The cost of setting up a web site is dirt cheap nowadays. You can register a domain for less than $2.00 as I write this (for .info domains). Hosting is also very cheap, and getting cheaper all the time.
So why are so many web sites springing up? Obviously somebody's making money besides the hosting companies, so here's some idea starters for you:
1. Sell your own products or services. They should be related to your target audience. You want to be able to take credit cards (at least with PayPal if not otherwise) on your site and deliver your product to your customers as fast as possible.
2. Sell another company's products. There is no shortage of companies willing to drop ship items for you, all you have to do is make the sale and place the order with your fulfillment company, they do all the work, and you profit on the difference between their price and yours. There are ways to avoid the hassles some attribute to drop shippers.
3. If you have enough activity to your site, you can sell advertising space, such as banner, classified, or text ads. Of course you need to have enough traffic coming to your site first, so that people have an incentive to want to gain exposure to your visitors. You might not make a lot from displaying small text or banner ads, but it can easily pay for your hosting fees, and enough more to invest in some software scripts that will make your site that much better.
4. Sign up with Google AdSense or another contextual advertising company, and let them place their ads on your pages. When someone clicks on an ad, you earn money. Some webmasters are making many thousands of dollars a month with Google AdSense.
5. If you have enough web space, you could rent other people web pages. You could also give them away for free and make money by including your Google AdSense ads on their web pages.
6. Charge people a fee (monthly or annual subscription, or a one time fee) to access your web site. People will pay you money for your content if it's valuable to them. This can be ebooks, reports, interviews, software, etc.
If you find a niche market, you can spend some time researching your topic and put all sorts of articles and resources to that niche on your site. Then those who have a similar interest might be likely to want to take advantage of all the time you've already spent by coming straight to the site (yours) that has all the answers for them already. If you have enough articles on your topic, you might want to get a site search engine (there are free scripts available) to make it easier to find the information your visitors want.
7. Make money selling other people's products through affiliate programs. They'll give you a link to track your sales. If you haven't heard of affiliate programs, you're in for a treat, many thousands of people are making a full time income just by driving traffic from their site to merchant sites, never touching or shipping a product, letting the merchant do all the work and make the entire investment in inventory.
A good way to start with affiliate programs is to sign up with ClickBank. There are well over 10,000 different eBooks that you are then automatically an affiliate for. It's likely that there are some that tie in with the theme of your site. Write up some reviews and recommendations and send traffic to the ClickBank merchant, and if the eBook sells, you get commissions sometimes as high as 75%.
Another benefit is that if you make a page for each of your eBook reviews, you will eventually start drawing traffic from search engines because some of your pages will get ranked well for the keywords used to describe the eBook you're reviewing.
8. Publish an e-zine from your web site. Ask your visitors to subscribe to the e-zine right from your web site through a sign up box. You might want to find something to entice them to give you their email address, like a free report, eCourse, or eBook. Once you have enough subscribers to your e-zine, you could sell classified or sponsor advertising inside your e-zine, or you could periodically review and recommend products that you're an affiliate for to your subscribers.
9. If you have your own business already (real estate agent, hairdresser, contractor, restaurant, etc.), put up a web page to draw in prospects. All you need is a picture, contact information, a description of what you do, and you have a cheap advertisement that will pull in customers.
10. Set up a local directory of small businesses. Give each business their own page, fix it up for them so that it's optimized for the search engines, and charge them annually for the service. They won't have to pay hosting fees and you do everything for them. Suggest that they put the web site address on their business card, and you'll have virtually locked them in for annual renewals for the life of their business.
These are just some thought-starters for you. There are over a billion web sites on the Internet, there are obviously more than ten ways to earn money with them. Come up with a unique method of cashing in from all those surfers, or use one of our methods, and one day you'll be writing your own advice articles.
About The Author
Dennis Becker has been a computer "nut" since the late 70's, specializing in helping non-techies make better use of computers. Find out how to maximize your profits and minimize your expenses by visiting: http://www.a1-cheap-web-site-hosting.com