How to Make a Website that Makes Money
Before I address this hub with any kinds of tips, etc, that will help you to create a website for the purpose of earning some cold, hard ad revenue, I want to address something. There are so many members of Hubpages who are looking to make some money working from home that I feel I have the opportunity to reach people. If you aren't a hubpages member, I recommend that you sign up now. Hubpages is a great way to earn some extra income from home!
You can learn a lot from Hubpages, and most of those things you will learn are essential to making money on the internet. Most of the members here learn organically, by taking one day and one hub at a time and trying different things. It is possible to learn how to make (good) money online by trial and error. Regarldess of how many hubs about making money you read, you're going to have to go through some trial and error. Don't worry, you'll come out on the other side!
I recommend starting with Hubpages because the fact is that if you want to earn some money on a website, you're going to need to develop a set of skills that will help you to do so. A novice webmaster looking to make money via a website is likely to lose money, at least initially.
What You Need to Know
Many websites want you to "know" that making money online is easy. For very little investment of time, you can make thousands of dollars a month, surely enough to cover your household expenses and allow you to retire from your day job!
Do some people make money from their websites? Yes, of course they do! There are many people who make a living just in ad revenue! But the fact of the matter is that those who do best at earning an income from their website are patient.
The most important thing you need to know is that this isn't quick and it isn't easy. If you are going to develop the type of traffic required in order to successfully make an income from ad revenue to your site, you will need patience.
What do I mean by patience? I mean the ability to steadfastly continue to produce content even when Adsense is showing zero earnings. I mean the ability to push yourself to improve pages that aren't doing as well in the search engines. I mean the kind of stick-to-it-iveness that prevents you from giving up on your goals.
You need to understand, straight from the start, that joining a site like Hubpages is a great way to start and the site has a good reputation (and a boost in the SERPs) but it is only going to give you back what you put into it, and this is all the more true with your own site on your own domain!
Search Engine Optimization on Amazon
Do Your Research Before You Purchase a Domain!
Many people (myself, in the past, included) purchase a domain and begin to build a site about something that interests them without ever considering their keywords.
While it is important that your site be about a subject that is of interest to you (who wants to create content about something that bores them?), it is also important that the keywords for your site be popular but uncompetitive. Wow! What does that mean, exactly? How can keywords be popular but not competitive at the same time?
If you use the Google Keyword Tool to determine which keywords you should use (and you should be using it!), you will see that there is a bar that shows the competition on a keyword and there is a number to the right of it. The number is the number of searches that are done for your keyword in the current month (the next right is average monthly searches) and the bar shows you how much competition there is for the particular keyword. The more full the bar, the more competition there is.
It may be difficult at first, but you can find terms that have a significant amount of searches without a lot of competition. These are the terms that you are looking for: High search volume and low competition!
Once you have determined what you want your site to be about, then you should consider purchasing a domain. Search engines like domains that contain a keyword, so it is always good to register a domain that includes one of your main keywords.
What Kind of Site?
If you want to make ad revenue from a website, you need to first understand that some types of site are more likely to bring in signifcant traffic levels. Types of sites that do best are those that have frequently updated content. The more content (and sometimes, the more targeted keywords), the better.
Most people aren't able to produce massive amounts of content by themselves. Some website owners outsource by paying someone else to write content for them. This is an excellent option if you have the money to do it, and I am not complaining about those who do! But if you don't have that kind of cash, there are other (good) options.
The first great option is to set your website up on a blogging platform (such as Wordpress or Moveable Type). This not only allows you the luxury of writing in a WYSIWYG editor, but it also gives you a couple of really cool tools, not the least of which is comments.
What's so great about comments? Well, when a visitor comments on your page (and the comment is approved), the comment itself is additional copy (content) on your page. Depending on how many comments a page has, this can increase the authority of the page in search engines.
Another great option is to attach a forum to your site. This method requires a lot of work, but it is worth it! In the initial phases, you are going to have to put a lot into your forum (a lot of content, that is), but while you should continue to actively administrate your own site, you will find that the increasing number of (active) members is now creating much of your content for you.
The down-side to both of these two options (comments on your content management platform or blog and allowing forum members to create your content) is that you don't know what people are going to post and you can lose control. Both options require you to be actively involved in your site. If you aren't, the site isn't going to go anywhere and it isn't going to make you money. So think before you make either of these two decisions.
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Can I Make Real Money on the Internet?
Yes, you can. But this isn't going to be a part-time job as so many websites claim when they say "I earn a full time job working fifteen minutes a day!" You will have a lot that you need to learn, including search engine optimization, keyword research, optimization for Adsense (which is essentially a combination of the previous two) and Internet marketing. You will need to be willing to spend a significant amount of time promoting your website, and yes, it will take time. You might spend fifteen minutes a day writing and several hours a day marketing your work.
I have made money with one of my websites. I earned a fair bit of money through Google Adsense with very well-targeted ads on a site that didn't generate a huge amount of traffic. However, the site did, for its previous run, come up in the second place in Google for its search term. This means that it came before several much more established sites. I am also making money here on Hubpages -- not enough to consider it "making a living" but for me it is a nice supplemental income or pocket money (depending on your point of view!).
My advice is that in the beginning, you shouldn't quit your day job! If you are in a situation where you aren't working (for whatever reason), then by all means, do the research, open a site, and/or write at Hubpages, Squidoo and other similar sites. But, at least at first, don't expect this to make up for job loss. Give yourself time, educate yourself, and move forward in an intelligent manner, and you have as much opportunity as anyone to make money online.
One thing to consider, however... Less than 2% of people make a living writing on the Internet. This isn't a quick-fix and it doesn't work for everyone.
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