For anyone with a product-based business, selling online is relatively straightforward and should easily cover the cost of maintaining a website in the first place. But for those running serviced-based businesses, recouping the cost of your website may seem impossible.
However, here are three easy and proven ways to ensure that not only does your website bring in more physical business, but that it pays for itself every single day…
If you run workshops, speaking events or courses, consider setting up an online booking system for these. People who would not otherwise email or call will often book online through your website. Integrate your own calendar of events or use services such as Eventbrite or TicketSource to manage your bookings. For smaller events you can simply add tickets to a shop on your website (such as on the Create platform). Sharing these through your social media channels will spread your message further still.
Become an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is BIG BUSINESS! If you use a product or service and you love it, then why not consider becoming an affiliate for them. Every time someone clicks through your website to theirs and makes a purchase you get a percentage of that sale. Each affiliate program is completely different and I would only ever recommend signing up for programs that you honestly believe in as it is your reputation on the line as much as theirs! I’m an affiliate for Create because I love their website builder and use it for lots of my clients. You can also find affiliate programs for many of the larger online retailers such as Amazon or you could think of setting up your own program for others to recommend your products and services!
Sell Digital Products
If you have a program or book that you can sell online as a digital product then this can also bring in a great residual income for very little effort (after you’ve created it of course!). Just be aware that if you are located in the UK and sell to a consumer in any other EU country, you will fall into the messy business of VAT-MOSS. Now I’m no expert on this at all so it’s worth checking out the HMRC Website and speaking to your accountant about it before you get into this but supplying things like ebooks, templates, apps and purely online courses all fall into this quagmire. You can get around this by selling through a third party that is already set up for VAT-MOSS such as Etsy who will collect the VAT and pay it for you or by manually sending out pdfs when orders arrive.
Don’t be put off completely though – I know of small businesses that sell online in this way and make a healthy profit through worldwide sales whilst adhering to the VAT-MOSS rules.
Implementing just one of these ideas on your website can cover the annual cost of your site without costing you too much time or effort. And of course there are many, many more ways to leverage your website such as membership sites, creating a YouTube channel, creating apps and licensing your own programs – this list is just the tip of the online iceberg!