Fantasy World Theme Park in the Philippines
(Courtesy of AllBusiness.com)
The Web has come a long way from its military/academic origins. Today, the
Web is an intensely commercial medium, offering plenty of ways to make money.
And because the Web is still defining itself, your best strategy is to raise as
many cash cows as possible. Even if some run dry, you can milk the others to
make sure your own web site pays off.
Sell advertising and sponsorships for your site. This is the
classic Web business model, selling "eyeballs" to advertisers who
want to reach the audience your site attracts. Times are tough for companies
selling banner ads -- as response rates drop, so do the rates businesses can
charge for ads on their sites -- but this is still the most common way
businesses try to make money from their Web sites.
Sell products and services from your site. These days, commerce is
king on the Web, as everyone scrambles to enable e-commerce on their Web
sites. Despite the competition, online merchants can rack up impressive
sales. Be warned, though: doing it right is harder than it looks.
Point people to other sites. The Associates
Program at Amazon.com and other online retailers may be simplest and
easiest way to make money with your site. Simply point visitors to your site
to a related book or other product on Amazon.com, for example, and you
collect a commission on anything the user buys.
Collect and sell information. Creating a database of your users
isnīt just a good idea -- itīs good business. Demographic information
about your users is a potential gold mine, and specific information about a
userīs preferences and interests is even more valuable. But donīt
sacrifice your credibility with customers for a quick buck -- always respect
your usersī privacy, and never sell personal information without their
Charge a fee to access your site -- or at least part of your site.
Even though the Web offers a cornucopia of free content, if your content is
unique and valuable, you can make money charging for it online. If youīre
not comfortable charging for all of your content, offer a premium area, or
sell critical bits piece by piece. Some newspapers, for example, offer free
online access to their daily editions but charge to view their archives.
Do email marketing. Remember, thereīs more to the Internet than
just the World Wide Web. In many ways, email is an even more lucrative
revenue source than the Web. You can sell ads on email newsletters, and use
targeted emails to alert customers about special deals or new products. Just
lay off the spam, please -- make sure that a customer wants your email
before you send it.
Rent software online. Some businesses now supply software on a
"pay per use" basis. Instead of licensing software on a permanent
basis, users can run it over the Net, whenever they need it, from your
servers. For users, rented applications mean no boxes to lug home, no
bloated files to download, and no high prices to pay for applications they
use only occasionally. Businesses that rent software donīt have to pay the
fulfillment costs associated with standard software sales, and they also
enjoy the benefits of an ongoing relationship with their customers.