How To Make Money from Your Website - 

Building a high-traffic website and monteizing it

Everyone asks me how do you make money from your website? They understand how I make money on eBay and my eCommerce store, but most people don't understand why I invest most of my time in my information websites. The basic truth is that if you are passionate and knowledgeable about something, its completely possible to make money creating and developing a website about it. If you do it right, that is.

Begin with some research

The Internet is Information

People on the internet search for information on subjects and topics that they need or want to learn more about. You want to learn how to make money from your website, so you ended up here - on a page that tells you how to do that. If I do my job correctly, you'll walk away with a clearer and deeper understanding of how to make this a reality. You'll tell others about it or link to this site from your blog, Facebook, Twitter or your own website. This will naturally enable others to find the information I've compiled here and allow me to help even more people.

If you had come here and found a spam-riddled site without any helpful information (come on, I know you did before you clicked here if you were Googling "Make money from your website") or sites only trying to make a buck off you, then this site wouldn't have added anything to the internet and that will be reflected in how much traffic I get and how many people I can help (and, of course, my Search Engine rankings). You would have clicked your "back" browser button and been out of here as quickly as possible.

The way you make money from your website is by providing people what they're looking for when they search and find your website. If you do that, they'll click your links, buy your products, sign up for your newsletters and tell their friends. If you don't then they won't.

So the first thing you need to do to make money from your website is to create an information-rich website that will answer the questions that people are asking when they come to your site.

What's the Question?

Of course, half the battle is finding out what those questions are, BEFORE you start building a website. I use SBI to do my research and build my websites, and not because I don't know how to do it myself. I do. 

Before I went into business for myself, I was an SEO specialist and worked for many years optimizing and building websites for other people. I built those sites successfully without the help of SBI, mostly because those folks already had their own failing websites by the time they came to me. 

The reasons those websites failed was because they were built using the mindset of a "brick and mortar" business model. To really succeed in making money from your website, you will need to adopt the "ePreneuer" business model. In 'brick and mortar' people find you by word of mouth, walking by, or other advertising - when they get to your store they're looking to buy 90% of the time. So it's OK to charge for everything. To make money from your website, you have to get people to your website first. They will come to your website from the search engines because you're giving away the information they need. They're usualy not looking to buy right from the beginning. 

You need to know what questions they're asking and answer those questions. Then you'll have their trust and can sell them something.

So, if you're not going to use SBI for one reason or another, here's how you find out what the questions (a.k.a. keywords) are for your niche:

Use Wordtracker to find the most sought-after keywords and keyword phrases that come from what you want to write about. You put in "baseball" and they return keywords that are related to baseball with statistics on which ones are searched for the most. They're the best in the business when it comes to keyword mining and research for niche markets and they're worth the money. 

Note: The fact that SBI has this built into their program already was what originally sold me on buying my first subscription - a one year Wordtracker subscription will run you more than a one year SBI subscription.

If you're tight on money, you can get started with their abreviated free keyword suggestion tool, but it doesn't return any keywords that don't have your search word in them and wern't searched for in the last 24 hrs. So it's good for brainstorming a specific keyword but not for getting general varriations related to a niche.

Use Google Adsense's free keyword suggestion tool to get a broad view of related keywords and an estimate of their monthly search volume. Again, these are estimates and you'll see big discrepencies when you look between Google and Wordtracker. The numbers are meant to let you know that "baseball" is looked for more frequently than "baseball league" which is looked for more frequently than "baseballs". Would you have guessed that? I wouldn't have.

Search the phrases you're thinking of trying to target using Google. I use the Firefox SEOQuake plugin when I do this search. It puts the basic SEO statistics (PageRank, # indexed pages, # of backlinks, Alexa Ranking, etc.) right under the search results. Oh, and make sure you sign out of any Google account and clear your cookies before you do this search. I keep Firefox as my 'research' browser for just this purpose - because Google creates personalized search results if you're logged in.

Note the competitiveness of the results on the first page when you do this search, it'll give you an idea if you're going to be able to rank (if most the pages are >200 backlinks and >PR3, then sure. If they're <6 PR and thousands of backlinks, forget about it, unless they're only Wikipedia entries).

Develop a list of what you believe to be 'winable' phrases based on your research. There is no science to this, just go with your gut instinct. You don't want to try and rank for a highly competitive term, but you also want to make sure you're going after a term that will have enough traffic and demand for it to build your site around. Design a site structure based on this.

Once you have a good site concept and structure in place, build it! Make sure you have lots of good content and you'll be able to make money from your website quicker than if you have the fanciest site out there but no substance.

Then, Build a Good Site

As you are building a website, focus more on the content and less on the look of the site. I recommend starting with something simple and easy to navigate and then as you get lots of traffic, you can consider moving to a more sophisticated system. Although I bet that by the time you're getting that traffic you'll realize that building better content is the best use of your time and money. After all, this website doesn't have lots of fancy stuff. Remember, your goal is to make money from your website, not show off your programing skills. Of course, if you're writing about HTML and CSS programing, you might want to punch it up a bit.

If this is your first time building a website, check out my basic guide. It's got great tips and tricks to get you started with very little out-of-pocket expenses. In this guide I cover everything from choosing a reliable web host to getting a free WISIWIG editor to understanding what CSS is and how it works.

Build Traffic

This is THE most important step in order for you to make money from your website. Do not bother putting up adsense if you've just launched your site with 3 pages - it will just end up looking spammy. And you'll get discouraged because you won't be making anything. Building good content is the essential first step (content that's targeted to those keywords you outlined). I recommend using SEOmoz' Term Targeting tool to check how targeted your keyword is on the site you've just built. I combine it with the SEOQuake keyword count functionality to make sure I've not stuffed any keywords into the page unnecessarially. 

Next you need to build some backlinks to your site. This is hard to do, but worth every ounce of effort. Contact folks with sites that are slightly related to, but not competing with, your site's topic and ask them if they'd mind putting a link up to your site to add to their visitor's experiences. Of course, you better make sure your site has something to offer them first, but if that's in order, then you just have to ask. And keep on asking. Your good content (keep building that!) will get you some links naturally, but frequently you need to get the first few links just to kick-start your site with the engines. Your links will increase your rankings, which will increase your traffic, which is what enables you to make money from your website.

You'll also want to take the time to learn internet marketing. You don't need to become a guru or make this your full-time profession, but learning the basics for yourself will make you money quicker and give you a leg up when and if you decide it's time to hire someone to help out.

Once you're doing good traffic from natural search - say about 50 visitors a day or so - you can begin to think about monetizing your site.

Now, Make Money from your Website

Track Everything

Before you start monetizing, if possible from the very beginning of your site, track everything that goes on on your site. That way you'll know how you actually make money from your website and what is a waste of your time. Google Analytics is the industry leader and guess what, it's free! So go out there, read the documentation and put it to work.

Start Slowly

There are probably as many ways to make money from your website as there are websites to make money from. Don't try to tackle the whole list right out the gate. Instead, start slowly and track everything so you know what's working and what isn't to make you money. However, make sure you've got a plan, so make sure to check out the full listings and recommendations that I've prepared for you here.

Start with adsense. It will probably not make you rich, but it'll get you started and comfortable with how earning money from affiliate links works. Once you're established, you can read our whole affiliate guide and learn how to make money from your website by referring your visitors to products you believe in. 

Building a Successful Business

There's much more to doing business on the web than simply learning to make money from your website. You need to learn how to interact with people, what to do when you get bad reviews, how to manage email and how to continue to market your business. You can't just throw up a website and walk away from it, this is your business you're building and it will continue to need your attention if it's to grow. However, one of the great things you'll discover when you make money from your website is that the amount of attention your site requires will decrease as the revenues and visits increase (if you work it right).

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