You've got a great website with tons of visitors, but you need to pay the bills, right? So, what's a company to do? Why, slap advertisements all over it, of course. Sure, nobody likes the ads (well, except for the ad company), but you've got bring in a little cash some how.
This is a discussion I've had plenty of times with website owners, and I very much feel their pain. Still, whenever I notice a website that brings in some revenue without ads I'm intrigued and think it's worth a mention.
The latest revenue hack I've seen: Improvised Life's Store. I'm a big fan of the blog Improvised Life, and their idea of having their own store makes perfect sense. If they're going to write about an item, why not make it easy for folks to buy it, too?. (Note: the sequence here is critical. I really do believe they stumble over products they love, and then decide to sell them, versus just putting up junk).
By making the content primary and the store a nice add-on, they've traded in annoying ads for a helpful resource. Well done.
But it actually gets better. If you look at the items in their store, you'll notice there's no add to cart button. Instead, it's just a link to Amazon with an affiliate code.
They've added a store, but didn't implement an eCommerce solution. This is brilliant. Sure, they won't make as much as an affiliate as they would selling the items themselves, but the level of effort is vastly reduced. They don't need to worrying about billing, customer service, or convincing users it's safe to buy from them. And of course, for many (most? some?) Amazon buyers, their shipping will be free thanks to Prime.
They've developed a helpful resource that brings in a few dollars, and no developers were harmed (or necessarily utilized in the process). Bravo!