Affiliate Marketing and 3 Other Great Website Monetization Models

by Adam on September 15, 2017

Affiliate marketing businesses work by connecting advertisers with websites. In the past, advertisers would have to trawl through literally hundreds of millions of websites in order to find one where they could advertise best. At the same time, website owners would have to trawl through countless brands to decide which ones they would like to advertise on their website.

shopping tips for supermarketsEven after all this searching, there’s the strong possibility that either the advertiser doesn’t like the website or the website doesn’t like the advertiser. After that, both parties have to start the process all over again.

Affiliate marketing networks are helpful because they act as much-needed middlemen. By using huge amounts of data, the aim of affiliate marketing is to connect the right advertiser to the right website, eliminating the legwork which neither advertisers nor website owners enjoy doing.

For advertisers, this means they can start advertising right away. For website owners, this means that they can start making money right away. Everyone’s a winner.

What Is Voluntary Subscription?

The voluntary subscription model (or the donation model) is a way for website owners and internet creators to monetize their content without advertising and without forcing their users to pay.

Despite how naysayers feel about a website funding itself by what people feel like paying, it’s a model which works. Wikipedia has become the fifth biggest website in the world through donations alone and The Guardian monetizes its content through donations as well.

For everyone else, there’s Patreon — a voluntary subscription service which entered its current form through a merger with Subbable.

wallWhat Are Paywalls?

In order to make money, some websites put a wall in between their users and their content. The reaction to these walls is mixed and the walls themselves don’t always make the website money. However, it’s a model which has worked for many news organisations and it’s the most straightforward in terms of who is paying who and for what.

“The most straightforward” doesn’t necessarily mean “the best” but — like the other models — it has some impressive success stories, the most notable of these being Netflix. Netflix is not a news website. Rather, it’s the most successful of the streaming services, another kind of website which is monetized almost entirely by paywalls.

Netflix also falls very firmly only the side of having a soft paywall in the form of a month’s free trial — as opposed to a hard paywall, where users are expected to start paying straight away. Most streaming services use this same model. In fact, one of Netflix’s biggest rivals claims that its free trial helps it to retain a staggering 70% of customers once the trial has ended.

What Is Merchandising?

Much like with the donation model, merchandising acts as a way for people to indirectly fund what you do, but in their own way and in their own time. Chance The Rapper famously swept up multiple awards at the Grammys while giving his music away for free. So how does he make money? Merchandising. People like what he does, so they choose to pay him for it.

Selling merchandise to loyal fans of your product is a great way to monetize your website, but it also has other benefits. It helps to diversify your income stream so that you’re not solely reliant on just one thing, and the merchandise itself acts as free marketing for your brand. In essence, people are paying you to advertise your product.

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