Making money online sounds easy.
Get a website, slap up some material, and start charging people to view the content. The only problem with that strategy is that it doesn't work. (Remember the dot com bubble?) Regardless of the quality of content, there is so much free online content out there that content-driven websites can't survive with an exclusive pay-for-content approach.
Yet despite the challenges, web publishers have still found ways to make money with content-driven websites. Although it takes a little creativity and a fair amount of out-of-the-box thinking, it's possible to create a lucrative revenue strategy around Internet content.
The first step involves the content itself. Today's web surfers are savvy and sophisticated. They simply won't accept content that isn't unique or doesn't offer real value. And if you plan on posting content that is oversaturated with keywords just to attract the attention of search engines, forget it – Google and its peers are on to your scheme, not to mention the fact that your readers will bounce from your site as quickly as they can.
Once you have invested the time and effort necessary to create truly useful content, here are some of the web publishing strategies that are worth considering.
- Adsense. One of the easiest ways to earn revenue from online content is with Google Adsense. Adsense introduces text and image ads to your site. But unlike other ads, Adsense ads have been targeted to match your site's content and the interests of your readers. Ads can be either CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-thousand). Depending on your traffic, Adsense ads have the potential to create a steady stream of revenue.
- Direct ads. If Adsense doesn't sound appealing to you, you can also solicit direct ads for your website. The process is similar to offline ad marketing in that you'll need to contact advertisers directly and negotiate terms. There's more footwork involved, but since there isn't a middle man, direct ads often earn more than Adsense ads, at least on a per-ad basis.
- E-books. E-books are another way to boost your earnings from online content. Instead of publishing hard copies, you can write a book and either publish it yourself or use one of the many e-publishing platforms that are available from online booksellers. To make it worth your while, there are two prerequisites: (1) Great book content and (2) high traffic volumes.
- Product sales. Many entrepreneurs use online content as a way to introduce potential customers to their products or services. The e-publishing strategy can be a perfect complement to online merchandising.
- Affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is a process in which affiliated businesses offer financial rewards to sites that direct customers to their website. Research affiliates in your industry to learn more about the active programs that are available to you.