for making money on your website is probably the one people think of the most, and that is selling product directly on your site.
The key with selling anything on your website is to make it as easy as possible for people to buy. While there are both free and paid shopping cart solutions you can install on your website, those are often not necessary if you only have a few items. PayPal and Google Checkout [Note: Google Checkout is now retired] both offer easy to integrate shopping carts. All you do is create an account with them, copy their code for “Add to cart” buttons and your website is ecommerce capable.
Of course, it helps if you also have items in your store that are appealing and easy to ship. While you may not want to list all of your available inventory online, your best bet is small items that are $20-$50 dollars. People are generally pretty comfortable buying something online in that price range, and will be that much more likely to impulse buy.
Now you’ve seen how websites can give you a great return on your investment when you set them up to save time, save money and make money. You should not be satisfied with a simple brochure website that gives you an “online presence.” Instead, the website needs to be actively contributing to the bottom line of your business, or it’s not worth the money you spent on it.