There’s no shortage of money-making opportunities online today. Some offer platforms to place your own products and services on. Other’s talk about advertising on various networks or social media sites. Even more, suggest that you turn around and sell their particular offering.
Today, I’m going to talk about how to make money with a website of your very own. Don’t get me wrong, the other methods listed above can work, but I want to focus on providing you with something that’s truly yours and not have you working to make someone else rich. We’ll talk about why you’d want to build a website, where you can learn how to do it, the types of sites you can create, and ways to ensure you actually make money.
I hope that, by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have a good idea of the direction you want to go and how to go about achieving your goals.
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
As I touched on before, there are many ways to make money online. This post is focusing on building a website and monetizing it.
So, why a website? That’s a great question. Here are a few reasons you should consider:
Let’s face it. When you go to someone else “solution,” you’re working within their rules and limitations. Take Facebook, for example. If you create a page or group for your business, you’re limited in its appearance and content. The same goes for other social media platforms. Pinterest is limited to images and boards (or collections). Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on have similar, if not more restrictive, limitations.
A website is really a blank canvas. Yes, you can start with a template or theme, but you can integrate with so many platforms out there that you can build something truly interactive. Let’s say you want to tie social media into your site. No problem. You can connect with your Facebook or Twitter accounts and have your visitors like, follow, comment, and so on. You can even pull such data from your social media account pages and groups.
Now think sales. Shopping carts, selling platforms such as eBay or WooCommerce, and so on can all be woven into your site. The same can’t be said, going the other way (i.e., eBay likes their listings to follow a particular format, etc.).
Guess what? Your website is your website. If you build it up to something desirable, you can sell it. You can probably sell it even if it’s not so desirable, just for less. No need to go through odd transfers of ownership because it’s associated with your personal social media account (as a page or group would be) or whatnot.
That also means it’s yours to do with as you please. It can look the way you want it to look. It can contain the information, products, and services that you want to provide. I think you get the idea. There may be some limitations based on what you choose to associate with (i.e., chances are, if you partner with big-name companies like Coke or Pepsi, they’re going to have some contractual language that says you can’t promote the other, etc.).
My primary reason for having my own websites is that I can do what I want with them (as long as it’s legal).
So, where do you learn how to do all of this? I’m glad you asked. Let’s move onto the next section…
Some of my readers may already know this but, I actually run three websites; Mavic Maniacs, Small Online Biz (this site), and Angel Powwow. Each one of these serves a different market or niche and purpose.
Mavic Maniacs was born from my passion for drones. Its purpose is to share information with the droning community and recommend products, accessories, and services to them.
Small Online Biz came from me wanting to share my experiences and help people sift through the “opportunities” on the web, to keep people from falling victim to scams and useless platforms, and to recommend my top picks.
I recently jumped into the Angel Investing market and found it quite addictive and exciting. Angel Powwow is geared toward helping angel investors connect and share their insight, experience, tips, and so on. Two sayings apply to this site; “It’s not what you know but you who know” and “Knowledge is power.” Both are true in many situations and are a perfect fit when it comes to investing.
Sometimes the real investment gems come from your personal network and can’t be found on the usual websites. That’s where who you know can make all the difference. As with most endeavors, the more you know, the better. Making sound investments requires due diligence and the proper evaluation of the information available. The more information available, the better off you are (assuming the information is relevant).
OK, so you now know that I have three websites up and running (as of this writing). You might be wondering where I learned to build them. First off, let me start by saying that there are multiple sources for learning to build a website. Here are just a few:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about 30 frames per second? If you like to learn via video, YouTube is a great resource. My only caution here is that most people post content in line with a theme, genre, or niche. You might find one or two that are specific to websites, but most of the time, you’re going to find bits and pieces here and there vs. a comprehensive video training package.
Udemy is a pay-for online courseware solution. I’ve used them in the past for some training but not for website training specifically. That said, I know they offer it, and you might want to take a look to see what’s currently available. One word of advice, make sure the course has good reviews and is relatively recent. You don’t want to learn from an outdated source.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of mine, you know that this is my number one choice for building an affiliate marketing website (more on what that is later). It should be noted that WA offers so much more than that, but their focus is mainly affiliate marketing.
I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but Wealthy Affiliate offers, hosting, training, a fantastic community, and so much more. You can learn more by reading some of the other posts I’ve written about the platform here:
There are more ways to learn, but these three are where I’d start. If I were to offer a specific order from the first to the last choice, it would be WA > YouTube > Udemy. That’s strictly a personal preference and not a judgment on one being better than the other.
This is the big question. It depends on what your goals and resources are. Do you have your own product or service that you’re trying to market? Are you looking for something to promote and earn a commission off of? Maybe you don’t have a plan and are simply looking to make money. Each situation will have a different answer (mostly).
In cases where you have your own product or service, you’re probably looking to build a presence on the web for your company. A face, if you will. By creating a website, you’re building a location on the internet where people can come to learn about what you have to offer.
For many, this will be the go-to place for others to come to when looking to find more information on your company, services, and products. In such cases, priority should be focusing on providing your visitors with information. Let them learn about your offering and be able to contact you, should they desire to know more.
Another potential focus would be making actual sales on the website. Depending on your offering, you might be looking to set up a place to sell your product or service. Digital products are a no-brainer for such a site. Maybe you need a storefront solution to allow people to place items into a shopping cart and a checkout system with payment processing so your clients can place their orders, make a payment, and all you have to do is ship it out. Perhaps a scheduling solution, should your offering require such a service, could be something you provide (think cleaning services and the like).
Many times, people looking to make money online don’t have something already lined up and are looking for an opportunity to latch onto and earn commissions with. Welcome to the world of affiliate marketing. This is where you’ll pick a niche (a fancy word for category or genre), build a website around it, and promote products and services related to it.
Guess what? Mavic Maniacs and Small Online Biz are both affiliate marketing websites. For example, many of the products and services I recommend pay me a small percentage when someone makes a purchase.
Now, not all are affiliate links. I pride myself on offering honest opinions and will recommend products that don’t give me a dime and suggest people steer clear of some, even when they would pay me to refer a sale.
In such cases, I highly recommend that you start with affiliate marketing. It gives you a great starting point and, once you learn the ropes, opens you up to do pretty much anything you want. Who knows, maybe down the road you’ll develop your own product or service. If so, you’ll be prepared to build a site for it based on what you learned in affiliate marketing.
Another option is to build websites for others. If they have a need and know what they want, chances are, they’re looking to have someone else handle the site so they can get back to the primary functions of their business. This is a great way to make money and even build recurring revenue by offering maintenance, hosting, and so on.
Now, building a website is the goal, but you also need to ensure it actually makes money. Let’s talk about how to make that happen…
There are countless websites on the net. How can you ensure yours will make money? While nothing is guaranteed, I can tell you this. You need to work it. There’s not a set it and forget it solution when it comes to your website unless you hire someone else to do it for you like I suggested you could do for others. Of course, since you’re looking to make money, paying someone else to do it may not be the way you want to go. Here are some tips you should follow:
Nothing has people turning away from a site faster than stale content. Make sure you keep your website up-to-date. If you have an event calendar, you don’t want the latest event to be something from 2013. The same can be said for a how-to or manual for your product or service. Let’s say it’s written for item version 1.0, but you’re now shipping version 3.0. What good is that manual to your new clients? In the end, if your site isn’t current, it’s useless to your visitors.
If you sell spark plugs or your niche is about cars, chances are your clients aren’t looking for a drone or toaster. Keep your content in line with your chosen niche. Going off on a tangent will likely confuse your readers and hurt your overall ranking within your niche.
That saying “any publicity is good publicity” is somewhat true in as much as it gets you out there. I’d argue negative publicity does get you notoriety but may come with a stigma. What you should strive for is engagement with your visitors. Comments, questions, and answers, a contact us form or page, etc. will all play a role in that engagement.
If you’re careful, using controversial opinion-related commentary, is a great way to get that back and forth engagement flowing. Just be sure you don’t alienate your clientele.
Yes, people shop with their eyes. The more appealing your site appears, the better your chances of visitors staying long enough to actually view it. That said, there are some things to consider:
Don’t put all the cool bells and whistles in just because they look cool. Be sure your site is speedy and easy to navigate. Yes, that animated menu is eye-catching but, if it takes 5 seconds to load and isn’t compatible with a particular web browser, you might lose a potential client.
Make sure the navigation is simple and effective. Nothing will frustrate your visitors faster than them not being able to get where they want to quickly and easily. If you’re going to nest menu items, make sure it’s in a logical and obvious manner. Make next and previous links easy to identify and use.
Whatever platform you end up using, make sure that it’s kept up-to-date. Themes, plugins, databases, and so on should be updated whenever possible (assuming such updates won’t break something in the process) to keep the site working smoothly and patch bugs and security vulnerabilities.
I had a plugin that allowed someone to add advertising links to all of my content once. It was patched as soon as it was discovered, but it was both embarrassing and time-consuming to clean up.
For most sites, relevance and continuous content are critical. If your site is simply for your particular product or service, continuously producing content may not apply. If you’re servicing a niche, however, consistently creating content is critical. What’s going to keep someone coming back to your website if you’re not producing anything new?
I’m speaking from experience here. I saw considerable dips in my visitor statistics when I’d miss posting new content regularly. Be sure to post regularly to keep your visitors returning for more.
There’re more things to consider, but I’d say those are my top suggestions.
I hope you found this article useful. At the very least, I hope it gave you some ideas on how to make money with a website. As I said before, Wealthy Affiliate is my number one recommendation, and they do offer a fantastic platform. If you get a chance, head on over and set up a free Starter account. It won’t cost you anything to check it out, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love it there. Just click on the banner below:
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Did this article help you at all? Is there something I missed that you think should be included? Have you used any of the recommended solutions and have something to share about them? What about any other tips? Let me know by commenting below.