Easy ways to make money from your website

For more generic free scripts, like personal ad applications and free shopping carts, give Hotscripts a thorough sifting, paying attention to the most modern and highly rated listings. This is the kind of scheme that you can start with little outlay and work on modestly, but that has the potential for monster money earning.

With good front-end design, a database full of content and robust server integration, you can even customise an off-the-shelf service and sell it as a white label business – doubling your money.


The other side of white labelling is affiliate marketing. This time around you're using someone else's services to drive your site.

Using an affiliate service can be very simple indeed; as simple as pasting some extra HTML into your site's template. Amazon's affiliate program is a good example. Sign up at affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk and you'll have instant access to tools that enable you to create banners, badges and text links to any item. Pick CDs, books, DVDs or anything Amazon sells – just make sure they're relevant to the content you already carry.

Affiliate programs earn money in one of two ways. You either take a percentage of all the sales you refer to the service provider or you can get straightforward cash for clicks. In the case of the Amazon model, when someone clicks an affiliate link on your site, you get nine per cent of the money they spend. Still, you'll need a lot of 'conversions' – affiliate jargon for sales from a link – to make real money.

Some affiliate services go further. DIY-Dating gives you access to an existing database full of users. You build your own front end – making you the white label user instead of a white label provider. You take a percentage of a membership fee every time someone joins the dating service through your site. Up to 88 per cent of every new user's fee could be yours.

When you begin looking for affiliate programs, it pays to stick with names you know. Folks trust Amazon for books and media – so offering them affiliate links to Abe's Honest Bookstore could tarnish your site's credibility. Similarly, affiliate network programs like Commission Junction, Trade Doubler and even Google's own affiliate network are basically just advertising networks.

You'll earn slimmer returns than through careful matching of content to service. It's better to do the research into your specialist area and craft targeted links. The Open Directory Project has a list of sites offering further affiliate services at tinyurl.com/qoqs4.

Banner ads

With pop-up blockers and ad-busting features now part of mainstream browsers, it seems no one likes banners. Still, there are low-key ways to enter the banner ad business that will enable you to keep all the profit. The secret is to sell space directly.

There are a couple of advantages. Ad blockers don't block the content of ads; they block a specific list of ad servers. If you're selling space directly and serving the banners from your own site, then they'll pass through the net. You also get to set the price and keep all the revenue – not just a slice.

A third advantage may be important to you too. Some ad affiliate networks demand that you place ads in specific positions on your site – even dictating their size and frequency of appearance on the page. When you sell your own space, you're the boss.

You can try to sell banner space on your site all by yourself, through your site. The advantages are that you get to set the price and keep all the profit. You also get to choose exactly what does and doesn't get shown on your site.