Subscriptions – This is what I feel is my stable income and so I try to keep focused on providing a service people want and need I have many sites which offer subscriptions and almost all of them are donationware or contributionware. I never offer a specific product, service, or support. Instead its completely 100% donation based. For a long long long time subscription income didn’t come close to passing my contextual advertising or affiliate income. Now its almost 2x them and continues to snowballs. I have played with various price points throughout the years. I first started off with a one time fee of 29.95. Then after a few months and doing a lot of research I switched to a recurring annual fee of 29.95. I stuck it out at this price point for about 1 year until we had around 33345 members or the equivalent of a million dollars annual reoccurring income. At that point I changed it up to 19.95 for a 6 month reoccurring annual membership. yes its 10$ cheaper initially but for the same time period it actually makes me 10$ more. I find that people really like the 6 month deal for 19.95. This site now is at over 50k paying annual members and I see no reason to ever play with the subscription price point ever again.
Donations– After several people told me to put up a donation button I thought I would try it. I was totally stunned at the response that it has gotten over the years. In donations alone I have been able to cover all of my server costs and then some.
Physical Goods : Depending on what market you are in there can be a huge markup for physical goods. Being that I am pretty heavy in the mobile market I will use that for examples. Most cellular data cables can be bought for under 1$ and if you buy bulk you can literally get them for pennies (quantities of 1,000 or more). I sell these data cables for 20-30$ depending on what model. Yes, I charge a lot more then what people can pay for them on eBay or other places but still people buy. I figure out what its worth to me to sell them and that is how I come to my price point.
Contextual Advertising – AdSense/YPN/MSN : This is the cowboy market. Its fun and profitable but TONS of volatility. Sure you can make 5480$/day and be on the road to 2 million a year for the month of January but then what happens in Feb when you dip down to 1200$ a day. It makes you want to change your entire website… but then is it your website that needs changing or did the market flux… or was it that change you made 2 weeks ago in the global header that is drawing less paying ads. THIS WILL DRIVE YOU INSANE
Affiliates – I have had good success with affiliates like Azoogleads and CJ . I have also heard 5staraffiliateprograms is good also but I do not have experience with them. SE traffic seems to drastically effect the affiliates for me. When I am ranking super well then my affiliate money has gone HUGE through the roof but my subscriptions, donations, and contextual revenue doesn’t seem to be so effective. The same is true for when I fall off search engines. I see a drastic reduction for affiliate revenue but the rest stays the same.
So lets recap:
ShortTerm – Contextual Advertising – Hot or not.
MidTerm – Donations, Affiliates, and Physical goods – Decent sustainable revenue
Longterm – Subscriptions – This is your rock. Will continue to snowball until people cancel.
Ok so now you are running your short, mid and longterm revenue streams? Now go see the experts on how to optimize these:
This is actually a repost/recap