you are wondering how to start making money online with a website, this is the page for you!
Please take time to read this article completelybecause it will prevent you from making so many of the common mistakes newbies make when trying to earn money online.
In fact, many people trip up in the very beginning because they don’t take the time to plan and understand how websites generate traffic.
Choosing a Profitable Topic
I wish people would spend more time in this area. I believe that failing to understand the importance of researching and narrowing down a topic is a big cause for failure.
A profitable topic is one that has a great deal of demand (searches) and minimal supply (existing sites). And one way to determine how profitable a topic is to start with the search engines.
Sites like Google and Bing are great barometers for supply and demand because so many people use them to find information.
So before you jump in feet first with your “great idea” you need to stop and think about how people are going to find your site.
They don’t just stumble upon websites because they are on the Internet. They find them through things like search, social media and word of mouth.
This is important to think about because if your idea involves building an online store or a membership site and you have absolutely no existing audience or brand awareness, you will need a plan to generate traffic… and lots of it!
Even if you are not planning to build a site like this, you still need to read the following info because it applies to any kind of website.
Yes, a lot has changed with regards to websites since I started, but the one thing that continues to rule is quality, targeted content. The more you build that focuses on a specific audience, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
The reason I used the online store and membership sites as an example is that’s where people make the biggest mistakes due to how people search the web.
You’ve got to establish a funnel of traffic to your site first and I’ll talk more about that below.
Understanding Ranking on Google
A lot has changed over the years, so it’s not nearly as easy to rank in Google as it was years ago.
However, most people never give themselves a chance because they make classic errors in the beginning. I don’t want you to do the same.
Narrow down your topic to something very niche (meaning you target a very specific audience like woman who play golf or recent college graduates looking for a job.)
The more niche your topic is, the easier it will be to get some kind of targeted traffic from Google because your content will be very focused.
Come up with a very specific topic or even a problem and then target people who need help.
If you are trying to build a website that will rely on user activity (membership, social/interactive sites) it’s best to start by building a content site or blog that is related to theme of your website in order to drive traffic to it.
If your site is dependent upon people joining/being active, you need lots and lots of traffic because the majority of people who join will not remain active. It’s important to have a large pool of traffic to funnel to that site.
Here’s another mistake many people make…
They begin their journey by trying to build a membership, store or interactive site and put all this energy and money into customizing it and making it look pretty, but they have absolutely NO IDEA how to drive traffic to it.
I’ll say this again…
People don’t just stumble upon your website because you have a great idea. There are billions of sites out here authored by people with “great ideas”, so it’s going to take some work to get your site some visibility.
So let’s say you want to build a social networking site that targets teen parents. Rather than quickly launching your network, first build a content hub to draw traffic to it.
That’s because it’s much easier for a content site to get ranked in Google than an interactive website.
Remember, the engines LOVE themed content.
Let’s say you were a teen parent and you want to sell a book that helps other teen parents.
Start by building a website or a blog thats full of advice for teen parents. The more specific your niche is, the greater the chance you’ll generate targeted traffic that will be interested in your content.
Compare a website that targets teens to a site that targets teen parents. First of all, it would be very difficult to rank well for “teens” in Google because it’s such a very broad phrase.
Not to mention, if your site were to get found by such a broad word, you wouldn’t know what your visitors wanted. That would make it very difficult to target products and services to them.
So before you begin your site, start by using a keyword tool like The Google AdWords Planner or Long Tail Pro (what I use) to find out exactly how people are searching for your topic.
Go for long-tail keywords, which are phrases that are less competitive. Sure, not as many people search for these phrases, but they are easier to rank for because there’s less competition.
You can watch me use The Google Keyword Planner below…
As far as the numbers go, I like my primary keyword phrase (main idea) to have at least 2,000-5,000 global monthly searches. But I also look at many of the related keywords to make sure there are enough phrases with at least 4-digit monthly searches.
I don’t get caught up in the numbers. Even if the phrase is lower than my idea range, if there are a variety of related phrases with decent demand I’ll still consider the topic.
Don’t let the numbers paralyze you. Also check out your competition by searching Google for various keywords and analyze your ability to compete. If the majority of the sites are similar or less than stellar, the topic may not be as competitive as you think.
Now, let’s say I had chosen to search for the phrase teenagers instead.
The global monthly search volume is 74,000. That may sound great because there’s a lot more traffic potential. However, the phrase teenagers is way too broad. You won’t know anything about what the person is searching for.
Again, it would be harder to target your content and products to such a broad audience. It would also be harder to gain a top 10 ranking for that competitive phrase.
So once you’ve taken the time to identify a niche, congrats, you are light years ahead of most people who often rush and assume they have taken the best approach simply because they have a “great” idea.
I hope you understand now that having an idea for your website isn’t enough. You need to research the demand and have a plan for how people are going to find your site.
Make Providing Value Your #1 Priority
No matter what kind of website you plan to create, the one thing you have to think about is providing value and developing a unique angle.
So if you are trying to sell a book you wrote on how to handle teenage pregnancy, you’d write a plethora of useful content that teenage parents will value.
For example, you could create a blog that offers emotional support and advice for teenage parents — or more specifically teenage moms.
Providing valuable free advice is one of the best strategies for making money online because it builds up credibility and warms your visitors up to buy products that you’re trying to sell.
People often begin their quest by putting up ads for the products they want to promote. The problem is they haven’t taken the time to build up their credibility so getting that sale is so much harder.
Remember, your visitors don’t know you from Adam, so you’re going to have to earn their trust. And when you build a website that encourages, educates, informs and provides an extreme amount of value, people are much more open to supporting you and buying products you sell or recommend.
Whether you’re trying to sell other people’s products (affiliate marketing) or your own, you have to establish that trust factor first.
So before you become obsessed with making money, first plan out a way to let your content do the PREselling for you.
- Build trust by giving away unparalleled information that your readers won’t find anywhere else.
- Identify your visitor’s main problems and provide solutions
- Be transparent and show your #1 priority is to help, not make money
Building Your Website
The method you use to build your site really doesn’t matter in terms of success. Any kind of website can become successful. What matters is what’s best for how you plan to deliver your content.
Most people today choose to use WordPress to create their websites, and that is fine if you want a website that pumps out newsworthy articles on a specific topic.
Think PerezHilton or TechCrunch where all the latest posts are highlighted and sorted by date and category.
You can actually use WordPress to create a more traditional layout like this, but it takes some tweaks here and there. I talk about this in my WordPress guide.
Making Money With Google AdSense
Google AdSense is one of the most convenient ways to monetize a website — especially if you plan on building a site with a lot of content.
This free program allows you to add Google ads to your pages and when an ad is clicked, you earn money.
While the concept is easy, making money with AdSense is not if you don’t have a lot of targeted traffic. That’s another reason it’s important to take time narrowing down your niche prior to starting your site.
If making money with AdSense is a priority, you’ll also want to take time to make sure there are enough related ads for your niche.
Google makes this very easy to do…
1) Perform a Google search for the topic or keywords you plan to target and look to see how many sponsor ads show up above the results and on the right side of Google.com.
2) Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner (you must have an AdWords account first). When you perform a keyword search, the tool will show you the average cost per click.
This shows you how much advertisers are paying Google per click. As an AdSense publisher you will get roughtly 68% of that amount.
So this will give you an idea for what kind of earnings are available for keywords in your niche.
Now, of course your earnings are going to depend on your traffic and how many people click your ads (1-3% is typically the average).
NOTE: Years ago, it was quite easy to make a substantial amount of money with AdSense. Times have changed. While you can still make hundreds or even thousands per month, you should treat the income as bonus money as opposed to trying to make a living with the earnings.