I’ve been researching websites, web design and best practices for a while now. As such, I’ve also studied a bit about monetizing a website. I’m no expert by any means, but I am familiar with a few different possibilities when thinking about getting a website to make money. The following is a list of options that I know of and could remember off the top of my head.
To think seriously about getting your site to make money, a good plan is imperative, and a good plan will best result from good research. Therefore, the following are only starting points for further investigation into those things that seem most promising for your website.
1. Pay-per-click advertising on the site:
Google Adsense, and other services are pay-per-click or pay-per-impression, so they depend on how many visitors you get to the site -> with good ads, people are more likely to click, and you’ll make more money. Google Adsense and others pay only a few cents per 1000 page-views or something around that, so it’s good if you have lots of traffic to the site. Placement of ads also needs to be considered in the design, and you also need tax information for that to work. I’ve not done a lot of monetizing sites from Korea -> but from the US it’s not bad (but being here, we might have some hurdles to jump over).
2. Direct banner advertising
You can sell a portion of your website to advertisers to place their banners on. This can work for advertisers of restaurants in the city, or services offered, or online services. For a one-time, monthly, or yearly fee, advertisers can be given space on your website to advertise their products or services with a link back to their site. Premium space (i.e. the Home Page) can be charged premium fees (or at least slightly more than those ads that get pushed to the bottom of the page).
3. Fee for posting:
By running your site as a service to others, or a blog that people regularly visit, you could consider charging a small fee for people to post jobs, services, notices, and For Sale items. It would probably be a good idea to do something like that -> for a pretty minimal fee that people wouldn’t mind paying -> as long as people value your site and the exposure their postings would receive. One good way to help take this fee would be to set up a PayPal account or shopping cart of some kind.
Along with a PayPal account, you could set up a button on the site for taking donations (or a separate page). One good way to do that is to have something that says “Please help us pay our hosting fees. Each year we pay $XX for hosting, and as a service to the English-speaking community of Jeonju we rely on donations to help keep our site running.” or something similar. Donations could be really small, or really big, and a separate page could be set up to do that. Additionally, a donations bucket could be set up in your place of business (JRs) to take donations for your sites -> kind of a “tip jar” but for the purpose of financing your sites -> anyway that’s what you could write on it.
5. Affiliate marketing programs:
Many vendors, like Amazon offer affiliate marketing programs where you would post a link, or a product and a link to their sites and if users click on that link and buy something from the host site within a given time period, your site would receive a portion of the money that user spent on that site. It is good to find programs that have longer time limits for a person to buy from their site (i.e. a few days or more rather than just a few hours) so that there is a higher chance they will buy something and your site will benefit from their purchase.
6. Partnership deals with other sites:
I happen to know a few businesses nearby with websites. Babo Shirts is a foreigner run site and business from Daejeon that sells funny t-shirts and Expat Flyers is a service located in Daejeon that offers airplane trips for foreigners. You could probably contact the site owners and negotiate some kind of deal with them. You will post links, stories, ads, etc (market for them on your site) for a reasonable fee and they can give visitors from your site a special deal, or discount on their products with a special code. They could also post a link back to your site on their page. This will open up both sites for more visitors and a different group of people than before. Market for each other on each site, and drive that’s site’s current traffic back to your site. Good deal.
7. Offer a product or service
People don’t care so much about money per se, but rather value for their money. In other words, money is really no object so long as people fully understand and appreciate the value they receive and the benefits they gain from the money they spend. I know in Jeonju, it may be hard to offer a product or service directly from the Jeonju Hub, but here are a few suggestions.
When people want to post items in the “For Sale” area, after a certain amount of time, if the items haven’t been purchased, the Hub could purchase them at a lower rate (discounting a “service fee”) and promise to keep the listing up until the item sells (even after the foreigner leaves Korea). That way, the foreigners who want to sell their stuff can even after they leave, and since the Hub will stay around much longer, it will be able to keep the listing up, even discount it, until the item sells. Or, the Hub could just offer to purchase everything people want to sell from the get-go minus their service fee, and then only the Hub would be responsible for that stuff (or course then you run into logistics problems with where you’ll keep the stuff).
Another idea would be to write an e-book, or city guide, teaching guide, Korea guide of some kind that has plenty of useful information from first-hand accounts. As an e-book, you won’t be talking about physical paper products, so you won’t have to worry about printing, and as Internet business is a “legal gray area” in Korea, (I’m not 100% sure) you shouldn’t have to deal with too many legal loopholes. As the Hub strives to be the “definitive guide to Jeonju” for foreigners, you could market it as such and use other sites and methods to draw more foreign tourists to Jeonju.
8. Offer a product or service where part of the proceeds goes to charity
This seems to be a great way to get money as people are usually more eager to give, or buy, or help out if they know that their money (or a portion of it) will be going to a good cause. This will also help to raise more money for good causes (like orphanages) and charities. I recently bought a nearly $1000 software pack online for just $39 at this site. They donated 25% of the proceeds and raised over $850,000 for charity. Of course, numbers like that depend a lot on how many people know about it, so advertising, marketing, and especially word-of-mouth transfers are very helpful. (You could also just decide to donate all the proceeds to charity).
What do you think?
What about you? In my experience, monetizing anything (websites, businesses, products) depends more on the number of people who know about it, visit it, use it, benefit from it than anything else. In the end, it’s a numbers game -> but also don’t discount the “value for money” I mentioned earlier. Any more ideas on monetizing a website? Any thoughts or suggestions?
Performing a Google search provided me with this quick set of resources for monetizing a site (I haven’t checked them all yet):