Monetize website without spending money


I have made a website, it is similar in concept to other very popular websites that are user-content orientated, ie. FML, TFLN, Sickipedia, TrueLad...etc.

Now, all its cost me so far is time and domain & web hosting fee's (so not a lot)

My question is, how much money is it advisable to spend on advertising to actually see some real income from the site?

So far i have done the usual Google adsense and put an Amazon Affiliate Widget on there. Both are free and both have fairly small payback.

What are my options?


Ok, in a nutshell my question is, are Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate programs the best way to monetise a website for free?

Monetization Advertising Website

asked Mar 2 '11 at 01:40
133 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Your title, the question text, and "what are my options" are all asking separate questions. Can you clarify exactly what problem you are trying to solve so that users can answer *specifically* what you are asking? If users do not have to guess your intentions, they can provide better answers. – Robert Cartaino 13 years ago
  • Hi Ben, an important question is, "How much traffic do you have right now?" If you don't mind sharing an estimate of how many unique visitors you're getting each day, that would be helpful for people to be able to give you situation specific advice. – Aaron Gray 13 years ago
  • Not much to be honest. I've only put it "live" about a week ago and i'm still polishing bits off. So i dont think its reached a healthy traffic state yet – Benhowdle89 13 years ago

2 Answers


Have you optimized your site for SEO? Depending on your level of traffic, you may have to invest some time and money into growing your traffic levels. If you're not optimized for SEO yet, I'd spend my initial dollars on organic Search Engine Optimization, so that you begin to grow traffic to your site. You gotta get traffic before you can start making money from your site visitors.

If you're only making money from ads, and not from your site services, you're going to need significant traffic numbers before ads will start making you much money. This is especially true because your website doesn't seem to be targeting a niche group of people - and this means that it will difficult to get very high click through rates/conversion rates, since it will be tough to have targeted ads. For this reason, I think you should focus on growing your traffic at this point. You can probably get optimized for about 5 reasonably competitive search terms within 6 months. A competitive SEO guy will cost you $2000-$2500/ month, and you'll probably have to pay him for 4-6 months in order to be successful.

If you don't want to spend that much money, I recommend learning about SEO yourself. There are tons of free blogs and free software that will help you, as well as premium ones that are even better. I think that SEO is really fun, and its very satisfying to see your site traffic increase as you improve your search engine rankings.

Here are my favorite free tools:

Here is my favorite paid tool - ($99/mo):

One last thought - are you tracking site visitors and their activity? Google Analytics is very good for this, and it is also free.

Hope this helps!

answered Mar 6 '11 at 05:59
Aaron Gray
386 points


First I would work out one obvious flaw with your site, you can infinitely vote for entries. There doesn't appear to be any functionality checking if you've already voted for an entry, so theoretically someone could take your site down with little effort if they wanted too.

As for Google Ads, most people are using AdBlock which blocks ads and the type of site you are building doesn't really have a Google AdSense friendly layout in the first place. I'm not sure if you should try and monetise the site right away, get traffic first and then maybe consider monetisation.

I'm not sure how Amazon Affiliate programs could integrate into the site though, your content isn't about a product or products in particular, so how would these even come into the equation?

Get the visitors first, monetise later. That's my advice.

answered Mar 4 '11 at 13:17
Digital Sea
1,613 points
  • Hmmm, i appreciate your advice and i'm currently working on the voting system (IP checks, etc...) but thats the major advantage to having no ads on their? Surely its good if i get a few ad clicks along the way? – Benhowdle89 13 years ago
  • The major advantage of having no ads will make people want to tell their friends. It's really hard to put ads on a website without making it look spammy, amateurish or unprofessional. Ads are pointless without a decent amount of visitors to advertise too. – Digital Sea 13 years ago

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Monetization Advertising Website