If you think you have to sell stuff to make money online, you’re dead wrong.
You absolutely can make money with a website, even without selling anything yourself. The process is simple and there’s no limit to how much money you can earn.
In this article, I’ll show you what you need to know to get started.
How To Make Money With a Website Without Selling
You don’t need to be some ‘marketing guru’ or ‘tech wiz’ to make money with a website.
But there are some fundamental steps you need to take and it will require a healthy amount of time and effort to get results. I’ve broken it down into three main steps…
Step 1) Develop a Solid Foundation of Your Website
When many beginners attempt to make money online, they want results now. When you say it can take months of hard work before seeing profits, the excitement quickly fades.
But building the foundation of your site is the most important part of all. This is essential if you want to get to the part that actually makes you money.
So what the heck do I mean by ‘develop a solid foundation’?
I’m talking about creating a useful website full of content the people within your niche find valuable. When you put your audience first and focus on publishing high value, relevant content, you are going to be very successful.
Here’s why good content matters:
- It is critical to growing a steady flow of targeted organic traffic to your site
- It allows you to build trust with your audience which will make you more money
There is more to developing a good website beyond just the content itself, yes. But this is right at the core and in my opinion, the most important part of all.
When you develop your website in this way, you are building a valuable asset.
Regardless of what you promote, or do not promote, this asset will make you money. Month in, month out. Done correctly, you can generate a truly passive income from this asset.
So, build a solid foundation first. Then, the process of making money will come easy.
Step 2) Choose a Monetization Strategy That Pays
There’s a number of ways you can make money from a website without selling a product or service. But for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on two main ways.
Google Adsense Ads (easier but less profitable)
Google Adsense is a popular way of monetizing a website.
The way it works is simple. Sign up for a free Adsense account and (once accepted) paste the ad code into your website where you want the ads to appear. This could be in your sidebar, within or below the content, or wherever makes sense.
This pays on a per click basis and in some cases a very small amount for impressions.
The good thing about this strategy in general, is that it’s super simple. The good thing about using Adsense in particular is you can leverage the power of Google.
They serve the most relevant ads to each visitor and they are very good at it. This means you can earn the most amount of money possible each time someone clicks on an ad.
For example, if the visitor has been searching for ‘RC drones’ recently, they may very well be served an ad for RC drones!
The drawback to this model is that the profit potential is low. It is not the most profitable way to turn your visitors into profit by a long shot.
That being said, it does depend on the website itself and your overall strategy.
Take a website with a broad topic focus that publishes viral or news based content for example. It has a high volume of traffic, but that traffic is not very targeted. In this case, you have the numbers so serving relevant Adsense ads can be an effective strategy.
In most cases, the following strategy is far better.
Affiliate Marketing (more effort, higher reward)
Affiliate marketing is about promoting other companies products for a commission.
You do not own any products yourself, or have any dealings with customers. You are essentially the ‘middle person’ between the customer and vendor. This is much simpler than trying to sell your own products, yet just as profitable.
You could argue that this is technically ‘selling stuff’, but I would argue otherwise.
Apart from the obvious differences, the way you promote is notably different. As an affiliate, your goal is NOT to sell anything. It’s to help your audience find relevant products they’ll love.
You are helping, giving value, and recommending. Not selling.
Quick Example of Affiliate Marketing In Action
Imagine you have an audience on your website and you recommend a relevant product to them as an affiliate. This is done in an automated way so you are not personally doing this of course!
Anyways, your visitor follows your advice and ends up on the product’s sales page. At which point, a percentage of people will buy and you will earn a commission.
Here’s where the concept of trust comes into play. The more people trust you, and find your information credible, the more people will buy once on that sales page.
Think of it this way for a moment…
If you went into a shop to look at a particular product based on a trusted friends recommendation, as oppose to just listening to the salesperson, how much more likely are you to buy that product?
You trust your friend, but the sales person is just ‘selling’ you something. This concept is key. It’s why affiliate marketing with a website can work extremely well.
To recap the process:
relevant traffic => relevant content (trust built) => relevant offer => earn commissions
There are millions of products you can promote online in just about every niche you could think of. All you need to do is sign up with an affiliate program that is right for your site.
How much money you make depends on how well you execute the process.
Step 3) Put Your Chosen Strategy To Work
When it comes to something like Adsense, there’s not much to it. Copy the code Google gives you and paste it into your website. That’s it!
Of course, it does pay to test and optimize the placement of your ads to increase results but it’s very simple overall.
On the other hand, there’s a lot more to implementing an effective affiliate marketing strategy.
You could just throw up a banner for the product you are promoting, but this is not the smart approach. You really want to take a much more strategic approach to affiliate marketing than this.
In the following section, I’ll give you an overview of a more effective strategy.
Create a Money Page
The first thing you need to do is create a ‘money page’.
This could be a review of a product you are promoting, or a landing page dedicated to ‘warming’ up your visitors to the sales page. It could also be a product comparison page where you compare the top products or in your niche too.
Whatever makes sense for your niche, and you can use more than one money page. The most important thing is to have a page that is designed to make you money, while offering your visitors relevant value.
Funnel People To Your Money Page
Once you have good content, targeted traffic, and your money pages are in place, you need to get as many people to those pages as possible.
The more people who land on your money page, the more people will flow through to the sales page of whatever you’re promoting. The more people who land on the sales page, the more money you can potentially make.
There are many ways you can go about ‘funnelling’ website visitors to your money pages.
Personally, I like to keep it simple and relevant. People do not make buying decisions when they are confronted with too many options. Not to mention, the more confusing and elaborate you make things, the easier it is to screw it up as a beginner!
Keep it simple.
There’s no need to jam the offer down people’s throats either… they are people after all!
Make use of your sidebar, below the content, menu links and every other aspect of your site to purposefully lead people to the pages that offer them value, and make you money.
Be genuine, transparent and tell it like it is. People appreciate this and it will lead to higher conversions. Win win.
Build Your Email List (optional)
Technically, this is optional. But in most cases, building an email list is very worthwhile.
The idea is simply to create a capture page that collects a persons email address. The visitor gives you their email address in return for something of value. This can be anything from access to more exclusive content, an ebook, video course or anything that makes sense for your site.
Once you have people on your email list, you can offer them value and promoting relevant products long after they leave your website. This can be a very effective money making strategy in and of itself, let alone in conjunction with a website.
How do you make it happen?
When you already have a steady flow of targeted traffic coming to your website, building an email list is simple.Setup the capture page and/ or optin form on your site once, and that’s it.
There are many tools (both free and paid) that can help you with this. I use Thrive Leads on this site, but there are many good options.
As you build your traffic your list is built virtually on autopilot, just as the emails that are sent to your list.
Measure and Optimize For Maximum Results
As with any good website or marketing strategy, the key to getting the best results is to test different ideas and measure your results.
Not everything you do will be a winner. This is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s to be expected!
The important thing is to keep a close eye on your results so you can improve.
Tools like Google Analytics and other lead tracking tools work well for this purpose. Whatever you use, the idea is to track and use the data to make informed decisions about improving results.
It is entirely possible to make a good amount of money with a website, even without selling anything yourself.
You could take the easy road and throw some ads up, or dig deeper into the world of affiliate marketing. I recommend the latter option, but that’s me. In any case, you get out what you put in.
As long as you focus on giving your audience value above all, you will see results.