When setting up your online business, you may not have considered all the ways that your website can work for you. Here are the 5 main ways that you can take advantage of the internet and it doesn't matter if your company is large or small.
Advertising is probably the easiest way to set up your site to make money. It requires very little from your audience–they don't have to buy anything for you to make money in some cases.
The drawback to advertising is you generally have to get a lot of hits for it to be worth your while. Many websites have advertisements that merely serve to offset the cost of hosting the site.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is when you have to apply to promote a product or service to others. Typically, these are products or services that you yourself use. In my case, I only recommend products that I myself have bought and been pleased with; I would never recommend a product that I felt didn't help me in some way.
Affiliate Marketing is also a way for you to be honest and open with your customers; which will resonate so much better with your audience in the long run.
3. Selling Products
This one seems straight forward. Set up an online store to sell your doodads, whether they be physical products or digital downloads.
If you are going to sell physical products–shoes for example–you'll have to make sure everything is kosher with sales tax, shipping providers, and have a system for returns and refunds.
If you are more interested in selling digital downloads.
4. Paid Membership Subscriptions
Charging for paid memberships and subscriptions is a great way to make sure that you are getting steady monthly income from your customers. The trick is to retain the value in their mind once they've decided to sign up.
5. Hosting/Promoting Offline Events
I happen to run a lot of 5k and 10k races. This kind of event would fit in this category if you have a website where people can sign up and register or purchase tickets for the event.
If your business holds contests or convention, this can be a good way of making money. The first downside is that you are asking for a lot of participation from your audience (buying a ticket and being able to make the trip if they live far away).
Secondly, you have to price the tickets in order to make a profit. Events should be cost efficient to be done right. If you skimp on the spending, you won't throw an event that people will want to go to. You want to spend just enough to make it a good event, with plenty of curbside appeal and with the right attractions.