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Three Web Design Features That Will Make You Money

by Jamie Richards

If you have managed your own website or a client’s site, then you totally understand how hard it is to monetize them and actually make some money. I’ve been working in the web design business for over 20 years now, and I still struggle with the same old question: How can I make enough money to live off my website?. After years of marketing research and good old A/B testing and simple trial and errors, I finally found a combination of products, solutions, & features that attract the right audience that won’t mind paying for your content, product, or services.

Feature #1. Membership Sites

If you’re looking for a website feature that gives you great bottom-line results, then you’ve got to consider becoming a membership site. Membership sites are a part of your online business that contains gated content (information behind a login). Once inside, they get access to exclusive content and membership privileges. When you make a user feel apart of your community, they will spend more time on your website, and the more time they spend there, the more money they’ll spend on your services or products. Or by merely becoming a member of your community.


"It's not always about the money, but if people don't pay, they won't value the content you produce."

There are a lot of platforms and solutions for building community sites. I build membership sites on WordPress. It’s open-source and extremely flexible. Plus, the WordPress community has tons of free membership plugins that when installed set the structure up for you automatically. They typically create 3-4 pages during the setup: a register page, login page, profile page, and a member listing page. All of them offer premium add-ons to monetize your membership site. This will allow members to subscribe on a monthly or annual subscription for something you’re offering. Teaching courses, software tips & tricks, a resource download page, online tools, or access to premium content.

PRO TIP!In membership sites you always want to offer a free member level. Most users will start there just to see what you're all about.

If you build it, they will come.

Amazon.com is an exceptional example of a membership site. Let’s face it, we all use it because of their prices, but a lot of use Amazon Prime, They’ve packed the features in too. Free shipping, movies, special pricing, and more. Does it work? At the end of 2019 Amazon had over 11 million subscribers. This strategy has obviously been very lucrative for them. And it can work for you too!

Feature #2.  Forums

Another excellent way to make money is by launching a forum on your website. Since the Internet’s inception, forums have been around. Forums were the birthplace of social media. A place to share thoughts, ideas, ask questions, upload pictures, and videos, and mostly connect with others by chatting or instant messages. There are so many ways to monetize a forum. The most popular strategy is through 3rd-party advertisements. Another option would be to create a sub-forum that offers value to your members (coupons, special offers, etc.). If you’re into affiliate marketing, forums are a VERY effective way to reach many people at once and grow your network.

PRO TIP!Make sure to use a captcha on your registration & login forms to prevent unwanted bots from blasting your website.

Another way to make money with forums is leveraging forum-generated data. Whether you read forum threads, create surveys — or, better yet, both — your forum is a rich resource of data, which you can leverage in several ways. Want you to learn what they want, you can offer them products that focus on their needs through your forum.

Consider adding a forum to your website. If you’re looking for the best WordPress plugin for forums, it’s hands-down, BBPress. The free version is fully functional with optional add-ons that offer extra features. If your website isn’t built on the WordPress platform, consider PhpBB. It’s an open-source forum with tons of features. Also with PhpBB, the community of users is HUGE and they are creating free themes and extensions to enhance the “out of box” installation. Whatever route you go, make sure your forum is an integral part of your website.

Online discussion forums have benefits at an individual and society level.

Do you need a new website or possibly a remodel to keep your site relevant? I offer turn-key design services. I can work with what you have and spruce it up, or start from scratch. If you’re interested, click the button below and fill out the short form and I’ll get back with you shortly.

Feature #3. User Customization

Allow your audience to customize their own experience while surfing through your website. Give them something to interact with and the ability to customize specific elements of your site. Something as simple as adding a profile picture, or changing the background of their dashboard, or even allowing them to change the color scheme or “style” of your website, or specific page.

I believe one of the hottest user customization trends in 2020 is dark mode. The dark-theme mode is simply a dark-styled themed website or app. Some sites and apps allow you to switch it on and off, I’m sure you’ve seen it in mobile device applications where dark mode changes the elements inside out color-wise. It’s striking. There’s a great example of a dark mode switch on WIX.com

WEB TIP!Give users proper notice to accept your sites cookies and your Privacy Policy as well as change their marketing preferences.

An example of a dark mode themed website.

User Customization is a money maker because if done correctly, you’ll grab your audience’s attention and trust. And once you have that, it’s up to you on how you lead them to your end-goal, whether it’s sales, subscribers, or hits.

In digital marketing, knowing your audience is half the battle.

Closing Remarks

Website features & design elements directly affect the number of conversions, sales, or hits. Remember to make your website “user-centric”. If you design your website that way, your audience will trust you and be willing to spend their money. Also, remember to spend time testing out different strategies and approaches. Stay ahead of the design trends so you’ll continue to be relevant to your audience, Using one or all of these features in your website mentioned in this article will make you money, but pick one and do it well.

Please comment below and share your tips and success stories with everyone!


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