How to Generate Income From Your WordPress Website: Part 1 – Ads

Affiliates, Ads, Sponsored Content and The Like
Monetize Wordpress Site

Making money with your WordPress based website is a huge niche in today’s digital world.

However, many people tried and failed, mostly because of wrong expectations and strategies. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy to generate income using your blog as a starting point, but there are some requirements you need to cover first.

Carefully choose your niche

There are many ways to generate income from your website – selling ads space, affiliate marketing, sponsored content, reviews, newsletters and what not. You can even combine them and multiply your revenue channels.

We already said it’s relatively easy, but is it simple? Heck No, but neither it is a rocket science!


As a starting point, you should ask yourself a few questions:

Monetize WordPress Site Questions

1. Fist and Foremost: Do You Even Have a Website

No? Well, that’s not ideal, but also not really a deal-breaker. Even with a well established website, it all starts with baby steps and proceeds with more advanced techniques to get targeted traffic.

Yes? OK, hat’s great start, but certainly not enough. You’d also need a targeted traffic.


2. Is your Website Popular

How much visitors on daily and monthly basis do you have?

Are they returning visitors attracted to your content, or one-time visitors landed on your page by searching  Google?

Do you have subscribers of some sort? (that would be newsletter subscriptions, feed subscriptions etc.)

Do you even have a newsletter list?

Do you have a strong social media presence?


3. Do You Have a Certain Reputation in Your Field or Just Starting?

Are you an influencer of some sort?

Does your opinion matter on the Internet?

Do you have a “tribe” of followers?


4. Write Down Your Answers and Decide Which Area Suits You Better at The Moment

If you’re a beginner, start from the easiest option and build on that. Keep in mind that building a reputation online takes time. The sad truth is there is really no way to start from scratch and earn money in few days.

If you’re an established authority of some sort, analyze your audience and find  how can you help them. Just like in any business, the best approach would be if you manage to offer solution to a known problem.

Earn Money With Affiliate Marketing

Perhaps, this would be the easiest option if you don’t have an experience.

What is Affiliate Marketing? Basically, you post affiliate links (a.k.a referral links) in your blog content that leads your visitors to a third-party website. Then, if your visitors proceed to make purchase a product or service on that site, you earn a commission for referring them to that site/product/service.

Monetize WordPress Site Affiliates

Sounds simple, right? Well… it’s not!

Joining an affiliate program is the easiest part. You register an account, get your referral ID and start creating content with links to your affiliate partner site. Some sites are using their own affiliate programs, while others depend on external services like Impact Radius, Sharesale, Amazon Associates etc.

Also, keep in mind that some sites would not automatically add you to their affiliates. Your application would need to be reviewed and assessed before you can use affiliate links. In this case you’d need to prove you already have a popular platform where their links will be published (blog, forums, newsletter, social media profile etc).

Now, assuming you’re already an approved affiliate to some brand/website/servise you need to add some links to your content. There is no universal recipe what works best. Sometimes a banner image would generate more clicks, while sometimes a well anchored text link would be a better option.

Basically, you’d need a quality content and provide some value to your visitors, so they will trust your recommendations. Moreover, you’d need as much visitors as possible, so providing a quality content is the only way to earn some cash.

When using text links, it’s extremely important to phrase them properly. You can’t just write

Go to this link and buy hosting:

Always use a descriptive text for anchor links like “Best WordPress Hosting” and try to insert it as naturally as possible in a meaningful sentence.

A good practice, no matter if it’s for a text link or banner is using a link cloaker. There are many free online tools for link cloaking like and even WordPress plugins like Shortlinks.

Another extremely helpful tool is an affiliate links manager like ThirstyAffiliates. It helps you organize your links in groups and categories and also makes them look like internal links and uncloak when needed with safe 301, 302 or 307 (configurable) redirects. It also adds click tracking to your links to track every click with detailed statistics.

Last, but not least, remember that you must disclose that you’re using affiliate links. Failing to do so, may lead to ban from affiliate networks, as there are some US law legal requirements for affiliate links by the Federal Trade Commission. What this mean is  you must add a disclosure on every page with affiliate links that you might make a commission if your readers click through and complete a purchase. Even if you’re not based in the US, some of your users may be US residents, so it’s always good to stay on the safe side, especially for new bloggers.

Monetizing by Selling Ad Spots

Monetize WordPress Site AdsFor a site with good, stable traffic, experts suggest ads as the best monetization method. Obvoiusly, we are not talking about your self-managed affiliate ads, but Ad Networks that sell your ad space on your behalf.

The ads revenue extremely depends on website traffic. If no one sees the ads on your site, there are no money to be earned. It’s that simple. The more you improve your site reputation and traffic, the more you can earn from ads.

Joining an ad network works best for beginners, as they do the hard work for you. Of course that comes with a prices, as all ad networks will take a cut of the ad revenue you generate using their services.

The good thing about ad networks is the fact that most of them would give you the opportunity to sell space on both flat monthly fee or  CPM (“cost per mille” or Cost Per Impression) based. Some of them would also give you the final word whether you approve the ad to be shown on your website or not. Either way, ad networks are pretty sophisticated platforms, so basically there is no chance to display inappropriate content like Burger ad on a cosmetics site.

Selling add positions for a monthly fee have both negatives and positives. While there is a stable income for the month, no matter how many visitors see the ad and/or click, you only have a limited number of positions. On the other hand, CPM based ads will only generate income if someone see them, so for a beginner, may be the first option would be better until stable traffic is generated.

Well… At least if the user didn’t recently search burgers on Google of course.

Monetize WordPress Site Bsa

Before you get approval to sell ads space and earn money, there are some requirements you need to fulfill:

  • Traffic: Earning with ads highly depends on website traffic. Before you apply for ads, you should manage to leverage popular traffic sources, such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Quora.
  • Relevancy: People like to place ads on relevant websites. For advertisers, related sites target the relevant community. On the other hand, blog owners must accept relevant ads for SEO purposes.
  • Guidelines: Once you decide to offer ad space on your blog, the first thing you need to do is to write ad guidelines. People who want to place ads must fulfill your site’s terms and conditions.
  • Website Profile: It refers to the total worth of your site, including Domain Authority, Page Authority, traffic stats, and engagement on social media. When writing guidelines, you should include the said factors to attract advertisers.
  • Technical aspects: You should carefully set up contact media for advertisers. Also, make sure you perform your site’s SEO audit for improved search ranking.

Some of the most popular ad networks are BuySellAdds, Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate Program. There are plugins available for all of them to make it easier to start displaying ads.

Seed Content, Sponsored Posts & Reviews

Monetize WordPress Site Traffic

Sponsored posts refer to promotional posts, written and published at a cost. They may be written by you, or provided by the advertiser. Usually, these are promotional articles regarding a product or service. Payment for a sponsored post may greatly vary. It may be financial, but also a copy of the product (physical or digital, depending on the product in question). Depending on your agreement with the advertiser you may even include your own referral links and secure a steady income for a long time.

For the product review type of seeded content, it’s important to remember that your review must be absolutely unbiased. Even if the advertiser is not pleased, in the long run it’s better to please your main auditory with an honest review than a one time customer. Also, it’s important to clearly disclosed that it’s a paid review, just he same way you do for your affiliate links.

The downside here is that you’d need to be really well established and respected in your field in order for the review to provide a real value, so this channel is not a beginer’s niche.

Wrapping Up

It’s not hard to generate income from your website or blog, it’s not a simple thing too. You’d need to invest quite a lot in site traffic, user engagement and best SEO practices in order to attract advertisers. Also, strong social media channels are a great additional benefit. Of course, quality content comes first, as even the best marketing tricks would help in the long run if your content just sucks.

Stay tuned for the Part 2, where we will discuss monetizing your website by turning it into a multi vendor marketplace where other users can sell their goods and you earn commision or subscription fee for there sales.

About the Author:

Dimitar Koev is a graphic and web designer, front-end developer and marketing expert. CEO & founder of the Althemist team (previously known as Koev) - an independent envato market author, focused on building WordPress themes with strong e-commerce accent.

2 thoughts on “How to Generate Income From Your WordPress Website: Part 1 – Ads

  • Glenn SimonJuly 10, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for the great article. You may also want to include information about e-mail newsletter ads and selling entire developed website?

    Also, can you give us some ETA on the marketplace article? I’d love to read about that.


    • AlthemistJuly 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Hi, Glenn,

      Most e-mail newsletter services like Mailchimp doesn’t allow the use of affiliate links, so there is no point to use them for advertising, except for your own products and content.

      That’s why we didn’t discuss newsletters as a direct income source.


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