Kyle Marvin | 5 Ways I’ve Made Money Online
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5 Ways I’ve Made Money Online

5 Ways I’ve Made Money Online

So you have a website or blog that is getting some traffic, now what? There are literally dozens if not hundreds of ways to earn income from your websites. I’ve used several, including all of the 5 ways mentioned below.  Set aside all of the spammy get rich quick stuff you’ve heard before and listen to how I’ve actually received checks over the last 6 years. For each of the 5 ways, I will explain the method and how I earned. Take what you read and apply it to your own online marketing efforts and I hope the dough starts rolling in for you.

PPC Ads

What is it?

PPC, or “Pay per click” ads pay you a fee each time someone clicks on your ads. Unless you’re a black-hatter, which I assume you’re not, Google Adsense is the best starting point.  Google has put together a great way to monetize sites that are specifically not in a very profitable niche.  How do they do this? By serving up ads that their customers want to see, regardless of what your site is about.  Have you ever searched for dog collars then went to a random site, and saw ads for dog collars? This is because Google knows what you’re searching for, and that site you visited is serving up Google ads.  Essentially, you’re delegating a spot on your site for Google to serve those custom-tailored ads to your visitors.  Due to the nature of how Google collects information, you’re much more likely to get a click and get paid.

How Have I done?

I find Adsense a great way to monetize sites that don’t have high paying affiliate offers, or are not laser targeted at a specific market.  OK so I haven’t made millions in pay-per-click ads, but in my best month I’ve gotten a check for over $1,200 from Google Adsense, during a holiday shopping season. Sure, I’m not the guy who you see pictures of online getting $132,000 checks from Google every month, but I can’t complain.

Affiliate Marketing

What is it?

Affiliate marketing is essentially me driving sales to an existing outside site, and getting a commission. It is a $3b+ industry, and every major online player has an affiliate program of some sort.  You sign up for an affiliate network like Commission Junction, then find advertisers that are relevant to your site.  Then you put your affiliate link on your site, and anyone who clicks on that link and performs a purchase will give you a nice little commission of usually between 2% to 40% or even more for information products.

How Have I Done?

I’ve consistently earned a monthly income of hundreds of dollar (thousands some months) from affiliate offers over the past few years.  The cool thing is, I get checks or auto-deposits from several different networks, and my income stays diversified. I won’t say how much I’ve earned on this but i will say I see a huge potential, and it’s nice to get a raise every single month.  Essentially, I build a site, rank it, promote products, get commissions, then repeat. Some sites are big earners and some not, but I learn from my experience each time I am building a site.

Selling a Product

What is it?

Another term would be ecommerce.  You have products you are selling on your site, with a shopping cart and a checkout process.  Products can be something you produce, have a deal with a manufacturer to sell, buy wholesale, or even an information product.  It doesn’t really matter, the main thing is you are selling something.  This is different than affiliate marketing where you are driving traffic to someone else’s site and earning a commission. Your site is the point of purchase.

How Have I done?

As of early 2012, the majority of my online earnings have been from ecommerce.  I’ve sold many different products in dozens of niches.  It has its pros and cons.  The cons being that you have to deal with the customers, you are responsible for shipping and product procurement, etc.  But the pros are a higher profit margin, and control over pricing.  In 2007, I sold refurbished game systems on eBay, and made around $70,000 in 3 months; I’ve sold specialty As-Seen-on-TV items on Amazon, earning several thousand dollars; I’ve created a micro-brand that has done nearly $700,000 in sales in its best year; I’ve even created a niche specialty site that netted $3k a month and sold that site for a cash lump-sum.  The long and short of it is, if you can find a niche, rank in that niche, and have the capital to fund the project, there is money to be made. My latest ecommerce project, SweetheartGear.com is an apparel site for Americans who are married to or are in love with foreigners.

Subscription Fees

What is it?

So you have an idea for a service or some kind of software product or membership type site? Congratulations, if you can actually acquire paying customers, your business is worth 5 times a standard online business.  Why? Because you’ve nurtured your customers. You give them something worth paying monthly for. Netflix is a great example of this model.  The best part about this income stream, in my opinion, is that the payments are automatically deducted from your customers’ accounts.  Why is that good? Well, mainly, because your customers don’t have to think about sending you the money, it is auto-deducted.

How Have I done?

This is my newest method of earning an income, and I’m still trying out new things, however I have earned a few hundred dollars a month for the last few months on… drum roll please….. a game server.  I give people a place to play a specific game online, which they can play for free, I pay hosting. So how do I make money? I have 4 levels of subscription, from $5 to $35 a month, which gives the players more and more permissions and in game money as the level of subscription increases to use as they wish.  As of today, I’ve had about 50 paying members, and I’m only the 248th ranked server for this specific game.  The next few months I’ll be looking at driving traffic to this server, as I haven’t spent any money on marketing to get to this level, I can only imagine what a small marketing budget being applied towards it could produce. It’s a beautiful thing when people pay you for virtual goods.  Some of the players who are paying each month haven’t even logged in for a few months! They have signed up for the $10 or so monthly fee, but don’t find much time to play. They don’t want to cancel, cause it’s such a nominal fee, so everyone wins, and the best part: They don’t have to remember to pay the small fee- it’s auto-deducted.

Direct Banner Sales

What is it?

I sell a banner ad spot directly on my site.  No middle man, just a fee I charge. Depending on your niche, your traffic, and your site’s popularity, you can earn HUGE with this. There are some cons, such as having to manage the customer, having to acquire customer, etc.  But if you just slap a page on your site called ‘Advertise with us’ with a form to fill out, and put your rates for each placement, you might get some inquiries.  The nice thing about this is that you don’t have to rely on clicks or actions, you simply need to get an advertiser willing to pay that price for that placement.

How Have I Done?

I’ve done this method with one site, but changed strategy 3 months later for other reasons.  But when I did have this method, I charged $600 for the main header site-wide banner for a month.  That site had 30,000 monthly visitors, and it was a very specific niche of customers looking for that kind of item, so the rate was reasonable.  My customer seemed happy, but turns out he was using the banner ad for an affiliate offer I could make more money myself by posting my affiliate offer in the same spot! But the main point I wanted to make here was that you can, and some sites do, very successfully, make gazillions of dollars managing site-wide or page-specific banner ads in-house.

There are tons of ways to make money online, and I hope to dabble in several more, including Kindle, iPhone and Android app development, mobile ads, CPA, and even CPM ad placements.  I just figured I’d post this as candidly as possible showing you what I’ve been successful with.  I wish you all the success in the world with your online income earning efforts!

Please comment and rate my post!

Written by: Kyle Marvin

Kyle is a digital marketing consultant with 12+ years experience in SEO, social media and paid traffic. He currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife and three kids. Kyle consults small and medium sized businesses with their digital marketing needs and is the Digital Marketing Manager of RapidVisa, Inc. Reach out to Kyle on Twitter.

4 Comments
  • Ernie
    Reply

    Agreed.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm
  • Sarahk26
    Reply

    Direct banner sales sounds like a great route for me to go with my blog. Do you have any pointers for “dealing with your customer” as you say?

    September 5, 2013 at 8:12 am
  • AjiaJinn
    Reply

    Good for you with your e-commerce! I’m trying with my own niche, but so far no dice. 🙁

    September 5, 2013 at 8:28 am
  • Ephraim PK Tutjavi
    Reply

    Interesting ways of making money… How do I come in. You can design them for the Namibian market

    September 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

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