How To Make Money With a Website Without Selling Anything

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We all know that making money online is becoming increasingly popular, but did you know there are ways to line your pockets without having to sell a single item?

It might seem hard to believe, but there are plenty of people out there who are making money, and lots of it, online without having a single product to sell. 

Now, we aren’t saying it’s easy, but it can certainly be done, which is why we’ve put together this guide to teach you how to make money online without selling anything.

What Makes a Profitable Website?

First things first, when it comes to making money online, you need a website and it needs to be profitable.

What do we mean by a profitable website? Well, it’s a website that is designed and operating in a way that makes money. 

Profitable websites allow you to utilize the behavior of your audience to convert clicks into cash. A profitable website is obviously good for your own pockets, but it’s also important if you’re buying and selling websites to make money. A profitable website will resell at a higher price than a non-profitable one, so it’s worthwhile if you’re considering selling your site further down the line. 

So, what makes a profitable website?

  • Good user experience – Every website should have a great user experience at its core. Users should be able to easily navigate through your website, engage with your content, and have quick access to the information they’re looking for.
  • Mobile optimization – Ensuring that your website performs just as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop is crucial if you want to use it to make money. More people than ever before are using mobile devices to browse the web, so you need to ensure you make your website mobile-friendly in order to support them.
  • Quality design – Modern website builders make it easy to create clean, fresh, and professional website designs. Having a high-quality design is important if you want to use your website to make money. Users should be able to land on your website and enjoy the visual elements, not be over or underwhelmed by the features on the page.
  • Page speed – The fact is that faster websites have greater potential for generating higher profits. Users don’t want to wait around for your content to load, which means website load times are crucial for success; webpages should be up and visible instantly. 
  • Easy navigation – How you structure your website is important if you want to use it to make money. Users should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and in no more than three clicks. 

For more insights, read our guide to the best ways to promote your website.

How to Make Money With a Website Without Selling Anything

It’s all well and good knowing what makes a profitable website, but you’re probably thinking that you still don’t know how to make money with a website without selling anything.

Well, look no further. Below we’ve listed five top ways that you can make money online without selling a single thing.

#1. Affiliate Marketing

Female lifestyle blog The Every Girl
Female lifestyle blog The Every Girl uses affiliate links to direct readers to the clothing items it mentions in its styling posts.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way of making money online without selling physical products or services. 

Affiliate marketing is basically where you convince a user to purchase a specific item, and you earn a commission on the sale.

For example, if you’ve created a blog about horse riding, you might link to specific riding accessories within blog posts that you recommend your readers buy. 

If you’ve set up affiliate links on your website then you’ll earn a small commission from the sale if a user follows that link and makes a purchase.

In order to implement affiliate marketing successfully, you’ll need an audience. After all, you can’t receive any commission if there’s no one clicking on your links and making a purchase.

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s super scalable. As your audience grows, so too does the potential for making money through affiliate links. 

If you’re driving a good amount of traffic to your website, and you’ve built up a good relationship with your readers who trust your advice, you can be making a lot of money blogging without having to put in a great deal of effort.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent example of a passive income stream and allows you to reap the benefits of selling items online without having the headache of sorting delivery, refunds, and customer service. 

Many well-known brands have signed up to affiliate schemes, while ecommerce giant Amazon even has its own program in place, Amazon Affiliates.

For further guidance, read about the different types of affiliate partners in our complete guide.

#2. Advertisements

Placing ads on your website is a great example of how to make money online without selling products. 

There are two main ways that you can place ads on your website – you can either sign up to a third-party ad network, or arrange the ads directly with the advertisers yourself. 

Arts and crafts blog Miss Mustard Seed
Arts and crafts blog Miss Mustard Seed features a sidebar down the right hand side of all blog posts that includes adverts to other websites and businesses.

#3. Ad Networks

Once you’ve launched your website and have started generating traffic, you can sign up to an ad network.

Some of the most popular ad networks are Google AdSense, Adthrive, and Ezoic. It’s worth noting that some networks require a minimum traffic number, so if you’re just starting out, we recommend going with Google AdSense.

Ad networks are super simple to get your head around, and are yet another example of passively making money from your website.

Once you’ve been approved to join the network, you’ll be given a small piece of code to insert into the backend of your website.

Then you’re done. Seriously, that’s all you have to do. The network will then run ads through your website. 

As your website grows, you’ll be able to have more control over the size and placement of ads as well as the theme of the ads you place.

The amount of money you make through an ad network will depend on an array of factors, including your monthly traffic, and the type of content you host on your website.

Advertisers will bid for the ad spots available, and you’ll get paid for hosting the ad on your website. Remember the ad network will take a % of the overall payment too. 

#4. Direct Advertisements

You don’t have to use an ad network if you think placing ads on your website is the best way to make money online without selling anything. 

You can instead promote ad places on your website yourself, or go directly to the businesses you would be interested in featuring to see if they would be up for placing an ad on your site.

Placing ads in this way allows you to set the price for your ad space as high or low as you want.

It can prove trickier to convince people to pay for an advertisement on your website than using an ad network though, and you’ll need to manage the admin such as sorting payment and approving the ad visuals and messaging. 

#5. Micropayments

Kelly Casanova
Kelly Casanova is an online weaving teacher who features a “buy me a coffee” button at the end of all her blog posts to encourage people to support her in return for the free content she provides.

Micropayments are a way of encouraging visitors to your website to contribute to anything, from the upkeep and running of the site, to buying you a coffee.

In order to set up micropayments, you’ll need to add an app or widget. Buy Me a Coffee is a particularly popular option that allows users to click on an icon and contribute a small amount.

The concept behind micropayments is to create a pay-per-use system, where people pay a small fee to read your content and use your website.

You can add a micropayment icon on every page of your website, just on one page, in the sidebar, footer… basically wherever you want.

The widgets are small so they aren’t overbearing for users, but they’re still noticeable, and can be a great way of building up money through your website.

Micropayments are like a virtual tip jar for visitors to contribute to in order to support your website and content creation.

As more people opt to get their content online, even many large-scale publications have introduced a micropayment model where users must pay to continue reading articles on the website once they’ve reached a certain limit.

#6. Sponsored Posts

Lifestyle blog Sincerely Jules
Lifestyle blog Sincerely Jules features a sponsored post from online design tool Canva.

Creating sponsored posts is a popular way of making money online without having to sell anything.

Sponsored posts are blog posts that are sponsored by a brand. A brand will pay you a pre-agreed fee for creating a post that centers around its products and services.

With blogs becoming increasingly popular with people of all ages, brands are willing to pay top fees to get a sponsored blog post on a website within its niche to reach a large, engaged audience. 

Of course, sponsored posts are really only an option for websites that have built up a substantial following. Brands are only willing to pay if they can see what kind of results (click-throughs, brand awareness, conversions, etc.) a sponsored post on your website will offer.

To help build up your audience in order to begin creating sponsored posts and making money online, you’ll need to ensure the SEO of your website is up to scratch. Be sure to check out our article on blog SEO tips to help you out.

#7. Product Reviews

Wirecutter publishes product reviews, covering categories such as tech, home appliances, and baby toys.

Writing product reviews on your website, or even starting a review blog specifically, can be a great way to make money online because they allow you to combine some of the methods we’ve already mentioned.

If you’re reviewing a product you can include affiliate links to what you’re talking about, and as we’ve already discussed, if a reader clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you’ll receive a commission. 

You can also combine product reviews and sponsored posts. If you have a specific product that you want to review, why not reach out to the brand, and see if they would be willing to sponsor your post?

Similarly, if a brand gets in touch with you, offering to do a product review is a relatively easy, but relevant way, of incorporating the sponsored post into your content.

You’ll usually get a much higher conversion rate for affiliate links featured in product reviews than in other types of content. 

Why? Because if a user is reading a product review they’re clearly interested in the product already, making them much more likely to click through and buy what you’re recommending.

Website Monetization: Summary

As you can see, there are various ways you can make money online, and you don’t have to actually sell anything in order to do so!

From placing ads on your website to affiliate marketing networks, sponsored posts, and micropayments, you can implement one or all of the strategies we’ve mentioned to help your website start bringing home the bacon. 

The key to all of these though is traffic. If you aren’t getting traffic to your website then none of these strategies will work in the long term. 

Therefore, it’s important that you first focus on building up an engaged audience for your website. Once you’ve begun generating a good amount of traffic, you can start thinking about making money online without selling anything.

Frequently Asked Questions

A profitable website should be fast and responsive, mobile-friendly, modern, and provide a great user experience. Website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress all allow you to build high-quality, responsive websites that you can make money from. 

Yes, in order to make money online you’re going to need an audience. Whether it’s people to click through your affiliate links, or visitor numbers to help increase the value of an ad on your site, the first step to making money online is growing an engaged and relevant audience.

There are so many ways you can make money online even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. Affiliate marketing, ad networks, micropayments, sponsored posts, and product reviews are all great examples of how to make money online without selling anything.

Written by:
Black and white headshot of Lucy Nixon smiling at the camera
I’ve been a content writer for Website Builder Expert since 2021. Through almost a decade in the digital marketing industry, I’ve built up knowledge on everything from growing ecommerce businesses to building websites. I love breaking down tricky topics into digestible and engaging content for readers. Breaking down the jargon and uncovering the best platforms, tools, and strategies, I’m a meticulous researcher who’s committed to providing our readers with tips and advice that’s tried and tested.

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