EFP 84: Reviewing 6 Established Website Profit Models

Justin Cooke

February 28, 2014

With so many different ways to build websites, it can get confusing trying to figure out what works best for you. AdSense, Amazon, Dropshipping, Affiliate, etc. Lost yet? (Make sure to check out our post The 11 Most Popular Online Business Models)

6 Proven Established Website Models

Today, we dig into the advantages and disadvantages of six established website profit models and share with you some resources to help get you started. We’ve actually dealt with every single one of these monetization methods and wanted to share our experiences with each to help you get up and running.

There’s no best way, but hopefully this helps you narrow down your thoughts on the path you’d like to take.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

 Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of AdSense.
  • Benefits of running an Amazon affiliate site.
  • Finding affiliates that work well with you.
  • The upsides of running a dropshipping site.
  • Running and selling a productized service.



  • “You always have someone casting a shadow depending on what boat you’re in.” -Justin – Tweet This!

What monetization methods do you use and what tips do you have for us? Leave us a SpeakPipe message or comment below!

Need help building a website? Get our free eBook, Building A Niche Site Empire.

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012 – Flickr

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  1. Super appreciate the mention of http://www.50em.com. Thanks guys!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey, Seth!

      I really think yours was the ONLY site we found really valuable when shopping Ontraport Vs. Infusionsoft. Most were just pitching one OR the other and clearly don’t have in-depth knowledge of either tool.

      You’re selling and an affiliate for both, but your clear and straightforward breakdown between the two was the best I’ve seen – nice, man! I’ve mentioned it to quite a few others looking for a good comparison. Our buddy Damian Thompson at Linchpin.net who offers Done-For-You services for both is a fan as well.

      Side Note: I’m guessing that site does quite well for you in terms of affiliate revenue, eh? Saw it pop up for tons of terms once I started digging. :-)

      • Thanks Justin for the kind words. In all honesty, I buy a few clicks because I’m allowed but most traffic is organic. I do exactly 0 SEO on it, since bounce rate hovers at 10%, Google loves the site so it does well. Best of all is hearing from people who love the site. Rare thing to find an affiliate site that doesn’t “sell” anything and provides real value. Value first, sale if I’m lucky :)

      • PS Wondering if that site would be sellable? It’s pretty branded to me.

        • Justin Cooke says:

          It does have you all over it, but I’m pretty sure it would sell. I’m a fan of the site (thinking it has the best comparison content out there) and would personally promote it as something I think is an interesting buy. Honestly I really, really like the niche – plus, good opportunities for a strategic purchase here.

          We’d have to go through our regular vetting, but I’d personally promote the sale if/when it came to that as I think it’s a winner.

      • Hey Sean, I did indeed dig your site when I was doing research. Great stuff. We’ve moved away from Ontraport as we narrowed our target market but think you do a great job of discussing both.

  2. Dan Norris says:

    Hey guys thanks for the mention. we’ve moved away from SAAS for now but I agree with your points. High risk high potential reward.

    The main downside for me is there isn’t really a formula for making it work. Services is pretty straight forward. Find something people are already spending money on and do it better (faster, cheaper and / or better service). SAAS seems to go 1 of 3 ways, epic win, epic fail or moderate success (think niche saas businesses).

    The epic wins don’t seem to follow any kind of formula. They seem to be a bit of luck, a bit if good product, a bit of timing and just hitting momentum and riding the wave. I’d like to hit that wave as well but failed pretty badly. The best thing about services is you can operate in a really big market so we don’t ever worry about whether we are going to hit any kind of ceiling in our business.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Interesting, Dan, and thanks for the comment.

      We have quite a few buyers asking us for SaaS businesses in the $30K – $100K range but there don’t seem to be many of them out there willing to sell. I think the problem is that, if you’ve got a SaaS hit, you’re not all that interested in letting it go for under $100K!

      I like the productized services approach and my guess is that there will be many more of these businesses (created and/or available for sale) in the next few years.

  3. Justin Cooke says:

    Hey, Johnny – glad to give you a shout!

    I totally get what you’re saying regarding physical products. This is something that’s always interested Joe as well – real, physical goods that customers are purchasing!

    We keep talking about it, but we’re going to get in the game at some point, I’m sure of it. Trying to decide whether to build out from scratch or just buy our way in, heh.

    BTW – love that photo…is that in Bali (Ubud?).

    • Johnny FD says:

      Hey Justin, what’s up buddy. I can see you guys doing well with a physical product. I can see you guys going two ways with eCommerce. Either using your staff and knowledge of outsourcing to build the next Wayfair/Hayneedle or doing the manufacturing route and building a brand like the Minaal guys.

      Good luck with the sale of the biz, hopefully that’ll free you guys up to travel some more. That photo was taken in Chiang Mai buddy, there are tons of beautiful places within a 30-60 bike ride outside of the city, including the sticky waterfalls pictured below.

  4. Nick says:

    Brilliant episode as always.

    You’ve just created an online business career blueprint with EFP83. Especially for anyone just starting out online. This particular episode deserves multiple listens, which is what it got from me: listened to it 4 times already. Not to mention extensive note taking; just like a good student.

    Sometimes it can be hard to focus and do things sensibly at first. Just like anything, building a successful online business career takes time and tons of effort. This episode provides the perfect website monetisation perspective for online business aspirants.

    Nailed it!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Nick!

      Yeah, we thought this was a pretty on-point episode too. Our apprentice thought it was the best one he’s heard so far. :-) Thanks for digging it, too!

  5. Anton says:

    Thanks for the mention guys!

    To add to the drop shipping discussion; my basic rule of thumb is to never work with a supplier who advertises their business as a drop ship supplier.

    and I’m not in Chiang Mai anymore! I went back to NY for Christmas then gave Argentina a try but I missed Asia so now I’m in Saigon and loving it.

  6. Quinton Hamp says:

    Now, if we can just figure out how to make useful membership sites.


    • Justin Cooke says:

      I know, right?

      Tung’s got one and I’m pretty impressed. He put a ton of time and energy into delivering value and I’m hoping it turns into something amazing for our community.

  7. Tung Tran says:

    Great ep and thanks for mentioning me here Justin :P

    Building Amazon affiliate sites is definitely a very good way to start with making money online. Just want to make a small correction:

    Amazon cookie period is actually 24 hours not 7 days :D

    • Ack! That’s really not much. Who is the best alternative to Amazon that covers as many niches?

      • Tung Tran says:

        It’d be Skimlinks but I never tried it

        • Nick Loper says:

          Amazon’s cookie duration is brutal… the mentality is “hey, we’re amazon, what are you going to do?” One company I was recently introduced to as a SkimLinks/VigLink alternative is Prosperant (sp?). If I understood correctly, their technology uses realtime EPC data to auto-update links on the fly to the highest potential payout partner in their network. It may be Amazon or it may be some other store. Haven’t tested it or researched further but sounded pretty slick. They operate similar to Skimlinks in that earn the commission and take (I believe) a 30% cut.

  8. First time I ever got the urge to monetize my site… Great episode, guys!

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