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Multiple Online Income Streams Build Business Success

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Content websites that develop multiple streams of online income end up with better odds of meeting or even exceeding their advertising goals.

They also increase their odds of surviving as a business.

Online banner advertising — including contextual ads such as Google AdSense — dominates many articles and discussions about website management.

But robust sites have eight to 10 or sometimes even more revenue products as part of their business strategy.

14 Sources of Online Income

Here are 14 options common among many content websites:

1. Banner ads. Sell both direct sales and remnant ads along with multiple banner products that command higher CPMs such as expandables and interstitials.

2. Sponsorships. Land an advertiser who buys a presence on an entire section, often exclusively. An example is a homepage takeover.

3. Email marketing. Place banner ads within newsletters or sponsorship of email blasts to targeted lists of customers.

4. Classified / directory ads. Develop extensive lists of text ads in the form of a searchable database. Some  sites generate more than 50 percent of their total revenue from classifieds.

5. Top ads. Develop banners with four or five mini text ads, similar to Google AdSense. Newspaper sites with classifieds often upsell classified ads from print to online and then upsell them again into this premium product.

6. Text links. Sell sponsorships of keywords within articles.

7. E-commerce. Sell photos, products or services such as website hosting or website development.

8. Multimedia. Video in particular has become an established niche. YouTube has revenue share for publishers with more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours per year.

9. Coupons. Provide coupons from either a third party product or built from scratch. They work well in email newsletters.

10. Premium content. Charge subscriptions for access to archives, proprietary databases and other high-value, specialized content.

11. Mobile. Produce a mobile app for sale or place advertising in a mobile app.

12. Search. Google offers a custom search product with ad revenue potential.

13. Affiliate marketing. Sell products and services on behalf of other companies and get paid a percentage of any transactions.

14. Ebooks. Extract content from the website. Publish it as an ebook on Amazon and other ebook distribution sites.

All online income streams aren’t feasible for every website, but most sites are capable of delivering at least some of the ideas on the list above.

Any site that has only one stream of revenue may struggle financially. Sites that can effectively juggle multiple online streams will likely do well.

Adding Revenue with Clients

Many solo site publishers supplement their publishing revenue by providing client services or contributing time to other websites.

Online selling handshakeThe most common services include:

1. Advertising: Manage promotional accounts at the likes of Bing, Facebook or Google. Support ad-serving software. Provide ad trafficking. Maintain remnant campaigns for national networks.

2. Marketing: Help with SEO, social media accounts, email marketing, analytics, blogging and link building.

3. Site development: Build sites, redesign them, maintain content management systems and provide staff support.

4. Management: Consult with clients on all of the above, help with planning and provide insights about best practices.

5. Content: Act as an editor or writer, produce flipbooks, digital books or email newsletters.

Among the five options above, the first four pay well but content usually pays the least.

Tiered Approach to Revenue Streams

With that in mind, a smart solo publisher will take a tiered approach to outside services by focusing on the most lucrative one first and the least lucrative last.

In a common example, publisher or small company might provide client services and produce its own websites. If client services pay $80 an hour and a new company-owned site produces only $20 an hour, the company will emphasize client services. But if the time commitments to clients are fulfilled, and extra time is available, the company will switch over to new site development.

In some cases, developing new content sites might not even pay as much as minimum wage. But it’s better to get some revenue than none at all if a few extra hours are available.

Speaking from experience, some work can pay well, but the client can be difficult and the work can be tedious, boring or unpleasant. At some point, the money might not be worth the hassles.

Client services tend to be short-term contracts with a beginning and an end. Solo publishers may find phases when most if not all of their time is dedicated to clients and little of it to publishing.

Then in another phase, publishing may occupy most of their time with little for clients because of fewer opportunities for outside contracts.

Regardless, building a successful online business has a better chance of surviving when even a small operation concentrates on having multiple income streams rather than trying to make it with just one.

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