How to make a profitable website
I have been building websites for seven years now. At first I worked as a freelance web developer and later I started building websites, for my own profit. Some of my websites have been very successful, while others barely made any money. Throughout I have always enjoyed experimenting with new websites and ways of making money from those sites.
In how to make a profitable website I will discuss some important concepts you need to understand, guide you through the process of creating a website and then refer you to some great content that can help you make your new website a success.
You do not need any special experience or knowledge to create a website. An understanding of marketing and business principles is more important than technical knowledge about websites.
There are of course many who claim to know an easy quick way to make a profitable website. These people are generally trying to sell something to unsuspecting readers. The truth is that making good money online is a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time. The learning curve is steep and much of it can only be done through trial and error.
We are going to be sharing quite a bit of information here, some of which may not seem worth knowing, right now. Perhaps you should bookmark this article and read it again after running your website for 3 months or so. Then those parts may be more useful to you.
Picking a niche
The first thing you have to decide is what your website is going to be about. I would recommend not casting the net too broadly. If you do, the market you pick will be too saturated. Say you look at consumer electronics, that is very broad and there are many good consumer electronic websites. Now a sub niche of that would be: websites about GPSs. Here there are also many good websites. So you might consider ‘wristwatch GPS devices’ and find that there are only a few websites about that topic and enough people interested to make it worth your while.
When picking a niche I recommend picking something that you are passionate about. Working on a site that bores you isn’t fun.
One big difference between websites that make it and those that don’t is that the webmasters of the successful sites establish themselves as authorities, in their niche. You do that by participating in your niche’s community. Post on forums, comment on blogs and answer questions on sites like Yahoo Answers. When you do so, always leave a link back to your website.
Calculating your income
Your earnings for a website or a webpage is equal to the traffic to it, multiplied by the amount of money you make off one visitor.
earnings = traffic x income from one visitor
for example: 10,000 x 0.05 = $500
To increase your income you must either increase the number of visitors or the average income you get from a visitor.
If you master these 2 skills and work hard at it, you can really make a lot of money from your website.
People like to dream and talk big, but then they look at the journey from not having a successful website to having one. It looks complicated and difficult to them, so they never take the first step.
Owning your own website is cheap, it costs less than $7 a month. If you fail your losses will be minimal and the experience you gain may very well set you up to succeed in your next attempt.
So don’t delay, take the first step today.
Host it right
Your first hosting decision is whether to do it on a free or a paid web host.
The problems with free hosts are:
- You have far less control over what you can do on the site.
- You can’t resell the website, like with a properly hosted one.
- The web host can close your site without giving you a reason.
- If something goes wrong, with your hosting, it’s nearly impossible to get any tech support.
Considering how cheap paid hosting is and how much time you will be putting into your website, I strongly recommend paid hosting. If you go with free hosting use blogger.com or weebly.com.
Some good paid web hosts:
- Blue Host - easiest good host for beginners
- Host Gator - best for experienced publishers
- Host Monster
- Go Daddy
- Just Host
Pick your platform
So now you have your web host and you want to put articles, images and video on your site to attract visitors.
To do this we use scripts. There are many different scripts you could use, for example Drupal and Blogger, but Wordpress is the most widely used. Just like you use Microsoft Word (a program) to create a Word document, you use Wordpress (a script) to create your website. Wordpress is free, easy to use and very powerful.
Below is a video that shows you just how easy it is to install Wordpress on Blue Host, the web host we recommended above.
Think of it as a business
Every website you own is just like a business. You put a lot of time and a little money into it and you expect to make a good return on that effort.
Websites can be bought and sold just like any business and the value of your website is based on it's current monthly income.
There are 2 documents I strongly recommend you do for every website. These are internal documents meant to help you.
Mission statement: This is paragraph that defines what your website is about.
Cash flow statement: You do one of these at the end of every month. In it you calculate your inflow of cash and your outflow. Then you subtract the one from the other, to calculate your net cash. You then do estimated numbers for the next 3 months. This is a great tool to help you with your planning. Once you start getting cash flow from more than ten sources and you are outsourcing writing, like me, a cash flow statement is a must to help you keep track of what is going on. Below is an example of a 2 month cash flow statement. You would then just ad the numbers for 3 projected months on the right.