A question I’m often asked by some business owners is how do I make money from my business website? I guess they figure “if I’m going to spend a few thousand dollars on a website then I want it to generate income”. This isn’t a view of relationship between your business and your business’s website that I’d promote, but I thought I’d answer the question anyway. There are three main ways that you can generate income from your website.
- Become a publisher: As a business owner you can use your knowledge and expertise to become a publisher. Like any publisher, for example a book publisher, newspaper owner, television station etc, you have to generate an audience. Generally speaking, to generate a significant income, you would need to generate quite a large audience. And any old audience isn’t really enough (with enough cash you can buy an audience), you need to be able to identify your audience, numbers. When you have built a sizeable and identifiable audience, you have an opportunity to generate income from advertising and sponsorship.
- Build a product: As an expert in your field, you create a product that can be sold. Online products include ebooks, courses and membership programs.
- Streamline your processes: One of the less obvious ways to generate income is using your website to streamline the face-to-face processes of your business. Examine your processes and see where you can use your website to enhance your customer service. Is there part of your business that could be an online form rather than a phone call? Are there ways of providing information electronically. Of course, you need to be careful that you don’t over-digitise your service to the point where your customers and clients can’t speak to a real person if they need to.
Like all aspects of business, there is nothing easy about making money from your website. And, as always you get what you pay for. If you’re not prepared to invest time in your online presence, there is a greater likelihood that you will reap no returns.