Last week, I mentioned that newspaper revenue fell $48 billion in the last decade. It’s no secret this drop is due to the globalization of the internet and the rise of super transparent bloggers. Let’s take a quick look at the history of blogging and how it has shifted ad dollars away from print to digital content.
In 1994, Justin Hall — a Swarthmore student — creates the very first blog. It took 5 years until Blogger delivered the first popular, free blog creation service. Six months later, Dick Denton launches Gizmodo, the first blog empire and around the same time, Blogads launches, the first blog advertising service. In the same year, Gawker launches, which begins the gossip blog revolution.
Google launched AdSense in 2003, which matches ads to blog content. Then, in 2005, as a result of 32 million Americans reading blogs, an estimated $100 million in advertising revenue is generated through blogs. Today, WP Virtuoso states that there are over 152 million blogs on the internet that influence readers to discover and decide on a purchase.
But who actually clicks on ads?
According to Hubspot, only 39% of people click on ads because “it showed a product readers are interested in and it sparked interest in a product they hadn’t previously considered”. The rest?
Most bloggers depend on ads to generate revenue, but what about the 61% of your readers who don’t click on ads because they don’t want to be distracted? Well, in this post I would like to share the 5 services that will earn your website money beyond advertising.
1) Indiegogo allows people to solicit funds for an idea, charity, or start-up business.
As opposed to their competitor Kickstarter, Indiegogo will allow you to crowdfund your website ideas in return for 9% fee on contributions, and returns 5% if your campaign reaches its goal, making your overall fee only be 4%. Indiegogo has no upfront cost. It is always free to sign up, create a campaign, and to contribute to a campaign.
Once you’ve published your project, they provide a WordPress plugin that is easily installed and setup. Alongside the funds you receive, backers will also support you with invaluable suggestion and feedback to improve your website project. Most of all, it is a great site to help drive free traffic to your website. Running a campaign on Indiegogo will help you tap into their audience of 9 million visitors worldwide. With this new network of people, you are able to gain valuable backers to purchase perks that you choose to giveaway.
In December 2013, The Young Turks Network created a campaign on Indiegogo to build the next chapter of TYT, an independent and unfiltered multi-channel network of online video talk shows. TYT is an online news show that covers politics, economics, pop culture, social trends and lifestyle. They raised $404,076 from 3,673 people in 2 months and to give you an idea on what kind of perks they gave, here it is:
- A name listed on the Honor Roll list on their website for $10
- 1-month free website membership for $25
- Gain access to the process in building TYT’s studio for $35
- Cenk’s favorite shirt for $50
- An “Uber-Special” shirt for $75
- A flash drive filled with Cenk’s post games for $100
- Lifetime free membership of TYT website for $2500
As you can see, the perks you create can range from e-books, which would only cost you time, or memberships to your content, which won’t cost a dime – it’s completely up to you, as long as your audience is willing to support your project.
2) Tilt makes it easy for communities to collect, fundraise, or pool money online.
Tilt focuses on the 85% of the population that does not have a documentary, an artistic project or a hardware project to crowdfund. If your website has an objective that you would like to send to your network of friends, Tilt will help you pool funds for events, causes, and even groups purchases like “birthday gifts” and “tickets to a football game for your members.”
Tilt takes a 2.5% of the money raised and 2.5% in credit card processing fees. There is no fee for using the platform and for selling any goods. The site is reported to raise an average of $1,320 per successful campaign.
Tilt is free to use and allows you to accept pre-orders even after a campaign has ended. In addition to the benefits of free marketing and free traffic, Tilt has a white-label self-hosted solution that you can integrate on your website without any coding. They are a great alternative to Indiegogo and they even have recurring billing options if you would like to continue on website improvements.
3) Shopify is a complete eCommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods.
Shopify is a cross-platform site that lets you organize your products, customize your online store fronts, accept credit card payments, and track and respond to orders. There are many bloggers who has started to sell their own merchandise. From sportswear to holistic wellness products, many have created their website with the Shopify store in order to generate more revenue.
The biggest advantage with Shopify store is you don’t need millions of people to frequent your site, you just need enough people to purchase your products.
Shopify’s plans start at a monthly price of $14 for a Starter plan, and moves up to $29 for Basic, $79 for Professional, and $179 for Unlimited. Also, Shopify has a payments feature that waives transaction fees, which is an added benefit to an online merchant.
A good website that uses Shopify is Natural Force. They blog about a paleo lifestyle and their mission is to “tap Mother Nature’s bounty of raw superfoods to provide you with the highest quality training supplements ever created.” Anyone with an inventory is able to use Shopify but if you don’t have a tangible product to sell, there are other website services out there to help you generate revenue for the content you publish.
4) CoinTent is a subscription and digital wallet service.
If you don’t have an inventory or perks to giveaway, CoinTent is a great option to help bloggers earn money beyond advertising.
CoinTent’s founders built this platform to help publishers generate more revenue for the content they publish. Their platform allows publishers of all sizes to sell access to premium content through site-wide subscriptions, memberships, or individual pieces of content through micropayments.
If you already use advertising or affiliate links to drive revenue on your website, subscriptions, memberships and micropayments are the next step to making more money for the quality content you publish.
Micropayments are an important addition to subscription models because they allow much more of your audience to directly support you by paying minimum amounts on a specific article. CEO, Brad Ross wanted to create a paywall that is simple to integrate with WordPress or have an open source API for a more customized integration.
User experience is the key to driving higher conversion rates and higher engagements. The engineering team has built a widget with great user experience and a dashboard of analytics tools that allow bloggers and publishers alike to find the right price for any audience segments.
The Fake Basketball is an example of a website using CoinTent. Currently, they are using CoinTent’s subscription offering that lets users purchase content weekly or monthly. Alongside their subscription offering, they are also meticulously watching how individual contents are selling per article for $1.99 per day.
They are doing a great job catering to all 3 types of readers. As I mentioned in a previous post, most websites generate revenue from casual readers when they click on ads and some websites offer subscriptions to generate revenue from hardcore fans. There is a group of readers in between who are willing to support content creators with micropayments; they are not yet ready to purchase premium content through subscription. The Fake Basketball is able to maximize revenue streams by catering to all three types of visitors by providing free, piece-by-piece and subscription options.
5) Viglink allows you to buy and sell site-to-site clicks on links.
Viglink works by paying you when your readers click on a link to an advertiser’s site from your site. They drive commerce for over 300,000 websites and they are currently working with more than 35,000 merchants to generate revenue. They have a huge network and each month they process more than 10 billion page views and over five hundred million clicks.
On top of their impressive traction, they allow bloggers and publishers to diversify revenue away from banner ads by allowing monetization for both web and mobile traffic. It’s easy to sign up, and most importantly they even allow you to monetize your social influence by linking to Twitter, Facebook or even emails.
In 20 months, a website called Five Green Lizards generated $5,100 from 1.2 million clicks. They were able to earn an average of $255 a month. Five Green Lizards is a blog published by a family of five, who documents how their family earns income online. Their goal is to solely depend on the income they generate online. If you would like to know more about Five Green Lizard’s case study on using Viglink, check it out here.
Was I able to capture your favorite ways to make money beyond advertising? Don’t forget to chime in and leave your thoughts below!
Would you like to talk about revenue strategies? Let’s talk!