Why Your Popular Website Isn’t Making Money

by Don Smith

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

I got an email this morning from Flippa, a popular online business selling platform, regarding a business for sale. As a business consultant, I'm always interested in what industries are performing well. I also like to keep an eye out for businesses that might sell simply because the owner has made enough and wants to retire.

Anyway, this morning's email was interesting. There's a site for sale that has 1.1M+ visitors and 13k followers on their Facebook Page, yet only produces $1,293 in profit each month.

Email from Flippa

How can a website with over a million visits every month only produce $1,293 in profit? That's $0.001 or 1/10th of a cent per visitor! Most of us have heard that views equal cash. Not so fast. I don't know about where you live, but here, $1,293 a month isn't going to go very far.

As a business consultant, I already know the answer to why a popular website like this isn't making money. I've worked with companies with virtually zero visitors to their website who do millions of dollars in business every year. I've also worked with companies with tons of visitors yet very little revenue.

The answer is simple.

There's a BIG difference between VISITORS and CUSTOMERS.

I mentioned this in my articles, “3 Lessons I Learned by Going Viral on Reddit” and “How to Get Ranked High in Google's Search Results,” where I talked about what happened when stuff I created hit the front page of Reddit and Google. Likes, views, and followers don't turn into cash if you don't sell things.

Placing other people's ads on your site usually won't create a multi-million dollar business that supports several employees unless you've identified a highly profitable affiliate marketing program like selling websites and themes or other software. If you want to have a successful online business, you've got to sell stuff that people want to buy.

For example, SiteGround and Thrive Themes have decent affiliate programs for their customers. SiteGround pays $50 for each new customer and Thrive 35% of every sale. That's why you'll see links to those at the bottom of this website; it's worth sending a customer their way plus that's what we use here so I know they are good programs.

If you coupled that with website development or a course on creating websites that convert, you could have a decent business. Better yet, you could even host the customer's site on those platforms, do all the development and management of the site, and charge the customer a recurring fee that includes the cost of hosting and your time.

Most companies BUY ads to sell their products and services rather than rely on ad revenue to drive their business. Even guys who write articles for a living like my blogging buddy Ryan from Blogging From Paradise aren't relying solely on money from ads on their websites. No, Ryan sells courses and e-books about blogging.

You'll see virtually no ads on this site, although we allow promoted articles and guest posts that help our readers achieve their goals. That's because our primary source of income is business consulting and sales of personal development e-books and courses. I don't want our potential customers to go to other websites, and I want them to have a great experience, so you won't see many ads here.

If you have a popular website that isn't making money, it's time to reevaluate your business model. Ask yourself what do my visitors want that they'll be willing to buy? Better yet, what do my visitors want to buy regularly? Then give them what they want! Businesses grow not because they're misleading their customers but because they provide products and services their customers crave.

Why Your Popular Website Isn\'t Making Money

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success” — Ariana Huffington We all have experienced failure at some

Read More
How to Bounce Back From Failure

Losing a job because of downsizing is all too common in the business world. Large companies buy other companies, and the layoffs

Read More
Starting Your Own Business after a Career Setback

Most of us contribute faithfully to our retirement plan each paycheck. But have you considered that there may be much better investment

Read More
Are You Investing in Your Career or Business?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius I'm going to call

Read More
Why do so many people feel entitled to things?

Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, a household name on Wall Street, had this to say about the

Read More
Warren Buffett Reveals the Best Investment You Can Make

Delegate, delegate, delegate. Most business books you read will tell you to learn how to delegate if you want to get more

Read More
When You Shouldn’t Delegate

This weekend I was playing soccer with my youngest son and daughter in the park. At first, I was running away with

Read More
Pass the Ball to Succeed on and off the Court

You've probably graduated and are looking for a job. Beginning a new position is exciting and scary at the same time. Regardless

Read More
Starting a new job? Here are five tips that you should consider.

I visit with a steady stream of business owners and CEOs as a business coach. Nine times out of ten, I find

Read More
Why Doing Less May Improve Your Results

I've looked at many resumes over the years, and for many people, it would be easier to name what they haven't done

Read More
Survey of Six Figure Earners Shows Why Focus Is Important

[Image] You can achieve your dreams at any age from r/GetMotivated I ran across this little gem in r/GetMotivated the other day.

Read More
You Can Achieve Your Dreams at Any Age

I was in the gym on Saturday, and Jeremy, my trainer, told me to do dips. “Give me three sets of ten.

Read More
Comfort is a Lie


Get new articles and course discounts from leading providers every Friday in your inbox with your free subscription!