Using WordPress as the backbone of your website is a popular way to earn an income. After all, nearly 40% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress in 2021, a growth of approximately 12% compared to 2016. Moreover, stats show that this CMS (Content Management System) powers about 38% of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet in 2021. Finally, WordPress is free, easy to customize, maintain, and troubleshoot, and receives regular updates to its core and the directory of themes and plugins. Sounds appealing? Let’s get into how to make money in WordPress, then.
1. Start a successful blog in WordPress
We already investigated what it takes to run a successful WordPress blog. With that covered, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of turning a profit:
1. Enable AdSense
Joining the Google AdSense program is both simple and available from day one of creating a blog. Even better, it’s designed for scalability, so your income grows alongside your website traffic. After adding a script to your website and, optionally, installing one of the top WordPress AdSense plugins, Google will display ads in designated spaces. That’s it, as far as labor is concerned. However, we also suggest knowing the difference between these types of ads:
- CPC (cost per click) ads award you a set fee every time your visitor clicks on the ad. The fee is pre-determined by the advertiser.
- CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) ads award a payout for every 1000 ad views on your blog. If you’re curious, 1000=M in Roman numerals.
2. Sign up for affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions after someone buys a product you referred them to. All popular store websites have an affiliate program, including Amazon, Walmart, BestBuy, eBay, Shopify, etc. So, it all comes down to figuring out which products or services your visitors might like. Moreover, you can use special tracking links to oversee your results, thus giving you the insight required to improve and scale your marketing. Also, thanks to tracking cookies, visitors don’t necessarily need to purchase the featured product, only products or services during the same shopping session. If that’s right up your alley, we recommend you:
- Install a WordPress plugin to shorten, track, manage, and beautify URLs such as Pretty Links (wordpress.org/plugins/pretty-link).
- Check our beginner-friendly list of affiliate niche blogs.
3. Place paid ads
If Google AdSense isn’t your forte, design a custom ad space on your WordPress website, then find advertisers on your own. Granted, this requires negotiations over ad design and placement, determining a price, and administrative work such as invoicing. In contrast, you eliminate an intermediary and thus earn more. Also, you can charge flat rates, and stop worrying over CPC and CPM analytics altogether. Finally, the use of ad plugins for WordPress simplifies the whole thing, and most of them allow Google AdSense integration, eliminating the need to compromise.
4. Publish sponsored posts
While ads are great, you either relinquish control of what’s displayed (sub-method 1) or can’t express creativity in displaying ads (sub-method 3). Also, an increasing number of people are using ad-blockers. To remedy this, negotiate sponsorship deals by finding a company or letting one contact you. Then, get paid to endorse their product or service to your audience. Oftentimes, you can get free products, and negotiate bonuses based on a percentage of sales. However, you must be upfront with your visitors, remain genuine, and don’t shill – honesty is the best policy. We also recommend installing WordPress analytics plugins because knowing your numbers is crucial to working out a better deal.
2. Start an eCommerce business
When we discussed WordPress applications, eCommerce was our #2 entry. And for a good reason – it’s among the most renowned methods to make money in WordPress online. For example, WooCommerce, the top eCommerce plugin for WordPress, has a market share of 25% while generating 7% of total online sales in 2021. On the other hand, the business is tough. Not only do you need to figure out a profitable niche, but also find a reliable supplier, design an online store, and figure out the logistics (inventory, shipping, returns, etc.). Also, you must stay relevant and adjust prices to beat the competition, while allocating time and effort to Customer Support, and much more.
3. Create a membership website
The popularity of OnlyFans and Patreon demonstrates limited-access content has a valuable place in the market. Here are a few examples:
- Create a membership-only website. Use one of the leading membership plugins for WordPress. Publish (or have others publish) content available to members for a flat fee or monthly/yearly subscription.
- Make a members-only section of your website. Visitors can read a portion of free content, then pay to unlock the rest. Or, they can pay to unlock an expanded version of the full, but simplified content. The simplest way? Password protect your WordPress pages.
- Make a private forum. Why make content creation solely your responsibility? Let other members contribute. Visitors will not only flock together but also bond with each other. Plus, you don’t need to distribute content individually, saving time and effort.
- Create a Q&A website. You can keep it public, and monetize the number of visitors, their interests, and engagement in other ways we mentioned. Or, make a private community and incentivize visitors to pay to ask and answer.
4. Sell digital products
The sale of digital products is one of the low-maintenance ways to make money in WordPress. These are notable examples:
- Graphics. Auctioning branded graphics is also a superb way to express creativity.
- Courses. Monetize your teaching skills to instruct others in a niche you specify by selling online or offline courses.
- Ebooks. Selling ebooks via WordPress requires less capital to start while avoiding problems and strict requirements with traditional publishing. Also, once you embed PDF or EPUB, the maintenance is effortless.
- Webinars. Cash in on your knowledge by hosting paid live web seminars. Or, make them free and utilize them as a funnel for other money-making methods.
5. Become a WordPress developer
We know you are confused. After all, every plugin and theme in the WordPress directory is free. But remember how there are always Pro/Premium versions of free plugins? We’ve explained how they make money using WordPress in our “who owns WordPress?” article. With that cleared up, use these resources to become a WordPress developer.