59+ Ways to Make REAL Money From a Website or Blog in 2021

If you are wondering how to make money from a website, you are not alone.  Lots of people are searching for ways that they can make some extra cash online.

However, you also have to be careful how you listen to, some actually have experience making money with websites and others don’t.  I’ll let you judge for yourself, but I’ve personally built hundreds of websites and I’ve been making a full-time living from those websites since 2011.

When many start-up websites launched (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others), they didn’t always have a plan for how they would make money.  Their primary goal was focusing on creating something that would attract attention and big traffic.

Once they had the traffic in place, lots of different ways to make money will present themselves.  Although, I suspect that none of us will be creating the next huge internet start-up (like Facebook), we would be wise to have a few things in mind when creating a new site.

First, we should make sure there is a market for our site (keyword research is big part of this).  Secondly, we should try to create something of value.  Finally, we should ideally find a niche that has money being spent in it.

Today, I want to focus on different ways that you can make money from your website.

Want an in-depth guide on how to start a blog from scratch that makes money?

Read How to Start a Blog

How to Build a Website From Scratch That Gets Traffic (And Makes Money)

If you already have a website that is getting a bunch of traffic, congrats!  You can skip this section and read all about how to make money from all those visitors coming to your website.

However, if you don’t have a ton of traffic coming to your website or WordPress blog right now, I want to spend a little bit of time explaining how you can actually get some of that traffic…so you can then make money from your website or blog.

This article isn’t meant to be a complete step by step guide for building a site, but more of a general overview.  If you want a complete tutorial on how to start a blog I have that. 

Or if you want an in-depth guide for how to build a niche website, go here.

Instead, let’s jump right into how to get traffic to your website. 

I’ll cover 4 main areas for traffic

  • Search engines
  • Social media
  • Paid traffic
  • Direct sources

How to Get Traffic from Search Engines

Did you know that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will send traffic to your website for free if you can “rank” in them?  If fact, you probably did a search similar to “how to make money with a website” and you found this article that you are reading now. 

I didn’t pay for my article to be listed. However, it ranked naturally in Google for free.

Ranking in search engines can be done through search engine optimization.   If you want to explore that subject, I’ve written an in-depth guide for how to rank in Google right here.

However, there is basically a 3 step process for ranking in search engines that you should consider when trying to make money from your website.

Long Tail Keywords

First, you need to try and rank for keywords that are not too difficult.  If you are trying to rank in Google for something that is extremely competitive, even if thousands of people search for it every single month, will lower your chances of getting any traffic at all.

So, I recommend that you target long tail keywords that are much easier to rank for. 

Then you just target lots of different keywords by writing great articles and you will be more likely to show up. The more long tail keywords you go after, the more traffic your website will get.

Long tail keywords are a key to building an income stream because that’s how you get the website traffic needed to build a profitable website.

You can learn more about long tail keywords right here.

Write Great Content

The way that you target keywords is to write an in-depth article on the subject.  For example, I wanted to rank for the term “niche websites” and so I wrote a really in-depth article on the subject. 

As of today, I now rank #1 in Google when someone searches for the term “niche websites.”

Depending on your subject, you may need to write an article that is 3,000 to 5,000 words long or even longer. 

You need to provide true value and depth of content to the people visiting your website. 

Once you provide value, not only are you more likely to rank in Google, but you are also more likely to make money from your website.

Get Links

A backlink is simply where one website mentions another website through a link that you can click.  These links act as “votes” to show that one website is more valuable than another.

Google crawls the internet to see all the links that are out there pointing to your website and tends to rank your website higher when you have a higher quantity and quality of links.

If you would like to learn more about getting links to your website, you can read here.

How to Get Social Media Traffic

Remember, the more traffic you get the more money you can potentially make from a website. 

Sometimes social media can be easier to attract than search engine traffic (at least in the short term) and in turn increase the revenue of their money-making website.   In fact, many websites rely on social media for the majority of their traffic.  

So, if you don’t want to worry about ranking in Google for now, there is another way.

You can get website visitors from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Reddit, and many other social media platforms.  The key to get traffic on many of these social media channels comes down to be active there.  

If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you should be posting regular updates and following others.  When it comes to Pinterest you should be regularly adding “pins” to your board and re-pinning others from other boards.

Obviously, this is not meant to be a complete guide for social media traffic, but you can get one strategy that worked really well for me to quickly build a Facebook fanbase here.

How to Get Direct and Referral Traffic

I think it’s important to mention that if you truly work on building up a brand for your website, people will come back directly to your site by typing your domain in the address bar.  This is direct traffic.

If you consider how you usually get to Facebook.com, my guess is that you type it into the address bar or you have an app on your phone to go there directly.

In addition, if people are linking to your website and their website gets a lot of traffic, they will be sending some of those people your way through what’s called “referral” traffic.

For example, in the image of my Google Analytics from the past couple of weeks below you can see that I received 7,302 referral visitors and 7,241 direct visitors.

How to Make Money With Your Website

You can also see that I get the bulk of my traffic from search engines (organic search), but I clearly need to do a bit better with social media.

Now, that I’ve shared a quick tutorial of how to actually get people coming to your website, I want to dive into how to make money with a website.

The first step to building a site that makes money is to buy a domain and get hosting.  You can have a blog started in the next 10 minutes!  My top pick for hosting is Bluehost.

Get This Special Discount on Hosting

How To Make Money With A Website: The 59 Best Ways

In the past, I primarily focused on Google Adsense for my own niche sites. However, since I first started building sites, I’ve found that there are tons of Adsense alternatives. 

In addition, there are lots of ways to make money from your website besides just advertisements.  I’m going to definitely show you how you can get advertisers to pay you money through display ad networks.

However, I’ll also share lots of other unique ways to turn your website into a real business (i.e. money).

Make More From Adsense: The best way to maximize your Adsense earnings is to test placements. I use a free tool called Ezoic which does this automatically, Click here to try it out.

When I first start a niche website, I’m not usually going to pick a particular monetization strategy until I pick a niche and keyword.   Sometimes, I’ll think that I would like to build an email list and monetize that list with affiliate marketing offers or my own products.  

However, this is not set in stone, and could change as I pick my niche OR as I test different strategies on the same site.

As you contemplate how you should make money from your new niche site, I will show how many options are out there.  

First, I’m going to list the general ways to monetize (categories like CPA, contextual ads, etc) and then I’ll number off the specific networks or options within each of those general categories.

Below I will share the 53 different ways that you can make money from your website.

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Pay Per Click Contextual Ad Networks

Pay per click ad networks literally pay you when someone clicks an ad on your website; whether or not they go and buy anything.  This a great way to start making money online, from your website.  Most of these are extremely easy to add to your website as well.

You just sign up and get approved, then copy and paste a short snippet of code onto your website.

These are networks like Google Adsense that have ads displayed based on the content of your site.  Typically you will get paid per click from these types of contextual networks. 

Here are a few (there are likely many many more):

1. Google Adsense

If you want to learn how to apply to Google Adsense and get approved, I have a step by step guide. Most good looking websites should have no problem getting an Adsense account.

This is a personal favorite of mine for it’s ease of implementation and relatively passive income for someone just getting started. 

Here’s an example of a Google Adsense ad:

2. Media.net

Media.net handles all the ads for Bing, Yahoo, and many other advertisers.  I’ve had a few people claim that they are able to make more money online with Media.net than Google Adsense.  

Here’s an example of what Media.net looks like.

3. Infolinks

Infolinks is another way to monetize text or writing heavy sites. This is an option that can supplement really well with things like AdSense or affiliate linking to products.

You can sign up for Infolinks HERE.

4. Vibrant Media

Vibrant Media provides some interesting options to earn via image ad, banner ads, or video ads.

This is an active option that offers an alternative to Google ads.

5. GumGum (In-image ads)

GumGum takes a different approach, focusing on putting ads actually in images in ways that get extra attention.

GumGum’s image ad model is an intriguing way to add more ad revenue to the right sites.

6. RevContent

Another option for monetization of your niche website that can help you turn website visitors into ad revenue. RevContent is worth checking out.

7. Bidvertiser

Bidvertiser serves up ads for a wide array of private clients. Advertisers get to look at the websites in-network to find good fits for their site.

As a website owner you use bidvertiser to monetize your blog post in the same way as you would use AdSense for your niche website.

8. Pulse360

Another option which has gained attention in recent years for some impressive numbers.

Key Takeaway: Don’t always assume Adsense is your best option. I personally am enjoying using Ezoic display ads.  You can try Ezoic ads right here. 

In reality, there are many more pay per click networks that you can use.  Some will come and go (good-bye Chitika, formerly on this list and shut down in 2019) However, these are some of the top options. 

CPM Advertising Networks

Rather than paying on a per click basis, these ad networks pay on a per view basis (usually a dollar amount based on 1000 pageviews).  Most of these networks require that you have a large visitor base to be approved to their network. Therefore most of these won’t work for a smaller niche sites.

Your ability to get into these advertising opportunities typically depends on how many pageviews your website is generating.

So, if you have a website that is getting tons of traffic from Pinterest for example, you can monetize that traffic through some of the below CPM networks.

9. Ezoic Ads

Ezoic ads are display ads that also have an ad testing engine built in.  In other words, Ezoic actively tests the ad placement and size of your ads to ensure that you make the most money possible. 

Ezoic ads are one of my favorite alternatives to Google ads. They perform very well!

You can check out Ezoic ads right here.

10. Mediavine

Mediavine is also an excellent display ad network if you have at least 30,000 sessions a month.  These ads have great RPMs and have helped several webmasters I know increase the overall earnings of their sites.

If you have the traffic they are definitely worth checking out. Especially if you’re still primarily monetized with Adsense.

11. Conversant Media

Impressive list of clients they work with. Something must definitely be working well with a list like that!

12. Tribal Fusion

Tribal Fusion offers some really incredible opportunities for bringing in revenue with your website traffic. But their requirements for entry are steep.

In fact, your website needs to hit 500,000 unique visitors per month before your application will be considered.

13. Criteo

Criteo is another monetization method option that can often produce better revenue options than an Adsense account. At least for the right websites.

14. Adthrive Media

If you have a website getting lots of visitors (over 100,000 pageviews a month), then AdThrive is an excellent option.  

I know of several people that were able to dramatically increase the earnings of the website by switching from Google Adsense to AdThrive.

15. Monumetric

Another reputable display ad network for sites that have high traffic levels. This isn’t for the beginning niche website. But if you have the right number of website visitors it’s a great option to look at.

16. ePom.com

An ad network that gives another outstanding alternative to Google ads.

17. Adblade.com

Founded in 2008, Adblade is all about using technology to create a mutually beneficial relationship between advertiser and website owner.

18. Verizon Media

This provider is a combination of Verizon Media, BuzzFeed, AOL, Rivals, and Yahoo properties. This is an interesting combination of advertisers that has plenty to offer.

19. AdRecover

A network that works heavily with both publishers and advertisers. Very good reputation.

20. Digital Remedy

Digital Remedy is another potential partner for the online business reach and digital publishers.

21. SmartyAds

Not for small niche website publishers. There is a 300,000 minimum monthly visitor number before you can apply.

But this premium content advertising platform is worth a look if you hit those traffic numbers.

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22. Repixel

Repixel connects you with advertisers that are looking to serve Facebook Ads to people who have recently visited your website.

For example, if you blog about golf, then golf shops, golf apps, golf clubs, etc, would probably pay you really good money for letting them tag your visitors to serve ads to.

The beauty of Repixel is it works in the background so it’s purely incremental revenue to any sort of site monetization tactic you’re already using.

You can read more about Repixel here.

There are a TON more CPM ad networks out there, this is just a small sample.  You need to find one that fits your niche or works best for your site.

CPA (Cost Per Action) Networks

These types of ads pay a fixed dollar amount based on an action taken (like an email submit form filled out).  Many of these affiliate marketing networks listed below offer both affiliate commissions (% of the actual purchase price) AND CPA opportunities. 

There are also a LOT more ad networks out there than I could possibly ever list in this category – this is just a few.

23. GlobalWide Media

Formerly Neverblue Media, a solid option to look at among the many CPA opportunities out there for a website builder.

24. Perform

The consolidated Clickbooth, Adperio, and Ignite OPM.

25. MaxBounty.com

An advertiser favorite.

26. PeerFly.com

A channel that has a great reputation for working with developing positive affiliate relations.

27. CPAmatica

Listed by many as one of the best CPA networks out there right now.

28. Adscend Media

Brag of their reputation for creating multiple ad revenue options for partners and users.

29. ShareaSale.com

Mostly well known among the affiliate marketer, Shareasale has been an option for many website owners who have created a passive income stream from their websites.

30. CPAlead.com

This is another platform connecting PPC advertising budgets of major companies with individual website owners looking to monetize.

Many More CPA Networks Out There

Not to mention about a thousand others.

In general, these are great options if you are generating leads for businesses. 

A classic example is if you have people interested in refinancing their home.  You might get paid $50 or more for each name and email address that you are able to refer to potential lenders through some of the below networks.

Affiliate Networks

An affiliate network pays out a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale amount.  As an affiliate marketer, you refer someone through your link and get paid if someone actually buys something.

As mentioned, some of these networks bleed together. That means some of these affiliate networks pay out on CPA offers as well.  

Affiliate marketing is a huge business and it’s a great way to make money online. 

You can read about the best affiliate programs here.

31. Amazon Associates

This can be a good option because you get paid no matter what the person buys on Amazon within 24 hours (not just what you referred them to).  If you happen to building a niche site, then I think this is an ideal option to get started with.

Amazon has millions of products that you could write reviews on.  In addition, so many people are comfortable buying products on Amazon (and may even have a Prime account), that it makes it really easy to refer buyers to Amazon.

If you are curious to see some examples referring visitors to Amazon or how to use Amazon affiliate links, go here.

You can also see my full guide to how to make money on Amazon here.

32. Commission Junction (CJ.com)

While there’s no denying that Amazon is king of the mountain when it comes to physical products for the affiliate marketer, CJ is a close second for many.

Commission Junction connects a wide number of companies with affiliate marketers. This allows a website owner to work with major popular brands in the monetization of their websites.

33. Clickbank

I’ve written a complete guide on how to make money with Clickbank.

34. SkimLinks

This is actually an in-content ad network, but it pays out based on actual sales made.  So its not a per-click basis, but does display ads automatically based on the content of your site. 

Its a pretty cool option actually that I’ve used and like.

35. LinkShare

Another popular affiliate link network that is used by many niche website owners.

36. ClixGalore

Not as well known as the other affiliate marketing options on this list, but a great option.

37. eBay Partner Network

(Actually pays on a per click basis – but the amount you earn goes up or down based on the history of actual sales you’ve generated. 

So if lots of people buy through your links, you get more per click.)

38. AvantLink.com

AvantLink is another affiliate commission based platform that is well known. They’ve stood the test of time and have a heavy focus on outdoor affiliates.

39. Rakuten

Rakuten has been active in working with bloggers and affiliates for nearly two decades now.

40. PepperJamNetwork.com

Another affiliate network that has helped many niche website owners create passive income for years. Whether with a free website platform or WordPress blog.

41. JVzoo.com

Another proven affiliate that has done a great job connecting sellers and the affiliates who can profit from promoting their stuff.

42. WarriorPlus.com

A niche option that will be ideal for the right website owners.

Direct Affiliate Programs

Thousands (yes thousands) of companies offer their own affiliate programs that are NOT listed in any network.  These can be harder to find, but often pay very well. 

However, if you are in a certain niche, you will know the types of products that your visitors might be interested in.  As a result, just do a quick Google search to see if those companies offer an affiliate program. 

Just type in “company name” + affiliate program, so something similar to find results.

Here are just 2 examples of companies that run their affiliate program in-house:

43. HostGator

They have a very popular affiliate  program here.

44. Link Whisper

This is my own software product that makes building internal links for your website much faster and easier.  I run my own affiliate program here.

Independent affiliate programs is probably the biggest category. This is because you can also contact companies directly and ask to start an affiliate program with them or otherwise work out a deal with them directly.

Sometimes you even get the best of both worlds. You sell a product via Amazon affiliate link and the sales reports of those sales also get you direct commission from the company itself.

Sell Ad Space Directly

This is a big market as well with lots of options.  You can contact people directly on your own or use an ad manager/network to help. 

45. Sell Your Own Ad Space

If you are a website owner who knows how to rank in Google to drive that organic search engine traffic then you have value to offer advertisers.

The amount you can earn depends on the number of website visitors you have on a monthly basis, as well as the niche that you are in.

Sponsored content is another area that can go hand in hand with selling ad space.

If you like the idea of selling ad space but don’t know where to start, consider going through a broker like: BuySellAds.com

Create Your Own Product

The most profitable way to monetize your site is usually going to be with your own product.  Obviously the kinds of products you can create are only limited by your imagination. Here’s just a few common options:

46. Create a video training course

You can see an example of a video training course that is all about building a website from scratch and making money.  It’s called the Authority Hacker Site System.

47. Create an eBook

If you want to learn how to self publish a book on Amazon, I written a guide for that.   I was able to self publish a book and get it to $100 a day in earnings in a relatively short period of time.

In addition, you can “publish” your book on your own website.  A digital book can really just be a PDF file that you deliver to people once they pay.  I know of several people doing really well publish small books and selling them for $47 or more on their own niche websites.

If you have extremely targeted website traffic this can be a great option.

48. Create a membership area or paid forum

This is definitely a bit more work intensive. Even compared to writing an online course or managing your own online ads.

But the pay-off can be huge!

49. Create a piece of software

I have created a couple of different software programs, and I can tell you this can be an excellent way to make money from your website.   I owned and operated Long Tail Pro for 5 years before selling it. 

Right now I currently own and operate Link Whisper as well.

50. Create other tools, services, or information.

Do you see a need in a hobby or niche that no one is doing a good job of creating a solution to? That could be your money making opportunity!

51. Launch and sell a product on Amazon.

If you are interested in selling products on Amazon, you should check out how I got started selling on Amazon FBA.  I was able to grow my Amazon FBA business from zero to a nice exit when I recently sold my Amazon business.


This is a very common way for bloggers to make money. 

In a nutshell, brands will ask bloggers to write an article that reviews their product or that highlights their product in some way.  The brands will pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per post.


This is a great way for brands to get in front of the audiences that are trying to target.  And this a great way to make money blogging. 

However, it’s important that you notify readers somewhere on the article page that it is a sponsored post and that you received compensation for writing it. 

In addition, you need to make sure any links are “no followed,” and Google will then be okay with the sponsored post.

Sell Text Links

Obviously this won’t be right for everyone and many consider it questionable.  I personally would never sell links on my website, and I strongly advise you against the practice.  Google can and will penalize your website so that it doesn’t appear in the search engines if you are caught participating in buying or selling links.

But there’s a huge marketplace.  The demand isn’t going away. So while I strongly discourage you from doing this, if you’re pushing through anyway then here’s just a few places you can sell links:

53. TextLinkBrokers.com

Name is just like it sounds. They are a place for buying links to your niche site, or selling links to other sites.

54. Digital Point Forum

Marketing forums have long been a place for link exchanges or paying for links.

55. Warrior Forum

Not as robust as it used to be but still a place where this practice takes place.


When all else fails, you can ask for money :).  Many sites have done this in the past with varying degrees of success.  Wikipedia is probably the most well known site that operates 100% on the donations of users.

56. Ask for donations

You can also set up a Patreon account, which is sort of like looking for consistent long-term donations. This won’t be right for many niche websites, but depending on your audience and the services you offer this could be an option.

Be aware that if you use certain platforms like PayPal wording matters. In many cases you can’t have a “Donate” button unless you’re an actual charity.

This is true even if you’re a local business helping the community. But “Buy Me a Beer” or “Buy Me a Burger” are often completely fine.

Sell Your Skills

Look, it’s no mystery why Google ads, affiliate marketing, or other common methods of building an income stream are so popular. Who wouldn’t want passive income? Getting a monthly check for work that was done months or years ago?

Fair enough. But you can sell your skills to make money NOW.

57. Sell Your Skills

If you set up your website right, you can sell your skills. Whether as a consultant, a freelancer, or professional you can sell your unique skills to your website’s audience.

  • Are you great with video? Help others set up a profitable YouTube channel. 
  • Are you a local SEO expert? Reach out to local businesses to work on their marketing.
  • Do you have unusual skills? Create a digital product. Or series of digital products, and teach/consult.
  • Do you have skills to do a little bit of everything? A reliable virtual assistant (VA) can get paid serious money!

While this isn’t a straight route to the passive income dreams many have, it is a monetization method that gets overlooked far too often. Your skills are going to be valuable to someone. If you can create a big enough income stream from this, that can be life changing!

58. Serve Local Business

Generally speaking, many small business owners would rather work with someone locally than a giant nameless corporation. Especially when it comes to online business, online advertising, and other important things they don’t understand.

Look, truth time: there are a lot of big companies offering these “services” who have no idea what they’re doing – and so don’t really help the small business hoping for a boost of online business.

If you have skills, knowledge, or abilities than can actually help a local business and show them results, you can setup a very profitable side business. That can be your income as you work on building more revenue streams to create your ideal passive income.

Sell Your Site

Even if you never monetize your site, you might be able to sell out for a pretty penny!  If you build the traffic of your site or otherwise have an audience, there is value there.  If the traffic is high enough, you could sell for a lot (think Twitter kind of traffic…). 

And of course, people buy brand new sites all the time that have no traffic or audience based on design and niche (but usually for very cheap).

59. Sell Your Site

If you are interested in either buying or selling a website, I recommend that you check out MotionInvest.com for smaller content websites.

How to Make Money with Your Website: Overview and Your Thoughts

The first step to building a site that makes money is to buy a domain and get hosting.  You can have a blog started in the next 10 minutes!  My top pick for hosting is Bluehost.

Get This Special Discount on Hosting

To be honest, there are probably several other ways that you can make money with a website, but this is a good start!  And most certainly there are thousands of other ad networks or affiliate programs out there that you can use. 

But for the most part all your options for how to make money from a website are going to fit in these main categories covered: Pay Per Click Networks, CPM Ad Networks, CPA Networks, Affiliate Networks, Direct Affiliate Programs, Selling Ad Space, Creating a Product, Sponsored posts, Sell Text Links, Donations, or selling your site.

Overall, I hope that you’ve found this list helpful as you begin your journey of building, growing, and making income from your website. The amount of money you can make from blog posts or your website in general usually comes down to your own marketing efforts. 

If you can attract a big enough audience or traffic source, then the ability to start earning money is very real.  This truly can be a legitimate work-from-home opportunity.

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Did I miss any major money making networks or methods?  Let’s discuss below.



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