Are there people out there that are actually making money with their sites?
I can absolutely, unequivocally tell you YES, there are TONS of people making money with their websites all over the world! Anyone with a basic understanding of computers and web browsing can build, and profit from, their own website.
With the advent of new and easy to use content management systems (CMS) such as Wordpress, anyone can build a great looking site without knowing anything about coding or web design. And then anyone who can fill out a basic form can join affiliate programs, and then begin placing links on their site and start turning a profit.
Is it simple to build a website and start making money? Yes. Is it easy? Well, not really. It's certainly not any kind of get rich quick scheme. There is a pretty steep learning curve, and many intricacies and nuances of website management, as well as an entirely new vocabulary to learn! -- SEO, WP, Long Tail Keywords, Google Analytics.....it can be enough to make your head spin. But anyone who wants to, can learn it. And the best way to learn is by doing.
How much money can you make with a website?
Well, just like with any self-employment, it's really up to how much time and/or money you want to put into it. With a web business, it's really all about those 2 things: time, and money. Use the most of whichever one of those you have, and start investing! If you keep going, keep learning, and keep trying, you will start to see some results. And it takes some time- it's not an overnight get rich quick thing!
Thinking about building a website to make extra money? As the cool kids say, "Just Do It!" You will learn more by building a website, than be reading all the books in the world.
Of course, it does help to have a road map, and I will suggest some tools and guides to help you along the way. But just jump right in and make your first site, and even if your site never makes you money, the knowledge that you've gained will be invaluable!
What kind of websites can I make money from?
The way I see it, there are 5 main categories of sites that you can use to make money. Of course there are many more, but for the sake of brevity, these are the 5 I will cover in this article:
1. E-commerce websites, where you actually sell or dropship a physical product
3. Authority affiliate sites
4. Niche or Micro-niche affiliate sites
5. Adsense sites
1. E-commerce websites
An e-commerce website is usually what most people think of when they consider starting a profitable website. And many people do have success with this business model.
If this type of website appeals to you, there are three main ways that you can sell physical products online.
1- By selling something that you have made yourself, or had manufactured either domestically or overseas. The issue, of course, with this option is that it requires upfront capital to create the products that you are going to sell, and it is also very labor intensive. If you have a handi-craft that you want to sell, the better option for you may be Etsy or Ebay to begin with. That way you can test the market for your product on a smaller scale.
2- By purchasing products wholesale and selling them at a markup online to turn a profit.
This again requires capital to start up. Typically, the larger the volume that you initially buy, the lower the cost per unit, and the greater the potential profit. Places to look for wholesale products to sell include Alibaba.com, or even purchasing them on ebay.com. Of course, the cheapest route is to import products from overseas.
3- By dropshipping products from your website. If dropshipping is an unfamiliar term to you, it basically means that you list a product on your website, accept payement for that product, and then pay another company who actually produces, stores and ships the product to the customer. The benefits of this model is that it cuts out all the manufacturing, storage and shipping work associated with an online store. But it also cuts out your potential profits.
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Blogging has become a very poplular way to make money online with a website. And it's no wonder why- many people make very good money with this business model, and the topics and markets are virtually unlimited! From mommy-bloggers to business professionals, if you are able to provide quality content online, and share that with others, you can gain an audience.
I use the free Wordpress content management system, as it is excellent for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is very easy for non-computer experts to manage themselves.
I also use the HostGator web hosting service. (This is an affiliate link. If you chose to purchase this service though my link, I will receive a commision, but it won't cost you any extra. Thanks!) It is very reliable and inexpensive, and also has 1 click word press intallation.
3. Authority Affiliate Sites
If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing, essentially it is reccomending a product to your readers, providing a customized link for them to click through with your tracking ID. If they decide to purchase the product based on your reccomendation or review after clicking through your link, then you receive a commission on that sale, at no extra cost to the consumer.
An "Authority Affilaite Site" is a large site, with lots of valuable content on it that also provides reccomendations and reviews of products, either phyisical products, such as through the amazon.com program, or digital products, such as through clickbank or other programs.
Usually with an authority site, you build up a mailing list through which you can continue to provide valuable content to your readers, along with occasionally promoting an affiliate link.
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4. Niche or Micro-Niche Affiliate sites
There is another, alternative affiliate marketing strategy that requires more websites, and less time on each one. In other words, instead of building a huge, authority affilate site, you build lots of smaller sites (think:10-30 pages of content each) that laser-target a very specific niche or search term. They way you monetize these sites is through strategic affiliate link placement.
You may or may not build a mailing list in this website business model, depending on many factors, but that is still an option based on whatever your goals for your sites are.
The best program out there for learning this method is called the Google Sniper program. (This is an affiliate link. If you chose to purchase this service though my link, I will receive a commision, but it won't cost you any extra. Thanks!) Real people make real money from these techniques, so I encourage you to check it out. I have personally had success using this approach, as I really do not have the attention span for an authority affiliate site!
5. Adsense sites
This is another method that I have personally had success with. The Google Adsense program is something that you can sign up for once you have a website. Once you have been accepted into the program, you can get code that you can paste into your website which will then display ads from the Adsense program on your site. You get paid when someone clicks on an ad. This is a pay per click model, regardless of whether or not the clicker actually purchases anything through the link.
The main downside with this program is that they are very particular about the type and number of clicks you receive, and if Google suspects any abuse of their system (asking for clicks, displaying too many ad units), they can terminate your account without warning.
That's why it's best to use a combination of these methods, and not put all your eggs in one money-making basket, so to speak.
An alternative to having your own website
If you are not quite ready to create and manage your own website, you can always start by writing articles on revenue sharing websites such as this one, Infobarrel. I have my own websites, and I also write on Infobarrel and other sites, as another way of diversifying my income streams.
Whatever route, or routes you choose to making money online, know that the question "How much money can you make with a website ?" can only be answered by you, and the amount of dilligent work you are willing to put in.
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