If you look at many websites, you will probably notice that there are banner advertisements displayed on most pages. If you are a newcomer to the scene, you might think that you must either be a company or that your site must be famous before you can get advertisers, just as it is the case in hardcopy publications.
In reality, anyone with a website can get advertisers. While it is true that if your site is well-known, you may get companies contacting you to offer to advertise on your site, you can get advertising revenue even if you are just starting out and your site is relatively unknown.
The way to do this is to join as an "affiliate" of various sites, either directly, or through an affiliate network. An affiliate network is simply an intermediary where you can select from a variety of advertisers.
Before joining any program, you should probably be aware of the different payment schemes available.
Pay Per Impression (CPM)
Here, you are paid according to the number of times the advertiser's banner is displayed on your site. The amount you earn is typically calculated based on the number of thousand impressions of the banner (impressions = number of times the banner is displayed), often abbreviated CPM (cost per thousand, with the M being the Latin numeral for thousand). That is, $5 CPM means that you get paid $5 for 1,000 displays of the banner. In general, the amount paid is usually small, but it is easy to earn since everytime a visitor loads the page, you earn. This is known as a "high conversion rate". Needless to say, this method will allow you to automatically earn more if your site attracts a lot of visitors.
When you are paid per click, you are only paid when visitors click the advertiser's banner on your site. The amount paid is usually higher than the pay per impression scheme. Whether you get a high conversion rate here depends on the banner (whether it attracts people to click it), although in general, it has a higher conversion rate than the pay per sale method. A high traffic site will probably enjoy a higher click rate than a lower traffic site, although you will probably get better results if your banners are carefully selected to suit the target audience of your site.
Pay Per Sale or Lead (sometimes referred to as Cost Per Action, or CPA)
While you will probably get the highest payment rates with this method, it has the lowest conversion rate of the three schemes. You will only earn if your visitors click through the banner and either purchase an item from the advertiser or take some other prescribed action (eg, sign up for a service). Like the Pay Per Click method, you get much better results if you carefully select your advertisers to suit the target audience of your site.
In general, to avoid wasting resources in issuing cheques for very small amounts, advertisers will usually accrue the amount owing to you until it reaches a certain level (such as $25) before they pay you.
To join an affiliate network or program, simply go to the site and complete their online application form. Some programs will give you instant approval while others require a human to check out your application before it is approved. Once it is approved, you'll be given some HTML code which you can cut and paste into your web page. Note that some affiliate networks and programs will not accept you unless you haveyour own domain name. If you are planning to earn from your site, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name.
How should you choose an affiliate program? My suggestion is not to choose a program according to the payment scheme, but rather according to the kind of people who are likely to visit your website. For example, if you are targeting parents on your site, links to affiliates with educational software, books and the like may generate more revenue than banners that link to web hosting companies. The most important rule of choosing an affiliate program is to know your target audience.
Another point to consider is whether you really want to join every single affiliate program that comes your way. Some studies suggest that sites that make the most money from affiliate programs are affiliates of only a small handful of programs. Furthermore, concentrating your advertisements from one network may allow you to be paid faster. If you advertise for hundreds of different affiliate networks on your site, you may end up earning only (say) a few dollars per month from each network. If your advertiser's minimum payment amount is higher than what you can earn each month, it may take you a long time before you accrue enough to be paid.
On the other hand, that formula does not necessarily hold true for every site (or every page on your site, for that matter). For example, if your site has a particular theme, and an affiliate network only supports one or two suitable advertisers, you might want to sign up for a few affiliate networks so as to get a greater number of relevant advertisers. After all, advertisements that are relevant to your audience are more likely to be taken up than general advertisements. (What's the point of putting banners from only one affiliate if nobody is going to click them?)
Automated Context-Sensitive Advertising
One of the latest trends in website sponsorship is to sign up with an advertising network like Google AdSense The advertising network automatically checks your web page and determines the most relevant advertisement for the page.
The theory is that you get advertisements targeted at the interests of your visitors without much effort from you. As mentioned earlier, targeted ads tend to result in better performance and returns. In practice though, you are ceding control of the advertisements that appear on your site with the occasional bad result. If your site is supposed to be family friendly like thesitewizard.com, you'll probably still end up spending time weeding out undesirable advertisements by logging into the network's system and blocking some adverts. This of course assumes that the advertising network gives you enough granularity of control. It also assumes that the offending advertisement happened to appear when you visited your site so that you actually know that it was used on your pages.
(In case you're wondering what I'm talking about: the adverts shown tend to be different for every visitor, depending on the ads available at that time, his/her location in the world, and which sites he/she has visited in the past. As such, with this method, what you see may not be what your visitor sees, making it impossible for you to know for sure what is on your site for any particular visitor.)
Advertising revenue is one of the most effortless way to earn money from your site. You merely have to put the banner there and wait for the money to roll in. (Well, okay, not quite. You will still need to have some visitors first before you can make anything.)
I did a little bookmark scrub this morning and thought I would share the remaining content of my "Online Money" folder. To warn you, there are certain things that I don't like and never bookmark so: What's NOT included:Taking Paid Surveys, Getting Paid to Surf the Internet, MLM, Contest Sites, "Buy my DVD, CD, Audiobook", etc.
What IS included: Things you can use to legitimately make money online - Everything from Getting Paid to review software to good ole' Adsense.
Infolinks - Infolinks is probably the highest paying option for your in-text advertising. On DLM, you will see underlined links scattered throughout articles. Those are a function of Infolinks and without disclosing too much, it's been a great source of income. Best is that they accept all sizes of websites and blogs. Just sign up and begin.
Build a Niche Store - This is a simple store development platform which enables you to create content based sites that generate income through the eBay affiliate programs. Pretty darn simple and increasingly popular.
Adbrite - Sell space on your site for text ads. This would work like the DLM Marketplace you see on the right of my pages although I chose to manage it myself.
Amazon Affiliate Program - Easily create a store or shopping section on your site instead of sending your visitors to Amazon. Amazon handles the shopping cart and fulfillment.
Azoogleads - Another ad program. They do have some decent companies lined up as advertisers. You provide space, they'll provide an ad.
BidVertiser - PPC (pay per click) program with a low $10 payout amount.
Blog - Start a blog and consistently write excellent content. With good ad placement, you may make some money. I detail my process here: Simply Said, How to Blog.
Cafepress- You provide a design, they'll toss it on a T-Shirt, Hat, etc. No upfront costs. Get a free online shop and promote your products on your website.
Chitika - Their eMiniMalls service has shown great results for many Bloggers and site owners. You choose a keyword and they show relevant products on your site using a pretty unique interface.
Clickbank - Quickly becoming my favorite affiliate program. They have thousands of things for you to advertise on your site.
ClicknWork - Get paid $5-$150 per hour for basically doing freelance work on a per-assignment basis. You have to pass a pretty tough test to get in.
Clicksor - These are the guys that generate contextual ads on sites that show up when you hover over a double-underlined word.
Commission Junction - If you have a site, you can join Commission Junction. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with you. There are easily over 1,000 companies to choose from here.
CreamAid - For blogs only, advertisers provide you with a topic and you write about it on your site. To do this, you have to install a flash widget into your blog post. The more people you bring into the conversation through the widget, the more you get paid. It's difficult to explain.
eefoof - Think of it as YouTube + Flickr + Music. You add original content and they pay you based on the visitors you attract.
Ether - If you are an expert on something, Ether provides a way for people to pay you to talk about it in a one-on-one setting. If you want to charge $250/hr, that's fine. You have to do all the advertising so you should have a blog or site already established.
eBay- Come on, you know what this is. Gather your junk and sell it!
eBay Stores - If you have a real store and want to sell your stuff online, this is a decent option to get you started.
ELance - Name gives it away. Programmers, Codes, Web Designers, Writers, Editors, can look for freelance opportunities.
Feedvertising - This is an arm of Text Link Ads and is currently only good for Wordpress users. This does me no good currently, but as you can guess, they place ads in your feed(s).
Feedburner / Google - Not only are they the best place to house your feeds, they will also add ads to your feed and website. You get paid per impression and if you implement Google Adsense to your feed, you are paid per click.
Google Adsense - Come on, you don't need an explanation; these ads are all over the place. Google displays relevant ads based on your site's content
Google Adwords - Create simple text ads and choose keywords that determine when they are displayed. This is where the Adsense Content comes from. You do not need a site for this.
H3.com - Get paid to fill jobs. Commissions range from $50-$5,000. It all depends on how tough the job is to fill and how desperate the hiring company is. This is another one that's tough to explain.
Indeed.com - Add their job board to your site. They then post jobs based on the geographic location of visitors and the position types you pre-select. I tried it and I they continually report that I sent 0 visitors and I know that's not right. Nevertheless, I may have an isolated problem so they make the list.
InnerSell - If you have a customer that wants to buy something you cannot sell, you can sell the lead here.
Jigsaw - It's a pretty flaky model but if you have a Rolodex full of good contacts, you can sell them here. I can't make sense of it but it looks like you get $0.10 per profile.
LinkShare.com - If you have a site, you can join Linkshare. Once enrolled for free, you can choose companies whose ads are pertinent to your site. Companies have the ultimate say on working with you. Like Commission Junction, there are a ton of companies waiting to evaluate your site.
Microsoft Adcenter - Bid on keywords and Microsoft places your created ads then they are searched for. This is similar to Google Adwords. You do not need a site for this.
Pay Per Post - I don't agree with this model entirely but they have advertisers that will pay you to write about their products on your blog.
Pheedo - If you have an RSS feed, run it through Pheedo. Like Feedburner, they can include ads into your feed and if you really become large, advertisers will pay a premium for you to show their ads.
Shareasale.com - I've used them for a couple years for some banner advertising. They are similar to Commission Junction and Linkshare however they seem to have lower tiered companies with advertising offers.
Shoemoney - This is a blog that can teach you a ton on making money online. I've spent hours reading his old stuff.
Text Link Ads - I have never made a dime here but I know people that have. You can earn by sending advertisers to them or by selling spots on your site. You must have a real site or blog to do this - nothing on a shared domain (i.e. /blogspot).
Vibrant Media - Don't bother unless your site has 500,000 page views of text based content a month. If you have that readership, these are the guys that display bubble box ads to underlined words on your site.
West Work At Home Agent - Not entirely online but this is worth a mention because it's won awards and is very legitimate. If you are an at-home Mom or free-lancer without work, you should check this out.