How to Make Money with Websites
Blifaloo’s guide to building income generating websites ———————————————————
There are a lot of how-to make money online “schemes” out there. However, this guide is for those who aren’t necessarily wanting to make a quick buck, but those who would rather create quality websites that can generate a steady and growing income with out much maintenance.
Blifaloo.com was created based on the idea that if you make a decent site, you won’t need to overload it with crazy advertisements and pop-ups to annoy visitors. Surprisingly, this worked out for me and my site. I receive a good amount of traffic and income, both which grow steadily month-to-month. Beyond Blifaloo, I have created and maintain about 5 other websites. The income from my websites is enough to support me and my family. Woo.
First before forcing you to read any further, you should have a budget of at least $60 to start with. This will cover a year for your domain name, and 6 months of hosting. A larger budget can be helpful, but this minimum amount is all you really need.
1. You need an Idea
Huh? This guide is for those wishing to create an income from Content-based websites. A content based website is one that provides information. Easy, eh?
Content includes: Articles, Directories, Forums, Blogs, news and other information, that you provide freely to visitors to your site. You make money from content based sites by having advertising and affiliate programs on your pages.
How to find an idea : Hobbies are a good place to start, because creating a website about something you are personally interested in will: 1. Help in actually creating content based on your knowledge, and 2. Keep you motivated to work on your site.
Any topics pop in your head yet? Write them down on a piece of paper (yeah, real paper…not the digital kind). Brainstorm.
Still no ideas? How about the last time you were annoyed with something on a website? Lack of information, poor navigation structure… whatever. What would you change to make that site better? There: now you have an idea… improve on an existing website’s idea.
Ever look for information about a certain subject online, but can’t find any decent resources? Chances are that other people are looking for that same info. See a need and fill it by creating a quality content site that provides this info.
Local information (city, state, region) sites are relatively easy to put together, and can earn a decent profit.
Do you notice how something’s popularity explodes out of nowhere sometimes? What if you made a website about Pilates before it became so popular that you can buy “pilates in a box kits” for $49.95 off of late-night television?
Ever see a trend emerging? Keep your nose to the ground, you’ll sniff one out. Be one of the first to make a quality site about this trend and you’ll be gold.
2. Choose and Register a Domain Name
Huh? A domain name is that thing you type into your web-browser to visit a site.
How to choose a domain name : Do’s and Don’ts: Do pick a name that is easily remembered. Do try to choose as short as a name as possible. Don’t buy .biz, .info or other weird extensions. Stick with the .com as much as possible.
Where to get a domain name: Personally, I register my domains at Namecheap.com. It’s about $9/year and they have a easy to use interface for managing your domain names. There is no reason to pay over $10/year for a domain name. Another place to register is GoDaddy.com – just as good prices and service, but I don’t like how they try to up sell you everything and your mom when you try to checkout.
Help! I can’t think of a domain name. Everything “good” seems to be taken, eh? Don’t worry, there is always a perfect name out there. Really. If you topic is say…. dogs. Think of some synonyms, use a thesaurus, and brainstorm. Dogs… canine, pups, spot, pooch, doggie. Think of some dog related objects or ideas: fetch, rollover, sit pretty, dog house, best friend…etc. Put some of these ideas and concepts together and you’ll find a domain name.
Hints: Still can’t find anything? Try adding suffixes to your main idea: like ____HQ.com, _____spot.com, _____zone.com. I’m sure you can think of more.
3. Choosing a Web Host
Huh? You are going to need a reliable web host to store your website, so that visitors can access it. Think of the domain name as your business name, and web hosting is your property lease.
How to : I have worked with QualityNonsense on WhoIsHostingThis.com – Which reviews 100s of hosting plans. Check them if you are looking for a good host.
Setting up NameServers:After you get your domain name, and hosting purchased and set-up, you will need to point your DNS or “nameservers” of your domain to your actually hosting account. This is simple. When you purchase your hosting plan your host will tell you what your DNS/nameservers are. Log in to your account where you purchased your domain name, find a link or button labeled something like: “Change Nameservers” or “DNS”. Here you will find where to input the nameserver info your host has given you.
4. Planning, Designing, and Creating your site
Huh? Poor or planning will end up giving you a major headache somewhere down the road.
How to : My recommendation for planning your website would be as follows: 1. Brainstorm all your ideas onto a piece of paper, figure out what the major sections of your site will be, and how the navigation structure will work. 2. Find inspiration in successful websites – what do they do well, what could be improved? Incorporate these ideas into your plans.
Is your site going to have any features that require a database/programming?Features like directories, blogs, & forums are best done using a database. Many hosts provide these kinds of scripts for free and can easily be installed from your webhosting control panel.
Content and more Content: The more info and pages your site has, the better. Period. Create, write and then write some more. As much as possible… keep going, not enough…
SSI’s: Save your web pages as with a extension, and make use of SSI (server side includes), it will save a lot of time and headaches in the future as it makes updating and maintaining a site much easier. (This only works if you have a host that supports php and SSI). Read more about SSI.
Forums require a lot of work just trying to get people talking. If you don’t have the patience or time for this, skip adding forums to your site. If you decide you have the gift of gab and can make a forum work, I suggest phpBB if you want good free software, or vBulliten if you have the budget.
A blog about a certain subject is a great and easy way to create a content website. A blog can either be your whole site, or it can be just a section of your site. I suggest going with WordPress for blogging software it’s free and you can even find tons of free wordpress templates to pretty up your blog with so you don’t even have to worry about the design.
Software: You can either go the cheap way, or expensive way… both will be able to provide you with the same result. But if you plan on making website publishing into a permanent source of income, I suggest you get Macromedia Dreamweaver as your HTML editor, and Adobe Photoshop for graphics.
If you don’t have a budget for this software yet, you could use free software to accomplish the same thing. See our list of top free software for webmasters.