Why Websites Aren’t Easy Money

website money making machine

Let’s address the elephant in the room – websites as an easy stream of passive income. That’s the dream, right? Build a site, let it sit there, and watch the dollars roll in while sipping a margarita on the beach. But let’s also face facts: This idea is misleading. The notion that it’s an effortless source of income is an attractive but often deceptive narrative. 

So is it easy to make money from a website? No, it’s not easy. It never was and never will be. Building a website that generates income needs more than casual effort. You’ll need strategy, commitment, and expertise.

Is it easy to make money from a website?

Can you create a revenue-generating website? Absolutely. Is it easy? That depends. Some individuals and businesses find success quickly by leveraging existing networks, unique skills, or innovative ideas. Others may struggle, finding the landscape competitive and the work demanding.

On the surface, the very idea seems simple. Build a website, fill it with content, throw in some ads or products, and watch the Google AdSense money roll in. But peel back the shiny veneer, and what you discover is a labyrinthine world of search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies, content creation, audience engagement, advertising protocols, and competition. 

In digital marketing, making money from a website requires more than just a dash of luck and a sprinkle of effort. It’s a matter of will – a calculated risk, if you will. It requires skill, persistence, adaptability, and an unerring focus on what truly matters: value.

Website monetisation isn’t about what you take. It’s about what you give. Make that your focus – and the rest will follow.

In other words, if your website offers unique value (e.g., specialised knowledge, entertainment, specific service), then yes – it may be easier to monetise. But that “yes” comes with a big, fat asterisk that emphasises the immense effort and nuanced understanding required to turn that potential into reality.

Also, the digital landscape is ever-changing. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.

In the end, what truly matters is not whether it’s easy or hard, but whether it’s worth the effort. Is it worth the sleepless nights, the endless tinkering, the continual striving for something better? If the answer is yes, then you’ve already won half the battle. The rest is up to you.

Pro tip: Don’t lose sight of the human connection. In a world of algorithms and automation, it’s often the authentic, human touch that turns a visitor into a customer, a subscriber into a fan, and a product into a solution. That’s something that no amount of SEO optimisation can replace.

What factors do you need to consider when it comes to website monetisation?

Website monetisation is a critical consideration for many business owners and digital marketers. Here are some key factors you need to consider if you want to create a digital roadmap for success:

  • Know your audience: Who are they? What do they want? Get inside their heads. 
  • Content: High-quality, relevant content is crucial. Your content should provide value to your audience, establishing trust and encouraging engagement.
  • Monetisation strategies: Whether it’s affiliate marketing, subscription models, sponsored content, or advertising, choosing the right monetization method for your site requires careful consideration of your content and audience. Choose wisely. 
  • SEO: Monetization tactics should align with SEO best practices to maintain visibility in search results.
  • Data and analytics: Numbers don’t lie. Understanding what works and what doesn’t is key to sustained success.
  • Investment and risk management: Be prepared to invest both time and money. Understanding potential risks, including dependency on a single income stream, changes in advertising platforms, or shifts in market demands, allows you to create strategies to mitigate those risks.
  • Long-term vision: Monetization is not a one-time setup. It requires continuous assessment and evolution in line with market trends, technological advancements, and changes in user behaviour. Build for tomorrow, not just for today. 

7 ways to make money with a website

1. Selling products or services

You’ve got something to sell – whether it’s hand-crafted items, your service packages, or food that makes people’s mouth water. But just throwing up a shopping cart on your site isn’t going to cut it. People want to know why your stuff matters. 

What’s the story? Why should they care? For this, you’ll need an effective eCommerce platform, inventory (if selling physical products), and a strong understanding of your target market. 

2. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Ads can be a nuisance, but they can also be a revenue stream. If you’re attracting people to your site because of your killer content, why not make a bit on the side with PPC

Don’t bombard your readers with irrelevant ads that scream “sell-out.” Choose ads that resonate with your content and don’t compromise the user experience. Get it right, and it’s a revenue stream that flows; get it wrong, and it’s money down the drain. 

Pro tip: Target ads specifically to the demographics and interests of your site’s visitors. 

3. Membership or subscription model

You could also experiment with a membership or subscription model. This isn’t about putting up a paywall and holding your content hostage. It’s about providing continuous value, something so good that people are willing to pay regularly to have it. Whether it’s exclusive content, special access, or ongoing support, make it worthwhile. 

4. Email list

Email isn’t just about blasting offers and promotions. It’s like a letter to a friend (if done right). What would you tell your friend? What value would you give them without expecting something in return? Build that trust, offer that value, and when the time’s right, that friend might just be interested in what you’re selling.

Pro tip: Use opt-in incentives that provide real value. Some examples include exclusive content, free ebooks with personal insights, unique discounts for products or services, access to a private community, invitations to webinars, handy templates, personalised recommendations, or even surprise gifts.

5. Sponsored posts

Select sponsors that genuinely align with your brand and values. Sponsored posts can’t feel forced or fake. They must be a natural extension of what you already do. Or in other words, they must add, not detract. 

6. Digital products like courses, eBooks, or software

Create something once, sell it forever. But don’t just slap something together – make it worth every penny. But don’t rehash what’s already out there. Identify gaps in the market that align with your expertise. Dig into your unique experience, failures, successes, and create something that’s unmistakably you. 

Shopify recommends the following digital products: online courses, licences to use your digital assets, paid bundles, digital templates and tools, music or art, as well as your services.

7. Sell your website

What makes a website a home? It’s the personality, user experience, and community you build. If you’re thinking of selling, make sure you’ve built a place someone would want to live in.

Consider selling when the website represents a completed business project with established revenue streams. Engage experts to appraise the site’s value, and select buyers who align with the site’s mission and vision.

Making passive income from websites isn’t easy

Making passive income from websites isn’t just a stroll in the park – actually, maybe it is if the metaphor were Jurassic Park. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You’ll have to approach this journey with a blend of caution and ambition. This isn’t a pursuit for the faint of heart or for those looking for quick gains without effort.

And if you’re thinking, “Well, where do I even start?” Well, that’s where we come in. Manifest Website Design specialises in creating digital roadmaps tailored just for you. You tell us your problem – we give you the solutions. Let’s jumpstart your website process today.



About the Author

Jillian has over 30 years of experience in technology, programming, and digital marketing. Her work with the stock exchange in Australia, as well as other large corporations, has given her invaluable business expertise.

At Manifest Website Design, she helps goal-driven entrepreneurs build their business, regardless of size and industry, using the power of the internet. She’ll walk alongside you every step of the way, making sure that your website is running smoothly, and most importantly, generating leads. Connect with her on LinkedIn.