If you are actually expanding energy to build, run and do I dare say pay for a website, you should be at least getting your money out. Seriously, a lot of webmasters fail to look at their websites as businesses and just let all their traffic go to waste. I used to know this girl that had a blog about her family that had received over a million hits! She did this simply by putting pictures of her family gatherings or just random stuff about her. But when I knew her, she was broke! Why?
All that traffic to her website for absolutely free because she never spent a dime on advertising, and she never made a penny on the website. I mean it was obvious to me the simple things she was not doing. She was significantly throwing tens of thousands of dollars down the drain. And I see many webmasters doing this. Do not do that. Seriously! I know you could use some money. Here are some simple ways to monetize your website:
Get a Google AdSense account, and just plug the code on your website. This is if you do not really want to do too much work, just copy the code and insert it in your web page. They pay you each time someone clicks on the ad. The amount of money you get depends on how much the keywords on your website are worth and what the advertiser is spending on the ads. AdSense is not something you can expect to make a great deal from, but its not wise to leave loose ends. Make sure that every place a customer clicks on your site is to your benefit in some way.
A more involved way of making money on your website is to advertise affiliate products for a commission. Clickbank.com is a good source for digital products; commission junction at cj.com is the best source for more tangible products. There are a lot of affiliate programs available online, but I only use these two without if I find something interesting that people will buy on my website.
Most affiliate programs are free to join. The best way to monetize my opinion through affiliate programs is to write reviews about the programs and get interest in them on your website. Just putting ads on your website I notice is kind of ineffective for some affiliate programs, especially clickbank. It's far more successful to upsell the product to customers so improving your click through and conversion rates.
There are pay-per-play ads available online that pay you per impression. The pay rates are kind of low, but that's a good way of making consistent money if you get a lot of traffic to your website. I do not usually go to those but you can do a search on Google and you will see many available.
The best way of making consistent money with your website traffic is to build up a list of interested visitors by capturing their email addresses. There are a few ways of doing this, but the best in my opinion is to offer a free product or newsletter. Then you can have a list of interested subscribers ready to bite at whatever you offer. Just do not abuse your members and spam as many will remove themselves from your list. It takes a bit longer to get a list going from start to advertising affiliate products. But the advantage to lists is that it takes about average about 7 return visits before a sale is made. The list allows you to keep in contact with visitors.
You can also make money through selling email advertising to other websites. I would be more careful with this approach as too many ads will sure cost you some subscribers. The list is endless on how this is beneficial for your website. I just hate to see good traffic go un-mined.