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How to Make Money With a Website Without Selling Anything

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When people think about how to make money on the internet, the first thought that generally comes to mind is opening an eCommerce store to sell physical or digital products. But did you know it’s possible to make money with a website without actually selling anything? Yep! That’s the beauty of the internet.

There are tons of ways to make money online, but in 2022, you absolutely don’t need to sell any products to earn a profit from your website.

In this article, I’ll outline six different ways you can monetize your website and start earning cash without selling anything.

TL;DR: How can I make money online with my website without selling anything?

You don’t need to sell any physical or digital products to earn money from your website. Instead, you can:

  1. Sign up for ad placement
  2. Join an affiliate links program
  3. Sell membership for access to exclusive content
  4. Partner with brands for sponsored posts
  5. Write sponsored product reviews
  6. Sell your services as a freelancer

First Things First: Build Your Website

Build Your Website

If you want to make money with a website, it goes without saying that the first thing you need is to create a website!

Although you can theoretically earn money with any kind of website, blogs are particularly great because they present a lot of opportunities for monetization – not to mention they’re just plain fun to create (who wouldn’t want to get paid just to produce content about a topic that interests them?).

If you’re unsure what kind of blog you want to create, check out my guide to finding the right blogging niche.

No matter what niche you choose, there are ways to earn money from your blog without selling any products.

And don’t worry if you’re not a coder or web developer: there are many great no-code website builders on the market that make it almost unbelievably easy to set up a sleek, eye-catching website with all the features you need to start earning a profit.

6 Ways to Make a Website Profitable Without Selling Anything

1. Join an Ad Placement Program

Join an Ad Placement Program

As the most tried and true method of earning money with a website, ad placement ranks at number 1 on my list.

If you’ve spent any time at all browsing the internet, you already know what I’m talking about: the little square ads that pop up at the bottom of articles or web pages, advertising anything from cruise tickets to foot cream.

It’s not hard at all to get ads placed on your website or blog: all you have to do is sign up with an ad placement program.

The biggest and most ubiquitous of these is Google Adsense, which pretty much anyone can join.

Other ad placement networks such as Ezoic and Mediavine are more selective, with specific rules about the type of website or the number of monthly hits your site has to have to qualify.

Some ad programs will require visitors to click on an ad on your site in order for you to earn money, while others will pay you just for views (i.e., when someone has scrolled past an ad).

Once you get approved, the rest is pretty simple: you’ll just have to insert a small piece of code into your website, and you’re ready to start earning.

As your site grows and becomes more advanced, you can customize the location, size, style, and even content of the ads placed on your site – but this isn’t really necessary in the beginning.

An alternative to joining an ad placement network is to reach out to brands or companies directly and see if they’d be interested in placing ads for their products on your site.

However, this takes a fair amount of know-how (not to mention time), and is really more of an option for larger sites that already have a well-established audience base.

As such, if ad placement sounds attractive to you, I definitely recommend taking the easy route and joining an ad placement network.

While you probably won’t become rich off of ad placement alone (unless your website is getting some seriously impressive traffic), ad placement is a great way to earn a steady profit with very little effort involved – and no product sales necessary!

2. Join an Affiliate Links Program

Join an Affiliate Links Program

Affiliate links, or affiliate marketing, are one of the best ways to monetize your website without ever having to sell a single product.

Here’s how it works: first, you sign up for an affiliate marketing program like Amazon Affiliates, ShareASale, Pepperjam, or Conversant. Once your site has been approved, you can add hyperlinks to any products you mention or recommend on your blog or site.

When a viewer clicks on your link to make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the profit. It’s as simple as that!

Best of all, most affiliate marketing programs don’t have particularly high standards for qualification, so it’s a great option for smaller blogs and websites that are just getting started.

3. Sell Memberships

Sell Memberships

Although the first two options on my list are pretty hands-off, this third option takes a little more time and effort (but can also be more rewarding and lucrative).

If you’re regularly taking the time to produce engaging, high-quality content for your site, you can monetize your site by setting up a membership platform for your followers.

In other words, you can create a gated site (or specific content on your site) that is blocked by a paywall and only accessible to paying members.

This is a popular model for most well-established media outlets (including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more), so why not make it the model for your blog or site as well?

Most membership works with monthly fees, which you can set up to be charged automatically to your subscribers’ credit cards.

However, before you get too excited about this option, it’s worth considering whether the content you’re producing will be attractive enough for people to pay for.

Consider, for example, what kind of content you would be willing to pay for. To be worth their monthly subscription fee, most people expect exclusive access to content such as high-quality articles, tutorials, training services, online courses, and more.

If you feel that this is something you can provide, then it’s well worth the effort to look into how to add a paid subscription tier to your site.

If you want to earn money through subscription-based content but don’t want to deal with starting your own website, you can always start a Substack.

Substack is a popular platform that allows writers, journalists, cultural critics, and other written content producers to publish articles delivered directly to their subscribers’ inboxes.

Most substack users offer a free subscription tier with limited access to their content to attract new readers and give them a taste of what they can expect. Once a reader has signed up for a monthly subscription, they get full access to all of your writing.

If you’re a writer, influencer, journalist, or other media personality who’s looking to make a little cash from your words, then Substack is a great option that removes the need to worry about building your own website.

4. Publish Sponsored Posts

Another great way to earn money on your website is to publish sponsored posts.

Just as it sounds, a sponsored post is any content (visual, written, or both) that a company or brand has paid you to create.

You can see examples of sponsored posts all over blogs and social media accounts: just look for hashtags such as #sponsored, #brandambassador, or #paidpartner.

Companies and brands recognize the value of marketing their products through trusted online influencers, and they will pay a lot of money to get their products posted on accounts and websites that are generating enough traffic.

As such, this isn’t likely to be a great option for you if you’re just building your blog or site since it takes time to build up the kind of numbers that are likely to attract brand partners.

However, there’s no harm in reaching out to companies or brands that fit your site’s niche (for example, athletic gear and fashion brands are a great fit for blogs focused on outdoor living, exercise, or general lifestyle) and proposing a partnership.

As they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

5. Publish Sponsored Product Reviews

By now, you’re probably noticing the pattern here: partnering with brands to promote their products is a solid way to earn money with a website without actually having to sell anything yourself.

Sponsored product reviews are very similar to sponsored posts in that you are paid by a brand or company to promote their product.

However, a sponsored product review is slightly different because your audience will expect you to provide them with useful information about the product in question.

Combining this method with affiliate links is the best way to earn money from product reviews. This is because affiliate links placed in review posts tend to have a much higher engagement rate than other types of posts.

You can also reach out directly to potential brand partners and ask them if they’ll pay you to review their products (this can feel awkward, but don’t worry: once you’ve developed a big enough following, brands will start reaching out to you).

Partnering directly with brands for paid reviews is a great way to earn money on the internet, but you’ll have to walk a fine line.

On the one hand, your audience will expect honesty, but on the other, the company that has paid you to review its product will likely expect you to post positively about it.

The best way to avoid potential pitfalls is to always be honest and transparent. Always explain upfront when you’ve been paid to review a product, and let your audience draw their own conclusions accordingly.

6. Sell Freelance Services

Yes, it’s true that this option is a bit different from the others on my list in that you are technically selling something. However, selling a service is very different from selling a product – for one thing, you don’t have to worry about inventory!

Plus, since freelancing online is one of the most common ways that people earn money on the internet, no list would be complete without at least mentioning the possibility.

So, what kind of services can you offer as a freelancer? Well, that largely depends on what your skills and professional qualifications are.

For example, if you’ve taken a few graphic design classes and feel confident in your abilities, why not market yourself as a freelance graphic designer? If you’re a teacher looking to score a little extra cash, why not offer online tutoring in your subject area?

While most online freelancers sell their skills on a freelance platform such as Fiverr, Upwork, or Toptal, you can also use your personal website or blog for marketing your services to your audience.

This is a particularly good strategy if your freelancing skills are directly related to your site’s niche: for example, if you run a blog about food photography, it stands to reason that you would sell your services as a freelance food photographer.

Just remember that for a freelancer, having a strong CV and/or portfolio of your work is crucial: after all, potential clients are hiring you mostly based on trust, and being able to give them professional references or examples of your work can really make you stand out.

The Bottom Line: How to Make Money Online Without Selling Anything

All in all, there are a surprising number of ways to make money with a website or blog that don’t require selling anything at all.

From brand partnerships and ad placement to membership fees and freelancing, a personal site or blog can be turned into a seriously lucrative side hustle with little time and creativity.

And remember, you aren’t limited to choosing just one of these options: in fact, most successful web hosts, bloggers, and/or influencers employ multiple techniques to maximize their revenue.

All it takes is the drive and willpower to get started.

References

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