What is a paywall?
A paywall is a way of restricting access to your content, such that you aren’t giving it away for free. It’s widely used by digital content providers, like newspapers, to monetize their websites. A paywall allows you to make money on your content, without taking into account the challenges of monetizing content by ads, such as ad-blocking or banner blindness. Although ads have been the main source of revenue for digital news outlets for years, today the trend is shifting to paid subscriptions as the main revenue focus.
Hard Paywalls require a user to subscribe before accessing any online content. It’s one of the riskiest paywall options, as it more likely leads to losing readers. It also destroys your SEO if users can’t engage with your website. It works best if you already dominate your market and/or target a specific niche.
Hard Paywalls are server-side paywalls, which provide you with the most security for your content. But, it will most likely hide your content from search engines.
Soft paywalls allow users to view some amount of content before asking them to subscribe to keep reading. This is typically coupled with a monthly quota. This is the model employed by the popular media platform Medium. It serves to balance retaining readers with adding revenue. This works best to attract people without being too restrictive.