Membership vs. Micropayments: Which is the Better Way to Monetize?

Two old parking metersIf you’re trying to monetize your blog or other content-based website, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. First is the method of bringing in revenue your site will favor; next is what specific tactics you’ll use to actually bring in the income you’ll need to sustain.

If you’ve decided on the paywall model (and there are plenty of reasons to), the next step is figuring out whether you’d like to focus on a recurring, membership-based revenue stream or one that relies on one-time micropayments.

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The Pros and Cons of Paywalls for Monetizing Online Content

A brick wall.

If you run a website or blog, there comes a point when it’s time to stop doing it for the love of the craft and start to make a little money off of your efforts. Unfortunately, this is very often more easily said than done.

There are a lot of different ways to monetize your blog or website, from embedded advertisements (which we don’t recommend) to selling merchandize. One controversial method is the paywall. Basically, users can’t access certain content, or certain amounts of content with metered paywalls, without paying for a membership or one-off usage fee.

Paywalls are popular with many large, legacy media sites like The New York Times and other publications that got their start in print. But how much can these sites offer guidance to a small, upstart site like yours? Can the paywall model with smaller sites?

The answer to this question is different for everyone. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of the paywall model below to help decide if it’s right for you and your site.

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How to Monetize Your Blog with Premium Content (and Why It’s Better than Ads)

An illustration of a line graphic shooting up out of a computer monitor, with a cloud of dollar signs at the top.If you weren’t already a successful blogger, odds are you wouldn’t be looking for information on monetizing your blog. So, first of all: congratulations on your hugely successful blog.

Now that you’ve got thousands of unique visitors every single day and more page views than you can even believe, it’s time to take the next step and quit your day job, right? Maybe! Plenty of people make their living with full-time blogging, and there’s no reason you can’t either. But like any other business you need to have the right revenue model if you want to be successful.

Many if not most people assume that monetizing their blog is synonymous with putting up ads. Ads are certainly one way to make money with your website, but they’re not the only one. They aren’t even a very good one. But before we go into why we think putting up ads on your blog is a mistake, let’s take a closer look at a much better alternative: premium content.   

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