Profitable Website Business Models

A business model is a method of doing business, and how a company generates a profit – whether the business is a retail store, a restaurant, or a doctor’s office. All industries and businesses have some sort of business model they use to create income. A website business model is a phrase used to describe how online businesses, or a website, generates sales or income. Here are examples of profitable website business models to earn money online:

Merchant Website Business Model: selling physical or digital goods over the internet. When physical goods are sold, the merchant takes payment from customers via an online shopping cart and then the items are shipped. For digital products or services, when payment is received, customers are redirected to a web page where they can download (save) their purchase to their own computer.

Advertising Website Business Model: online businesses who generate income through advertisements are similar to traditional media broadcasting businesses like radio or television. The website provides information or content to website visitors; while at the same time presenting advertisements in the form of images, text, or video. Website owners may charge the advertisers a fee to place the ad on their website; or they may receive revenue each time someone clicks on an advertisement displayed on their website; or they may receive commission when someone buys a product based on the advertisement.

Brokerage Website Business Model: brokers bring buyers and sellers together in exchange for a fee or commission for the transactions or sales their efforts generate. A common type of brokerage website business model is an online auction in which sellers pay the broker a fee to list their items for sale, plus a commission if their items sell.

Affiliate Website Business Model: affiliates earn a commission when selling other people or company products. Each affiliate receives a unique tracking link which they can use to refer potential buyers to a company website for the purchase of goods; if people referred make a purchase, the affiliate receives a commission.

Subscription Website Business Model: when websites charge a fee to users to become “members” of the site or community – it is considered a subscription website. Often, websites have both free content available to all web visitors and “premium” content which is available only to subscribers who pay for access. The subscription fees are charged to members regardless of how frequently or infrequently they access the site, and can be charged weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.

Utility Website Business Model: websites using the utility business model are similar to “pay as you go” cell phones in that customers pay for actual use of the site. Some internet companies charge customers for the number of minutes the internet is used, for example. If a website is charging per page viewed (access to reports or specific articles), they are operating under a utility website business model.

There are several ways to earn money with a website; these are some of the more common and profitable website business models you might use to get started with an online business. Talk to your web developer to find out which one might be the best for you.