How Exactly Do You Make Money From A Guitar Website?
This article looks at how to make money from a guitar website. Keep in mind that there are literally thousands of websites dedicated to all things guitar. Many of these websites are created to realise a passion for the instrument, that’s it. To connect with the outside world and get some or all of their knowledge out there.
Running a website is not a cost free option though. The list of things that need to be paid for can be quite long:
- Paying for server costs.
- Purchasing domain names.
- SSL certification costs for secure payment systems if you are selling over the internet.
- If you are not creating your own website, then web development costs come into the equation.
- Even if you are planning, building and maintaining your own website there are plugin costs. Plugins bring functionality and although many are reasonably cheap, the price of this functionality soon adds up.
- If you are creating videos then camera, lighting and audio capture is something to think about regarding expenses.
- Subscription fees to various services such as social media platforms, Cron jobs for timing etc.
- Wanting to make your website a business? You’ll also have accountancy and business registration costs as well as tax to pay on your earnings.
Everyone Forgets About This Cost
Finally, remember that there is one more expense that is always forgotten about…you! If you are putting in countless hours creating content, then you both need and deserve to be paid for your efforts.
Assuming that the content and services you create are both relevant and of use to people, you need to factor in a wage for your work. This article looks at ways in how you can monetise your output and make money from a guitar website.
What Is A Website Anyway?
It’s worth considering exactly what a website is as it’s very easy to loose sight of this when you’re in the middle of creating, editing and building up your offering.
One of the best ways to perceive a website is like a coat hanger. Yes, that’s right, a coat hanger. A coat hanger has one real purpose, although it can be used for other tasks. You hand coats with a coat hanger; that’s it’s purpose. The website acts just like this in that it gives you the means to hang “stuff” from it. This “stuff” could be text, images, video, interactive content, the list goes on and on.
In today’s world and especially in the world of music and guitar there is a real expectation that everything should be free. That’s all well and good but, if everything is free, how can you then build a business model around the work you do? To take the analogy of a coat hanger further, not only are you hanging content from your wire frame web model! You are also going to hang ways of monetising the content you create.
It’s A Balancing Act
This model of creating content and then offering ways to monetise the business can be tricky. Your content needs to be really engaging and of true value to the viewer. At the same time, if you have great content and then submerge the value of that content in endless monetising strategies… This is when people will be turned off.
Below is a list of tried and tested ways of creating income from content orientated guitar websites. Some or all of these can produce income, however, you need to think about the content you create and how best to implement the ideas given below.
One final thing to consider before we look at ways to make money from a guitar website and that is focus. You need to consider the intent of your website and what it is for. Is it about online guitar tuition? Or is it about giving advice about buying or selling guitars? Is it a review website about guitar amplification, guitar pedals and gear? This focus will help you hone the monetisation strategies that you pursue.
Ideas On How To Make Money From A Guitar Website
Here is a list of ideas that are or have been used to monetise the GMI – Guitar & Music Institute website at some time. There are other ways, but these are the ones we know well and have given our thoughts on how realistic they are.
Adding Adverts To Your Guitar Website
The simplest way and often the first step to making income from a website is to add adverts to the website. This can be done by signing up to Google Adsense or other advertising networks such as Chitika, Infolinks and others. Here is a page that lists alternative advertising networks to Google Adsense.
Thoughts On Adding Advertising To Your Guitar Website
This is an easy way of creating income to your website, however, it does have some downsides as well. One of the biggest negatives to adding advertising to your website is that it adds adverts to your website! People are bombarded with advertising day and night and by adding adverts you are adding to that bombardment.
The other thing to remember is that when you add advertising to your website, when people then click your adverts they are taken away from your website! The whole idea of a website is to keep people on it, by adding adverts, you then say bye bye to that visitor. You need to think through and consider if adverts will enhance or detract from your users experience. If the idea of people clicking on your adds and then leaving your website fills you with horror then perhaps it’s not for you.
Rewards from Advertising
It’s a number game. The more people that come to your website and are engaged with the content that you create, then the more money you will make. Adverts shown will in many cases relate to your displayed content so it’s vital that you don’t get any old traffic, but traffic that is focused and interested in what you have to offer.
We have to concede that trying to understand the Google Adsense payment model is more than a little confusing and it seems to make no rhyme or reason at times. Unless your website gets millions of visitors a year, do not expect to get rich with adverts on your website. It will, however, create a steady stream of income which you can build on.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 5 (10 being the highest)
Join Affiliate Networks That Are Of Interest Or Relevant
The graphic above explains affiliate marketing pretty well. You can sign up to many different companies but a couple of examples worth checking out are CJ affiliates (formerly Commission Junction) and Share A Sale.
Thoughts On Adding Affiliate Links To Your Guitar Website
You will need to go through a sign up process on many occasions before you can join an affiliate programme. They will inspect your website to see what it’s all about. If you are accepted, then you can then generate either text or image links that has your affiliate link within it. Be careful to add links to items for sale that are of interest to the guitar playing and music community. If you add links for example, to cement mixers; well people might be interested, but probably not. If your website is about guitar practice, then look for affiliate offers that would add value to that particular subject area.
The two example affiliate companies given above have been around for a long time and are trusted. This is not the case for every affiliate network out there. Transparency is an issue online and publishers need to put a lot in trust.
Rewards from Affiliate Marketing
This is a hard nut to crack! It all sounds great and it’s an easy thing to get your head around, but the reality is that you need to have a LOT of traffic to get the numbers to convert. GMI has affiliate links placed throughout the website and we’ve seen a reasonable amount of clicks but no commissions so far. To be fair, we have only been using affiliate links for around three months but not one penny has come from it; only time will tell.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 1
Offer 3rd Party Article Marketing To Your Guitar Website
If your website has a lot of visibility and good traffic then this is a service you need to look at. Basically, people are piggy backing on the back of your success to gain visibility to their own online offerings. If you run a WordPress website then you will need to add the ability for people to create their own articles on the front end of your website and then have some mechanism for their paying for the article.
Thoughts On Adding Article Marketing To Your Guitar Website
GMI – Guitar & Music Institute has been running an article marketing service for a while and it’s gone really well. People from around the world get in touch and add their articles to GMI. This has a double benefit for GMI as it means we receive income for the articles that are published and it means we have additional content being added to the site. We always check to ensure that the articles are about subject matter that guitar players or musicians would be interested in and to keep quality high.
What most people adding articles are looking for are external links and also link juice. That is to say, they want a “do follow” link which adds power and authority from GMI to their website. We thought long and hard about this and decided on balance not to offer do follow links. That being said, we do offer a great service:
- Article submissions don’t cost much money to add.
- The article is a featured article on the GMI homepage.
- The content is permanent on the GMI website.
- The content is blasted out across a very large amount of social networks and many of these have a lot of followers.
- The articles are randomly re selected to be shown on our “past articles” area of the GMI home page.
- The articles are randomly re selected to be re promoted on our social media accounts of a regular basis.
Rewards from Article Marketing
If your website ticks all the boxes in terms of relevant and focused traffic and you have a CMS platform which you can create front end uploading of articles and images then you should go for this. We have found this an excellent way of connecting with other companies and people in the guitar world. We also obtain extra content and we’re paid for it. This is definitely up there if you are looking to make money from a guitar website.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 8
Creating Income From Video Creation
If you don’t know what Youtube is then where have you been living!? GMI has a reasonably big library of guitar tuition videos which we monetise through Youtube. Creating videos is one of the best ways of creating an income stream and you can then embed the videos into your own website so no hosting charges for video…great!
Thoughts On Creating Income From Video Creation On Your Guitar Website
Depending on how you want to go about this, creating guitar videos or anything around guitar can be a reasonably quick process. Obviously you need to be able to shoot good looking video and be able to edit. The quality of today’s mobile phones and free video editing software means costs are dramatically falling in relation to producing video.
At GMI we have our own green screen room as that is the look we are going for. With a set up that is permanent, it makes video production just that little bit easier.
The thing to remember is that everyone and their dog create videos these days. It can take time to get a bigger following. That being said, GMI video creator Ross Campbell now has a subscriber list of over 34k and this was created in just over a couple of years!
The biggest mistake that many creators make is that they do not re-purpose their content. GMI has videos on Vimeo, Dailymotion and Amazon Video Direct. We receive income from Amazon as well as Youtube but we use the same content.
Rewards from Video Creation
If your videos are popular then you can make reasonable money although the remuneration is not huge. Again, it’s all about viewing figures. We interviewed a podcast episode with Youtube guitarist David Wallimann who goes into how much money is created in his channel through advertising. David’s channel has grown quite a lot since this podcast episode so the figures will be much higher.
GMI has been a little quiet on the Youtube front of late, but we’ll be putting more videos up soon. The rewards are there to be gained if you can create a channel that really flies and of course you add huge value to your own website.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 6
Creating Income From Printed Book & Electronic Publishing
One of the biggest areas of expansion due to the digital revolution has been in the area of book publishing. The changes have been vast and thanks to platforms such as Ingram Spark and Amazon’s Createspace, anyone can now have their ideas in print with almost no financial outlay. Createspace also includes the KDP network which means you can get your books directly onto Kindle and other eReaders. You should also look at Draft2Digital which is an ebook aggregation site for electronic versions of your printed book.
Thoughts On Creating Income From Printed & Electronic Publishing
Without doubt, the ability to create printed publications through these new platforms has been of huge significance to GMI. We have a very wide range of guitar books which sell both in print and electronic formats.
We connect with people around the world and our concepts and ideas have the ability to get into people’s hands in a physical way…it doesn’t get much better than that.
Rewards from Printed & Electronic Publishing
The financial income generated from books is connected to the amount of books you sell regardless of format. So, if you have a website platform that has a focused guitar subject then we would urge to look closer at this potential income stream. If you can write music, or create books that people want then you will make income.
The thing to remember is that writing the book is only one third of the activity around it. After that you then need to market your book and it’s a very competitive marketplace out there.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 9
Adding Amazon Affiliate Links To Your Website
Yes, we know that we already covered affiliate marketing earlier, but Amazon is soooo big and so all encompassing it really needs to be considered on it’s own. You will need to sign up to become an Amazon Affiliate and it would make sense to sign up to as many countries as you can. Amazon’s affiliate network is structured in such a way (probably regarding tax) that you need to sign up to each country individually. You will also need a plugin software if you use WordPress or other such CMS platforms to inter-phase with Amazon and your affiliate ID.
Thoughts On Creating Income From Amazon Affiliate Links
We have worked and continue to work on Amazon affiliate links on the GMI website and have made some income. For the most part it’s clicks and not income that has resulted. We are looking to create a separate website that really puts guitar products in the shop window. People come to this site for a whole lot of reasons, but looking to buy is not necessarily at the top of their agenda.
Crucially, when we do add affiliate Amazon links, we add products that relate to the article such as the one you see below. It’s relevant to the material that is being displayed and has a much better chance of being clicked by people who want to know more about this subject.
Rewards from Amazon Affiliate Links
As mentioned earlier, the type of site you actually have really does seem to matter in terms of creating an income through Amazon affiliate links.
The main focus of this website is about articles, podcasts, video lessons so are people in the mood to buy? In our experience they are not as people are primarily here to learn, find out information and listen. If you are looking to make money from a guitar website, there may be better options out there.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 3
Create Products And Sell Them From Your Guitar Website
The GMI guitar shop website hosts all our current products as well as PDF versions of our publications for a low cost alternative to printed material. What this demonstrates is the re pointing of content into numerous different formats with the ability to purchase in different ways.
Thoughts On Creating Income From Products
Product creation is a long process. It really does take time to create a quality product and then market it. Take this into consideration when starting out on this path, you need to be in it for the long haul.
The reason we decided to have a separate website for the shop was two fold. Firstly, by getting rid of shop plugins from this website, we considerably up’d its performance. When it comes to websites, speed is king, the faster the better. The second reason was security. The platform that we use for our shop is Shopify. It comes with a secure server and that makes selling a lot easier. We then embed products in this website, although all the purchasing happens through our store.
Rewards from Selling Your Own Products
It’s one of the best ways to make money. You do need to have a loyal following on the web to sell things to people in the guitar industry. Sadly that doesn’t happen overnight. Almost all of the money you make is profit if selling low cost downloadable products so it’s something to look seriously at.
GMI Marks Out Of 10 For Income – 7
Other Ways In Which You Can Make Money From a Guitar Website
The ideas talked about in this article are all used in GMI – Guitar & Music Institute to create income. It should be noted that there can be a lot of cross fertilisation going on. For example, we use our videos on Youtube to promote our own guitar book publications.
As you may know, we also have a growing range of guitar related podcasts which we started in February of 2017. They are heavily downloaded and although we do not have advertising from third parties, they do in effect act as an advert for this site. However, you can add affiliate links to the podcast pages as well as promote them in the audio which to date we have not done.
Our sister site which is a guitar directory includes jobs for musicians and we receive a commission every time a job is filled due to our adverts. Our best advice is to try and focus your attention in just a couple of areas. For GMI, this means article marketing, book publishing and advertising. The other areas may bring in income in the long term, but the three methods listed are our bread and butter income streams.
We hope you enjoyed this article on how to make money from a guitar website. If you have any thoughts or opinions then please share them. We are all learning and if you have some tips for us, then please add them below.