Do you have a website or blog? Do you dream of working from home? If you answered "yes" to both those questions, you may be closer to getting paid to lounge in your pajamas than you think. See, many people attract thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visitors to their website(s) each month, but they don't really know how to make money from that traffic. Luckily, new technologies and services have made monetizing your website easier than ever before.

Building and Quantifying Website Traffic
The first step in monetizing any website is quantifying the website's traffic to get an idea of what type of advertising would work best. For instance, websites that attract a large amount of traffic or a highly specific demographic may opt for different monetization methods than those that attract lower traffic numbers or more generic demographics. The two best programs to quantify and analyze your traffic are Google Analytics and Quantcast.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an industry-standard free analytics program that provides statistics like the number of page views, time spent on a given page and keywords that online visitors typed into search engines to reach your pages.

Quantcast is a free service designed to provide demographic information based on a user's location.

After these programs are up and running, the next step is to build traffic to the website over time. The best way to do this is by writing strong content and optimizing that content to be easily accessible to search engines.

Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of building a website to enhance its visibility in search engines like Google and Yahoo!. Often, this is done by properly using HTML and identifying keywords with high traffic and little competition.

Strong Writing
With catchy headlines and interesting content, you can increase the likelihood of inbound links and reader sharing.

Google AdSense and PPC Programs
The most popular way to monetize a website that receives little to modest traffic (less than 200,000 visitors per month) is by using a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising program like Google AdSense. These programs pay website owners a variable amount of money each time a visitor clicks on an advertisement that's automatically generated based on the page's content.

Selling Ad Space on Popular Sites
Popular websites attracting more than 200,000 visitors per month, or ones that target desirable demographics, may be better off directly selling ad space. Often, these ads are usually sold on a CPM basis, but some can choose a blend of CPM, PPC and CPA advertising methods. Ultimately, the website owner should test and see what works best. Those looking to setup their own advertising systems can checkout programs like OpenX or inClick.

Parting Thoughts on Monetization
The techniques listed above are certainly not the only ways to make money from home through monetizing a website. For instance, websites or blogs with highly desirable premium content may also want to consider a subscription-based model where readers pay a monthly fee to access certain content. This can be done with programs like MagicMembers or MemberMouse. Also, website owners can attempt to sell products as affiliates and earn a commission if viewers click on the provided link and buy the products. There are many sites that allow affiliates to promote their products. ClickBank and Amazon are two popular ones, but there are many alternatives.

The Bottom Line
In the end, the best solution is usually to try different options and see what works. Google and others provide very easy ways to get started, while more complex systems can be implemented as the website grows larger. Unique ideas like subscriptions and affiliate marketing can often be hit-or-miss, depending on the visitor demographic being targeted.