How to Start and Run a Successful Money Making Website?
This one takes time, effort and care. That said, if you set your website up correctly and follow the steps, you can earn a full time living from blogging for the rest of your life.
Most of the steps seem like common sense, and most readers will already know how to perform them. Or you’ll at least have a good idea of how it’s done. But we overlook many actions in most cases.
That’s why we’re going to make this as simple as possible, in the form of a checklist with 10 Tips, from getting started, to having your website up and running, and finally to making money. Let’s get started:
#1. The Basic Stuff:
Choose your website topic. A big mistake many new bloggers make is writing about anything that pops into their heads. The problem is, when you don’t target a specific group, you don’t target anyone. Choose your topic based on your interests and whether or not people spend money in that niche.
Choose your audience. If your website is about losing weight, who specifically are you targeting? Kids? Teens? Office workers? Stay at home moms? Retirees? Diabetics? The more laser targeted your audience is, the easier it will be to grow that audience.
Narrow your topic based upon your audience. In the weight loss example, if you’re targeting seniors then you won’t be writing about extreme sports or radical diets to lose weight. You will likely be writing about walking programs, Tai Chi, resistance training and swimming.
Pick a great name for your website. It could be your name, a company name, a benefit driven name, or create a new word (like Google). Make sure you have full rights to use the name.
#2. The Technical Stuff:
Buy your URL. Hopefully the name of your blog is available as a dot com. If not, you might choose another name. Also, consider buying your other domain extensions as well, such as the dot net and dot org.
Decide if you’re going to hand the technical aspect of your blog, or if you’re going to outsource it. If you don’t like to hassle with things like WordPress, themes and plugins, you might want to outsource everything to someone reliable who doesn’t charge a fortune. You can outsource these jobs to someone at ODESK.Com or Fiverr.Com.
Get hosting. Not all website hosts are created equal. Do a thorough search to find the one that is right for you. Choose passwords that are super tough to guess or hack. And if you’re getting help with the blog, assign administrative functions. To start with you can choose a Hosting Plan at Hostgator.Com. The “Baby” Plan is ideal if you are a beginner.
Select a theme template for your blog. It should be clean, uncluttered and look professional. Select your blog’s colors and personalize the header with your name and perhaps a header of your own. You can get some free themes at ThemeForest.net
Select the plugins you’ll want to use. Don’t get hung up on this – you can choose and add more plugins later as you decide what features you want. Once you install your Theme you can find many free plugins inside the Plugins Tab of your site.
Install a spam filter. If you’re going to allow comments, then you’ve got to have a spam filter in place.
Choose your blog’s look and feel. What is the first impression you want visitors to have when they visit your blog? Is this look consistent throughout the entire blog?
Choose your typeface. While it might sound trivial, the fact is your font has a tremendous impact on readability and impression.
#3. The Fun Stuff
Develop your brand. So you’ve got a blog about weight loss for people over 50. That’s a good start, but you can do better. By developing your own unique brand, you put yourself in a league of your own without competition.
Choose your voice. If you’re writing to engineers, you’re going to be using an entirely different voice and vocabulary than if you’re writing to babysitters. Decide up front how you want to come across – serious and professional? Down to earth and approachable? Funny and likeable?
Set a blogging goal. How often will you blog? How many words for each post? How will you track whether or not you maintain your goal? (Hint: Use a free service like HabitRPG.com to keep you on track.) When you set your goal up front, you’re more likely to stick to it.
#4. The Necessary Stuff
Add appropriate disclaimers to your blog. Again, a Google search can help tremendously with this.
Develop a blog commenting policy concerning things like foul language, self-promotion and so forth.
#5. The Foundational Stuff
Write your “about” page. This is one of the most important pages on your entire blog – yet many bloggers completely drop the ball on this one.
Add a contact page. A REAL contact page with REAL info. Include your email, your street address and your social media options. Many times people will click this link just to see if you’re a real person or someone out to scam them. And add an incentivized lead capture box on this page. You’ll be surprised how many people sign onto your list from this page.
Add your lead capture boxes. Place them in the right sidebar above the fold on every page, or place them in the middle of your pages or at the end of your pages. Test to see which locations work better.
Provide an outstanding incentive to get people to join your list. This should be something they want bad enough to consider paying for, but now they get it for free just for joining your list. Remember to tailor your incentive to your audience.
Use Google Analytics to find out what’s working for your blog and your traffic, and what needs improving.
#6. More Fun Stuff
Choose regular features, such as an interview of the week, news roundups, opinion of the week, case studies, how-to articles and so forth. By having regular features, your readers know what to expect. And it makes it easier for you to continue creating new content.
Write the best quality content you can. One great post is worth 5 mediocre posts.
Write the best headlines possible. Blog posts are a lot like books – a great book with a lousy title won’t sell. A lousy book with a great title will sell, but it will get terrible reviews on Amazon. And a great post with a great title will be warmly embraced by readers and even talked about on social media. Plus it makes you look good, too.
Use images. The right photographs grab attention and pull it to the post, so choose your images carefully.
Keep an idea book. Anytime you have a new idea for a blogpost, write it down. This way you’ll never lack for something to write about.
#7. Optional Stuff
Add feeds from other blogs. If you don’t blog on a regular basis, consider adding other content or feeds.
Decide if you’ll allow guest posts. If you will, define your guest blog post policy.
Consider using video to break up your content. People like variety and love videos, so consider giving it to them.
Get a copy editor to review your posts before they’re published. You’ll save face and a lot of hours answering people who love to point out your mistakes.
#8. About the Time You’ve Made Your Tenth Blogpost
Add search to your blog. Make the search functionality easy to find and use. The reason to wait to add search to your blog until you have some posts up is because you want to have content for them to actually be able to search.
Make your archives easy to find. Let readers search for older posts by date, topic or title.
Add related post links to the end of each blog post to keep readers on your blog.
#9. Website Promotion Stuff
Let your social networks know anytime you make a new post.
Add social sharing buttons to each post. Then encourage readers to share.
Add your blog’s URL to your social media profiles.
Email your list to let them know about your new post. Write a list of bullet points in the email that highlight your post and make them want to visit your site and read it.
Write guest posts for other blogs, and place your blog’s link in your author bio.
Join blogging communities where blog owners promote each other.
Share other people’s content. This will get you known in your field and your own content is more likely to be shared as well.
Respond to comments. This increases the number of comments you receive, which makes your post look more popular, which in turn encourages social sharing.
#10. Monetize Your Website
Create and sell your own products. You’re the expert with the blog – who better to create and sell products to your list than you?
Promote affiliate products to your list. Be careful with this – only promote great products that provide your readers with a ton of value. Your list can be worth its weight in gold many, many times over, but only if you promote to it wisely.
Promote affiliate products within your posts. For example, if you’re writing a post on how to set up a website, you might offer them a link to a hosting company. Be sure to disclose it’s an affiliate link. As you can see this post too includes a number of links for important resources.
Sell subscriptions ad memberships. Reserve your best of the best information for paying subscribers. Add a forum to the paid membership to increase the value. For example, if you have a blog on traveling for cheap, reserve your very best tips and deals for paying subscribers and give them a place to share their own travel stories.
Allow ads on your website. You can sell the ads yourself, or use a service such as Adsense.
Ask for donations. Depending on your blog’s topic, this can sometimes be quite effective.
Get a sponsor. Once you have a significant amount of traffic, you can explore the possibility of getting one or more sponsors for your site.
Do product reviews. For products that you recommend, offer an affiliate link. Be sure to disclose that you’ll be earning a percentage if they buy.
Sell teaching programs you’ve created like those you see on Udemy.
Sell coaching. You can do one on one coaching through Skype, or group coaching through videos, webinars and conference calls.
Sell services. These might be your own services, or you can act as the go-between.
Get speaking gigs. Once you become known as an expert in your niche, you might be able to land lucrative speaking gigs.
Compile your posts into books and sell them on Amazon, or sell them yourself.
If you’re pod-casting, sell your podcasts on iTunes or compile them into an audio product.
A blog by itself is not a business, it’s a hobby. But when you treat it as a business and work it as a business, it can become quite lucrative.
And here’s a surprise – many blog owners find that their greatest sources of revenue come not from the blog, but from the connections they build because of the blog. When you can show that you know what you’re blogging about, movers and shakers will reach out to you. And in turn, you’ll find that successful people are much more open to meeting you and working with you on projects behind the scenes.
In fact, having a popular, profitable blog opens an entire new world of professional and even personal possibilities you probably haven’t even thought of yet. It’s a wonderful, sometimes frustrating, always gratifying journey that many bloggers wouldn’t trade for anything.