Can free websites make money? Absolutely! It’s very common for a free website to make thousands of dollars or more a month. In fact, there’s a whole industry based on this. There are several ways in which free websites can make money. The most common of these are ads and affiliate programs. This article explains the many ways in which free websites can make money.
Table of Contents
- How can free websites make money?
- How much money can free websites make?
- Do pay websites earn more?
- Can anyone make money with a free website?
- Buying a website? Get the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit
- Key points
How can free websites make money?
So how can free websites make money? There are two main techniques that website owners use to make money from their free websites: affiliates and ads.
Affiliate sites make money by recommending products and earning a commission for each product sold. For example, an affiliate site that promotes fishing gear may include a link to an online store where readers can buy the recommended product. When a purchase is made, the affiliate site earns part of the sale price.
Ad-supported sites, meanwhile, generate income by selling ad space. Advertisers select the sites on which to place ads based on traffic volume and the demographics of site users. Some sites, whose users are mostly wealthy and inclined to make purchases, command a premium from advertisers; others command less.
How much money can free websites make?
Free websites can make a lot of money. Facebook.com, for example, is technically free and makes billions a year.
For smaller websites, the amount of money that the site can make depends on several factors:
- Type of website: affiliate websites tend to earn more per pageview than ad supported sites. This is because ad supported sites are generally less targeted than affiliate sites. Affiliate sites attract people who are already interested in a topic and may be ready to buy. Sites that mostly rely on ads don’t tend to attract an audience that is ready to purchase something.
- Traffic: large sites with a lot of traffic earn significantly more than smaller sites. Large sites are able to negotiate special ad rates and commission rates, which allows them to make more per pageview than smaller sites, which don’t have that negotiating power.
- Niche: the niche a site is in makes a huge difference in its earnings. Sites in profitable niches, like finance or insurance make a lot more per pageview than sites in less lucrative niches, such as entertainment. Some niches have extremely high ad rates and affiliate commissions. Some insurance businesses pay over a thousand dollars per sale in commission.
- Competition: if sites are in a competitive niche, they’re less likely to be able to bring in a lot of traffic and therefore ad revenue or commission. Niches that are the most profitable are also generally the most competitive.
There are a lot of (often conflicting) studies on how much website owners make from free websites. I don’t put a lot of stock in these studies because of their many biases, but there are a few points that are recurring.
First, website owners with one free website that recently started tend to make $500 or less per month. This can increase over time. When website owners buy additional websites, they can increase their earnings significantly.
On the other end of the spectrum, very successful free website owners can make $100,000 or more per month on each website. Of course, this depends on the niche and the traffic that the website gets.
Do pay websites earn more?
Websites that require payment (either subscription sites or ecommerce sites) don’t necessarily earn more than free websites.
In fact some of the most valuable websites on the Internet are free, and earn their money through affiliates or ads. Facebook is a great example, which earns much of its money through its own advertising network. But there are smaller examples as well.
Subscription based websites generally are not very profitable because the number of people who are willing to pay for pure content is low. It’s not surprising, then, that many news sites that do have subscription models supplement their income with product reviews that earn affiliate income.
Can anyone make money with a free website?
It is possible for anyone to make money with a free website, although it takes skill and time. You first must decide whether to build or buy a website, since building a website and getting it to earn money can take a year or more. You also have to understand the risks of owning websites, and manage them accordingly.
If you buy a website, you will need to spend money in order to start getting an income stream from the website; however, you will immediately get an income stream, which is a great benefit.
Regardless of how you obtain a website, with hard work and skill you can earn a reasonably good income.
Buying a website? Get the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit
Buying a website can be very scary, but it does not have to be.
To help you out, I am giving away my Website Investing Beginner’s Kit, which includes a valuation worksheet, a due diligence worksheet, an income planner, and much more. All you have to do is sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll get website investing tips and insights — as well as the Website Investing Beginner’s Kit — delivered straight to your inbox.
Free websites can make money through multiple methods, the most common of which are affiliate commissions and advertising. Both of these can be lucrative, although how much money a site makes depends on many factors.