There are ways to make money from your website. You can sell products and services. You can sell subscriptions or memberships. You can make money from advertising. And you can use your site to generate referrals and commissions.
Most businesses only use one or maybe two of the four. You can increase your direct revenue and your opportunities for cross-promotion if you consider them all.
Here’s a review of what you need for each. In every case, you want to deliver what your customers expect and automate as much of the process as possible.
You can make money on your site by selling things. You can sell products or services, but to make money you have to make sure you have mastered the details.
No matter what you’re selling you’ll need a good shopping cart. Online shoppers expect to be able to pay with credit cards and with PayPal and complete transactions online. Your shopping cart should calculate shipping charges and sales tax automatically.
If you’re selling physical products, make sure you’ve worked out all the fulfillment details. Make sure that you have a shipping and inventory system that will deliver great service to your customers.
Since the net is a worldwide phenomenon, you may get orders from other countries. How will you handle them?
You can also sell digital products such as e-books and Special Reports. Buyers will expect to be able to download their digital products as soon as they’ve completed paying.
You can sell services. Many companies are conducting classes on the web, called “webinars.” You’ll need to be able to take orders and send acknowledgments to those who sign up. You’ll also need a reliable way to deliver your webinar.
You can make money on your site by having subscribers or members who pay you a fee. A membership or subscription fee is simply a payment for privileged access.
People will pay for access to current content, to archives, to services, or to other people. Determine what mix of these is best for your business. Make sure you can handle subscription payments, acknowledgments, and renewals.
You can make money on your site from advertising. This used to be quite complicated. But today, with Google’s AdSense program just about any site can generate advertising revenue.
You can make money on your site by using your site for referrals and commissions. On the web, these are called “affiliate programs.” They can help you make money in two ways.
When you send business to another site using an affiliate link, you generate a modest fee for yourself. Whenever you recommend a product or service on your site, check to see if there’s an affiliate program that will pay you for the link.
Your own affiliate program can help you draw more desirable traffic to your site. You’ll need software to help you keep track of the business that affiliates send your way. There are standalone packages for this, but affiliate software is also part of the most sophisticated shopping cart packages.
The bottom line in increasing revenue is using as many of the above income generation methods as you can, as effectively as possible. It’s another case of how the marketing magic is in the mix.