5 Ways to Monetize Your Online Audience

5 Ways to Monetize Your Online Audience

There are plenty of ways to earn money online, but if you have a website with a large audience, you’ve already won half the battle.  

However, monetizing a website is not the same as monetizing an audience. The former entails methods such as turning your website into an online store – whereas the latter requires you to build upon the relationship you have with your visitors and supporters.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one to recognize.

With that in mind, here are five tried and tested ways to monetize your website’s audience,

1. Use a Paywall

I’m the first person to get annoyed at paywalls on websites, but the fact of the matter is; they work.

A paywall involves restricting public access to certain areas of your website, like your blog posts for example. If visitors want to view the content, they have to pay.  

Platforms like Drizzle and Piano are built to make paywalls easy to deploy.

2. Create a Membership Scheme

If the idea of a paywall doesn’t sit right with you (and indeed, it doesn’t sit right for many people), I’d recommend offering a membership scheme as an alternative.

You can put out content for the general public, and then protect other pieces of content behind a membership scheme which requires a monthly or yearly subscription.

Unlike a paywall, a membership scheme allows you to offer a wider range of incentives, and also makes your visitors feel like they can be part of your brand’s inner circle.

Software like MemberPress and SubHub are two ways to put a membership scheme in place on your site.

3. Host an Event

If your community is large enough, it may be high time that you got them all together in real life.

By hosting your own event based around your brand or industry, you can sell tickets, hire out booths, and attract sponsors.

4. Ask for Donations

If you just want to cover the costs of running your website, you could reach out to your audience for donations.

Make it clear that all donations will go towards the server and running costs, and that any outstanding donations will be invested back into the site. Otherwise, you could be accused of swindling donations for your own back pocket.

5. Sell Your Expertise

As the man behind your brand, your opinions likely mean something to your audience and to your industry as a whole.

You could charge your audience for access to live webinars, consulting services, public speaking gigs, eBooks written by yourself, and so forth.

Essentially, because your audience already trusts you, you can monetize pretty much whatever it is that you can offer as a person.

6. Start a Discussion Forum

If you still can’t put your finger on the best way to monetize your audience, it may be time to think about opening a discussion forum on your site.

Depending on the size of your community, a forum will breed content, activity, and engagement at awesomely high level. Once that happens, you can charge for access to certain discussion boards, and even ask for a monthly fee from those who want to promote their brand on your forum.

If you’re unsure of how to launch a forum, Plushforums and bbPress are two strong forum platforms that I’d recommend.

Don’t Overdo It

If you have a sizeable audience, you’re already the envy of most internet marketers out there in the wilderness. Building an audience takes time, effort, and sometimes a lot of money.

So do yourself a favour and don’t overdo it when it comes to monetization. Keep your audience happy by delivering value to them first – because the return on investment will follow naturally if you adopt any of the techniques listed above.

Have you monetized your audience? Let me know what method worked for you in the comments section below!

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