When media and journalism were just in print, earning money was fairly simple. You ran ads in the paper and you sold it for so much money. With the rise of the digital world, online publishers, blogs wanting to monetize their content and other such websites faced a more complex situation. Content online was free to all, money came from ads and was harder to predict. But with paywalls services, people can now ensure they have the kind of soft or hard paywall on their site to control who can access it. You can make it so in order to access your content, visitors have to pay a subscription fee. But how do you get people to sign on to that when there are other free sites elsewhere? That is where your quality content and having loyal readers come in.

The concept of a paywall plugin

Any digital publisher can use a paywall plugin on their site to restrict access in some way. Whether it is a popular health blog, an online newspaper, or something else where readers can be turned into paid subscribers. It is a great way to make sure your website is making a profit, more reliable than running ads and hoping some visitors click on them. Famous papers have a paywall now, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Many will allow some content to be viewed, either a number of articles or give you a minute of reading before they then prompt you to become a subscriber. Some do not allow any access at all. That is because there are two main types of paywall that you can choose between. Here is a closer look at them.

Two main types of a paywall

The two major types of paywalls are Soft Paywalls and Hard Paywalls.

A Soft Paywall – Also known as a metered paywall, this is the one that allows some sort of limited access before they ask for payment to access the full content. Most good paywall services will have the option of you paying for either a hard or soft paywall. A choose soft because the idea is people can see your top quality content, they know it is worth paying for, they want to finish what they were reading and so they sign up. The number of articles you allow people to have free access to can vary, and it can be refreshed over a time period, say a month. It is a great balance between getting more revenue and not alienating visitors who want their internet content for free. The retention of readers tends to be better with a metered paywall.

A Hard Paywall – Hard paywalls essentially do not allow any access to content until that person becomes a subscriber. It is a riskier option than a soft paywall as some people do not want to pay and will look elsewhere to find the information or content they want. A good example of a famous paper with a hard paywall is The Times. The number of readers they have dropped a great deal with the hard paywall introduction. But their revenue has gone up because while numbers dropped, they had enough loyal readers who stayed and paid to make up for that.

Author's Bio: 

This article is penned by Lora Davis for Custom Paywall Solutions. The company is a pioneer in paywall software that helps blogs and other content sites monitize their content to generate revenues from readership.