Web Designing Mantras and 15 tools for 2018

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The web has changed since the early-mid nineties: CSS exists, Flash is no more, and websites have become much more about beautiful design and bountiful features than text-and-image-heavy monster pages.

In 1996, if you wanted to create your own website, you had two options: join a hosting site like Tripod or Geocities and have limited control over your web presence, or build your own from scratch using HTML. But times have — thankfully — changed.

Meet the acronyms: WYSIWYG, HTML, CSS, PHP, WTF?

Before we get in to how you can build your own website, let's talk a little bit about the building blocks of the web.
Your modern website is usually made up of three things: HTML, CSS, and Javascript.


HTML stands for "HyperText Markup Language." It's been the backbone of the web since the begining, and uses words surrounded by chevrons (< >) called "tags" to create elements; these elements help you organize and structure your webpage. Any content you see on the web? It's surrounded by HTML.
  • More about HTML


CSS, or "Cascading Style Sheets," is the design language of the modern web. It takes your HTML structure and makes it pretty: CSS uses code called selectors to identify the type of HTML you want to beautify, then uses CSS properties and values to alter its look.
  • More about CSS

Javascript (and other scripting languages)

Javascript allows you to make a normally-static webpage interactive: Lightbox-style image galleries, smooth-scrolling pages (like the ones Apple favors), and web-based games all employ various Javascript functions.
There are other scripting languages you can employ on the web, too, including PHP, Ruby, and Java, all of which allow you to do more complex and dynamic activities on your website.
  • More about Javascript

The "Don't Panic" acronyms: WYSIWYG and CMS

After hearing about all of these scripting and markup languages, you may be ready to swear off ever building a website, but don't panic: If you want to build a website in 2016, what I've told you already is all you ever need to know about these three languages if you don't want to actually code.
You don't have to know how to write HTML, or where to put CSS, or how JavaScript works — and that's all thanks to two other acronyms: WYSIWYG and CMS.
WYSIWYG stands for "What You See Is What You Get," and was first employed in the mid 1990s to help people with no HTML experience build websites. Instead of having to write code to make your website background blue or green, you could just choose "blue" or "green" from a drop-down menu, and your website would change accordingly. Many of the web's modern website-building services, including places like Squarespace, operate on this principle.
A CMS, or "Content Management System," allows you to input content to your website without ever having to touch the code for the page. Ever posted on Tumblr or Medium? Those are both CMSes for bloggers.

How to build a website when you don't know how to code

We've come a long way since 1996: There are a ton of options available for budding website-builders, whether or not you know a lick of HTML. If you're ready to take the plunge into building a page, here's what you need to know.

Step 1: Understanding domains vs hosting

To have a website, you need two things: a domain name (which tells you where on the web to go), and hosting (which stores your files — yes, every website is just a collection of files — somewhere that people can access them). Most modern services offer some variation of both; and many of the services recommended below offer custom top-level domain name registration as part of their paid packages. But should you take advantage of it?
Your typical top-level domain (TLD) costs around $10/year to register, and as such, it's a nice perk that website services can throw in as part of your monthly hosting fee. Even if you don't plan to stick with your website service, there's no real harm in taking advantage of this feature — if the service is worth its salt, you should be able to move that domain to another registration service should you ever leave your subscription plan.
One of the reasons not to take advantage of a paid freebee is if you want a special TLD extension — something other than ".com", ".edu", or ".net", for instance. Many website builders don't offer registration for the lesser-known TLDs, in part because they can be significantly more expensive per year; instead, check out a domain registration service like Hover. You should have no problem connecting an outside-registered domain to your website.
If you're using a free service, you may have a subdomain (like "[yourname].tumblr.com") provided for you automatically, but the service may also offer to register a top-level domain (TLD) like "[yourname].com" for a set fee per year. In this circumstance, I'd recommend using a separate registration service for any top-level domains, since you're not getting one for free.
  • For more information on registering domains - Hover

Step 2: Do I want a free or paid service?

As with the early days of the web, there are free services you can use to build and host your website — but they come with feature limitations. The biggest issue is control: Most free services host your data, and as such, you're tied to them. If your service goes bankrupt, or gets shut down, your data may go with it.
Free services also rely on subdomains for your hosting — that is, something like "[yourname].tumblr.com" versus the top-level domain "[yourname].com". Your web URL will likely be forever tied with the service unless you pony up a little bit extra for a custom domain name.
In contrast, paid services often offer you a custom top-level domain name, full access to their website builder, and extra storage. Each service offers a variety of options for the actual building of websites — most are template-based and WYSIWYG, with some allowing under-the-hood customization if you want to venture into the world of HTML and CSS.
So the question is: how much should you pay for a website service?
When it comes to paid services, you can expect to pay around $7-$10/month for the hosting of a typical personal or blogging website. (You may also have to pay a $10-$15/year fee for your domain name, which we mentioned in the previous section.) If you want to host an online shop, or you plan to do something more complicated like provide large files (like video), you're looking closer in the $15-$30/month range. (Note that we're primarily talking about personal websites, here: If your site becomes a business with steady traffic, your hosting costs may dramatically increase.)

Step 3: Pick a website service

There are quite a few free and paid services out on the web, which may make choosing one an anxiety-driving experience. Thankfully, these days it's as simple as narrowing down what you need from your website.
Basic Blogging: Want to have a voice on the web without the hassle of your own CMS? You can use a free service like Yahoo's Tumblr and build text, photo, video, and GIF blogs to your heart's content. Tumblr offers your own custom subdomain and a bunch of different themes; you can even perform complete custom edits on them by diving into their HTML and CSS backbone. Tumblr also allows mapping to a custom top-level domain, though it won't sell you registration for one.
Basic Free Website: Want to build a personal website without the cost? Weebly is one of the better free options out there, with custom templates and drag-and-drop elements for your hobbyist website, blog, or storefront. You can also insert custom HTML or CSS, if you feel up to that sort of thing. Free users can either hook up an outside domain name or use a Weebly subdomain.
Basic Paid Website or Shop: There's a reason why Squarespace has so much name recognition in the beginner paid website space, and it's not just because they buy ads on every podcast imaginable. Their templates are gorgeous, the editing interface is excellent, and you don't have to know a scrap of HTML or CSS to make something beautiful and customized to your liking. Squarespace plans start at $96/year or $12/month, and include 20 pages, unlimited bandwidth, and free domain registration; the $216/year "Business" plan gives you unlimited pages, and also lets you have a storefront with up to 25 products.
The Art Portfolio: If you want a website focused on art or multimedia, chances are you already have a subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud products. If you do, you can set up a gorgeous display of your artwork with an Adobe Portfolio website: Though the site is limited to just five templates at present, it offers an impressive way to display and integrate projects from your Adobe apps (or Adobe's Behance social network) for the web. You can use a subdomain, or your own outside-purchased domain name. If you're not an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, you can get access to Adobe Portfolio — along with subscriptions to Photoshop and Lightroom CC — for $9.99/month.
Advanced Blogging: If you prefer full control over your blog, Wordpress is the titan of personal content management systems. The blogging company offers hosting for all levels of blogs, whether you're looking to blog under a free Wordpress subdomain (with 3GB space) or you want to pony up for more space and a custom domain name ($99/year for 13GB, or $299/year for unlimited storage). Wordpress is a household name in web blogging largely due to its incredible theme and plugin community; you can add all sorts of incredible features to your website by picking up a custom free plugin or two.
For Serious Shoppers: If you're trying to open up your own digital storefront, Squarespace is a good starter service — but Shopify is one of the masters in this arena. For $29/month, you can post an unlimited number of products and storage on your website; the service takes care of processing and helps you build shipping labels, track inventory, and more.
Host Your Own Site: If you can't find a web service that does exactly what you want it to — or you've decided you want to build something more ambitious — you're going to want to break free of the web services and buy your own web hosting. This can be a daunting step for someone who's never experimented with building websites before, so I generally recommend it after you've experimented with a web service or two, and only if you really need a custom build.
There are a couple of great web hosts out there, and everyone has opinions about which company is truly the best, but I've had exceptionally good luck with Dreamhost over the years. I've hosted several personal sites via Dreamhost since the mid-2000s; the company excels at making web hosting as friendly as possible, and offers a ton of "One-Click Goodies" that let you auto-install a CMS onto your website, so you never have to touch a lick of code. Want the comfort of Wordpress or a Wikipedia-style website on your own server? No problem.

Step 4: Get to building!

Once you've picked a web service, it's as easy as putting your template together and uploading the images you want to your website. If you want to spruce up your pre-made web service template with your own flair, I recommend finding a good (and diffferent) color palette: Coolors offers a wonderful color generator that lets you "lock" particular colors (for example, those in your logo) and uses those to build a complementary color scheme for your website.
If you're looking for more design inspiration, I also recommend watching PBS's The Art of Web Design — it's a fun little video that goes through the history of web design, as well as some great tips for doing it right.
So many ideas, so little time (or coding ability)! If you’re ready to launch a new website for your startup, personal blog, portfolio, or anything else, getting things up and running can often be a daunting and expensive process. We put together a collection of 15 tools to help you build and launch your next website—even if you have limited or no coding or design experience. Check out the list below; one or many of these should help you get started quickly. We can’t wait to see what you build. :-)

1. Carrd

Simple, responsive, one-page sites for pretty much anything.
A free service for building and hosting simple, responsive, one-page websites for anything and everything. There are a bunch of other sites that help you build out one-pagers, but the biggest differentiator here is the simplicity and easy of use, while not compromising on your ability to create a functional and beautifully designed website.

2. Template Stash

Curated collection of best free themes & website templates.
A curated collection of the best free website templates. Each one is evaluated based on: visual appeal, ease of customization, and functionality. You can search for what you’re looking for by category, keyword, and creator, which makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Bonus: There are also collections dedicated to specific design trends, like “material design” and “modern portfolio.”

3. Bubble

Build a fully functional web app without any code.
Without any code knowledge, this tool helps you build web and mobile applications. The intuitive drag and drop builder allows you to easily add page elements like: text, videos, maps, icons, images, buttons, and more. Everything is customizable, down to font colors, icons, and the visibility of various elements based on what’s going on in the app you design.

4. HTML to WordPress

Convert HTML website to WordPress theme in seconds.
This tool converts static HTML websites into WordPress. If you’re looking to switch your site over, this will help you automate a lot of the manual work. Just upload a website into the tool and after a few seconds, it’ll convert into a fully functional, premium quality WordPress theme—activated and installed. All of the designers and developers, rejoice!

5. Tilda Publishing

Build beautiful websites and tell stories without any code.
A website building platform geared toward content-oriented sites. There are over 170 pre-designed blocks that enable you to drag and drop your way toward a fully customizable website. All pages you create with this tool are built to look great across all devices, which is a nice thing to not have to worry about if you’re not a coder. This is a fantastic option for those looking to build blogs, lookbooks, event reports, and more.


Free website builder — making web design like Lego™. No code.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with the process of building a website because it was too complicated, confusing, and/or expensive, this product will make it so much easier (and fun). Use a collection of premium web designs, reliable hosting, and a simple editing environment to get your next web project up in no time. What’s special about this tool is that you build your site with polydoms (smart content blocks), allowing for endless customization. It really is like playing with digital Legos™.

7. Grav

Modern open source flat-file CMS to build faster websites.
A more complex tool, built for developers with some experience. This open source flat-file CMS allows you to build faster websites. The idea: With static HTML pages, you can’t do anything dynamic like query data, edit content via an admin interface, process forms, etc. Grav is “processed at runtime,” allowing you to do the same things you could do with Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress. There are countless features, including: site-wide and per-page routing and redirection, a visual debug panel, multi-language support, flexible taxonomies, a built-in asset manager, and much more.

8. Pivot

Drag and drop real-time HTML page building.
This block-based, multi-purpose HTML 5 template allows you to choose from over 70 uniquely styled content blocks for incredible customizability. You can build web pages in minutes and manage site navigation, sliders, images, text, maps, color schemes, and more—all from your browser. Great for multiple uses, from a product launch to a personal portfolio website.

9. Hype 3.0

Create beautiful HTML5 web content, no coding required.
This keyframe-based animation system makes your content come alive. Just click “record” and Hype watches your every move, automatically creating keyframes as needed. You can also add, remove, and rearrange keyframes manually if you want more control. This is an incredible tool if you’re looking to animate anything from web pages and infographics, to eBooks and presentations. Prepare to be wowed.

10. OnePager

One page theme builder for WordPress.
This open source theme builder allows you to quickly edit everything on your web page on the fly. It’s effortless to build out a fully responsive, SEO-friendly site with built-in presets to kickstart your site development. Just about everything is customizable, allowing you to tailor the look and feel of your site exactly the way you want it. A great tool for anyone looking to build a WordPress site quickly.

11. Webydo 2.0

Seamless web design platform for professionals, code-free.
This product is geared toward empowering designers to create responsive websites using all of their designs even if they don’t have any coding experience. There are a number of similar tools on the market, but this one is built with design in mind. The integrated B2B solution also helps with direct client billing, a neat dashboard to manage countless sites/clients, and a robust CMS. Worth looking into, particularly if you’re a designer.

12. Bootstrap Studio

Create responsive websites using the Bootstrap framework.
A desktop application that helps web developers and designers create responsive websites using the Bootstrap framework. The clean, intuitive interface and makes it easy for anyone to create a beautiful web page with drag and drop functionality. The platform itself is quite intuitive, and the rich collection of components allows you to tailor every little detail on your site. The company promises this tool will product beautiful HTML and CSS that is as good as hand-written code. We can get behind that!

13. Evolero 2.0

Create better event websites.
This platform caters to event planners who are looking to build websites that bring the event experience to life. This is a one-stop shop, enabling you to manage all of your events end-to-end, from ticketing to pre- and post-event community building. This tool is crafted for both standalone and recurring events. Whether you’re planning a corporate event, non-profit gala, big seminar, or intimate workshop, this tool might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

14. Cloudpress

Create unique responsive WordPress sites without coding.
This platform helps you create unique, responsive WordPress sites — no coding necessary. There are over 80 predefined blogs built by the team’s designers that help you prototype pages in literally minutes. You’ll also have full control over every detail on the site you build, including: dimensions, typography, web fonts, backgrounds, and effects. This is a great option if you’re specifically looking to build a page on the WordPress CMS platform.

15. Picnic

Register a new website with one click. Live in 5 minutes.

It can be such a hassle setting up new domains, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated or cost as much as it too often does. This site whittles domain registration down to its most minimal form, allowing you to get something up and running in literally a few minutes. A wonderful little tool that will help you register your site super fast so you can get your next web project up and running faster than you can say “ship.” 
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Instantly repair MySQL databases using phpMyAdmin with Optimization

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Tech-savvy says DB and normal users say as Database but databases have the potential to grow very large, particularly on sites that receive a lot of traffic or have a large amount of content. In such cases, periodic database optimization may help improve web site performance. First I want to give an idea to create DATABASE.

To create a MySQL database user, follow these steps:

In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, 
  1. click MySQL® Databases.
  2. Under Add New User, type the MySQL username in the Username text box.
  3. In the Password text box, type the user password.
  4. In the Password (Again) text box, retype the user password.
  5. Click Create User.
  6. Changing a user's password

You can change a database user's password. You may want to do this for security reasons (changing passwords periodically is a good security practice), or you may need to do this if you forget the password.

To change a MySQL user's password, follow these steps:

  1. In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, click MySQL® Databases.
  2. Under Current Users, locate the user for which you want to change the password, and then click Set Password.
  3. In the Password and Password (Again) text boxes, type the new password.
  4. Click Change Password. The new password takes effect immediately.
  5. Renaming a user
To rename a MySQL user, follow these steps:
  1. In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, click MySQL® Databases.
  2. Under Current Users, locate the user that you want to rename, and then click Rename.
  3. In the text box, type the new name, and then click Proceed.
  4. Deleting a user

When you delete a user, the user and its database permissions are deleted.

To delete a MySQL user, follow these steps:

In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, 
  1. click MySQL® Databases.
  2. Under Current Users, locate the user that you want to delete, and then click the red X icon.
  3. Click Delete User to confirm the deletion.

After you create a database user, you are ready to create a database and associate the user with the new database.
Creating a database

To create a MySQL database, follow these steps:

In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, 
  1. click MySQL® Databases.
  2. Under Create New Database, type the name of the database in the New Databasetext box.
  3. Click Create Database.
To optimize a MySQL database, follow these steps:

1. Log in to cPanel. 
In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, click phpMyAdmin. The phpMyAdmin administration page appears in a new window.
In the left pane, click the name of the database that you want to optimize. For example, the following image shows the example_wordpress database selected:

In the right pane, select the check boxes for the tables in the database that you want to optimize.

To select all of the tables at once, select the Check All check box.

In the With selected list box, select Optimize table. phpMyAdmin informs you whether or not the optimization process is successful.


Databases can become corrupted for any number of reasons, from software defects to hardware issues. If this occurs, you can try to repair database tables using phpMyAdmin.

To repair MySQL database tables, follow these steps:

i. Log in to cPanel.
In the Databases section of the cPanel home screen, click phpMyAdmin. The phpMyAdmin administration page appears in a new window.
In the left pane, click the name of the database that you want to work on. For example, the following image shows the example_wordpress database selected:

In the right pane, select the check boxes for the tables in the database that you want to repair.

To select all of the tables at once, select the Check All check box.

In the With selected list box, select Repair table. phpMyAdmin informs you whether or not the repair process is successful.


What is phpMyAdmin?

phpMyAdmin is a PHP-based, easy to use solution for the administration of MySQL and MariaDB databases. It is an extremely mature software option getting its start back in September 1998.
phpMyAdmin Database Management Features

phpMyAdmin is loaded with a number of features that have helped it grow into one of the most popular database administration tools available today. Just some of these tools includes:
User-friendly interface makes it particularly easy to manage your databases
Allows for both the management of your MySQL and MariaDB databases
The option to import your data from both SQL and CSV formats
Option to export your data from numerous formats including CSV, SQL, PDF, XML, Word, Excel and many more
The ability to administer multiple servers at once
Build PDF graphics of the layout of your database
The options to either search a subset of your database or perform a global search
Change the data you have stored into any format of your choosing through the use of predefined functions
View real time activity charts for the monitoring of your MySQL server including CPU/RAM use, server processes and connections
phpMyAdmin is compatible with a number of different operating systems
How phpMyAdmin Got Its Start

phpMyAdmin was created in September 1998 by IT consultant Tobias Ratschiller as a means to make database management easier. He appreciated a similar project called MySQL-Webadmin, but looked to improve on a few of its shortcomings and features it lacked. Ratschiller was successful in creating a better database management solution, evident by the fact that it was quickly adopted by users. However, Ratschiller had to abandon working on phpMyAdmin in 2000 simply because he didn't have the time to appropriately attend to it. His last release was made in June of that same year. Not long after, the trio of developers Loic Chapeaux, Marc Delisle and Olivier Muller were able to pick up where Ratschiller left off. Since their first release of phpMyAdmin in August 2001, the work of the three developers has helped phpMyAdmin continue to thrive and pick up steam.
phpMyAdmin Database Management Options

With all the powerful features included within phpMyAdmin, it's easy to forget that its designed to make it easier to manage your MariaDB and MySQL databases. Here are the ways phpMyAdmin makes it possible to do just that:
Browse Tables – You can view all tables that have existing records with a click of the browse button. From there you'll see a comprehensive list of the table's records.
Table Structure – Click the button to view a list of the table's field names, attributes, types, collations and just about anything else you could want to know.
Add Information – Click the Insert button within your phpMyAdmin install to insert records within your database.
Search Function – Easily find any information you're looking for within a specific table.
Drop – Use this functionality to remove an entire table as well as any records that it contains.
Remove Data – Similar to the drop button, the Empty button gives you the ability to remove data while still keep the newly empty table.
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Blog Content Monetization: Perfect Rules and Method in 2018

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The opportunity for content monetization has never been greater.Individuals around the globe have built their content empires by publishing the unique details of their personal experiences for the world to see, and it’s all thanks to the internet. From foodies to entrepreneurs, fitness instructors to political figures, there’s droves of new content publishers across social media, video platforms, web hosted blogs, and email newsletters. Where there’s a dedicated audience, there’s a content creator ripe for monetization. And in today’s industry, these moguls are most commonly referred to as “influencers.”

Although there’s a definite cool factor associated with being an influencer, it’s important to debunk the myth that influencer is synonymous with the elite. Everyone and anyone is qualified to create content, publish it to their social media accounts, website, webinar, or email list, and monetize it by working with brands who value their message and target audience.
The term influencer is commonly associated with massive readerships and social media followings. But that’s a narrow point of view. In fact, brands are discovering more and more that large followings don’t necessarily equate to high quality, and the reverse is often true.
Small, dedicated audiences with a higher propensity for engagement, are more qualified to become potential customers than large, inactive followings. However a content creator chooses to define her or himself; whether it be as an influencer, an affiliate marketer, a brand advocate, or ambassador, their job is to inspire, inform, educate, and empower their unique audience.
"A content creator chooses to define her or himself; whether it be as an influencer, an affiliate marketer, a brand advocate, or ambassador, their job is to inspire, inform, educate, and empower their unique audience."
In this article, I’ll demonstrate the key ways in which creators monetize their content, and why one often overlooked model can outperform the other. I’ll also debunk the myth that influencer marketing is inherently different than other types of content creation/marketing, and highlight the importance of partnership in order to advance your earning potential.
You might also like: What is Affiliate Marketing? The Myth vs. Reality.

How is content monetized?

Content publishers — i.e. anyone who shares their content on the internet, including influencers — can monetize their messages by partnering with brands. Brands are hungry to understand ways in which they can work with content creators, but it’s not always a clear path to success for either party.
"Brands are hungry to understand ways in which they can work with content creators."
In fact, the term “influencer” eludes the majority. What do they actually do, and how can brands initiate a relationship with them? How are they compensated? Well, the answer to these questions varies significantly, and in fact, there are multiple layers of content creators.
The most common monetization model is sponsored posts, where the content publisher is compensated with a flat fee for posting on behalf of the brand. This model is most closely aligned with content creators who refer to themselves as influencers. The trouble with limiting oneself to sponsored posts is that, just like billboard ads or TV commercials, there’s no way to know how effective the ad will perform.
Unlike sponsored posts, performance models are built on a commissionable compensation framework, where the content publisher is paid a percentage of sales, or a bounty for desired actions — like email signups, subscriptions, or app downloads. This monetization model is most closely associated with affiliate marketing.
There’s a number of reasons the latter is preferable to brands. Primarily, it allows them to invest in a content publisher without risk of losing money. But there’s also a strong business case for content publishers to use a performance model. Performance-based compensation allows content publishers to advance their business in a number of ways. Here are the top benefits to performance models for publishers:
  1. Win more business. Being open to commissions will create more opportunity for new partnerships, by posing less risk to the advertiser.
  2. Long term earnings. Long term earnings can outpace the earning potential of a one time fee.
  3. Return customers. Brands will continue to invest in profitable partnerships, allowing publishers to develop long term partnerships.
  4. Tracking. Working on commissionable earnings means there will be a tracking link involved in the post, which helps both the advertiser and the publisher to monitor performance, and gain deep analysis of what works and what doesn’t.
  5. Optimization. Working on a performance basis allows the publisher and the advertiser to analyze the content performance, allowing both the ability to test new ways of appealing to the publisher's audience, and ultimately, improve both parties’ goals.
Content monetization can take many forms, but the two most common are through flat fees and commissions. With that in mind, both monetization models are a point of contention. Content monetization is a hot topic, especially as more publishers discover its benefits, and the market catches on.

The great debate: Is monetized content authentic?

It’s always been a marketers mission to be where their target customers are. And with the age of the internet, the voice of the customer is heard, and their appetite for transparency is clear.
They want to discover a brand from people like them, or people they admire, and are interested in their opinion of the brand. This is in contrast with how brands used to market, where advertising was a matter of how they wanted to be perceived by the market.
Now, brands are flocking to individual content creators in the hope that they’ll provide potential customers with information about their brand, to help a creator’s audience make informed purchasing decisions. Content creators are becoming the most coveted marketing channel for advertisers to tap into.
So why has this powerful marketing solution become a subject of contention?
One of the greatest assets of brands working with content creators is the transparency consumers gain from receiving unbiased opinions, reviews, and information about the brand. But that practice is put into question when money is in the mix.
The topic of content monetization has become more pronounced with new regulations that require disclosure of partnership. For the sake of transparency, the practice of disclosure is critical. But that doesn’t mean the concept of monetization is unethical.
"Despite popular opinion, content monetization does not indicate inauthenticity. In fact, the best content creators are incredibly dedicated to delivering an authentic experience."
Despite popular opinion, content monetization does not indicate inauthenticity. In fact, the best content creators are incredibly dedicated to delivering an authentic experience. The myth that monetized content is disingenuous, fraudulent, untrue, or unethical, needs to be dispelled.
At PatreCon 2017, Jack Conte, the CEO of Patreon, shared his journey with content creation in the form of his music. He described his fear of being pegged as a sell-out when Hyundai approached his band to sponsor their music video. Yet, the partnership not only helped them earn some money that they could reinvest back into the band, but it also gave their music a bigger platform.
They leveraged the opportunity and in the long-run were able to deliver an even higher quality of music to their fans. And that decision was made in the interest of their audience.
Content publishers share the same dilemma. The two key priorities of successful content creators are:
  1. Serving the audience well. For long term success, content creators must deliver a value in the messages they share, which means they will only partner with brands that deliver value to their unique audience. They think about what their audience wants to know, what interests them, and what they can do to help solve a problem. Today’s content creator pros never risk promoting a brand that won’t appeal to their followers. Just like successful businesses, publishers need to deliver strong user experience, which means they must put the needs of their customers/readers first.
  2. Figuring out how best to monetize their content. Just as Jack did with his music, content creators need to assess what type of monetization works best for their long-term goals, and what feels authenticate to their business.
You might also like: 7 Tips to Help Cultivate Authenticity for your Affiliate Marketing Business.

The new age of content monetization

If you can recall the world before social media, you might remember flipping through the pages of a magazine, which often include traditional advertisements.
This advertising exists in two key ways. The first is in a traditional display format, like a full-page Rolex spread. The second is native advertising. You have to read between the lines to discover it, because it’s contextual, inconspicuous, and organic in nature. If you’ve ever read a “Who Wore it Better” article, you’d have seen suggestions from the editor on how you can achieve the look, nail the beauty regime, or find an outfit at a cheaper price.
That content represents an additional way for the magazine to monetize their publication. The advertiser allocates spend to the magazine in order to be included in their message to a relevant audience. This represents an integral revenue stream for the magazine, and when done well, it’s of high value to its reader. In fact, the majority of publications lean on their editorial team to decide on which brands to mention in their content.
Today, digital influencers have taken on the challenge of monetizing their content through native advertising, too, and make all the decision when selecting the brands, products, and experiences they wish to share with their audience.
"Back in the day, the only logical way to pay for advertising, whether a celebrity endorsement or a native advertisement published in a magazine, was to negotiate a flat fee. But that was before the world of digital tools, where marketing performance is easily measurable."
Back in the day, the only logical way to pay for advertising, whether a celebrity endorsement or a native advertisement published in a magazine, was to negotiate a flat fee. But that was before the world of digital tools, where marketing performance is easily measurable. With digital media, content publishers and advertisers alike can determine exactly how effective their media is, right down to the level of which customer came from what source, on which day, and at what time.
With data, an advertiser is empowered to make decisions that will make their marketing spend go further. They can identify the publisher that referred the most customers, the highest sales revenue, and the most loyal customers who returned to the brand again. They’re able to select the referral source, based on what will drive the highest return on their ad spend. That’s why publishers need to be armed with their own performance data, prepared to explore multiple monetization formats, and able to clearly describe their value to the advertiser.
"That’s why publishers need to be armed with their own performance data, prepared to explore multiple monetization formats, and able to clearly describe their value to the advertiser."
With digital media, publishers have more than one choice when it comes to monetizing their content, and advertisers have the capability to measure their value. There’s many ways to take advantage of that to advance the interests of the content creator, the advertiser, AND the customer.

The top three monetization mistakes influencers make

To be an industry pro, you need to know how to set yourself apart. With more people monetizing their content, the competition for a brand's attention will continue to heat up. To win the hearts and media dollars of brands, here are three of the most common mistakes to avoid.

1. Media kits and vanity metrics

Many content creators, specifically those who refer to themselves as influencers, will have what’s called a media kit. But the majority of media kits seriously miss the mark.
A media kit is a snapshot of what the creator has to offer the brand. Media kits are supposed to help the advertiser understand the opportunity of partnering, but the majority don’t include the information advertisers really need to understand in order to invest in the partnership.
A typical media kit will include metrics that paint a picture of the publishers value. The problem is, these metrics focus on what digital marketers call vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics are things like average likes on a post, average engagement levels, number of followers, readers, or blog impressions, and page hits. Although that data can help a publisher understand their position in the industry, an advertiser only needs to know how well their media spend will perform based on qualitative and quantitative data.
When a content creator doesn’t clearly articulate qualifiers that the advertiser needs to know in order to estimate the measures of their investment, the publisher limits the potential of his or her business.
Advertisers want to see data like:
  • Average click through rate
  • Average conversion rate
  • Audience demographics
  • Behavioral data, such as audience interests and other brand affinities
It’s also important to understand an audience’s needs, pain points, challenges, and the solutions that would better their life; whether it’s their day-to-day, business, career, or their next vacation. Advertisers want to see information about the type of brands and businesses that an audience will respond best to. That level of analysis helps them understand an audience, their synergy with the brand, and whether there’s a strong alignment for partnership.
"Ultimately, the advertiser is looking for one key metric: Return On Ad Spend."
Ultimately, the advertiser is looking for one key metric: Return On Ad Spend. This is not something content creators can discern without an open line of communication with the advertiser they partner with. But it will help the publisher be competitive among those who don’t have this level of data.
Partnerships are built on a give and take framework, and it’s important that both parties are accountable to performance. With that in mind, sharing pre and post campaign insights will lead to better performance.
Having an understanding of what the advertiser can expect to gain from the exchange will move mountains in developing a lucrative long term partnership. There are other goals beyond sales that brands have, and content creators can deliver value in more ways than one. Publishers can tap into metrics that help articulate the value the brand will get from the partnership, like how many followers on average become a follower of the brand as a result of the promotion, how many times the branded content was shared, and how many people signed up for the brand’s newsletter.
Understanding how an audience interacts with the brand is critical to not only building long term partnerships, but in winning over the next client. Including this level of data in a media kit will change the game. Focus less on vanity metrics, and more on the benefits the brand can expect to gain.
You might also like: 4 Tips to Help You Create a Profitable Blog Affiliate Blog Post.

2. Defining yourself as an “influencer”

The second mistake content creators make is defining themselves as an “influencer,” “affiliate marketer,” or anything in-between. True, an “influencer” has a cooler sound to it than “content creator that has a large audience and monetizes content published on behalf of brands.” But an influencer carries a connotation that the publisher is only open to one particular monetization model, and that can be incredibly limiting to brands, deterring them from engaging in a partnership at all.
In contrast, an “affiliate marketer” has a stigma attached to the word that many just can’t shake. It doesn’t pack the same punch, and it implies the affiliate is less focused on content delivery and more focused on promotional methods, like paid media marketing.
Now, affiliate marketing as a marketing channel is highly sought after, lucrative, and impactful for a brand. But that wasn’t always the case, and unfortunately the title packs some negative connotation in the minds of those who don’t understand it’s full nature. For that reason, referring to yourself as an affiliate may indicate to advertisers that your content isn’t as valuable as that from an influencer.

The difference between influencer and affiliate

To set the record straight, an influencer more commonly charges a flat fee for their content, and is typically engaged by an advertiser for the goal of building brand awareness. This makes the type of content more “upper funnel” in nature, and less accountable to the business outcome.
Similar to celebrity endorsements, endorsements aren’t intended to lead to direct incremental sales, but it’s purpose instead is to build brand awareness and positive sentiment over the long run.
By contrast, an affiliate marketer typically monetizes their content through a performance model, which means they’re compensated on an agreed upon commission rate for the sales, leads, or downloads they refer to an advertiser. This tends to focus more on “lower funnel” marketing, where the publisher is encouraged to close the deal. The beauty of this model is that their unique tracking link helps advertisers determine their precise value, and over time, the relationship between the two parties can develop into a highly profitable one.
"Brands don’t care whether you’re an influencer, an affiliate marketer, a brand ambassador, or something in-between. The bottom line is, if you inform, educate, empower, or inspire an audience, you’re valuable to a brand."
Here’s the big secret: nobody cares which you are. How you define yourself is up to you. But what both of these models represent is simply a method of content monetization. Brands don’t care whether you’re an influencer, an affiliate marketer, a brand ambassador, or something in-between. The bottom line is, if you inform, educate, empower, or inspire an audience, you’re valuable to a brand, and they’re likely to invest in you if you arm yourself with the right data to show them what their return on ad spend will look like.
Which leads us to the biggest mistake of all.

3. Limiting yourself to a single content monetization model

Regardless of how you choose to define your profession, there are various different models in which brand partnerships can come to fruition. All an advertiser really wants to know is whether they will achieve their goals with their investment in a content creator. Will it deliver against their defined marketing goals? Will they receive new customers, increased sales, new subscriptions, or app downloads? And ultimately, whether in the short or long term, will sales outpace the cost of the creator’s content?
With a performance marketing model, advertisers only pay for the direct value they receive in return. With sponsored posts, advertisers pay for content creation without knowing what the return value will be. Furthermore, it’s much more difficult for a brand to monitor the value from sponsored posts because typically they don’t include links directing to the brands product page.
Brands are beginning to ask more of influencers. Although the industry remains in a phase where flat fees are common compensation practice, advertisers are increasingly turning to affiliate models where publishers are compensated only when the brands desired action is achieved. The accountability and low risk of a performance model can be a win-win for both parties.
So why are the majority of influencers shy to adopt a performance-based commission model?
  1. Sponsored posts remain the norm, particularly on platforms that are difficult to include links (like Instagram).
  2. Flat fees are predictable and more comfortable for publishers who are unfamiliar with other models. What an influencer will earn is laid out in front of them.
  3. They don’t know how much they’ll earn in commission from the post, because they don’t know their performance metrics or audience data.
  4. Content development requires time, and in many cases money. It’s easier to justify the development of high quality content when earning expectations are abundantly clear.
So how should you monetize?

The power of partnership

Working with brands as if they’re a partner rather than a transaction will pay dividends. Identify what you both need out of the relationship, and come to a pricing model that will yield the highest degree of success possible for both of you.
It’s not necessarily a matter of choosing one monetization model or the other, but being open to both, or considering the advantages of a hybrid model. Hybrid models will allow for an upfront investment from the brand, where your efforts are compensated upfront.
This upfront investment will be less than the total quantity a typical flat fee sponsored post would be, because the remaining compensation will be in the form of a commission. That means you can also reap the rewards of long term content monetization, where the sky's the limit for how much your content earns. The decision lays in your data, the brands goals, and the strength of your partnership.

If you are publishing content, you can earn money

As a content creator, you can better monetize your content by understanding your metrics. Don’t pay so much attention to vanity metrics (follower count, likes, impressions, etc.), but rather, understand how you offer value to the brand you promote. If you don’t have hard metrics to tout yet, hone in on the qualitative benefits of your audience reach, their characteristics, their propensity to visit the brands you share with them, and the type of content they like to see.
Many view the monetized website as a method for escaping the rat race. They long for an opportunity to work from home, be their own boss, create their own schedule.
A website that brings in money could provide a crucial first step, or be the entirety of the solution if it is successful enough.
Others are serial entrepreneurs. To these individuals, there is little other reason to having a site than turning it into a successful business.
They might be acquiring a site that they will “flip” into a money making venture. They may be building it from the ground up to bring in the cash.
Either way, they see business as the primary goal and the website as a tool for achieving that aim.
Can you monetize any website? The short answer is “yes.” It’s important to remember that the site isn’t what makes money. The website is a tool to promote your business model. Your business idea is what will attract people and earn your money.
Can you monetize websites without ads? It is possible, but it takes some dedication. There will be an even greater focus on creating loyal visitors, as they will become your primary supporters.
Some schools of thought even see ads as detrimental to a monetization mindset, especially if the focus of the site is blogging. More on that later.
Can you make money by selling sites? Yes. There’s a whole website trade, complete with brokers, centered around this concept. If you have lots of ideas for businesses, this method may be ideal for you. We’ll touch on how to use the website trade to generate income in this guide.
How does site traffic play a role? No matter how you want to monetize your site, you’re going to need traffic. With no visitors to “convert,” your business model, whatever it is, will be stuck in the water.
We’ll go into some specific strategies for generating traffic. Generally speaking, though, it involves engaging your audience and adding a personal touch to the site (along with a generous helping of self-promotion).
What about web content? Content is essential. You’ll also need to make sure any content you have on the site is good enough to keep visitors coming back. Learning strategies for trimming the fat, keeping your ideas straightforward, and connecting with visitors is a must.

Part 1: Building Content & Generating Traffic

As we mentioned, these elements are the foundation of properly monetized sites.
Your content will vary based on your specific business interests. No matter what the enterprise, though, no one will care if the meat of your site is boring.
There’s not shortage of guides on creating great content. Some for blogs, some for video, others for podcasts and the like. In all of these mediums, the core component is caring about what you’re doing.
Passion, you will find, is the top motivator for creating content that captivates. Without it, you will experience setbacks and quit. With it, you will falter, learn, then grow.
Make sure that your content is of a high standard of quality. Make sure that the subject matter is something that will interest viewers/readers/listeners. Make sure that visitors can easily digest and share the content, and hold yourself to a regular schedule for releasing it.
Once you’ve built a solid foundation, you will need to lead people to it. You will need to employ careful analysis, marketing, and networking.
For example, using word of mouth to extend your reach. People come to your site, see the great content, then tell their friends to visit as well. You speed this process along by giving out free content that is easy to share. A newsletter, free e-book, tip-of-the-day, etc.
You might try getting your site mentioned by other sites in your wheelhouse. Do some guest posts. Trade with another site for links. Establish an expert presence on newsgroups and forums so that people will want to check you out.
You’ll also want to take advantage of the “tried-and-true” methods of traffic generation. These include:
Email Marketing — Reaching out to potential visitors directly through email. It isn’t as fashionable as some other methods, but it works. A successful email campaign should be simple, engaging, and include a strong call-to-action.
Social Media Marketing — Email marketing’s sexier cousin. By building a following on popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you create an audience that you can then get to visit your main site. Social is highly valued because it allows for users to share popular content quickly.
Search Engine Optimization — The proverbial “pink elephant.” A concept so all-encompassing that every website takes heed. This is the practice of tailoring your site and content so that it will produce a higher ranking in search engine results.
There’s no one way to approach it, but finding what works for your site will go a long way in earning you traffic.
A word to the wise: No one strategy will secure you steady traffic. The takeaway here should be that you need a base of great content and a combination of strategies to get visitors to your site.
It may take some trial and error, but with perseverance, you can build a consistent user base that you can then use to aid your monetization efforts.

Part 2-A: How To Monetize A Website With Ads

Now to answer the question, “how to monetize my website?” The first set of strategies involves using advertising to bring in the dollars. It’s a straightforward collection of methods that you can find plenty of examples of all over the net.

Selling Ad Space Directly

One of the oldest methods for generating money. You have the site, you have the traffic, and you have all that free space to subtly insert ads from sponsors.
These could take the form of a sidebar banner, small pop-ins, or the occasional link at the bottom of the page. Pricing for each can vary.
The direct approach is time-consuming, but it allows you to cut out the middle man and maximize the amount of ad dollars you can earn.
You might charge a flat fee for a month of running an ad. It’s direct, and you’ll know what you’re getting every month. You might be limiting your potential, however.
The alternative is a pay-per-visitor or pay-per-click model. Here, you get paid based on the amount of people that come to the site and see/click the ads. You have the chance to strike big with lots of traffic but could get very little if your number of visitors starts to trail off.
These figures are often measured as something called “CPM,” the revenue generated from 1,000 impressions. It’s difficult to calculate an across-the-board average, but for display ads, you should try to shoot for $2-3 for best results.
Next, you’ll have to let advertisers know that you’re looking to sell space. You’ll need a media kit, a summary of your site designed to entice potential advertisers.
Within your kit, you’ll need to present upfront information on your website’s audience. This means the total number of visitors, their ages, and a gender breakdown.
You’ll want to include detailed info, like their marital status, number of children, etc. If you have niche site, then information showing that your audience fits the niche is also vital.
To obtain this information, you can use online tools like Quantcast, Alexa, Similar Web, or Smart Viper. These tools analyze who is coming to your site and will provide basic details about who they are. The drawback is that you don’t have much customization over the information you get.
For that, you’ll have to ask your users to self-identify through surveys. You can put these on your site or email them directly to your visitors. You should try to keep the questions simple and make them fun so that visitors are more likely to respond.
The problem is that it can take a while to get a “statistically significant” number of respondents. There’s also no way of knowing if respondents are answering your questions truthfully.
You may want to experiment with both methods to see which gets you the best data. When you’ve made a determination, the information you gain will be a large part of the pitch that you make to potential advertisers.
Now that you can prove that your site has the numbers to make it a worthwhile, you have to show off your real estate. These are the spots on your site that are prime for advertisements. They should be prominent, and convey to advertisers that their product or service will get noticed.
When the media kit is complete, you’ll then need to identify potential sponsors, find the appropriate contact, and send your package off with a solid proposal explaining why they should pay attention to you.
If you don’t already have direct relationships with companies, this could be a tricky step. You can get a leg up by checking out who is advertising with your competitors. You can also make use of resources like LinkedIn and SellerCrowd to find out who to contact.
Once you’ve tracked down your targets, be direct, be upfront, and back up your claims with the data you gained while doing research on your site.

Selling Ads With Google AdSense

The process above might seem overly-complicated for some people. Those that want something less involved can make use of Google AdSense as an alternative.
This method allows brands to make use of Google to display ads on “publisher sites” like yours. You get a code from Google, then place it on your site in the location you want ads to go.
Google handles the rest. They find relevant ads. They run an auction so that the highest paying ones get to your site. They’ll even take care of the “money stuff” behind the scenes. You get paid whenever someone clicks on an ad.
It’s a straightforward procedure, but you have to give Google a piece of the action. If you’re willing to take that trade, though, you stand to make hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars a month with a large enough audience.
Just make sure you review the Terms Of Service carefully. They’re sticklers about what they allow, so you’ll have to stay on your best behavior to remain in their good graces.

Affiliate Marketing, Paid Posts, And Native Advertising

If neither of those options grabs you, you can try affiliate marketing, paid posts, or native advertisingto generate a cash flow.
When you become an affiliate, you find products and services that you enjoy. You promote these products/services on your website or blog, slipping an “affiliate link” into posts where you talk about them. When visitors click the affiliate link and make a purchase, you get a kickback.
Popular affiliate marketing programs include ClickBank, Commission Junction, Share-A-Sale, and Amazon.
Paid posts and “native advertising” usually take the form of “sponsored content” that an advertiser has paid you to feature on your site. Often, these will be akin advertorials plugging their products or services.
Done properly, this method can supplement your normal content with a little “extra” that falls in line with what you’re already doing. For example, a positive review of a product that you already that was worth getting.
Done poorly, native ads can come across as cheap, insulting, and tarnish the reputation that you worked hard to obtain. This could range from content written in whole by the advertiser that you allow on the site unchallenged, to blatant “shill posts” promoting something that is widely panned by your audience.
By law, you’ll have to disclose which posts are bought-and-paid-for. If you’re upfront with your audience, they may see it as a way to enhance the site (rather than you selling out for cash).
If you’re looking to get started with the native ad method, you can try the direct route. This would involve reaching out to your contacts at advertisers you already know.
You might also try checking out specialists on the matter like Nativo and Sharethrough. They have “native ad boards” that can put interested publisher sites in touch with potential advertisers.

Part 2-B: How To Monetize A Website Without Ads

You might find the concept of making money through ads distasteful or counterproductive. You aren’t alone in that respect. There are several drawbacks to ads that detractors readily point out.
  • Searching for advertisers eats up time
  • Ads don’t always pay that much
  • The income stream is unreliable
  • Sometimes advertisers will refuse to pay you
  • Ads can be creepy and intrusive
  • They also slow down site performance
  • You’ll have to forfeit some control to please your sponsors
To make money from your site without giving in to “the man” you have to build value and an audience. Once you’ve established your value, you have several methods of turning that into cash.

Start Selling Something

We touched on this earlier. You might have a product or merchandise of your own that you can market. A book, T-shirts, or something else physical in nature.
You might be offering a skill or consulting services. You could use your site build yourself up as an authority on a topic. Then you charge for people to hire you for your expertise. You could even start doing classes and charge others to learn your unique talents.
As an expert, you can parlay a massive online following into an offline one. Set up a speaking tour, seminars, or day-long lectures. If your followers like what you do, they’re likely to attend.
If you’re an entertainer, the website becomes a similar means for getting people interested in your art. Then you direct them to your live shows, where you earn money from people that want to see you perform.

Set Up A Paywall

Somewhat related to the earlier concept of “selling something” is the paywall. In this case, you’ll be selling your content rather than a physical product.
You can block off segments of your site to “members” who pay a fee to access it. You could deliver individual portions of content as “drip” with each content block costing a small fee. You might even try a subscription service so that users pay a monthly fee to access your content.
Portions of your site can remain free to all, to entice new visitors. The “premium content,” however, is only available to your “premium membership.” If your content is that compelling, you can gain a fair number of members who will gladly pay.
There are several approaches to setting this up. Quicksprout has an awesome guide that lays it all out in plain terms. The short of it, though, is making sure that you are providing value to your visitors, and they feel that the value is enhanced by paying extra.

Value For Value

The third option involves you creating the incredible content, then leaving it all free to access.
Politely ask your audience to donate to the cause, reminding them that their patronage will allow you to continue bringing them what they love about your site.
You provide value in the form of your content. The audience reciprocates, offering value in the form of monetary compensation.
You won’t get everybody to donate. You might not even get half of your audience to donate. If you have a good amount of traffic and strong content, though, you’ll receive enough support from contributing visitors to finance your operations quite nicely.
You could set up a donation button on your page to allow users to contribute directly through options like PayPal. You might even try setting up a page on a service like Patreon. It allows audiences to browse content creators and finance the ones they like best.

Part 3: How To Monetize Your Site By Selling It

how to monetize my websiteYou could also try building up your site and selling it to someone else for a lump sum. Plenty of entrepreneurs are looking for sites with steady streams of visitors that they can “leverage” for their own ends.
There are also tons of resources for selling a site. In particular, website brokers who can get your site in front of interested buyers and handle all the tedious paperwork.
To sell a site right, though, you can’t simply slap WordPress onto an existing domain, bill it as “having potential,” and then call it a day. You have to turn it into a worthwhile investment.
This means going back to the two fundamentals that we’ve harped on this entire guide. Create good content, then build up your site traffic.


Those two building blocks are the foundation from which all website monetization strategies grow. If you remember nothing else, remember this: get your site in order first. The money will follow shortly after. Once your site has great content and lots of visitors, it doesn’t matter whether you want to sell ads, sell T-shirts, or sell the content itself. You’ll be able to do it because you have the audience in place to support your efforts.
You may also do well by employing more than one monetization strategy at a time. Different audiences will react to different approaches. A thorough analysis of your audience (along with some trial-and-error) will reveal what methods will work best for turning your web presence into a steady source of extra income. However you choose to define yourself, whether it’s as an influencer, an affiliate, or a content creator, if you are publishing content, you can earn money. Great partnerships are built on delivering a strong experience. That means considering the value you’re creating for your audience, while understanding how you can meet the goals of the brand you’re promoting. It’s up to you and the brand to define how best to monetize, and the only way to do this well is to understand your audience with ready-to-share performance and behavioural data.
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