A website is the virtual home of a business or personality, and once you own the rights to your site, in other words, your website URL is personalised and doesn’t include a host address such as: wordpress.com, mweb.co.za or shopify.com, you have the right to create and implement as many income generating opportunities that site can handle.
According to an analysis by Statista, South Africa has 24.7 million eCommerce users with an annual percentage growth rate of 8.2%. The projected market revenue, where mostly fashion, toys, DIY, and hobbyist products are sold, is expected to reach a market volume of 6.3 million US dollars by 2025. That’s a lot of money and you’re just in time to potentially gain from that share.
Website monetisation is not for everyone. If you decide to choose one of the routes below, be mindful that it’s not a quick fix and may require consistency, time, and above all, patience on your part.
Consider these strategies as gardening – you’ll plant the seeds, water the garden consistently and resume life while the roots thicken, grow and eventually produce a small version of what your plant is meant to be. That’s when you’ll know that your plan is working, and it will be even more important to remain consistent. If you don’t want to deal with the maintenance that comes with monetising a website, find someone who can do it for you.
Now, here are the strategies:
1. Create a portfolio site
Often an obvious one for artists, a portfolio site can be created for any specialist able to take on new projects. Using a website will allow potential clients to make more informed decisions about whether they want to work with you, and avoid wasting your and their own time, granted that your website informs them of exactly what you do.
The contact page on a portfolio site will be the most important so ensure that it includes an easy-to-use contact form or a simple instruction on how to reach you.
Here’s a look at a simple yet effective portfolio site owned by South African artist, Robyn Pretorius.
2. Collect donations in exchange for your service
Be creative with pricing by allowing your audience to choose what they pay you. Of course there’s a risk that you may not receive any income at all, but you’d be surprised at how much people are willing to offer those who aren’t asking for anything.
Here’s an example of how independent news site, Daily Maverick is collecting donations:
3. Create Paywalls
If you’re creating information that your current subscribers value, one way of monetising your content is to create a content block that allows readers to see a snippet of the article you’ve published, before paying a fee to unlock the full article.
Financial news portal, Financial Times allows readers full access to lifestyle content while information related to finance requires a subscription:
4. Create a niche directory site
Likely one of the most lucrative options is creating a directory site. By populating your website with information that a niche audience is expecting to find, your website traffic has the potential to grow faster than a site applying organic SEO practice.
Let’s say that you’re a South African artisan who finds it difficult to source work online, so you create a portal that other South African artisans can use to be more visible to clients. Your income potential could then double if you charge artisans a fee to promote their skills, and you could charge clients a fee for your effort in finding the right person for the job.
Freelance directory sites like Upwork gain commission for connecting clients to specialists.
5. Become a niche aggregator
Similar to creating a directory site, you can develop an aggregating portal by collecting relevant data from all over the internet and displaying it on your website in categories.
Afritrails, South Africa’s first overnight trail aggregator, provides hikers with convenient access to multi-day hiking options in one place.
6. Create a drop-ship website
Here’s an option that requires minimal work, provided that you have an organised system and invest time in to the setup. A drop-ship website is different to a conventional e-commerce flow since your role will simply be to confirm orders and pass them on to a supplier who will then deliver the products for you.
If this is your chosen route:
- Prioritise the precision of your drop-ship system
- Find a supplier you can trust and put a contract in place
- Ensure that all participants are aware of their roles and take ownership
A website directory like worldwidebrands.com houses a premium list of vetted drop-shipping suppliers for a range of industries from travel and business to bridal wear.
7. Do product reviews
If you enjoy creating content and reviewing products, you can earn an income by sharing reviews, although you would have to establish yourself as a credible reviewer before the money starts rolling in.
Beauty review site, Allure created a wealth of content by providing beauty subcategories that attract a wider audience.
8. Sell pages on your website
Just as brands pay for shelf space in store, you can offer companies designated pages to feature as a guest on your website.
9. Sell your own products
This approach affords you the most control and is much like running a physical store. As sole owner, you are responsible for ensuring that the process from product conception to delivery, runs smoothly. The smart choice would be to hire people who can assist you once the business grows. South African artist, Dj Zinhle uses a responsive Shopify e-commerce theme to sell her range of accessories called Era.
10. Create a shopping portal (microsite) for your blog
If you’re creating free, value-based content, adding a shopping portal that your audience can browse through after reading a blog post, is a great way to monetise your site.
11. Buy and sell your real estate
Ever heard of the term flipping homes? Well, you can do that with websites too. If you enjoy creating and customising e-commerce websites, you can set up a demo store and sell it to someone who likes the theme.
Creative Market credits all author products and once you’ve selected a product, you can view the author’s website for new products in a similar style.
12. Host Webinars
Webinars are great for offering value and reaching a wide, unlimited audience. After filming your first webinar, your video can be replayed and repurposed to more users through automation. If you are an industry expert, your audience may be willing to pay a fee based on your reputation, but you could market your webinar as a main event by including a thread of value-based content such as videos, eBooks or worksheets.
Cisco, a resource site for small businesses, offers users access to free and premium webinars.
13. Sell online courses
Show others how you’ve achieved virtually any goal. You don’t have to be an expert; you just have to be enthusiastic.
Australian Youtuber, Sorelle Amore created an entire course around taking selfies. But it’s not your everyday selfie. Her advanced selfie school teaches students how to shoot production-style photos of themselves, using a phone and a tripod.
14. Create sponsored content
Collaborate with relevant brands by featuring their products or services on your website. Sponsored content could include features, tutorials or entertainment that promotes the brand in some way. Not to be confused with guest features where the sponsor creates their own content.
South African news site, IOL uses hyperlinks in long-form articles to promote companies.