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Of course, you can always create your own products as well. A good option for an online business is a digital product such as an e-book since production and distribution costs are extremely low. Your customer simply downloads product from your server to her hard disk. But you don't have to restrict yourself to digital products. You might choose to write a book and have it professionally bound and printed. Or you may choose to make your book available in both digital and traditional format with different price points to reflect different production and shipping costs.
Once you have generated consistently high, targeted traffic to your website, you can begin to think about charging for third party advertising on some of your website real estate. The price you can charge for banner advertising depends on your traffic whether your advertiser pays you to simply host his banner or whether she pays you per click-through. Particularly if your revenue depends on click-through it is very important (both for you and your advertiser in terms of repeat business) that your advertiser's product or service is relevant to overall subject matter of your website.
Your pricing would generally be set at a CPM rate, for example $20 per thousand page views. So, if your site receives 5,000 page views a week, that's $100 a week in advertising revenue. The more targeted your traffic, more you can charge as your CPM.
You have, I'm sure, heard it said many times that a great way to generate traffic to your website is to publish an ezine (electronic magazine or newsletter). That's certainly true. Ezines are a terrific traffic generator. But they can also be a source of revenue in their own right.
Once you hit 1,000 subscribers (as a general rule) you can start charging for advertising in your ezine. Again, CPM is a good pricing model to start with.
Again, more targeted your subscriber database, higher your CPM. Some very highly targeted, specialized ezines can charge as much as $40 CPM or more. Others that are very general and untargeted may only be able to generate $2 CPM. Again, time and effort you expend in targeting your market audience, higher your potential revenue.
The number one commodity people are looking for online is information. Consider making your website content available on a members-only basis, charging a membership fee for access. Your content has to be of genuine value to your website visitors, however. Don't try this if all you're offering is a collection of other people's articles.
The type of content that lends itself well to this type of arrangement includes things like apartments for rent listings (eg http://www.westsiderentals.com ), home-based job openings, that sort of thing.
Members-only sites that consist of a collection of freely available products and tools can also work well if, by joining, member saves him or herself many hours of independent searching and collating relevant materials.
Apart from information, entertainment-type content also lends itself well to a pay-for-access type of arrangement. The obvious (if unfortunate) example is highly lucrative internet pornography industry. Say what you will about it, it is a business model that most online entrepreneurs would love to be able to replicate in their own industry, if only they could generate same level of interest. It's that targeted traffic principle yet again!
As I said, these are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start implementing these, others will suggest themselves to you. It really doesn't matter what you do so long as it works for you. By all means, if something works well, don't stop what you're doing. But don't rest on your laurels either. Make sure you always have other wells to drill if today's runs dry.
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Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com