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Making Money With A Website - Reality Check

Updated on November 27, 2011

Making money with a website seems to be the perpetual ambition for so many of us who are fed up with the daily routine, or just trying to find an easier way to make a little money to pay the bills. It's understandable; most of us have dreamed about sitting on the beach, sipping our favourite drink and enjoying the sun while we make money with a website. But because there are so many of us out there looking for for the easiest ways of making money with a website, there are just as many individuals looking to sell money making schemes, and ideas.

In most cases, despite the marketing hype promising a fortune in a few days or weeks, and trying to make the inexperienced part with their money, these schemes and plans will not help you at all. They are often far too superficial and lacking in detail to really help the inexperienced who need a step by step approach, or they are so complicated in terms of the technical knowledge needed that you will need a degree in I.T. to understand what it's all about. Some of them are out and out scams, others, I think, are prepared and sold with the best intentions, but the author has lost touch with the reality of what a newcomer to internet marketing can understand when it comes to making money with a website

Making Money With A Website - Essentials

There are a few good products which will guide you in the right direction but many of these are selling information that is readily available for free online if you are prepared to spend some time searching. Many of the decent products, i.e., manuals and e-books explaining how to make money on the internet, describe what is fundamentally the same process:

  • Set up the bare bones of a site
  • Start filling it with original content
  • Market the site to give it credibility with the search engines
  • Monetise it – i.e. add the products, links, or whatever, to make money
  • Revise and update, i.e. continue the process, build content, build links, build monetisation

In theory, this really could not be simpler, but unfortunately it requires effort. It needs consistent, well organised, quality effort to make it happen in anything like a reasonable time-scale. So where does it all go wrong, and how can you avoid failure when it comes to making money with a website.

Well the first step is to set up the website. So most people will go launching into registering a domain name after five minutes thought about what they want to sell or advertise on their site. In fact the first step needs to be a long and calculated look at what the site is going to be about. Or more importantly, how the website is going to make money. It needs research into ways of making money with a website and if those methods can be applied to the website that is about to be created. This is the step I've got wrong on more than one occasion. I've set up sites on recipes for example and then realised that it's going to take me a long time to make decent money on the proceeds of what can be bought or advertised on a recipe site. But it all helped the learning curve on making money with a website.

There is information all over the net about choosing a website subject, or “niche” as it's called so I'm not going to try and condense that down into a few paragraphs. You can of course choose to build a site about anything you're interested in, and many do build sites about their hobbies which is great for sharing knowledge, but may be of no use at all when it comes to making money with a website.

After choosing the niche, it's time to register the domain name and choose a host. This is relatively straightforward using one of the many domain name registrars, but it is possible for you to pay far too much for hosting (the online space for the website) In fact, there are hosts available who are free for websites until the traffic builds and starts to use significant bandwidth which then needs to be paid for. I suggest that you choose a host who offers the cPanel control panel to manage the hosting, and Fantastico for the quick installation of all sorts of software at the click of a mouse button.

That said, if you really are not at all technically minded, the process of registering a domain, choosing a host and installing a site may be too difficult. It would be better to use a site such as Blogger or Weebly to build your site. There are some very successful sites which have used a turnkey system to build an established web presence. The huge advantage of this approach is that all your efforts can go into producing content I.e., writing pages, rather than getting bogged down with the technicalities of maintaining a web presence.

Making Money With A Website - Content, Content!

This really cannot be avoided. If you want your new site to rank well in the search engines it needs to contain original, useful information on the chosen subject. I've tried buying cheap articles to avoid having to write but it doesn't work. They have all been used before and are ignored by the search engines. If you cannot write yourself because your skills are not good enough then pay somebody to do the writing for you - there are plenty of sites where you will find freelance writers who will write a web page to your requirements for a few dollars. Your requirements are that the page will be well written but also contain the right keywords to attract visitors.

Keywords are the phrases that are typed into the search engines to find information and if you target those with sufficient demand, but not too much competition you will get visitors to your new site. Sooner or later, if you want to be successful at making money with a website, you are going to have to get to grips with keyword research. If you don't, you may well have a wonderful site with very little organic (natural) search engine traffic. It's a big subject, too big for this article, but there are plenty of resources that explain keyword research. Unfortunately, its not a well defined science so you will find different approaches to choosing good keywords. But do it correctly and you will reduce the chances of failure with your attempts to make money from your website.

Once you get your first few pages written and the website looks credible, it's time to start promoting it. For example, submit your site details to web directories, many of them free, or write more articles about your subject and submit them to article directories with links back to your site in the signature. If this sort of activity is done little by little, day by day, it does work. The new site develops a web presence. But, sadly, many of us just haven't got the patience to do it regularly and thoroughly. So we give up, or we try to use some automated software to help with the submission process. And then get “bogged” down with trying to get that to work instead of writing an article and manually submitting it to a directory as a logical step in making money with a website.

Follow these steps and in a little while you will have a site that is growing with perhaps, 20-30 pages of great content, and several listings in directories on the internet. Because of your marketing efforts, the search engines will almost certainly have found your site and if the keyword research has been done reasonably well, the site will be listed on the first page of the engines for significant search terms. It's time to make money.

Most often this is done through the Adsense program, or similar, where adverts are placed on your site and when visitors click on them you earn a small fee. Or through an affiliate program, where visitors click on a link or banner and are passed to a other site, where if they buy something, you get paid a small commission. The significance of building a worthwhile site before starting to try and make money is that when you own a site that has tens of pages and reasonable traffic, you are more likely to get accepted into Adsense or an affiliate program. Apply when you have two pages of “thin” content on a site with no visitors and you are more likely to be turned down meaning that your making money with a website efforts come to a sudden end.

This may all sound a little daunting, and it's not easy, but it is possible for those who are willing to make the effort and learn. If you want to start in a similar way, but at no expense and with nearly all the technical issues taken care of, then a site such as Hubpages, where this very page is hosted, is a good choice. After considering a subject and doing the keyword research, you only have to choose a page (or hub) title, not a domain name, and then you can start writing. A few more clicks and you can add Adsense to earn some income. Hubpages is a first class way to get a feel for making money with a website and it can be used to try out subjects and keywords. If the hub is successful it can be developed into a dedicated website. That said, there are writers who use Hubpages to earn a significant monthly income. There are other similar sites that you may also want to investigate, e.g. Squidoo but I haven't yet found a substitute for Hubpages.

The principles never change though – research, write, market, monetise. Review and continue. These are the tried and tested steps to successfully making money with a website and if you follow them you will maximise your chances of success, and being one step closer to sitting on the beach while your website does all the work!

Making Money With A Website - Comments

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  • bigmikeh profile image

    bigmikeh 7 years ago from UK

    Thanks 2patricias - I agree that making time always seem to be a challenge.

  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    Interesting hub, and we agree with what you have written. We started our own website 2 1/2 years ago, and just about break even! Both of us are busy and cannot devote as much time as is truly needed to make money, but we try to divide tasks between the two of us. one of the biggest things to remember is to balance time between writing content and promoting the site.

  • profile image

    create a page 8 years ago

    Very informative. I am new to hubpages, but I have discovered that we have similar interests and I like your writing style. I would like to be your fan.

  • bigmikeh profile image

    bigmikeh 8 years ago from UK

    Thanks, Julie-Ann.

  • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

    Julie-Ann Amos 8 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

    Nice hub thanks