Creating Multiple Streams of Income Online

You started a website or blog and you want to make some money (that is the goal of a business, so that’s not a bad thing). Maybe you created a product to sell, or maybe you’re using AdSense, direct ads, affiliate ads, promotion of services, or some other method to monetize your site. In order to maximize the income potential of your website you’ll almost certainly have to take advantage of multiple income sources.

Why Should You Have Multiple Streams of Income?

1. Security. Probably the most important reason is that multiple income sources provide you with increased security. There is no guarantee that any source of income will continue. What if your site only uses AdSense to make money, and suddenly you find out that Google has banned you from AdSense for one reason or another? It’s happened to plenty of people, and many of them didn’t even realize they were doing anything wrong. When you have money coming in from a variety of sources you’re much safer if one of them dries up. It might still hurt your bottom line, but it won’t kill you.

2. You can benefit more from the traffic you already have. If you’re trying to make more money online you may be thinking of ways to get more traffic. Why not try to find some ways to make more money from the traffic that is already coming to your site?

3. Higher income potential. If you’re getting all of your income from one source, you’re leaving more money on the table. All of the top earners online have found a mix that works for them.

4. More to offer to your customers. Having multiple streams of income will most likely mean that you are offering more to your customers. In How I Multiplied My Profits by Packaging Services Christine O’Kelly talks about the value of packing related services. In her case, she was packaging web hosting along with her primary service of web design. There’s a logical connection between the two services, and many customers would rather get both from the same place than go to two different places. Christine was able to offer her customers a needed service while making more money for herself.

5. Allows you to take more chances. Have you had an idea recently about a great new way to make money but held back because of the potential risk? If you have a stable income flowing from multiple sources you’ll be free to take more chances. If your ideas don’t pan out at least you’ll still have your existing income. This can be a big advantage for those who want to really aim high and push the limits.

Common Sources of Income for Blogs and Websites:

Selling Ad Space - Most major websites make money by selling ad space. This can also be done by smaller websites, but the ad revenue alone will not be enough to support the website owner. Ad prices are based on factors like traffic, the topic of the site, rankings (PageRank, Technorati, etc.) and more.

If you are selling ads on your website you can still make money in other ways. After all, what if your advertisers stop buying ads?

Affiliate Programs – Affiliate programs are a great opportunity for blogs of any size. New blogs with small audiences may not be able to find advertisers, but they have plenty of opportunities to use affiliate ads. Bloggers with large, established audiences will have the opportunity to unlimited income. (If you are interested in affiliate marketing, please see a recent post I wrote at Blogtrepreneur, 81 Useful Affiliate Marketing Resources.)

Paid Reviews – Although Google’s penalties have reduced the number of paid reviews that are being done, plenty of bloggers are still making good money with them.

Pay-Per-Click Ads – AdSense may not be right for every website or blog, but it can be profitable in the right niche. If you’re interested in learning more about making money with AdSense, read the series that Courtney Tuttle is currently working through about keyword sniping.

Product Sales – Selling your own products provides you with the opportunity to make more money than many of the other methods listed here, but it can also be more work and more of an investment. If you are looking to maximize your income it is something that you should consider.

Job Boards – This one is not really that common yet, but it can be highly effective in the right situation. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a job board for blogging positions that charges $50 for a 30 day listing. At the time of this writing there are 17 jobs posted, which would account for $850 of income. Of course, most websites do not have the type of traffic and community that ProBlogger has, but even on a smaller scale this could be a great additional income opportunity for an industry-specific job board.

The Approach to Creating Multiple Streams of Income:

The idea, of course, is that a little bit (or a lot) of income from several different sources will add up to a higher end result. If you want to see this in action, check out income reports by the likes of John Chow or Blogging Experiment. You will see just how several different sources can really add up.

When monetizing your website or blog, it is important to realize that not everything that produces income is good. What may produce $50 for you this month may cost you in the long run if it has caused you to turn off a number of your readers. Be careful not to alienate your readers/visitors as they are the critical element to your success.

Those that have been able to successfully earn money from several different sources with their website have been able to find several specific ways to add value to their visitors. Ads can bring value to visitors if they are relevant to what visitors are looking seeking. Products sales and affiliate programs can also ad value if the products being promoted are top-notch and meet the needs of the purchasers. Paid reviews can even bring value to visitors if the right products and services are being reviewed, and if the review focuses on what readers will want to know.

Share Your Thoughts:

What types of income opportunities are you pursuing, or what do you plan on pursuing? From a reader/visitor’s perspective, what ways do you like to see a site create income, and what turns you off?

Published January 21st, 2008 by

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26 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Dustin Brewer, January 21, 2008

    Great article, I find it a hard choice when it comes to making money off of my site. There aren’t many ad services out there that really appeal to my audience. The only thing that works is selling vendor-specific ad-space and text link ads. I won’t do paid reviews of products on my site, and I can’t stand ad sense.

    I’ve thought about putting a donate button on my site to encourage my readers to donate to my site. I don’t know that those would be terribly effective though. I think the best way for myself will be to create premium content and charge for it. Perhaps a book?

  • Goal Setting College, January 21, 2008

    What turns me off is those in-text hyperlinks ad. You know, those underlined links that will pop up another small window when you place your cursor on it? I used to have them on my site but removed it after finding it rather distracting… And when I removed that, I noticed the average time on site for my readers increased.

    I agree with Dustin that probably the best way is to offer your own product. Though I think affiliate programs are one good income earner too.

    Love your articles, Steven… they seem to prompt me to comment every time.. :)

    Cheers
    Ellesse

  • Tzepus, January 21, 2008

    With so many options what would be be best combo to optimize and not risk over stretching?

  • pablopabla, January 21, 2008

    I used to make the most through paid reviews but got slapped hard by Google, not to mention losing many readers along the way. Now, I’ve cleaned up the act though I must say that income has dried up considerably.

    I haven’t given up on adsense and am still learning along the way. Court’s tutorials are eye-opening and I am trying his methods to see if it will bring some increase in adsense income in the next 6 months when my new sites mature.

    I have multiple blogs and sites which I am experimenting with ways to make money but will only speak about it in detail if I do make enough to talk about it. Right now, it is still the learning stage. It is a fallacy to think that making money through blogs are as easy as A-B-C. Unfortunately, I think many think that way.

    As a reader, I would prefer blogs which are more focused on content (like yours). I wouldn’t mind when there are a couple of ads here and there but not to the extent when I have trouble looking for or reading the contents in the midst of the ads jungle.

  • James Mann, January 22, 2008

    Excellent post.

    Having multiple streams of income has been burned into my mind. My attempt online went pretty well and I was earning more and more until one month the checks stopped coming. No explanation and no contact info worked any more.

    I was flat broke with no income.

    It is certainly not a bright thing to do. Now I have many blogs and websites with multiple streams of income and I sleep a lot better now.

    Each of my blogs and websites have more than one source of income.

  • Natural Health Remedies, January 22, 2008

    It’s just so frustrating that Google has taken away mine and many other blogger’s PR. Selling text links and reviews are so dependant on PR. Text links are also unobtrusive so you don’t have to stick affiliate links in people’s faces all the time.

  • Caroline Middlebrook, January 22, 2008

    Yup I absolutely agree. My blog is not my only source of income – I have projects. Currently my main project is an ebook that I have written that is monetised with affiliate links. I also have a niche site which earns Adsense revenue but I haven’t done much with it yet. Then there’s the blog of course. I have only just opened up advertising on that and have started fidding with other forms of on-page advertising.

  • Mark from MyTropicalEscape, January 22, 2008

    Hi Steve – this is a great post and very educational! I just wish adsense would come up with a more aesthetically pleasing method of delivery, which could actually encourage more people to click on the ads.

    hey – there’s a new project for you, a better adsense delivery and layout?

  • Vandelay Design, January 22, 2008

    Dustin,
    I’d be interested to see how premium content would work for you. Have you thought about premium WP themes? I hate AdSense too.

    Ellesse,
    I don’t like those contextual ads either, I never click on them. I’m glad the articles make you want to comment. Thanks for your participation.

    Tzepus,
    There is no right answer to that question. It totally depends on your site and what you are trying to accomplish. I would stay away from AdSense unless you are building a site specifically for that purpose. Direct ads are good, but you do need some traffic to have much success with that.

    Pablo,
    I’m loving Court’s series. I have no AdSense knowledge so it is very interesting. For blogs, I really hate AdSense, but for the small targeted sites like he is using it obviously can work.

    James,
    That’s definitely the safer way to go.

    Caroline,
    It will be interesting to see how those affiliate links in the e-book work out in time.

    Mark,
    Thanks for the suggestion :) but I have no interest in working with AdSense ads. You’re right, I think that would increase clicks.

  • Web Design Firm New York, January 23, 2008

    This is a great post! It’s always good to have multiply streams on income not just online

  • Ruchir Chawdhry, January 25, 2008

    Having multiple sources of incomes is very important if you want to make some big money in the blogosphere. When you have 7 or 8 sources of income, it doesn’t affect your income if one source goes down…

    I think all bloggers should use reviews, blog consultation, private ads, various affiliate programs, rss ads, video ads and maybe audio ads…

  • Great article. I have found that paid posting is earning me the most money at the moment as I find it hard to sell advertising as I cannot prove my traffic but my article writing skills prove themselves.

  • Vandelay Design, January 29, 2008

    Paid posts do work well for some people. I haven’t personally used them.

  • CashJuke, February 7, 2008

    Great post, very very helpful. :)

  • MakeMoneyOnline, February 16, 2008

    I think your blog is pretty decent when dealing with making money online. I will try out some of your methods and see if they work for me or not.

  • William, March 17, 2008

    Google will definitely play with your mind, and I agree that you have to have more than just a few sources of income, get well diversified.

    One thing I’ve done to control what type of ads are showing, other than adsense, is to create my own adsense-looking ads, but have my affiliate links embedded. I can write my own content about the product, and I don’t get weird ads on my site that don’t relate to what the discussion is about. Yeah it takes more time, but so does success, and it lasts longer.

    Writing articles with returning links is a must. You control the content, keywords, link-pointing, and develop a reputation.

  • Tomas, March 23, 2008

    Making money online… I think the best one is adsense now. This is best pay per click program because they pay more than other ad companies.

    Product Sales is for more advanced users and marketing specialists.

  • Web Design Lincolnshire, March 30, 2008

    Excellent post.

    I am not interested in working for someone, so multiple streams of income is ideal. I honestly think you need a high traffic website, with loads of interest with a high target market.

  • Full Downloads, April 21, 2008

    I agree with this completely!
    Multiple sites, multiple niches, multiple paychecks.. the only way to go =P

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  • Patrick, May 12, 2008

    I would agree that the idea of multiple income streams is enticing, especially from multiple mini-sites.

    But I think the idea of a central authority website has potential as well, especially if you are building a long term strategy to build a truly useful and defensible product, something that you own full rights to that generates a hundred bucks per sale or more.

    Build up a single authority website, create a killer product, and just a small trickle of sales will result in a very nice business. Then introduce the affiliate program for it…..

  • James, June 20, 2008

    Exc. Post. very very helpful :)

  • PLRPro, June 28, 2008

    Wow… Great post about Creating Multiple Streams of Income Online! Always nice to read this kind of quality information, without the BS and hype ;)

    Thanks for sharing,
    Robert

  • Ramona Chevez, May 21, 2009

    I found out recently that you can make money on wordpress.com combined with Amazon. It’s great, but I wonder if there are any plugins available for wordpress

  • Work at home, August 7, 2010

    Great post!

    I think that you hit it on the nail. I don’t think people should limit themselves to one form solely for making money online. As you can see in others comments, that they were making money doing one thing, but eventually it dried up for them.

    The more income that you make online, the more opportunities you will have to expand into other markets and techniques.