This page contains a hodgepodge of website building for cash resources. Some of its just notes for myself. But some of it could be useful. It also contains a lot of affiliate links.
The only reason a website exists is to solve a person’s problem.
Whether it’s to be informed, entertained, or to make a purchase, people browse the internet for different reasons. When you are designing a website, ask yourself what problem you are solving. And ask this again on every single page.
Getting Starting Building Your First Blog
Focus on a niche idea that you have passion for, after that the first thing you need to do is get a domain.
Register the Domain
Aim for a short dot com (.com) with no hyphens, three words or less in the name. Keywords are good since they instantly let visitors know what your website’s about. The business name is also nice to have in there.
You can purchase your domain anywhere on the internet and easily point it to where you’ll be hosting. Domain.com is a good registrar – only $9.99/year for a .com.
Set Up Website Hosting
This website was hosted on GoDaddy. It was awfully slow (the response time – loading the site). After moving to Blue Host, it was better. Most websites use shared hosting. Really high traffic websites will often have more expensive, and quicker, dedicated hosting, or an in-between option called VPS hosting – virtual private server.
Install WordPress CMS
So there are lots of website editors and CMSs (content management systems) to choose from. Why WordPress? It’s free, simple, and SEO-friendly, and nearly 1/4 of new websites use it.
I have used site builders (Homestead), and while they are fine for building small 5-10 page websites, that’s about it. If you are planning a large site, or want to blog, go with WordPress. I installed both Joomla and Drupal (2 other popular CMSs) to see what they were about. Drupal was like staring at an alien interface and I really never gave Joomla a chance.
Design The Website
Your website will change over time, so don’t overthink it.
An awesome feature of WordPress is the ability to install themes. A content management system keeps the content (blog posts, comments, images, etc.) entirely separate from the website design. Therefore when you want to change your design, at any time you can get a new theme and apply it, and voila!
The best thing for anyone starting out is to buy a premium theme. The basic WordPress template is actually fairly nice and simple, but it’s very ordinary. There are no special features available that you’d get from installing a powerful framework, like Genesis. That’s what this site uses. Woo Themes is also very popular.
Once your theme is installed you can work on other aspects of the site’s design: navigation menus, maybe a logo, and installing plug-ins (plug-ins are the easiest way to add functionality to your website).
Add Valuable Content
Give people a reason to return to your website. Quality is way more important than quantity. Take your time with each post. Articles should take hours not minutes.
Do a lot of research and reading. Follow other blogs you like. Soak up all the internet knowledge you can. Get involved in your local community by commenting on similar blogs and social media.
A few things to keep in mind while writing a post:
- Keep paragraphs short and readable – your page should look easy to digest.
- Add an image – something for the eyes so it’s not just text – a video works too.
- Use headings to break up your sections – images work well.
- Use font formatting where applicable – making text bold or italics can emphasize a point.
- Be personable – talk about what you know and imagine you speaking to one person.
- Write freely – put your thoughts down first and correct them later.
- Ask for comments/pose a question – get insight, stir conversation, and create new ideas.
- Proofread your writing – everybody makes mistakes.
Make Money Online From Your Blog
It’s never too early to earn money.
Once your site is up and running, and you have some valuable content, go ahead and monetize it. Don’t get carried away though, pick a program or two and take your time. You probably won’t make much money at first, but it’s good motivation.
All of these programs are ones that I have tried and some I’m currently using. Many of the links on this page are affiliates.
The following programs are open to both merchants (e-commerce sites looking to be promoted) and affiliates (websites looking to promote businesses). Affiliates apply to merchants and if accepted, they can display links and get a small portion of any sale made.
Shareasale – Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content.
AvantLink – An Inc. 500 Comapny, with thousands of merchants listed.
Ratkuten Advertising – Run by Rakuten, a leader in affiliate marketing.
Commission Junction – Another big affiliate program like AvantLink or Linkshare.
Amazon Associates – It’s one of the best ways to earn residual income online.
Linkconnector – Affiliate program to Getting Images, IStockPhoto, Photos.com, Turbo Tax, and other big companies.
ClickBank – Program for tens of thousands of information products, like E-Books. Earn commission as high as 75%!
Pay Per Click (PPC) Ad Networks
PPC is one of the easiest ways to monetize a website. Webmasters add some code to their website, which displays advertising. The ads are populated automatically, with no need to look for merchants.
Google Adsense – This is probably the most popular way to earn money online. Google has the largest network of merchants and publishers, which creates highly targeted ads. It’s the highest paying PPC.
Chitika – Another contextual program like Adsense.
Media.netonly displays text ads, as of now. There are no image ads.
Infolinks – These automatically underline certain keywords that can be linked to an advertiser.
Selling Ad Space Directly
Another way of displaying ads on your website is by selling ad space directly to companies. This can be tricky, and almost impossible for new websites. There are several ad networks that bring together advertisers and publishers.
Ads are generally sold by the number of impressions instead of by clicks (so how many times the ad is viewed).
BuySellAds – One of the biggest networks makes buying and selling ads easy.
Start a Mailing List
Many pros make a lot of money, indirectly, from their mailing list. Built up over time a list becomes large, and you can use it to market to your customers. Install a basic mailing list plug-in, or get a powerful mailing list program like AWeber.
Try to get a list growing from the early stages. And don’t spam, you probably know what you like/dislike about mailing lists. Only send out valuable content. It’s ok not to sell anything.
Sell Stock Photography
If you take great pictures, another option is selling them as stock photography to one of several sites. This can be competitive and most sites have high standards. If that doesn’t work out, offer your photos for free through Creative Commons use and get attribution back and build your following.
iStockphoto – Well respected with high standards for the photos they accept.
Shutterstock – Another extremely popular program founded in 2003.
Other Ways to Monetize Your Site
Start a membership site. Say you charge $5 a month, and have 1,000 members, that’s a recurring $5,000/month. Naturally, people cancel and so on… so keep your focus on creating valuable content.
Buy an existing website, at places like Flippa, and build your dream site out of it. Or add some value and flip it. Then repeat.
Create your own digital product. The most common way is by publishing an E-Book (MS Word can do this). They are generally informative, so write about what you know. Then sell your E-Book on your blog, through your mailing list, or have affiliates work for you, by listing it on ClickBank.
Last Words of Blogging Wisdom
It’s always best to learn from others’ world wide website mistakes and triumphs.
1. If you come up with a new layout idea or anything that will require editing all your pages, never rush out to begin making the changes. Always apply the change on a few pages and sleep on it. A lot of the time you’ll decide it wasn’t that good…
2. Start with your content. It’s your product and your most valuable asset. Spend 80% of your time on it. You can only promote what you have. And you can only design a pretty website around content. So create valuable content.
3. Expect no to slow results at the beginning for all your time. Realize now that it may be months until you receive your first click or affiliate sale. And this could be for less than a buck. Building an empire takes time. However, the fastest empires grow quickly. So set a goal to be a wildly, popular blog in a year’s time, define was “wildly” is in relative terms to your industry niche.
4. Treat your website like a business, and it will reward you like a business. This means you have to work hard. I mean smart, consistent work every single day. Blogs are not getting rich. They have the huge advantage of having low, low-cost annual operating costs, with domain and hosting packages available for less than fifty bucks. However, this creates a low barrier to entry, and everyone and their mother has a blog. Work harder and smarter them then.
5. Write down your website goals. They are more likely to come true. You want to be able to see them every day, motivate them, and remind them what you are doing this for. Set a short and long-term monetary goals. Or better yet, set a goal to help a certain amount of people. You can base this on traffic. If you’re putting out valuable articles, and solving problems, then the more traffic you get = the more people you help.
6. Set a mission statement and define your niche, whether on your website or to yourself. This will help shape your website. What problem are you trying to solve for people?!
7. Content is king. Valuable content is king. Super best content is king. You may have heard the philosophy that your website’s best SEO approach is great content. I add one thing to this: Evergreen content. Write about something that’s going to be relevant in 5 years. If you wrote about what happened during Sunday’s game, it will be irrelevant almost as soon as it’s published. Write about how to make the best paper airplane, or the such, and it stays relevant.
8. Have fun. Love what you do. You should feel anxious to wake up in the morning and build your dream, and not your boss’. And keep building up the most well-rounded you, keep your social life, keep your athletics up, all this will shape a winning business. You should work every chance you get, so make you sure have a portable, lightweight laptop.
9. Invest in your online business. Make sure you have the right equipment, LLC, bank account, EIN, social media accounts, mailing list, theme, domain, and hosting. Pay for a General Virtual Assistant if you have the time and skillset to manage and properly edit their articles for a reduced fee over native authors. If you have the money, invest in local English authors, and even better if they are passionate about your topic. How much you can pay per article is generally dependent on how much traffic you get. You will lose money for a long, long time buying articles at 50+$ per. It’s really just a quicker way to build up a high-quality base, the same as promoting your page on Facebook for likes. It’s a way to build clout, not dollars.
10. Invest in yourself. Education will be paramount to your success, as will your routine. Since you are reading this, you have the desire to learn. Be a sponge. However, take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t rush out to do everything. Focus on your goals and your business and your content building. You have to write, write, write. And read a little.
Ask Us A Question
This content will grow over time. Thanks for soaking it all in. Add your advice or ask us a question in the comments and I will answer away with the best of my knowledge and decade-plus in the business.