6 Ways for Publishers to Make Money from their Websites


3 min read

Publishers typically underuse their websites with the option to browse books and not much else. Some, often smaller presses, do sell print and ebooks direct to their customers. Still fewer have an email marketing strategy that builds brand loyalty and drives sales through their site. Publishers are missing an opportunity though if they fail to capitalize on a strong brand with a money-making website.

MacBook Pro on top of table Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

Here are six ways that publishers can monetise their sites:

  1. The most obvious way publishers can make money through their website is to sell books. Both print and ebook formats work here although digital is easier for publishers as they don’t have to consider inventory and fulfillment. More publishers could consider selling merchandise or literary gifts and even products like webinars for aspiring authors.
  2. Pay per click is an advertising model that generates a small amount of income every time a reader clicks on an ad banner on a site. Google AdSense is the most popular tool to do this and it’s very easy to set up an account and start earning straight away from a site with decent traffic.
  3. Email lists can be extremely valuable in themselves but it is probably not wise to risk your subscribers’ goodwill by selling their data to a third party. Instead use them to incentivise buying from your site and create a loyalty scheme for better segmentation of your data.
  4. Some sites have a membership option to access premium content. Publishers can consider creating tiers of support with corresponding rewards such as early access to books or exclusive author events. Smaller presses with a strong mission can use donation services like Patreon or Kofi.
  5. Publishers can also make money through affiliate links on their website. Linking to products they are happy to recommend to their readers through services like Amazon Affiliates gives them a small percentage of the sale. It is important to be transparent with visitors that they are doing this.
  6. Publishers with a popular blog can invite people to write sponsored posts. Posts should be a good brand fit with the publisher and interesting to their readers. Sponsored posts should be clearly labelled as such and should remain a small part of the overall content on the site.

There are many reasons why publishers would want to monetise their websites including:

• additional revenue streams

• a better margin on products they sell themselves

• building brand recognition

• capturing data on their customers

In uncertain times having diverse sources of revenue will be crucial for publishers. These strategies could help unlock some of the value in their sites.