How to make money with a website without selling anything

When you make the decision to build a website you are creating something of value. And there are many different ways to monetize your website if you build it the right way. Let’s look at ways to make money from a website without selling anything!

I do not mind promoting, reviewing and teaching. But I am not much for hard selling – and for me most selling feels like hard selling.

And I have done quite well for myself running OTAs and managing commercial property. Both these business models are built around the principle of putting yourself out there as an alternative for the customer.

To me – building a website the right way – holds the same promise of making money without hard selling anything. I do not have to knock on doors (post-Covid) or spend my days emailing or cold calling potential customers.

Instead I try to put myself in front of the customer as a viable option and alternative.

So how will I make money from my websites without selling anything? 

Well read on and I will tell you the five ways I see myself monetizing my websites going forward.

Needless to say, go for it if you are all set on creating your own digital products! This article is more of an alternative for us functional introverts out there. We function quite well in a group but will never be first to jump on stage. 

1. Affiliate marketing is a beautiful thing

Affiliate marketing is an ideal way to make money from your website without actually selling the products or services you are promoting.

With affiliate marketing we inform, advise and promote other companies┬┤ products or services. We then receive a commission for any sales that are made as the result of your promotion.

To be a successful affiliate marketer we need targeted traffic and visitors rather than just volumes of random traffic. We attract these targeted visitors by publishing relevant high quality content on our website. Ideally we offer our own unique experience of the product or service we promote.

When we build a website we are in it for the long term. Consequently you need to be honest and transparent with your visitors.

Always declare when you are promoting a product or service as an affiliate and always look to the value for your visitors. Never just look at the potential commission.

Also, in many countries you have to declare the affiliate relationship by law.

2. Accept Donations with Micropayments

Another way to monetize your website is to ask your visitors to donate money to your website using Micropayments.

Examples of services that help you set up donations on your blog are Paypal with their Donate button as well as inklpay and Buy Me a Coffee.

Asking for voluntary tips and donations is a great option for blogs and other types of websites that are focused on publishing quality content to readers where selling products is not the main focus. 

To make it work, the quality of your content must be high and it needs to be really easy for visitors to donate a small amount of money. 

To ask for a donation of for example 50 cents after offering a step-by-step solution to a problem can be quite effective. But it has to be easy to donate and again – it is vital that you are transparent with why you are asking for donations. 

To summarize, take pride in your work and do not be afraid to offer the option. 

3. Make money showing ads on your website

To display ads is still one of the most popular ways to monetize a website.

To qualify for ad placement services you need to offer quality content and an overall professional and content rich website.

There are 2 different types of ad placement networks. 

You have the services where the quality of your website is the main focus. And then there are the services where you also need a certain number of pageviews per month to qualify.

ProgramEntry requirement
AdsenseQuality website within editorial guidelines
Ezoic10 000 pageviews per month
Mediavine50 000 pageviews per month
AdThrive100 000 pageviews per month

When we first start out Adsense is probably our best alternative. When your website starts getting more visitors you could consider moving to one of the other fully managed networks for more hands on assistance. 

The main advantages with the fully managed services are the option to place ads on your website in a way that does not look like advertising, but rather looks as if it is an integral part of the design and layout.

In addition to the high degree of customization you could also benefit from competitive rates.

The downside of ad networks is that they will slow down the performance of your website.

4. Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts may be a really good option if you have a website with targeted visitors that show a high level of engagement.

What this means is that brands will pay you for writing a sponsored post on your website if

  • your readers are active in discussions, mailings and social media groups
  • Your content is targeted and fits the brand profile

If you want you can contact brands directly and pitch your ideas. 

You can also choose to go through a brand network like Acorn, Blog Meets Brand or Sway Dashboard.  

To be considered you will most of the time need a certain number of pageviews per month to qualify. But besides numbers the quality of your following is also very important. 

How much you earn will depend on your reach as well as the engagement of activity shown by your visitors. 

5. Start building a mailing list from Day 1

I do recommend that you start a mailing list as soon as you start getting visitors to your website.

Actually, I include integrating the free Mailchimp API in my guide on how you can build a website the right way using WordPress.

Just do it. It is simple.

Exactly how will a mailing list help me make money you may wonder?

Well a mailing list is important for several reasons and here are the top 3

1. More chances to contact

With a mailing list you get more than one chance to communicate with your visitors. How great is that! And they have even asked you to keep in touch!

A mailing list is a perfect way to notify your readers about new posts and tips and tricks – and again, with their permission!

2. Control of the relationship

Allows you to form a relationship with your readers on your own terms. After all, all contact initiated via Social media or search engines exists at the grace of other companies allowing you access to their domain name. 

What would happen if you lost all Social media and search engine visibility tomorrow. How would you communicate with your readers?

Exactly, you would have your mailing list!

3. Mailing list creates value

Your mailing list adds real value to your website should you want to offer advertising or even one day maybe sell your website.

Summary and conclusion

So there you have it. Five ways to make money from a website without selling anything.

And if you ask me the following is a good radmap to follow.

Affiliate marketing: start looking at introducing affiliate marketing when you have relevant targeted traffic. You do not need many visitors but they need to be relevant and targeted.

Donations with Micropayments: Can be included on long form step-by-step tutorials from day 1. I do not recommend a sitewide call to action plastered all over your website. Ask when you have been of service.

Ads via ad placement networks: You need a minimum of 50 pageviews per day. 

Sponsored posts: Consider joining network partners as soon as you qualify.

Start a mailing list: From day 1. 

Meet the author: Mattias (Matt) is a serial entrepreneur and travel industry expert with more than 20 years of experience in business and web development. Mattias identifies with self-starters and entrepreneurs, loves to garden, and believes everyone needs a game plan for financial independence.