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The real math of how do websites make money (and how you can, too)

How do websites make money #4 – Affiliates

Another way a lot of businesses make money online is through affiliates. If you have ever seen an affiliate ad, you will know it.

In the personal finance space, you’ll see this with credit cards. For example, a blogger will write a review of “My favorite credit cards.” At the bottom of their review, they’ll say “you can sign up for the card here — NOTE: this is an affiliate link.”

If you click that link and sign up, the credit card company is going to pay that blogger an affiliate commission. Sometimes it’ll be $50 or $75.

Over time, that can actually add up to a lot of money. And there are affiliate programs for everything — from audio books to weight loss products.

Do you know who the biggest affiliate in the world is? It’s called A lot of the time, if somebody links to Amazon, they’ll actually have an affiliate code in those links.

If you click that link and buy the product, Amazon will pay the writer roughly 5% or 6% commissions.

My experience with affiliates was pretty interesting. I decided not to do affiliate links for a long time because I didn’t want people to think I was recommending stuff just to make money. I only wanted to recommend the best products.

But eventually I realized that my readers trusted me, they were already going to sign up for the accounts I was recommending anyways. So I decided to try putting an affiliate link in with one of my recommendations.

My first attempt at this was a review on my favorite bank account. I showed people screenshots on how I set it up, and I added a couple of affiliate links in there.

When I did — virtually overnight — I became ING Direct’s number one affiliate in the world. I was making more than $10,000 a month — just by putting a link in there.

That was pretty great for a while. But over time, I became uninterested in this type of business.

After a while of posting these affiliate links, the click through rates sort of tail off.

And you’ll find yourself having to deal with advertisers a lot. The returns on my time just weren’t adding up.

I’d rather just make a recommendation without going through all the hassle of getting affiliates involved.

Lots of websites make money online through affiliates. They can do it in a variety of ways. One, they can write content and add links, like I did. Other times, they can set up landing pages, capture traffic and divert it. It can get very complex.

One other really important thing to keep in mind is that affiliates can change their rules on the fly. They can change their commissions whenever they want. If they do that quickly, it can be tough for you to make adjustments.

How do websites make money #5 – Selling online information products


Now, my favorite way a website can make money: selling something you create. Typically these are information products, like a video course.

The video courses that we create for I Will Teach You To Be Rich and several other properties we have take a long time to produce. We spend tons of time researching them, outlining them, testing them, recording them, and designing them. But once we’re ready, we can release them to the world. And when we do, we keep all of the profits.

If somebody buys something from us, we don’t have to pay 30% to Amazon or 30% to Apple or anything to all these people who want a little cut.

We don’t have to do that. We own it. We can change the title. We can change the price. We could do anything we want.

Now, as you can imagine, that also takes a lot of work. So there is a trade-off.

But what I’ve found is that even when I started off really simply — by creating a $5 e-book — I was able to sell more than 1,000 of those.

That was $5,000 in revenue — I could keep all to myself. And I knew that if I could sell 10 or 100 copies, then I could sell 1,000, and if I can sell 1,000, then I can sell 10,000.

So to me, it became really powerful to know that I controlled my destiny.

If I worked hard — if I created great products — I could earn good money from this. Over time, that became the crux of our business and now we generate over 95% of our revenue through our own products. So I can’t recommend it enough.

You can take the skills and experience you have inside you and package it into something that the world will pay for.

When you do that, you can put it online and sell it automatically. Even as you’re sleeping, people will be able to buy from you. That way when you wake up, you have a sales report that says you earned $27 or $270 or even $2,700 overnight. That’s incredibly powerful.

Yes, you have to work hard up front, but once you do, you can profit forever.

So those are a few of the ways that websites can make money that I experimented with over the last 11 years. Now you can do this. You can grow your own successful online business — one that generates six figures or more.

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