Having a website or a content platform isn’t just about sharing your thoughts and ideas or showcasing your products like it once was during the earlier days of the internet. The novelty of having a website or blog has faded, and more people are starting websites with the goal of transforming them into a revenue stream of some kind.
Some might think it’s sad to see the internet move in this direction, but someone got to pay the hosting fees and compensation for your labour is also always welcome. Creating a website with entertaining or educational content that readers enjoy, ranks well in search, and gets shared across social media does have a monetary value, be it hard to quantify.
No one gets paid for simply having a website; you have to slap on some sort of monetisation strategy, all with their own pros and cons. Some practical ways to turn your website and content into a revenue stream are:
1. Advertising Networks
The first and most obvious has to be network-based ads; you see them everywhere if you’re not running an ad blocker. These are intermediaries between you and advertisers. By partnering with networks like Google AdSense or other 3rd party networks, you can display ads on your website and get paid per impression (CPM) or per click (CPC).
While they might generate an income, it’s not as lucrative as it once was, especially if you’re not in the finance niche and targeting, let’s say, the US and the UK. Ad revenue relies heavily on the interest groups and LSMs you can target and is not a strategy that suits every website.
2. Direct Ads:
Unlike advertising networks, direct ads involve dealing with advertisers directly. You can set your rates and terms and avoid any intermediary fees, so instead of setting up an open auction, you negotiate with an advertiser to pay you a certain CPM, and you host the banners and 3rd party links. Direct ads can seem more natural since you control what is being served, but they do require you to manually manage everything and go out and negotiate deals for your inventory, which can get complicated to manage.
3. Paywall Content:
Creating exclusive content and hiding it behind a paywall is an effective monetisation strategy. This premium content can only be accessed by users who pay a one-time fee or subscribe. Paywalling only appeals to a certain niche of people; most people are so used to getting content for free they would rather bounce and seek out a different source.
While paywalls can generate an income, it alienates a large part of your visitor base in the hope that the minority will generate enough revenue. In addition, Paywalls become a pain because you’re forced to create exclusive and open content to keep your potential new paying customers coming back and hoping they convert.
Whether it’s exclusive blog content, newsletters, or special features on your website, offering paid subscriptions is a great way to create a steady income stream. Again same with paywalls; getting people to commit to another subscription just to read your content or watch your videos is a non-starter for the majority of people.
If it’s just another annoying recurring payment on their credit card, it generates more in fees for processors, and you have to keep track of retention and churn rates, or you’ll go bust.
5. Sponsorships and Brand Deals:
Partnering with brands for sponsored posts or reviews is a profitable way to monetise your website or blog. You can write an article promoting a product/service or publish pre-written content by the sponsor. While brand deals are popular, they can also impact the quality of your content; you can’t exactly give your honest opinion on a brand or product if their banners and logo are plastered all over your website.
Selling physical or digital goods directly from your website is another great way to monetise. This could range from eBooks and online courses to merchandise and handmade crafts. If you have the skill to run a store, create products, manage shipping and after-sales service, then great, this is the method for you, but if you’re just a blogger, this just becomes a nightmare to manage, and as a result, your content suffers as you dilute yourself and your website into areas you’re not keen on, but hope to generate an income.
If you’re an expert in a particular field, offering consulting services can be lucrative. You can offer coaching sessions, custom strategies, or personalised advice. Consulting can be lucrative if you’re in the right niche, but it is not scalable, you are capped by the time you can sell, and therefore your income capacity is capped.
8. Audience Funding:
If you don’t want to restrict users and prefer to open your site up and rely on the patronage of readers, you can go for the audience-funded model. This involves getting financial support directly from your audience. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Donations: Add a donation button on your website to allow your visitors to contribute as much as they wish.
- Fundraising: Launch a crowdfunding campaign to support a particular project or your website in general. Platforms like Patreon and Kickstarter are great for this.
- Tipping: If you’re offering valuable content for free, like a blog or podcast, consider adding a tipping feature. Websites like Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee can facilitate this.
Getting a return on your digital real estate
Monetising your website and content offers the potential for financial success, provided you do it in a way that continues to engage and respect your audience. Remember, the best monetisation strategy for you depends on your unique circumstances and content. It’s often worth trying out different methods to see what works best for your platform.
While a lot of focus is pointed at your monetisation strategies, very few talk about the pain of payment rails. When you create a website, you open it up to the world and people from all walks of life and countries.
So having a local payment provider like your bank would not be practical, so you need to rely on a global payment processor like PayPal, which will happily eat into your profits with fees. You can either sign up for multiple payment providers to cater to as many people as possible and manage the admin yourself or focus on one and hope it will have enough reach with your audience.
Monetising with Bitcoin
Your next option would be to monetise with Bitcoin, a money that is available in every country in the world, so it’s easy to access, and people are able to instantly settle with you instantly. Yes, depending on the country you’re in, buying some Bitcoin is harder than in others, but it still beats trying to settle across borders with any other fiat payment method right now in terms of settlement times and costs.
Bitcoin, when used on the Lightning network, is even cheaper, so you have more flexibility in your pricing tiers, how you monetise your content or how little you’re willing to accept, opening up your income potential to come from a wider audience.
The issue with the Lightning network is if you want to manage it yourself, you need to run your own node or a cloud node and establish payment channels which require capital upfront and channel management, and this can be complicated for the average person.
So your next step would be to rely on a custodian, this could be in the form of a custodial Lightning wallet and promoting your QR code, Lightning Address or LN URL on your website, or you could use a service like Mash.
What is Mash?
Mash is a micropayment tool powered by Lightning Network and allows website owners to integrate a host of monetisation options to their site and accept low-cost Bitcoin payments. Instead of relying on credit cards and subscriptions for revenue from your website, you can now leverage a global payment network; that works everywhere.
Using Lightning, you get to keep your pricing lower since you avoid all the processing fees, but you are making a trade-off; you’re hoping your audience knows how to use this second-layer payment solution, and you’re accepting the volatility of Bitcoin.
But you don’t have to pick one or the other; you can let your Bitcoin and fiat payment options run concurrently and let the market decide which one they wish to use. It might even work well for your international audience opting for Bitcoin, while your local audience might prefer the fiat method; the mix and match are up to you.
Mash can be integrated with any website and already has native connectors for the non-tech user for popular CMSs like:
Is Mash free to use?
Yes, Mash is free for users to sign up; all you need to do is head to the website and sign up; once you sign up, you’ll need to connect your Mash account to your website or social media accounts you wish to monetise.
Who is Mash for?
Mash is designed specifically for content creators and website owners wanting to monetise their platforms using the power of the Lightning Network. As a micropayment processing service, Mash bridges the gap between advanced Bitcoin technology and everyday users, eliminating the technical hurdles usually associated with implementing Lightning Network protocols.
Whether you run a blog, a social media account, or a full-fledged website, Mash enables you to seamlessly accept micropayments, offering a unique monetisation strategy that doesn’t compromise user experience. With Mash, Lightning Network monetisation is no longer reserved for the tech-savvy node runners but is open to all who wish to tap into this new revenue stream.
What can I do with Mash?
Once you’ve set up a Mash account tied to an email address, you must create an earning ID and use this ID to connect to your website. Once the connection is made, you must choose from the available monetisation strategies.
Boosts are the fastest and easiest way to get instant donations possible; visitors can one-click-instant-tip. The button comes in multiple designs & animations to fit your style.
Donation buttons enable users to select an amount to donate directly to from their Mash account or any Lightning wallet to their Mash account.
Page Revealers are full-page paywalls that allow users to unlock the content behind them. They can be used for articles on news sites and pre-released content for artists.
Community events are polls, races, and crowdfunding goals you can set up to engage with your community, allowing them to participate and vote with sats. With Mash, community events can be set up in a few quick steps.
Present on the big screen for an audience during a live event, or engage with your digital community by sharing alongside your YouTube videos, live podcasts, and more. Participants can contribute using a mobile and desktop device, and they don’t even need a Mash account!
Styling and placements
Once you’ve selected the monetisation method you prefer, you’ll be able to style some of these elements by size and colour and then pick how you wish to display them, either as in-page elements, floating elements or redirecting users to a Mash-hosted page.
If you’re looking for a practical example, you can find the Mash floating button in the bottom right corner of our website, or you can use the static donation button found in the footer.
Further customisation with pricing
An optional customisation for those who want even more control is the pricing settings. You can decide much users will have to pay on your site each time for events/experiences and how many free experiences are provided to them before they are required to start paying.
Alternatively, you can give your users free access to your experiences after spending a certain amount in a calendar month.
What are the limitations of Mash?
Mash is a custodial wallet, so they manage your funds, so you will have to decide how much capital is worth leaving in your Mash wallet. If using a custodial wallet is a non-starter for you, you might be better off using a self-hosted tool like BTCPay Server instead.
Since you’re using the Lightning Network, you can always sweep the Satoshis from your Mash wallet to a Lightning wallet of your choice, or if the value is large enough, conduct a submarine swap to move those funds on-chain.
Mash is also Lightning only, so users can pay using a Lightning wallet or an eCash wallet like Cashu or Fedi since they are interoperable with Lightning. While users cannot pay you using on-chain Bitcoin, Liquid Bitcoin or Wrapped Bitcoin. So you are tying your possible monetisation base to the growth and adoption of the Lightning Network.
Get the app
There you have it, another application you can try out using Bitcoin and its second-layer networks. Interested users can leverage Mash to optimise their website in the hope of securing more sats for their online efforts.
If you’d like to try out Mash or want to learn more about it, we recommend researching the following resources.
Are you a Bitcoin and Lightning fan?
Have you been using Lightning to make payments? Stream sats or engage with apps? Which app is your favourite? Have you tried all the forms of Bitcoin payments? Which one do you prefer?
Let us know in the comments down below.