Any ideas about how to monetize a tutorial website?

24 replies
Hi Warriors

Ok, i need some advices from the pros. Maybe you have some ideas about what to do with one of my websites.

It's a big index of free online tutorials - you know, a site like Good-Tutorials - Newest Tutorials or Photoshop Tutorials and Flash Tutorials - Tutorialized . It has over 50 main categories for all kind of software and programming languages - Photoshop, Flash, PHP and so on.

Currently it is receiving about 10.000 uniques a day. It was monetized only by Adsense so far but some time ago i have started to try to promote various products on it - like Photoshop guides and stuff like that. Not a single sale

I know these "free" niches are very hard to monetize - people that are looking for free stuff (and already found the answer to their question on my site) do not tend to buy anything.

Still, i would love to hear some advices or suggestions on what to offer for them - i am starting to run out of ideas I even do not collect a list on this site because i just have no idea what to market to them at a later time.

Any ideas ? Thank you !
#ideas #monetize #tutorial #website
  • Profile picture of the author JMac
    Become an affilliate with several stores or product companies. An example would be on your photoshop tutorial page include a link to popular photoshop add-ons or other related software on Amazon using their affilliate links.

    Maybe find a broader affilliate like NewEgg and put their link up and tell people to get there to shop, you would get 1 to 2% of the total amount they spend if they got there from coming to your site if you were a newegg affilliate.

    I'm kinda new so thats all I have at the moment, hope it helps and good luck to you!
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    • Profile picture of the author JMac
      Just thought of this after I submitted the last reply. How about offering a newletter or heads up on updates to get people to leave their emails and then creating some kind of ebook to offer them later?
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek S
    try adding a premium tutorial section.

    OR

    Only giving away the first few steps for free and they have to pay a one time membership fee to unlock the rest of the tutorial. Also give them access to your entire database with the one time membership fee.
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    • Profile picture of the author Philarmon
      Thanks for your feedback guys

      Originally Posted by J-Mac View Post

      Become an affilliate with several stores or product companies. An example would be on your photoshop tutorial page include a link to popular photoshop add-ons or other related software on Amazon using their affilliate links.
      That's what i would like to do, but the question is - what do i promote ? Like i said, i have tries several complimentary products (mostly Photoshop related as this is by far the largest part of the website), but nothing seem to convert. 50-100 daily clickthroughs with zero sales.

      Originally Posted by Derek S View Post

      try adding a premium tutorial section.

      OR

      Only giving away the first few steps for free and they have to pay a one time membership fee to unlock the rest of the tutorial. Also give them access to your entire database with the one time membership fee.
      A good busines model and i am sure it would work, but i want to keep it free - sites like Experts Exchange are meaking me sick when i search for information online

      I just want to offer something without limiting the possibilities of the current visitors.

      Any other ideas ?
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      • Profile picture of the author coco28
        Originally Posted by Philarmon View Post

        Thanks for your feedback guys



        That's what i would like to do, but the question is - what do i promote ? Like i said, i have tries several complimentary products (mostly Photoshop related as this is by far the largest part of the website), but nothing seem to convert. 50-100 daily clickthroughs with zero sales.



        A good busines model and i am sure it would work, but i want to keep it free - sites like Experts Exchange are meaking me sick when i search for information online

        I just want to offer something without limiting the possibilities of the current visitors.

        Any other ideas ?
        Hi,

        I use experts exchange a lot, and there is a way to get their tech solutions for free. Google your tech question and click on the experts exchange link (from google, think this is important). You will be directed to the relevant EE page, which has the question, followed by the answers which are not shown. If you scroll right down the bottom, past the huge footer, the answers are visible. Like I say, I use EE a lot, and have never come across a question where the answers weren't visible below the footer.

        I don't know if this is available in all countries, but I use it from the UK (with a US proxy). I'm not sure why they do this, but my guess would be for SEO reasons..

        If you are looking for ideas for a tutorial model, check out PSDTuts.com. They have lots of free tutorials (which are great) but they also have a subscription model for more detailed tuts.
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        coco

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        • Profile picture of the author melanied
          I was going to suggest pre-roll ads if your tutorials were videos, but looks like you're already doing that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rully
    Hows about offer 1 on 1 coaching clinic ? :-D
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  • Originally Posted by Philarmon View Post

    Hi Warriors

    Ok, i need some advices from the pros. Maybe you have some ideas about what to do with one of my websites.

    It's a big index of free online Currently it is receiving about 10.000 uniques a day. It was monetized only by Adsense so far but some time ago i have started to try to promote various products on it - like Photoshop guides and stuff like that. Not a single sale

    I know these "free" niches are very hard to monetize - people that are looking for free stuff (and already found the answer to their question on my site) do not tend to buy anything.

    Still, i would love to hear some advices or suggestions on what to offer for them - i am starting to run out of ideas I even do not collect a list on this site because i just have no idea what to market to them at a later time.

    Any ideas ? Thank you !
    Hi Philipp,

    I am a newbie at online marketing and learning this the hard way. My goal is not to make a lot of money while doing nothing, rather to have a decent income but without a boss telling me what to do everyday...

    Yesterday I saw with the google tool that there were a lot of queries for online tutorials, with little competition. I went on my domain name provider's website and saw that the keywords with exact match .com were available, so I impulse-bought 4 domain names.

    Then I realized the catch : the average CPC is 0,05 $... And I spoke with a friend who has more experience in this business and he told me that people looking for free tutorials are tech savy and ignore ads. Also I'm thinking, the software companies usually provide online support for beginners, so people looking for free tutorials are penniless torrenters.

    Did you reach some progress in past months with your tutorial site? For info I'm targetting the French market and language so I dont think we would be competitors.

    What do you think of video tutorials with the video hosted on youtube?
    I see that most tutorials are text, even though with adequate software it's not too hard to make video tutorials. I guess the reason is that video tutorials are harder for good SEO. Also if the video is on youtube, the actual time spent on the tutorial website would be very short.
    That's why I was thinking of a combination of detailed text tutorials with watermarked youtube videos that illustrate the text content (with the watermark being the tutorial website adress).

    I wanted to start with a tutorial for a well know software to produce music. It's a software I personally use and like, so I could easily make a tutorial for it. Then I would somehow hard-insert ads in the video, probably not as an ad but as part of the content. For example using a mic and saying wow what a great mic it goes perfectly well with this software, if you buy it from my site you get a discount...

    Lots of thoughts and not sure if this project is worth the time invested. It's really about time since the initial money cost is low.

    If you read this long post and have some feedback, please share it, thanks a lot!
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  • Profile picture of the author sitecrawler
    Banned
    The simplest way to monetize it is with adsense program or click bank products.
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    • yes but the problem with adsense is that the CTR is too low, nobody clicks on ads on those sites

      what do you mean by click bank?
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      • Profile picture of the author Devid Farah
        Hi philarmon,

        The funnel strategy seems to work a lot for these types of website.

        Free content is what is drawing people to your website, so it would be a bad idea to get rid of that.

        However, you can limit how much access the visitors have to your content.

        That way you can implement something such as a monthly charge to have full access to the whole library and as well as the "premium" content.

        Another thing you can try is using CPC instead of CPM.

        If you are getting 10,000 views a day on your site, then using CPM that may bring you in more money than people clicking on ads.

        I use Adbrite for my CPM ads and I've seen rates range from $.05 to $15.00 for every thousand views.

        It all depends on your niche and how much traffic you're getting.
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        • @Devid CPM, that's a good idea! Thanks! I'll spend some time on this and I'll let you know the result in a few weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    Darn, they beat me too it. Try CPM ads.

    Just be sure to put them on a part of your page that doesn't get a lot of action. You don't want people clicking them since you're already getting paid per view.

    You wan't to maximize your profits by getting the CPM money and getting your visitors to also click on an adsense ads or making a purchase.

    Also be sure to break your articles into multiple pages to boost those page views.

    More bang per visitor! BAM!
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    I can't believe that nobody has advised the obvious!

    BUILD A LIST!

    It's as simple as offering free advanced lessons to everybody that enters their email address.

    Actually, I can believe that nobody has given the right advice. I sometimes cringe at the threads that I read here, there, and at every IM forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    I can't believe that nobody has advised the obvious!

    BUILD A LIST!
    psst... see post three.
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  • Profile picture of the author PhoebeSmellyCat
    I could be wrong but people looking for free tutorials are not looking to buy anything. They're looking because they already bought something and don't know how to use it.

    I once made a Squidoo lens listing free resources on the internet. To my surprise this lens actually brought in some money in the form of commissions.

    What I did was to include a link to a free tutorial on a little known way to do niche research. The video was a complete lesson in itself but also was a part of an IM program and was part of their sales page. These people viewed the video tutorial and then bought the program.

    Now this is from just one link. If you sprinkle those types throughout your site you might start getting some sales.

    Just make sure that whatever you're linking to is a complete tutorial in and of itself and not just a 'teaser' with no relevant content.
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  • Profile picture of the author cookingdiva
    If you like providing free help, good for you. I think there might be possible way to make money still.

    1. Just like many iphone apps, have free version and paid version of same topic tutorial.
    2. Add affiliate links in part of tutorial, not just on side.
    3. Add donate button, like buy me banana or buy me coffee, something like that. You can set one up via paypal easily. If you get lot of traffic, some may donate. I have.

    Good luck and thanks for providing good free tutorials.
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  • Lots of interesting ideas, thanks all!

    I have one more newbie question : I bought 4 domain names : "tutorial-programX.com", "tutorialprogramX.com", "tutorial-programY.com", "tutorialprogramY.com".

    Should I make 4 websites (maybe using spinning), 2 websites (one for each program), or just 1 website that regroups everything? Because I think I've read somewhere that one big website is better than 4 smaller ones, for SEO.
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    • That's ok I found the answer to my own question in a different thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    A site making money with both free and paid tutorials is:

    Software training online-tutorials for Adobe, Microsoft, Apple & more

    Take a look there, and you might get some good ideas about one way of doing things.

    Also, take a look at google. If google instant is on, type in "tutorial" and you will get some idea of what people are looking for. Google wonder wheel can also provide ideas.

    Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrea Wilson
    Besides of Adsense maybe you can build a list as what the other folks suggested or maybe allow your readers to register an account with your site for them to comment on your tutorials. CPM ads can help too.

    Andrea
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Youtube videos is the best in promoting tutorial websites..
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Hmmmmm.....they are programmers, right?

    Now, I'm not the smartest guy in the room, but I think there is something alll programmers need: computers to program on.

    Now, what else do programmers need?

    Software to program with perhaps?

    Energy drinks for those all nite coding sessions?

    Maybe a backup service....so when the computer crashes, the work doesn't get lost?

    Fill their needs, and you can line your pockets.
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    • Profile picture of the author Philarmon
      Oh wow, my two year old thread is suddenly back to life

      Thanks for the ideas guys. First i would like to share what did work for me so far. First, to my surprise it turned out that image AdSense ads are working better and actually paying more than text ads (well, at least for this type of website). I tried image ads only once shortly after they were introduced but they did not work back then as good as they do today .

      Another thing that seem to work for this type of websites is lynda.com's affiliate program (it's one of the most known websites that offer paid tutorials - and they are great)

      I have experimented with software specific ads (like autocad plugins for the autocad category, 3d models for all 3d software categories etc) but it was not worth the hassle. Besides of that all of them have their own affiliate programs so it can take a while until you'll get some money ...

      All in all this site is making very good money on autopilot but if you have more great ideas, keep em coming

      Originally Posted by Rully View Post

      Hows about offer 1 on 1 coaching clinic ? :-D
      Yeah good one but i don't have time for that - this site should stay completely on autopilot

      Originally Posted by Devid Farah View Post

      Another thing you can try is using CPC instead of CPM.
      I think you mean the other way around - CPM instead of CPC This might be a good second option - together with Adsense. I am not a big fan of CPM though - all those flashing "get free smiley" banners But youre right, maybe i should give it a go

      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      I can't believe that nobody has advised the obvious! BUILD A LIST!
      Of course, this was the first thing i've tried out. The problem with that type of traffic is that it converts is extremely poor - people just seek for free quick advise NOW and do not intend to buy anything else. I could get a list of 100.000 in like two months but the sales would not even cover the costs so i dropped it ...

      Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

      Hmmmmm.....they are programmers, right?

      Now, I'm not the smartest guy in the room, but I think there is something alll programmers need: computers to program on.

      Now, what else do programmers need?

      Software to program with perhaps?

      Energy drinks for those all nite coding sessions?

      Maybe a backup service....so when the computer crashes, the work doesn't get lost?

      Fill their needs, and you can line your pockets.
      Hmm now that's a lot of interesting ideas Thanks Floyd, i was more focused on the tutorials and never seen that from this angle

      Thank you all for your comments guys !
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