Building a successful website does not happen by accident.
..and If it does happen by accident, the core concepts I talk about on this page are still true. You simply got lucky and stumbled upon the formula for success.
This is what normally happens with wanting to create an income generating web property. People get an idea in their head, think it’s great, are convinced it will work, ask their friends what they think, and then plow full steam ahead into making a website that usually ends up making no money, getting no attention, and having low traffic levels.
Well, to be honest the biggest issue is people don’t do the work. They learn how to create a website, then create maybe 5-15 pages of 800 word a piece content and then just move on and either give up or start a whole new website.
Let’s fix that. I know you want to skip this part and jump right into setting up a website but stick with me for a bit and read this page through. It will help you avoid some costly mistakes.
TYPES OF WEBSITES YOU CAN MAKE
Levels.io is a guy I follow on Twitter. He’s a developer and can build out some interesting websites. One of his most famous is NomadList.com. I bring this up only to put your own limitations in check. Unless you have a decent budget or web development skills, you can’t build websites like this.
You can build other sorts of successful web properties. The goal of this page is to give you a primer on the types of websites you can make without needing a high level of tech skills.
Why Will Your Website Exist?
A website is a business and it can’t exist simply to make you money. Everyone wants to make a website that makes money, but your business should exist to solve problems for people.
Remember: money is a function of value, and value is positive real world change.
1) Start an affiliate niche website
A good example of a content affiliate site is this site about coffee. This site makes over $3,000 a month for their respective owners (probably a lot more than this). The way they do so is by advertising, selling product and affiliate marketing – all powered by excellent content.
If you’re going to bother creating a site like this you first start at solving a problem and helping people first. Then you can worry about how to make money. Even if it’s a review website. You need to make it the best website on the topic. Otherwise, don’t bother.
You create content like “how to brew coffee with a French press” and then suggest relevant products as it makes sense.
Another example would be dirtbikeplanet.com – a very simple and unassuming website that gets thousands of visitors a day and earns the site owner money through ad revenue, product sales and affiliate commissions via the Amazon associates program. They do this by answering question people type into Google, creating shareable content, creating money pages that act as a middle man and creating long form content.
What is the best niche?
Honestly, it’s almost never the niche. It’s always the entrepreneur behind the niche that will determine if the website works or not.
I like to see a niche that has decently priced products I can promote from Amazon, product creation potential or it has the potential to earn decent money from advertising. Better yet, some combination of this.
But again, it’s almost never the niche. Who would think to start a coffee website or security guard training or some other random topic? I bring this up because it’s such a good example of finding profits in a niche where you would assume none exist.
Instead, here are some questions to consider:
- Am I interested in starting a long term project in this niche?
- Can I easily produce 100+ content ideas
- Are there any keywords I could rank for easily to start getting traffic?
- Is there a lot of long tail keyword content?
- How many copycat sites are there? Are their new sites on the same topic you want to make? If yes GO for it.
- Using SEMrush, how many other weak sites was I able to find?
- How much traffic do other copycat sites get? Find 8 sites max.
- Do I see potential to create products in this niche?
- Can i think of any unique angles to stand out in this niche?
2) Starting an online store.
No point in trying to make the next Amazon, that would take a team of skilled programmers and a hefty budget. It’s also not needed.
What you do instead is setup a Shopify store, find products on Alibaba and then run Facebook ads to your store.
You could also do Amazon FBA, which is fulfillment by Amazon. So you have products made in China which are then shipped to Amazon and delivered by Amazon. Allowing you to make a percentage of the sale.
Last is you could just simply come up with your own product and use social media influencers to sell your product. A great example of this is Skinny Fit tea. It grew originally by using Instagram influencers (people with large Instagram accounts) to promote their product.
Online stores are great, but they do require a budget. Not a huge budget, but to get started with drop shipping or using Amazon FBA you’ll need to buy test products, tweak them to make them unique and also run ads. All of which cost money.
If you have cash to spend, I would either start a Shopify store or an Amazon FBA business or I would create an authority information website.
3) Create a blog then launch information products and courses.
Easier said than done. This model is ideal because the profit margins are high, but it’s still going to be a tough go because you’re going to need traffic and content. Blogging is a slow way to make money and most bloggers end up writing about their thoughts and feelings. Instead, create content people want and have a niche where you can be seen as an expert.
Then do content research via Google and social media to see what content is working. You could start with Pintrest and see what the top pins are. This content is what is being loved and shared. You could also use a service like buzzsumo.com. This website will show you the most shared content on a website.
Authority information blogs and websites are ideal because they can make money from ad revenue as well as affiliate marketing but don’t forget about creating some sort of dedicated website or at lease a section of a website to your own products.
An example of such a site is this website for a 6 pack abs fitness program (which believe it or not makes 12 million dollars a year, in large part because it dominates the fitness niche on the digital product marketplace, Clickbank).
Another example would be this would be UnconventionalGuides.com that is associated with Chris Guillebeau’s blog.
Create a killer product then drive traffic to it by social media, search engine optimization, your own website traffic and having a team of affiliates promoting the product for you.
A blog + an email list + a traffic source = a highly profitable information business.
4) Consulting/expertise business
Another example would be website to hire a an expert in some field like plumbing, web design, or search engine optimization. If you establish enough pre-eminence in a market, that is, you’re considered an authority on a topic then you can sell your time for client work online.
A good example of such a website is Dominey Drew.
She is a dating coach for men. She runs Facebook and Google ads to her website and gets that traffic to convert into her email list. She then schedules prospective clients for a coaching call and puts them on a monthly retainer. Lastly, she has a course on top of everything else.
This sort of model does not require you to write a ton of content. Instead it’s about converting and selling services to potential clients.
5) Traffic leads (Rent and Rank)
The last type of website you can make that I never see anyone talk about are traffic lead websites.
Everyone is always focused on Amazon and advertising, yet there is huge potential to create a website that can rank for local search terms like “best plumber New Port Rhode Island.”
You get the lead via an email opt-in form or by having them use a phone number which tracks them as calling from your website. There are numerous affiliate programs that you could leverage that would give you a specific phone number.
You could also rent out or sell the website to potential business. So if I was ranking for “best eye doctor New York City” and my website was getting calls from people, it’s an easy sell to an eye doctor because those are leads.
6) Resume/About Me Website
1) A resume/about me/portfolio site.
The associated image is Thomas Franks website. He has over a million subscribers on YouTube and is famous for his site called CollegeInfoGeek.com. He created this personal site to be a sort of online resume.
Thomas’s site started out as a resume website he created as a college student to help him land a job. But as he has built his own personal brand, this website has transformed into an “about me” website showcasing his YouTube channel, books and his public speaking appearances.
Knowing and understanding your audience is crucial for success.
Do you know who your “right people” are online? Do you know what makes them tick? How old they are, how much money they have and where they live? Do you also know what is the best possible work you could be doing right now and how to bring all these elements into a website?
Know what kind of site you are making and what it’s goals are.
If want to make a site about photography that also makes money you could make a portfolio site showcasing your work with the goal to get hired gigs. You could also start an online photography school that teaches people how to use a camera more professionally.
Find a unique selling point for your idea, then you need to find a way to deliver value to your visitors. No one is going to pay you to take pictures and post them online.
You will most likely fail at first, but the dumbest approach is to give up. It’s fine to give up on a specific idea but not the broader goal of making a blog, authority information site or online store.
You need to know how to start website by first knowing how to plan, but you also must understand that your first website will most likely be amateurish (but I hope I’m wrong!) and will not provide any real value.
But your second site?
You will learn, adjust, and actually start providing some real value.
See, just ditch this myth of finding the right idea. Ideas are fine, but the power is in the execution, your site being core to this – but since you’re new at this there will be a learning curve.
This curve is what separates the winners from the losers though. Those who stick with it, work hard and learn and adapt.
The barrier to start is low – domain names and web hosting are cheap – but the barrier to online business success is quite high, and is the road to it is paved with many, many failures.