How to Monetize Your Website

How to Monetize Your Website

“How the heck do I monetise this website I bought?”, this question has been asked at multiple Flippa meetups this year. It’s a fair question too, especially as some buyers have little experience in running web businesses – and buying a website on Flippa is their first shot.

You probably didn’t buy a website so that you could make an extra few hundred each month. You bought it so that you could make thousands or tens of thousands each month. We want to help you achieve it. And this guide will teach you how to do just that. It’s a big guide, so big that it’s been split into two parts for readability.

In part 1, we’ll look at some of the more traditional methods that have been around for a long time. Strap yourself in!

1. Advertising

Advertising is the most basic form of monetization online. Readers come to your site, they see an interesting ad on your site, they click the ad, and you get paid. Easy! While extremely quick and easy to set up, ads aren’t always the most effective way to monetize. You need a lot of traffic hitting your site to make a decent amount of money from ads. This means months of hard work doing content marketing, SEO and social media marketing before you see a decent income.

Besides, if you’re getting that much traffic, it would make more sense to try some of the other monetization strategies and make even more money. We’ll come to that later. For now, if you’re bent on monetizing through advertising, start with a Google Adsense account. It’s free and easy to set up. You can then plug in ads in your sidebar, your header, in-content and other places on your site.

Another popular ad network is BuySellAds. With BSA you can set up your ad inventory and charge per impression. They have thousands of advertisers looking for targeted sites like yours, and if you get good traffic you can charge a premium.

Finally, you can skip the networks and brokers and just contact advertisers yourself in what is commonly known as a private ad sale. Again, you’ll need a decent amount of traffic so that you have negotiating power. Then you can simply charge a fixed amount per month to place their banner on your site.

Thinking about buying? View websites for sale with an advertising monetization method.

2. Paid Content

Paid content is getting a third party to pay you to publish their content on your site. It’s basically like accepting guest posts, except you’re charging people for it. In this case the third party, or advertiser, will write a post for your site in the hopes that your readers will see it and try to find out more about the topic or author. So you’ll have to add a byline for the post letting readers know it’s sponsored content and who sponsored it.

As with advertising, you’ll need a decent amount of traffic before you can start charging people to publish their content on your site. No one will pay you if their post is only going to be seen by a handful of people.

The good thing about paid posts is that you get your blog updated and you get paid at the same time. Theoretically, you could just keep accepting a new paid post every day to maximize income, but you need to make sure the content isn’t too promotional or your readership will dwindle.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is all about promoting someone else’s products. It’s kind of like advertising, except you can carefully pick and choose which products you want to promote. It’s very easy to get started as an affiliate marketer. Head to sites like Commission Junction, Share a Sale or ClickBank to find thousands of existing products. You can then sign up as an affiliate for the ones you like and get a custom affiliate link for each product.

Next head back to your site and write a post or create a banner with your custom link. When someone clicks on the link and buys the product you get paid a commission. Again, try not to alienate your readers by pressing all these products on to them. The best way to market it is to not market it at all. By that I mean don’t be a sleazy salesman. Use the products you’re an affiliate of, write honest reviews and let your readers know what you think.

You can make a fair amount of money as an affiliate marketer. You can even bypass the middlemen sites and go directly to the company and sign up as an affiliate. That way you get higher commissions. However, to get to the stage where you’re making thousands you’ll need to build up a large, dedicated and trusting readership. Only when your readers trust you and your judgment will they start purchasing products that you recommend.

View websites for sale with an affiliate monetization method.

4. Lead Generation

Lead Generation is similar to affiliate marketing except you get paid for leads rather than purchases. For example, in affiliate marketing, when a visitor to your site clicks on an affiliate link, you only get paid if that visitor purchases something on the site you’re an affiliate of. In lead generation, you get paid regardless.

Of course nothing comes for free. Typically you’d get paid less for a lead than for a sale. However, lead generation is more scalable in that you can send the same lead to multiple companies and get paid for them all. If you’ve used insurance comparison sites you’ll know how this works. You go to the site and enter your details and e-mail address for a quote. Now the comparison site has lead generation deals with a bunch of different insurance companies. All they have to do is pass on your information to relevant companies and they get paid for each lead.

To make lead generation work you’ll need a readership of qualified buyers. That way the companies you pass the leads on to will have a higher chance of converting them and will get more value from your partnership.

5. Services

A classic business model that’s been taken online with the widespread use of the internet and the numerous free communication tools. Now you aren’t restricted to finding clients in your area. You can provide services to people in North America while sipping coconut juice on a beach in Bali.

Some of the most popular services are web design, web development, online marketing and content writing, to name a few. You can create a service out of just about anything. Remember, if you already have an established website with readers, don’t be afraid to ask them what problem they face. You want to take advantage of that existing readership and create a service tailor-made for them. That makes it more likely they’ll hire you.

View websites for sale with a services monetization method.

6. Consulting

Consulting is like a service in that you trade time for money, but it gives you higher returns. For example, if I had an online marketing service, I’d spend time marketing my client’s site. On the other hand, an online marketing consultation would involve me getting on a Skype call with a client and creating a custom marketing strategy, which she then implements herself.

If you can promote yourself as an expert in your field you can charge a lot for consultations. I’m talking hundreds or thousands of dollars for an hour of work Some companies might even want to fly you out to their conferences to give a talk, all expenses paid! Of course, it’s not easy to get to that stage. You’ll need to put in a lot of hard work and build up credibility before you can get to that stage. This is definitely not a monetization strategy if you’re just starting out, but it can become one later.

Wrapping Up

That’s it for part 1 of the monetization series. In the next part we’ll look at some of the more recent monetization strategies. These strategies have started becoming popular in recent years and if you get in on the trend now you could get ahead of the competition.

In the meantime, whet your appetite with these live auctions on Flippa! 

Content provided by Siddharth Bharath.

Supercharge Your Retirement Savings By Investing in Websites

Supercharge Your Retirement Savings By Investing in Websites

So let me guess. You want to have more money for your retirement, but you don’t want to work 24/7 to make it happen. That’s fair enough. You’ve spent your whole working life chasing deadlines and reporting to your boss. So how do you achieve this? Property? Shares? Websites?

…Yes, websites! Web businesses are one of the simplest ways to build a stable passive income, which is perfect if you want to boost your retirement savings! Even the most conservative investors acknowledge the growth potential and stability of digital investments.

Here’s how you can use Flippa to earn passive income and build a nest egg for your retirement.

Pick Your Niche

First, you must pick a niche for your retirement project. Why? Because it’s the ‘sub industry’ your website will operate in. We suggest you pick something you’re already interested in, it’ll make the process more fun!

Ask yourself:

  • What niche am I already a part of? Perhaps you’re an automotive enthusiast, a hobby photographer or an antique collector. It’s a good idea to explore your interests and hobbies, because they can reveal what niche you’re already part of.
  • What do I like to read? What you consume can also help you pick a niche for your retirement project. It’s also a good trick to test the size of your market. You want to make sure that your niche has a big enough market (hint: if a magazine covers your niche, then it’s big enough).
  • Who do I like to help and what can I help them with?  If you’re struggling with this, think about what you do for your friends, family members, and colleagues on a volunteer basis. Maybe you’re the person who fixes people’s computers, or the person who gives their friends the best cupcake recipes.

If you want to succeed online, choosing your niche is key. Fortunately, Flippa makes this step easy. After you’ve finished this article, go to the homepage, and hit the green ‘get started’ button! Flippa will give you many results that will help you find your dream project.

At this stage, I’m going to assume you’ve picked a niche that you’re interested in. Your next million dollar question is: how can I make money from my site? Let’s talk about that next.

Earning Passive Income

Here are 4 simple ways to start earning passive income to build your retirement nest egg!

1) Become an Affiliate

If you don’t have any products or services that you can offer straight away, then consider affiliate marketing. This means you choose a product from another company to promote and sell on your site. You’ll get a cut of any sale. For affiliate marketing to work, I recommend you use the product yourself and that you’re happy to endorse it in public. You must disclose your affiliate relationship on your site, because it’s the right thing to do.

Rule of thumb: Make sure your affiliate product fills a need or desire of your target audience.

To be successful at affiliate marketing, use your market knowledge and pick products that will most benefit your audience. If you give them the results they want, they will buy from you again.

If affiliate marketing sounds like something for you, then browse these affiliate marketing sites on Flippa. If you want more specific results, you can also check out these available Clickbank and Commission Junction auctions.

2) Advertise

Say you’re interested in Android, buy a website in that niche. You then start to write about development or upcoming features, etc.

Advertisers love niche websites with top content. Better yet, advertisers in related industries can pay top dollar through services like BuySellAds to reach a targeted audience. Flippa is perfect for this as you could be purchasing an established website with traffic already! It’s just up to you to produce the content on something you love!

3) Share Your Expertise

You have a lifetime of expertise under your belt. Don’t let it go to waste. Several companies, business owners, and young professionals could need your help. If you still want to contribute and feel part of something bigger, then consider taking on a smaller coaching or consulting role.

Obviously, you only pick the projects that excite you. You can shape the role to suit your needs and preferences. Like to stand in front of an audience? Give a talk.  Like to give short coaching calls? Set up a Skype account. Add a contact tab and give your readers an easy way to get in touch with you. Leverage your expertise and make the most of your existing network. Let people know that you’re now offering a limited amount of coaching/consulting sessions. You could bundle this service with some advertising on your website, and overtime as your reputation and profile grows – you could even start charging for the calls!

If selling your expertise is something that sounds like the right fit for you, then check out these Flippa auctions.

4) Sell Your Own Stuff

Have you got a dusty manuscript lying in the bedroom drawer? Or maybe you have photos and artwork that need to find a new home?

Internet makes it easier to sell your products online. My dad is a great example of this. He’s soon about to retire, and just like you, he’s looking for something fun to do on the side. So I got him his first website and helped him set up his own photography store.  It’s nothing fancy and it’s far from perfect, but it’s there and we’re making sales. What’s so great about having something to sell is that it can lead to other business opportunities, too. Just the other week, my dad was approached by a co-worker who asked him if he could photograph her wedding. Bingo!

If you want to save the time and frustration from trying to set up your own store, why not browse Flippa’s ecommerce auctions? That way you can start selling your stuff sooner and focusing on building more assets that will add to your retirement funds.

Over to You

Traditionally, people have turned to physical property, shares and more to build their retirement nest egg. It’s now time to complement this with a digital investment. Remember, the website you buy on Flippa could earn you more monthly revenue than annual interest from a savings account. Digital property also has fewer barriers to entry compared to other methods to top up your retirement savings.

What’s stopping you from getting a site and creating a nest egg for your retirement? You don’t need a fancy logo or a big budget. But you do need to find a way to help people and add value to their lives. You can do this by being an affiliate, writing content, offering your expertise, selling your own stuff, or doing a combination of all four!

Acquire your website earning passive income. This is your nest egg. You make the rules and decide where to go. People are waiting for your help. Why not give it to them?

This is only just one way to use digital property to boost your retirement savings. Got any other ideas? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Thanks to Olle Lindholm for writing this post and Andrew for the photo!

How to Use Ecommerce Loyalty Programs – Why Your Site Needs One

How to Use Ecommerce Loyalty Programs – Why Your Site Needs One

So, you’ve opened your first ecommerce store. It’s going OK, but not great.

And now you’ve run into a bit of a challenge. How can you make your customers return?

In this article, I’ll introduce you to ecommerce loyalty programs that you can start using straight away. These programs help you develop a stronger relationship with your customers, so they will want to come back for more.

The Basics of Ecommerce Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs focus on three main objectives:

  1. Increase the chance of turning a second sale from a first-time buyer
  2. Nudge an existing customer into a higher paying bracket
  3. Gather feedback to improve business operations and marketing efforts

The toughest part of a loyalty program is finding a balance between new and already-loyal customers.

Loyal customers have shown their value and commitment which means giving these individuals a steep discount simply cuts at profits. After all, they were willing to pay for your offers, as is. Compare this to earning any amount from an individual that was on the fence about returning. The profit on the second sale may not be as high but it could lead to a loyal customer returning many years to come.

The Strategies of Ecommerce Loyalty Programs

You can use many different strategies to increase loyalty and engagement for your ecommerce store. These include:

  • A point-based system which rewards users based on actions performed on the website.
  • Gamification elements to make participation more fun and rewarding.
  • Prizes, discounts, and freebies based on the number of points accumulated.
  • Gift cards, travel miles, upgrades, and more.

Early incentive-based programs can be seen in examples like returning a proof of purchase to earn points toward items in the company catalog, stamp cards to earn freebies after reaching a purchase quota, or the classic addition of bubble gum to sports trading cards.

Today the landscape for loyalty programs has changed but many concepts remain the same.

Loyalty Programs in Action

You may not be aware of  all the loyalty programs you’re involved with. That’s because these programs are such a natural part of your buying experience. Here are a few examples:

  • Stores like CVS use loyalty cards with exclusive discounts and cash back for repeat business.
  • Casinos in Vegas have player rewards cards that can earn entertainment and accommodation.
  • Major credit cards, like Capital One, offer cash back, points, frequent flyer miles, and more.
  • Amazon Prime offers free shipping, movies, and access to Kindle books.
  • uses a point system to create ranks for members of the community.

Most loyalty programs are free to enroll and have just a few requirements whether it’s allowing an employee to scan a card, filling in a member number, or completing the purchase from an account.

Ecommerce stores have an advantage in which almost all elements of the loyalty program is all-inclusive and automated by the service. The ecommerce company will have access to multiple modules to experiment and implement with a variety of loyalty strategies.

The Marketing Benefits

The marketing potential behind all of this creates an amazing opportunity to encourage repeat business and advocacy of the brand.

The programs can provide marketing benefits such as these examples:

  • Perfecting the timing between regular purchases to deliver a coupon or reminder just before the customer is aware of their need which is done by analyzing the purchase history and using that data to make a logical estimation.
  • Educating the customers to give them a firm understanding of products and services which reduces the cost of customer service and gives them the control of information which can come to use when encouraging reviews and testimonials.
  • Viral-based sharing due to deep discounts, prizes, and rewards which match the wants and needs of friends and family members of the customers.

Ecommerce loyalty programs create a layer of interactivity and engagement. They use free and paid rewards to retain customers to increase their lifetime value, and lowers the customer acquisition cost (on a large scale) by encouraging others to refer the business to members in their network.

Which Ecommerce Loyalty Program Should You Choose?

To lay claim to a “best” ecommerce loyalty program is a futile argument.

Most loyalty program services and tools offer the same type of features and benefits. Some may not have robust dashboards. Others may be written in a different programming language. But the main thing to keep in mind is whether it provides the features and benefits your business seeks and that it matches with the platform used on your website.

With that being said … there are plenty of options to choose from, including:

Some loyalty programs are hosted online whereas others may require a thorough understanding of installation on the server plus coding for the website.

A Simple Solution for Your Ecommerce Loyalty Program

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on PunchTab.

PunchTab is a stellar loyalty, rewards, and giveaway platform that is dead-simple to install and configure without having prior knowledge of programming. The service, as you will find with others, injects a website with interactive features for site visitors which rewards their actions and commitment to the brand.

The main loyalty module of PunchTab offers points to your community through the following:

  • Sharing the website, page, or offer on social media
  • Visiting daily
  • Uploading pictures
  • Checking in on Foursquare
  • Watching videos
  • About 30+ other actions

The prize catalog which comes with the service is provided by PunchTab but it can be customized. This is what drives individuals to stay active since there are valuable items available for their participation.

Other elements of the service include the ability to conduct viral-worthy giveaways which can have a variety of requirements per entry, and badges for loyal members of the community.

PunchTab provides a simple solution to those wishing to implement a loyalty program on their website or blog; you may start an account for free and upgrade based on the features you need.

A Checklist for Your Ecommerce Loyalty Program

The above example of PunchTab could integrate into an ecommerce website but it will take some tweaking and modification in order to fit the full spectrum of ecommerce.

Here’s the thing: most major ecommerce platforms (Magento, OScommerce, ZenCart, and others) have add-ons and modules for loyalty programs.

The add-ons and modules included in the major shopping carts or ecommerce SaaS solutions have been fine-tuned for their specific platforms; they have been developed by the team behind the platform or by the hands of freelance professionals. Additionally, these platforms are generally open to modification which would allow you to outsource work to implement a loyalty program that is specific to your business.

The main items to remember when exploring these options:

  • The ability to create a customer account
  • A point-based system that rewards frequent visits, shares, and other interactions
  • Referral engine to attract additional customers through current customers
  • Integration with other components of the ecommerce platform (e.g. email list)
  • A system to monitor and measure feedback from loyalty program users

Over to You

A good ecommerce loyalty program provides you with all your required features and brings value to your customers. It should also provide users with ample reward for commitment. That way, the customers will be coming back for more.

What’s holding you back from implementing an ecommerce loyalty program? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments! 

Flickr photo: Rachel Patterson

5 PayPal Alternatives That You Need to Know About

Aren’t we all looking for smarter, cheaper and more flexible ways to get paid online? This is especially important if you are buying or have just bought an ecommerce website on Flippa.

And no, we’re not just talking about PayPal.

There are other payment processors out there, and you’ll want to keep an eye on them because they might offer more flexibility for you and your customers.

After all, it’s important to take stock of all the different ways a customer might want to pay you. Who knows, there might be another option that might give you a new insight on how to interact with your customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the widely used PayPal alternatives.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments, also called Amazon WebPay, is a common alternative to PayPal. Developed by e-commerce giant Amazon, the service enables its users to send and receive money without any set-up or monthly fees. Their  standard transactional rate is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Funding your account is simple and can be linked to your credit card or bank account. In having a system that exists free of charge, Amazon is hoping that you spend your money on other services they offer.

One of the downsides with Amazon Payments is that you can’t withdraw an amount smaller than $10. This probably won’t be a huge problem, but it’s something to be aware of.


Dwolla works across many business environments, ranging from online transactions to brick and mortar storefronts. The flexibility of payment options benefits users who need to accept credit cards and take payments across multiple environments.

Unfortunately, it does cost $0.25 to receive money. Although the fee is small and can benefit you if you usually process larger sums, it may be a turn-off for some users.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is a versatile option offered through your Google Account. Think of it as a virtual wallet that allows you to spend money both online and even in some stores. Google has a wide array of great services and this one is no different.

This service has become fairly popular, because it’s fully supported by Google and is even integrated into Gmail. Most people also love the ability to store their money in one place and have the ability to spend it across multiple platforms, online and in person.

There are two downsides to this service. First, a small percentage fee is charged on each credit and debit card transaction. Second, there is also a few limitations on the places where Google Wallet is actually accepted. So far, it’s only available in the US. If Google continues to pour more energy into the resources, you can bet it will expand.


Stripe is another popular PayPal alternative. It’s a useful service because it doesn’t require you to have a gateway or a merchant account. Indeed, they handle everything from storing cards and subscriptions to paying straight to your bank account.

There are no setup or monthly fees, and they only charge you when you earn money. Currently, that would be 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge, but make sure to check the website for their latest fees.


Braintree is a payment platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your mobile app or on your website.

The standard price is  2.4% and $.30 per transaction, but that includes unlimited access to their support. What’s good about Braintree is that there is no minimum transaction fee and just like Stripe, there is no monthly fee, either. You could also use it for recurring billing, which is useful if you’re running a membership site.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, but they have plans on expanding to other countries soon.

The following services focus primarily on businesses with a storefront. They use mobile technologies to help businesses process payments.


Square is one of the first companies to focus solely on mobile technology for payment processing.

Square gives you a free card-reader that plugs into your smartphone and allows you to accept payments. The setup is easy: you link your Square account to your bank account, and accept payments through the card reader. Receipts are generally emailed, thus saving you paper.

The only drawback to this service is the 2.75% fee charged per swipe.


Moblized maintains a structure very similar to Square above, except they offer a different payment plan to their users. Basically, the company sends you a free card reader, and then you can begin to accept payments. There’s also no contracts involved, which can be extremely attractive to some users.

Their payment plans involve a 2.69% fee, plus $0.19 per swipe. Depending on the amount of transactions you’re processing this can be slightly higher than other services.

Over to You

You’ve now been introduced to a few PayPal alternatives. The market will continue to grow and new alternatives will appear. By staying up to date, you’ll be able to make sure you’re getting the best deal when processing payments, whether in person, or on the web.

For security reasons, Flippa only uses Escrow via and Paypal. We’ve worked hard to balance the needs of a global user base and tip top security.

Have you used any of the above services? Or do you know of any other useful PayPal alternatives? Please add your suggestions in the comments!

Photo courtesy of David Muir

What is Native Advertising? The next big thing?

What is Native Advertising? The next big thing?

Have you ever heard the term and wondered, what is Native Advertising?

Heralded as the Next Big Thing in late 2012, the words “native advertising” were on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Pity no one knew what the heck Native Advertising actually was. This isn’t unusual in the wonderful world of online marketing. Because we know that things move lightening quick, we’re here to give you the lowdown on what Native Advertising actually is, and why you should know about it.

What is Native Advertising?

Example on Yahoo: What is Native Advertising?

Example of Native Advertising on Yahoo.

This Kissmetrics article claims that Native Advertising is “basically a page of content, riddled with paid links, and often these links were being used for aggressive manipulation of search results.”

Here is a more traditional definition: Native Advertising is a form of advertising that matches up stylistically with the form and function of the platform on which it appears—a definition that’s also alluded to in the Mashable article on native advertising.

Is Native Advertising the next big thing?

Web business owners need to be aware of what’s happening in the market. And who isn’t keen to hear about new ways of reaching potential customers or audiences? As fast as technology evolves, so too, apparently, do the ways of making a buck online.

All that said, Native Advertising is just one of many unique and effective online marketing channels that can be used to increase traffic. Because of that, to me, classifying Native Advertising as the next big thing is a little bit overkill.

If not Native Advertising, what is the next big thing?

Whether you use native advertising, Google or some other ad network, sponsored content, paywalls, or some other technique, at the end of the day, you’re finding a way to make money from your content.

Whether you pay to have your content appear on someone else’s site, or your “guest post placement” costs you nothing; whether your purpose for that guest post is to reach new eyeballs, or to boost your search or social rank; at the end of the day, you’re trying to expand your brand’s reach.

While fancy words like “native advertising” and “content marketing” might (or might not) help us refer to a certain technique in conversation, the concepts they capture aren’t new…

The next big thing

…and none of them represents the Next Big Thing.

What does?

If you look at some of the brands we know are growing their traffic and turnover online, they have one thing in common.

They focus on the customer.

On the prospect.

On the audience.

On the user.

The next big thing is—*sigh*—the same old thing: solving customers’ problems with a strong brand.

On the plus side, those problems are always changing, and technology is constantly enabling businesses to solve them in new ways.

Did I do a good job of answering the question, What is Native Advertising? I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

The Best Plugins to Monetize a WordPress Site

If we break it down, there are typically four main ways people to make money directly with a website:

  1. Selling your  own products
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Selling a service
  4. Advertising

Of course there may be other ways people make money with websites, but even if you have to stretch the idea a little, you could probably fit it into one of these four categories.

Today we’ll look at how you might help a WordPress site make money in each of these four areas.

1. Selling Your Own Products

Selling your own products can mean selling either physical or digital products. It can also mean selling access to content.

Physical Products: Of course selling a physical product can mean selling anything from baby strollers to sports equipment to heavy duty machinery. In order to do this with WordPress, the main piece of the puzzle you’ll need will be some type of shopping cart, and so you’ll need to look for a WordPress e-commerce plugin like MarketPress from WPMU DEV (this plugin also lets you sell digital products).

Marketpress Plugin

Digital Products: Selling digital products would include selling ebooks, audios, videos, images, etc. If you are not going through some third-party service that will handle your downloads for you, then you’ll want to pick up a digital download plugin like Easy Digital Downloads  to help you do that right through your site.

Access to Content: Selling access could encompasses membership sites, training seminars, webinars, plain news or information, etc. The easiest way to do this with WordPress is to pick up a membership plugin.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing (i.e. getting a commission when selling another’s products or services) is one of the most popular ways to make money online. While some sites do run their own private affiliate programs, most people end up selling through the larger players such as Amazon, Commission Junction, LinkShare,  ShareASale, Clickbank, etc.

While there are different types of plugins out there to help with affiliate marketing, many of the top affiliate marketers often say that what works best is good, solid content and a good ol’ simple link.

But no matter what you’re linking, the one tool that should be in any affiliate marketer’s toolbox is a redirection plugin such as Pretty Link Lite or Simple URLs.

What these plugins do is turn long, ugly URLs into clean, short URLs that look like they are going to another section of your site. They also track those links for you.

So, for example, if you link to Amazon with a URL that looks like this: /dp/PWWOUE329/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367729447392&sr=8-1

You can turn it into a link that looks like this:

The prettier link will likely be less of a turnoff to those who look at where the link is going by mousing over it first. But even more importantly, it will track those clicks for you. That means you can do things like set up for one link and for a different link (both going to same Amazon page), and then compare which link is getting more clicks. Once you have some stats, you can start analyzing and tweaking. No more guessing involved.

3. Selling a Service

Selling a service could involve all sorts of things, from selling SEO services to selling cleaning services. Different niches may require different approaches, but no matter your market, when you’re selling a service, you have to make getting in to contact with you easy.

Believe it or not, WordPress does not come with a built-in contact form. Not to worry, however, there are plenty of plugins that will do the job for you, and do it well. One of the more popular (but also simple) contact forms is the Contact Form 7 plugin.

If you want to take getting in touch even further, you could include a chat plugin like Quick Chat. Or you could even add a Skype widget to your site like Skype Online Status. This plugin will let your visitors click a button and call you on Skype right from your website.

Selling a service can also get into many other areas, such as using the Multisite function available in WordPress in order to run a site like, where you let users sign up for free and then place ads on their sites, or let them upgrade to premium services and then charge for them. Or you could do both, of course.

Other options that fall under the “services” banner include running a classified ads site or running a directory. In either of these cases, you can get both plugins or themes (with functionality built in) to help you do that. Also in either case, you could open up free to the public and then run advertising, or you could run a premium service and charge users per listing. Or, once again, you could do both.

4. Advertising

And finally we come to advertising. Advertising comes in many forms. Some of the more common are …

  • CPC – Cost Per Click (like Google’s Adsense)
  • CPM – Cost Per Thousand Impressions (M in this case is for the Roman numeral for 1,000)
  • Time Based Ads – Ads that stay up for an agreed upon time
  • Sponsor Ads – Things such as paid reviews or just general sponsorship of content
  • Text Link – Selling links in content

Advertising is like real estate in that location is one of the most important aspects. If your running Google Adsense, for example, then you want those ads to be in front of people so they’ll click on them. If you’re selling banner ads directly, then the advertiser is going to want the ads to be in front of people, or they aren’t going to buy from you.

All that makes sense, but it’s not quite as simple as it seems. If you rely on search engine traffic from places like Google, then you can’t just cram the top half of your site with ads so people will see them and click on them.

Well, you can, but you’ll likely lose your search traffic if you do that. You see, places like Google have page layout algorithms.  And so what that means in the real world is that search engines don’t want to send visitors to sites that are nothing but ads. They want to send visitors to sites where the content is up front and easy to find.

Because of that, advertising plugins can be especially handy. They can help you do things such as inject ads into the middle of content, show ads to some visitors but not others, automatically randomize ads, and more.

Here are a few you may want to check out:

  • AdRotate – Show random banners, use Google Adsense, get stats, get email notifications, and much more.
  • WP-Insert – Lets you insert ads in all sorts of way: before you content, after your content, in the middle of your content, to the side of your content.
  • Google Adsense Plugin – Control parameters of your Google Adsense ads right from your blog – size, color, type, positioning, etc.

While there are obviously lots other types of plugins that may help your site, it’s always important to keep in mind how your site makes money. With the loads of plugins available for WordPress, you should be able to optimize that approach, no matter which it is.

Joe Foley is a writer and editor for ( and WPMU DEV ( He specializes in helping WordPress users learn how to better manage their sites, as well as keep up with the latest in themes, plugins, and WordPress related services.

Photo Credit: Images_Of_Money