As the online equivalent of both a retail unit and a sales brochure, a website is a hugely important tool for any business. It provides a key source of sales (sometimes the only source), and acts as a crucial tool for any business considering how to make money online. UK companies seeking to monetise their websites may wish to follow these key steps:
- Add ecommerce functionality. This might sound obvious, yet many companies are afraid of embedding sales tools into their websites. The prospect of data theft or hacking is a common concern, while the challenges of installing dependable ecommerce functionality are often perceived as prohibitive and significant. In truth, knowing how to make money online UK wide requires very little technical acumen. Modern ecommerce platforms are extremely robust, with a variety of payment options and integration with email services (for confirming orders, dispatching receipts, etc).
- Advertising. Online advertising is big business nowadays, although websites need a high volume of monthly traffic to interest the blue-chip advertising agencies who block-sell ads on behalf of their clients. Try to avoid tacky clickbait ad services in favour of legitimate advertisers, and make sure you have some control over the brands that appear. That way, you can eliminate inappropriate advertising (adults-only holidays on a toy website, for instance). Google AdSense is an easy-to-install method of displaying relevant ads, though it requires stringent adherence to terms of service.
- Lead generation. Companies are always keen to receive new leads from prospective customers, and generating these can provide a lucrative revenue stream for any website. For example, a musical instrument seller could promote anything from music teachers to people ordering replacement guitar strings and drum skins. Providing the lead generation is relevant to your core areas of business, and as long as customers aren’t given the hard sell, this technique can be beneficial to all parties involved.
- Gated content. This is a controversial addition to the list, since gated content has been proven to deter large swathes of its audience. However, anyone willing to register their details or pay a small sum for full access is clearly either a hot sales prospect or an enthusiastic advocate. Gated content can often be promoted by giving some content away for free, while encouraging people to purchase the rest – such as the newspaper industry’s current model of letting visitors view a certain number of free articles before requesting payment for unlimited access.
- Affiliate marketing. One of the less-known forms of website monetisation involves affiliate marketing – this involves promoting a product or service in exchange for a commission whenever a customer makes a purchase through a dedicated link on your website. A quick online search will reveal databases of products that can be promoted in this way, though building your own relationships with third-party manufacturers or distributors is also advisable. Again, try to ensure affiliate marketing remains relevant to your industry.
- Invite donations. This would seem inappropriate on an ecommerce website, yet it shouldn’t be overlooked when considering how to make money online. UK audiences often donate to causes they deem as worthy, from struggling musicians to community projects. PayPal has a donation button that can be installed without too much difficulty, while it’s easy to redirect people to a JustGiving or GoFundMe page.